Mozambique

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body:  Ordem dos Advogados de Moçambique

Competition authority: Autoridade Reguladora da Concorrência

Financial regulator: Banco de Moçambique

IFLR1000 ranking categories in this jurisdiction: 

Financial and corporateProject development

Jurisdiction overview

Mozambique in its current form was only founded in 1975, following its independence from Portugal. A 16 year period of civil war ended in the country in 1992, and its constitution was only formally introduced in 1990, and then amended in 2004. As such its legal framework is in its relative infancy and is still closely tied to the Portuguese system. However economic development, greatly facilitated by the discovery of oil, has made Mozambique one of the most financially rewarding places to do business in Africa of recent years. 

The burgeoning economy has had a positive effect on the legal market, but, while an attractive environment for investment, the market remains difficult for foreign firms to practice in. Regulations are in place that restrict foreign lawyers from practicing in Mozambique, and while foreign firms are permitted to form associations with local outfits - who tend to work under the auspices of their parent firms - they are not able to adopt their name or branding. 

Linguistic and cultural ties have seen the jurisdiction’s legal market develop with the significant influence of Portuguese firms. The vast majority of firms active in Mozambique’s financial and corporate market work in close coordination with associate firms and networks. Those found at the head of the market work as part of wider networks.

Couto Graça & Associados have an association with Iberian firm Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira and are members of the LEX Africa Group; while SAL & Caldeira are members of the DLA Piper Africa Group; Pimenta & Associados are Miranda’s associate firm; Ferreira Rocha & Associados are tied to Abreu Advogados; and Tomás Timbane & Associados Advogados is linked to PLMJ. Other Portuguese firms with active associations in the jurisdiction are Morais Leitão, Vieira de Almeida & Associados and AVM Advogados. 

Cross-border work is generally handled by Portuguese lawyers, while their domestic counterparts use local expertise to handle the day-to-day operations of larger projects. As a result of this, many local lawyers are trained and educated in Lisbon before taking up positions in Maputo.

The legal market in Mozambique is also closely tied with that of neighbours South Africa, and Angola, as well as other PALOP jurisdictions São Tomé and Príncipe, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde.

There is currently little in the way of practice area specialisation in the market, but that is liable to change as the environment inevitably becomes more sophisticated.

Financial and corporate
ABCC - Avillez Bacar Centeio & Cambule

ABCC - Avillez Bacar Centeio & Cambule is a local firm active in financial and corporate matters. The firm recently joined the Africa Legal Network.

During the research period the firm worked for lenders on an infrastructure project and advised a borrower on a facility provided to a project in the energy space. 

In M&A the firm advised acquirers on deals in the financial services and energy sectors.

The firm has also been involved in debt restructuring matters in the telecommunications, energy and consumer goods industries. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•CTRG 175MW gas-fired IPP

•Jindal debt restructuring

•Moatize-Nacala railway and port project

 

Client feedback

"They know well the local requirements and have experience in similar matters." - Banking

"The firm is good, committed and helpful with sound knowledge of Mozambique regulations." - Financial services regulatory 

"The firm is reliable and gave sound advice. They have a good understanding of Mozambique legal systems and requirements for foreign investors." - Financial services regulatory 

"Francisco Avillez is a responsive and dependable lawyer, with very practical judgement and knowledge of several legal regimes across Mozambique. He has an excellent touch with clients." - Project development

"ABBC is responsive and up to date with the latest legal developments in the country. They are also an enjoyable team to work with." - Project finance

Couto Graça & Associados

Couto Graça & Associados is one of the leading firms in Mozambique with strong financial and corporate and project development practices. It is a member of the LEX Africa network.

During the research period the firm has been active for lenders on the financing of LNG projects and advising on the buy-side of an acquisition in the financial services sector. 

The firm is experienced in capital markets transactions and has been advising bookrunners on an IPO and an issuer on a bond sale. 

In project development the firm was busy working for sponsors on the development of power projects.  

Client feedback

"The legal services provided are of great quality and rigour." - Project finance

Telmo Ferreira

"Highly competent, reliable, and rigorous in the legal service provided."

Fernanda Lopes & Associados

Fernanda Lopes & Associados is a local firm generally active in banking and M&A.

During the research period the firm advised borrowers and lenders on financing matters in the oil and gas and power sectors. It also worked for sellers and acquirers on energy M&A deals. 

Guilherme Daniel & Associados

Guilherme Daniel & Associados, which works in association with Portuguese firm VdA Vieira de Almeida, is focussed on banking and finance work. 

The firm is often mandated by lenders on financing deals in the real estate and food and beverage industries, and on the debt restructurings of state owned companies, where the banks are creditors.

During the research period the firm worked for joint venture partners, acquirers and sellers on M&A deals in the real estate, aviation and security sectors. 

In project development the firm advised developers on large LNG, solar and gas power plant projects.  

Recent Deal Data highlights

•NAS/LAM joint venture

•Nacala 250MW gas-fired power plant

 

Client feedback

"The firm is very professional, it meets objectives and timelines and is always available 24/7." - Investment funds 

HRA Advogados - Henriques Rocha & Associados

HRA Advogados - Henriques Rocha & Associados has experience in banking and finance and project development. The firm is a member of the Morais Leitão’s network. 

During the research period the firm acted as local counsel to lenders on acquisition and project finance and loan deals. It also advised a debtor on restructuring. 

In M&A the firm worked for acquirers on deals in the real estate and insurance sectors. 

The firm was active in the project development area advising developers on LNG projects.

 

Client feedback

"HR Legal was responsive and knowledgeable." - Banking 

"The firm provided an excellent work. It is very responsive, and provides good practical advice." - M&A

"The firm is responsive and client oriented." - Restructuring and insolvency 

"The firm provided solid work in a country with immature legal structure and procedures." - Restructuring and insolvency

Raposo Bernardo

Raposo Bernardo is a Portuguese firm with a local office in Mozambique. The firm is active in the financial and corporate and project development areas.

During the research period the firm’s work in the banking area included advice to lenders on loans and project finance deals.

In M&A the firm worked for sellers on a deal in the pharmaceutical sector.

In projects the firm acted as counsel to project companies and sponsors on the development of infrastructure and energy projects.

 

Recent Deal Data highlights

·         Abengoa $75 million fourth desalination plant

·         Movitel $203 million financing

SAL & Caldeira

SAL & Caldeira is a leading firm in Mozambique and active across the financial and corporate and project development areas. The firm is a member of DLA Piper’s Africa network.

The firm is experienced advising insolvent parties on restructurings in the oil and gas and transport sectors and a clear highlight in the firm’s recent work is representing the government on its restructuring process. 

During the research period the firm worked for borrowers on the financing of mining and power projects. 

In capital markets it advised an issuer on a planned IPO in the power sector. 

In M&A the firm advised sellers in the healthcare sector and acquirers in the mining and real estate industries.

In project work the firm was busy advising sponsors on power, mining and oil and gas projects.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Government of the Republic of Mozambique restructuring

TTA - Tomás Timbane & Associados Advogados

TTA - Tomás Timbane & Associados Advogados works across the financial and corporate and project development areas in collaboration with Portuguese firm PLMJ. In the projects area firm is often mandated by developers on the construction of infrastructure.

In banking work during the research period the firm advised borrowers on loan agreements and worked for creditors on debt restructurings. 

In M&A it advised joint venture partners in the mining sector and acquirers on real estate acquisitions. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Bayport Financial Services Mozambique debt restructuring