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My name is Roberto Haddad. I’m an international M&A tax partner in the Rio de Janeiro office, Brazil.
We have been seeing a lot of activity with the private equities. They have been very active, they have a lot of money in their pockets. Probably they are being a bit more conservative than the past, they are looking more at the companies and understanding the issues and how the competitors could be and how they can consolidate the market and those kind of things, so private equities, I think, is the main active players in M&A in Latin America these days.
We are also seeing a lot of activity in the ENR, Energy Natural Resources area. We have a huge amount of investments being made for oil and gas, for mining, and also electric energy. A lot of regulations being changed because of the new scenarios, and of course, this attracts or not the investors, but it’s a lot of activity been going on.
We’re also seeing a lot of infrastructure projects being held, and that brings a lot of M&A activity as well, especially because of the World Cup that is coming in 2014, and the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, so a lot of investments in infrastructure are needed, so you have big amounts of, or big construction companies being involved, but they need funding, they need partners, and so that’s why it’s another space that is being very active these days.
When you have a crisis out of Brazil, that impacts Brazil for sure, because I would say that many of the players would be international companies, and if they’re having less money to invest, that could impact Brazil as well. So maybe, I would say, if you compare short and medium term, medium term looks more preeminent than short term, but these are the areas that should be the main focus, no difference on the private equities in the R&D spaces.
So regarding VAT, which is a state tax in Brazil, you have 27 different tax legislations, and if you’re going to work throughout all the states or many of the states, you need to understand each legislation, because sometimes you’re working on a state, and then you sell to another state, but you cannot get the credits because one state does not allow you to get the credit from this other state, so this is a kind of tax war. There are a lot of these legal disputes going on, and because of that, sometimes you may not be that efficient from a tax perspective depending on how we are structured, so sometimes it’s better to do in a simpler way, and then you can get better results.
Nowadays, there are a lot of things that you need to keep attention in Brazil. One of them is that the legislation is changing, and it’s changing in many ways. For example, we are just having a new provision measure that is coming, and that will change dramatically the corporate income tax for companies. We have a brand new transfer pricing rule, especially for commodity companies. We have a potential change - a big change - in CFC rules as well. So these are the core of the tax collection and the activity of the tax directors. This is something that when you do a business plan, for example, for a new activity, a new company or something, something new that you’re going to do in Brazil, even just starting in the country, you need to be aware that maybe when you calculate your valuation or your business plan, you’re doing that not only considering the current legislation, but also considering what may come in the future.
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