Cuatrecasas battens down the hatches

CUATRECASAS Gonçalves Pereira has taken a number of fireproofing measures to insulate the business from the impact of the recession.

CUATRECASAS Gonçalves Pereira has taken a number of fireproofing measures to insulate the business from the impact of the recession.

The Iberian firm, which generated revenues of €240m (£213m) last year, and which recently advised Italian utility Enel on its €11.1bn (£9.83bn) takeover of Spanish utility Endesa, has nonetheless seen a fall-off in high-level transactions amid an uncertain business environment.

“We all know we’re in [an economic] crisis,” said partner and board member Cani Fernández. “There are deals but they’re taking longer. We’ve adapted decision-making to make it more flexible. Through this we’ve managed to reduce administration costs by €5m [£4.4m] by reviewing the 2009 budget.”

In common with many UK firms, Cuatrecasas has redeployed staff to avoid redundancies. “We’ve readjusted our resources and redeployed people to litigation and restructuring,” Fernández explained.

Cuatrecasas recently restructured the entire firm along four practice areas – corporate, finance and tax, labour and procedural – and has renewed its board structure and created an ethics board responsible for applying the code of ethics.

The seven-member board includes two general directors – one representing Spain, another representing Portugal – and is presided over by executive chairman Emilio Cuatrecasas. This sits alongside the 140-member equity partnership.

Expansion is not on the firm’s immediate radar, however. Fernández pointed out that it was not growing its headcount and no new offices were being mooted, although leavers will be replaced where necessary and 26 were recently made up to the partnership.