In 2019, our article in Legal Business ended as follows: ‘Therefore, with the benefits of a renewed legal and regulatory framework and of an environment where low interest rates facilitate access to funding, 2020 is likely to follow in line with the current year, promising continued intense activity and diversity’. In January 2020, VdA organised an international conference on sustainable finance, where we discussed the growing relevance of ESG factors with key players.
However, unpredictably, by March 2020 it was clear that our prediction of ‘continued intense activity and diversity’ was beginning to make little or no sense, as the Covid-19 pandemic reached Portugal (and the world). By the end of March, an unprecedented legal moratoria regime was enacted and subsequently extended until the end of September 2021. Very dark clouds were on the horizon for those looking for funding or refinancing, and on top of the legal moratoria regime, force majeure and material adverse change clauses became hot topics of discussion.