For another look into the world of Mergers and Acquisitions, we speak to Vítor Marques da Cruz, founding and managing partner of Marques da Cruz & Associados – Sociedade de Advogados.

Please introduce yourself, your role and your firm.

With more than 30 years of experience dealing with international M&A and banking transactions, I have been previously assuming the functions of managing partner at Veiga Gomes, bessa Monteiro, Marques Bom law firm (1982 – 2000), and senior partner at Jardim Sampaio Caldas – Sociedade de Advogados. 

What key M&A deals have you been involved in this year?

Acquisition of a major real estate company by a South African international operator; Acquisition of an Angolan transportation company by an international company operating worldwide; Acquisition of a share in two oil discoveries, representing a major Indian Oil company, Representing a major EPPC American company in setting up a JV with the Angolan parties, in connection with the LNG project in Angola; Representation of a multinational Japanese company in various projects in Portuguese speaking countries in Africa; Acquisition of the share capital of a major local construction company by an American company assisting in the O&G exploration. 

Which deal over 2013 interested you most and why?

The most interesting deals have been the ones related with the O&G matters, as they have been very demanding and challenging, due to the legal framework existing in the country. 

How do you feel the M&A market in your country has developed over the course of the last year, and what were the main trends?

There are various trends in several economic activities (O&G, real estate, construction, agriculture and infrastructure). The market has been progressing quite well and many transactions are expected to occur during 2014. 

How do you feel it may progress in 2014, what legislative changes are on the horizon/do you see the need for?

Expectations about the development of the market in 2014 are quite high. We believe that some changes would be necessary in what concerns the exchange control regulations as, with the actual regime, transactions involving foreign investors are slow and very bureaucratic, sometimes leading to those investors to decide not to proceed with some businesses in the country. Also, we believe that some areas of activity need new legislation or , at least, an upgrade of the current legislation, as a form to give foreign investors more security and certainty in their investments. 

Were there many cross-border M&As this year, or were they predominantly domestic?

Most of the transactions we have been involved were cross-border, although involving local companies.

What is the aim for your firm in 2014?

To develop our practice in M&A and Energy in Angola and Mozambique. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

MC&A is the firts Portuguese firm fully dedicated to the African market, assisting international companies in their investments in the Portuguese speaking countries all over the continent. LM