Law Firms Earning Higher Fees As Foreign Direct Investment In Portugal Surges

Author:Iberian Lawyer
Profession:Iberian Lawyer

Foreign direct investment doubled between 2014 and 2016 as assets in the Portuguese finance, insurance, science and technology sectors changed hands

Foreign investment in Portugal has doubled in recent years resulting in an increase in instructions for Lisbon lawyers from international private equity firms. A surge of investment from foreign clients in sectors such as banking, transport and telecommunications also means that Portuguese law firms are benefitting from higher fees. Data from UNCTAD (La Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre Comercio y Desarrollo) shows that foreign direct investment in Portugal stood at €6.1 billion in 2016, up from €2.9 billion in 2014. Around three-quarters (72 per cent) of the 2016 total was invested in the finance and insurance sectors, with 15 per cent invested in science and technology-related industries. Privatisations and initiatives such as the Golden Visa scheme have been key drivers of investment in the country. "Long-term macroeconomic headwinds generated significant opportunities for foreign investors, with reprivatisations in key sectors, notably air transport, the postal service, waste water treatment and telecommunications," says Diana Ribeiro Duarte, managing associate at MLGTS. She adds that the financial sector has been a key driver of growth in M&A work as banks divest non-core assets due to the tougher regulatory environment. In addition to opportunities in the finance and insurance sectors, real estate has generated enormous interest among foreign investors. "We see a lot of activity in relation to urban regeneration, and the sale of business units to foreign nationals entering the Portuguese market through the Golden Visa or non-habitual resident schemes," says Duarte...

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