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GAR 100 - 13th Edition

Ferro Castro Neves Daltro & Gomide Advogados

14 April 2020

Acted in a US$700 million dispute with a Brazilian port authority and advised Heineken in a high-profile battle with its distributors

People in Who's Who Legal 1
People in Future Leaders 4
Pending cases as counsel 10
Value of pending counsel work US$5.63 billion
Treaty cases 0
Third-party funded cases 0

Established in 2005 by a group of experienced disputes specialists, including a breakaway faction from Sergio Bermudes Advogados, Brazilian boutique Ferro Castro Neves Daltro & Gomide Advogados (FCDG) is held in high regard by prominent international firms, many of whom it has partnered with on recent cases.

Today it has 50 lawyers spread across its offices in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, most of whom devote their time to arbitration, with many of the partners also acting as arbitrators. The best known is Marcelo Roberto Ferro, a former member of the LCIA Court and ex-vice chair of the ICC commission on arbitration and ADR. Another member of the practice, Jose Roberto de Castro Neves, was part of the commission that drafted the reforms to Brazil’s arbitration law in 2015.

GAR’s sister directory Latin Lawyer 250 says the firm’s lawyers “have established themselves within Brazil’s litigation and arbitration circles at the very highest levels”.

Who uses it?

Brazilian billionaire Abílio Diniz and businessman Nelson Tanure (see below) are known to have used the firm. It has acted for renewables company Energia Sustentável do Brasil in a pair of LCIA arbitrations against a Brazilian insurer.

Other clients include Brazilian oil drilling rigs construction company Enseada Indústria Naval, brewery operator Cervejarias Kaiser, and Uruguayan-based Ekanprel Sociedad Anonima.

Track record

One of the firm’s highest-profile cases to date was acting for Abílio Diniz, chairman of supermarket chain Grupo Pão de Açúcar (GPA), in a long-running dispute with France’s Casino, which is a shareholder in GPA. Counsel managed to negotiate a favourable settlement in 2013, just two days before the arbitration hearing. The firm partnered with Debevoise & Plimpton on the case.

The firm represented companies owned by Nelson Tanure in a US$150 million ICC claim against TIM, a Brazilian mobile operator owned by Telecom Italia, which he accused of fraud in connection with a merger deal. A tribunal threw out all Tanure’s claims in 2016 but also dismissed a US$140 million counterclaim against him. In another case for Tanure, the firm helped his company Sequip defeat a claim by his former business partner Paulo Marinho worth 305 million reais.

Ferro Castro Neves Daltro & Gomide also acted for the Via Amarela consortium in an ICC arbitration against São Paulo’s state-owned underground rail operator, Metrô, ending in an award of US$180 million for the client plus legal fees.

The practice also gained a good outcome for seven clients in an ICC dispute worth US$100 million, by excluding them from the proceedings at the jurisdiction stage.

Recent events

The firm continues to represent Paper Excellence, which is owned by Indonesia’s Widjaja family, in its ICC claim against agribusiness group J&F worth several billions. The arbitration is seated in São Paulo and concerns J&F’s termination of a deal to sell Paper Excellence a majority share in a pulpmaker.

It acted for Mexican-owned Vigor Alimentos in a shareholder dispute worth over US$500 million relating to the ownerhsip of Brazil’s largest dairy exporter at the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce (CAM-CCBC). The matter settled in 2019. Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr and Quiroga Advogados co-counselled on the case.

Insolvent Brazilian logistics group Libra used the firm in a US$700 million dispute with the São Paulo state port authority relating to lease agreements for two terminals at the Port of Santos. A tribunal ruled in 2019 against the client, finding that Libra was liable in full for its financial obligations under the lease agreements. The case was administered by CAM-CCBC.

The firm also represented Heineken in its unsuccessful attempt to terminate a long-term contract with Coca-Cola and 12 distributors in Brazil as part of its plans to consolidate its operations in the country.

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