On December 1, the Mexican congress enacted a series of reforms to the customs law that will have a positive effect on new foreign trade projects. Private parties, with the possibility of foreign participation, will now be eligible to get a concession to act as a foreign trade zone if they have possessory rights on tracts of land located within or adjoining a port zone. This reform will promote new investments in private terminals within large industrial ports, to offer services for the handling, storage, and custody of foreign trade goods, and will help attract particular commodities for clearance through the Mexican port system.
Souza, Cescon Avedissian, Barrieu e Flesch - Advogados has acted as transaction counsel on a R$2.16-billion (approx US$908.7 million) public offering for the special purpose project company NovaMarlim Petróleo SA. Combining the three instruments used (shares, convertibles and debentures), the financing, closed in December, is the largest public offering ever made in the domestic capital markets in Brazil, according to the firm.
The Panamanian law firm Morgan & Morgan has acted as lead counsel to the Colombian Bavaria SA, one of the world's leading brewers, in its purchase of Cervecería Nacional SA, the largest brewery in Panama. The US$260-million-plus deal is the biggest M&A transaction in Panamanian history, according to Rómulo Roux, who headed the Morgan & Morgan team.
The Dutch food retail giant Royal Ahold has beaten off competition to buy the family-owned Brazilian supermarket chain G Barbosa. Closed on January 2, the R$389-million (approximately US$164.8-million) deal includes all of the chain's 36 supermarkets, hypermarkets and drugstores in the north-eastern states of Bahia and Sergipe. Competing bidders for the G Barbosa chain included Brazil's largest retailer, Pão de Açucar.
The world’s biggest food company, Nestlé, has bought the US pet food business Ralston Purina for US$10.3 billion, creating the world’s largest pet food company. The new organisation will be called ‘Nestlé Purina PetCare Company’ and will be based in St Louis, Missouri.
Rodrigo Elías & Medrano Abogados has successfully represented Lima’s largest electricity distribution company, Luz del Sur SAA, in its arbitration proceedings against the Peruvian Government in respect of the company’s right to income tax stability under an agreement executed with the Peruvian State. The arbitration award, rendered in December, fully acknowledged Luz del Sur’s claim.
With the assistance of the Rio-based firm Xavier, Bernardes, Bragança, Sociedade de Advogados, the Brazilian oil company Petrobras has recently closed four Long Term Services Agreements with General Electric International Inc (GE) for the maintenance of 6FAs and 7FAs GE Turbines. The services will be rendered in Petrobras’s Ibirite, Canoas, Cubatao and Tres Lagoas power projects.
ABN Amro’s Brazilian subsidiary, Banco ABN Amro Real SA, has issued US$50 million 6.75 per cent notes 2002 due January 2 2004, acting through its Cayman Islands Branch under its US$1-billion Medium Term Note Programme. Banco ABN AMRO Real is headquartered in São Paulo and provides services to a customer base primarily in southern Brazil.
São Paulo firm Pinheiro Neto Advogados has advised on the incorporation of the Rio/São Paulo Soccer League (Liga Rio/São Paulo de Futebol S/C) as a limited liability company. The company’s aims include organising a tournament between the leading football teams of the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Royal & SunAlliance Group’s Brazilian subsidiary, Royal & SunAlliance Brasil, has bought the Rio-based insurance company CGU Seguros for R$51.5 million (US$21.5 million). The deal, closed in December, resulted in a new company, Royal & SunAlliance Seguros. With this new structure, the insurance company will have the opportunity to further strengthen its presence in the Brazilian market.