Eastern Promise - SRS Advogados


Cross-border M&A is driving growth at SRS Advogados; with a view to building on this success, the firm opened a Singapore office to encourage more Asian investment in Portugal

SRS Advogados is benefiting from what head of finance William Smithson describes as a "feelgood factor" in Portugal. "The market is buoyant, the economy is doing well, there's a feeling of optimism and the country is perceived as a strong option for foreign direct investment," he says. "Portugal's economic stability is making the country increasingly attractive for investors." There is also a sense of well-being at SRS at the moment. Recent work for the firm has included advising Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp) on the Portuguese law aspects of its $1.2 billion takeover of contract research organisation Chiltern International. The firm describes the last year as its "best yet" - though the firm has not disclosed its revenue, a source says it increased by 10 to 15 per cent in the last year. Cross-border M&A has been a key driver of growth at the firm, according to Smithson. "With regard to M&A, we're advising high-net-worth individuals, private equity funds and family offices - foreign direct investment is coming in," he adds. "Tourism, hotels and leisure is also growing, while there are also good returns for investors in the commercial real estate market." Smithson says there is considerable interest in Portuguese assets among pension funds, particularly those from the UK and Germany. "There is also a lot of investment in technology in Portugal, particularly companies from the US and Israel - we've done many technology deals in the last couple of years," he adds. In one such deal, SRS recently advised Portuguese venture capital fund Pathena on its1.3 million investment in Primetag, a technology startup specialised in online influence marketing. In addition, Smithson says there is a lot of investment in fintech, medtech and security-related technology companies in Portugal. Brexit benefits Uncertainty related to Brexit is working to Portugal's advantage, according to Smithson. "Lisbon is now an option in the context of Brexit," he argues. "For start-ups, the top locations are London, Berlin and Lisbon - such companies have to ask themselves whether they want to be in London as it is unclear what Brexit will actually mean, and Portugal is an attractive option, not only for its great quality of life, but also it's good infrastructure, competitive services...

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