Richard Meijer

What I am doing: Besides running a privately hold real estate business I am blogging om MasterClass Brazil was set up to provide a one-stop source of deep-knowledge for the growing foreign business community in Brazil. Why: Having been in Brazil for around 20 years, I have seen many big companies, expats and individuals failing miserably. I have burned myself once in Brazil, setting up ProgressOil, a company focused on the supply of Brazilian castor oil. I am now running a privately hold real estate business in Brazil. From all these experiences I have learned a lot. Despite the fact that I speak the language reasonable well, have a strong network and understand the do's and don'ts better, I am absolutely not saying I am an expert or specialist. Everyday I am learning new things and I believe Brazil is changing in such a rapid pace that the only way to survive in Brazil is to generously absorb and understand the information available to you. From my experience I have learned that there is a lot of information, facts and data about Brazil. I have set up MasterClassBrazil to structure this information so you can turn it in true knowledge, enabling you to be successful in your endeavors. There is nothing in the world so rewarding as sharing expertise and knowledge. Richard Meijer

Most commented posts

  1. “Brazilians are ruining FACEBOOK …” — 10 comments
  2. Remittances from Brazil with Bitcoin and Save Huge! — 3 comments
  3. US$ 220.2 billion in opportunities for foreign investment — 1 comment
  4. Comparing Brazilian states with countries: Brazilian equivalents | The Economist — 1 comment
  5. Solar Market Suffering in Brazil — 1 comment

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Apple to lose iPhone trademark in Brazil-source | Reuters

Apple to lose iPhone trademark in Brazil-source | Reuters.

RIO DE JANEIRO | Tue Feb 5, 2013 4:21pm EST

Apple to lose iPhone trademark in Brazil-source | Reuters

5 (Reuters) – Brazil’s copyright regulator will stripof the right to use its iPhone trademark in Latin America’s biggest market and granted the trademark to a local company that registered it first, a source familiar with the decision said on Tuesday.

Brazil, Where a Judge Made $361,500 in a Month, Fumes Over Pay

Exploiting generous benefits and loopholes, some public sector employees are earning more than $260,000 in a year.

Trump Towers Rio de Janeiro

Donald Trump to build the largest complex of commercial buildings of Brazil. $6 billion Public-Private-Partnership investment.

The American billionaire Donald Trump announced he will invest in building the largest complex of office towers in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro Trump Towers.

The American billionaire Donald Trump announced he will invest in building the largest complex of office towers in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro Trump Towers.

The American billionaire Donald Trump announced on Tuesday  the 18th of December 2012, he will invest in building the largest complex of office towers in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro Trump Towers. The total value of the project may reach $ 6 billion. The  complex will be erected in front of the port area of Rio de Janeiro.

The project will have five towers of 150 meters high, 38 floors, built-in an area of 32 thousand square meters in the port area of Rio de Janeiro. The construction of the first two buildings will start in the second half of 2013, and all five towers will be completed by 2016.

The design of the Trump Towers Rio de Janeiro will be developed in partnership between MRP International, Even Construtora, a leader in the real estate market in São Paulo and the Trump Organization. The Trump Towers are not owned by Donald Trump. The MRP Group intends to license the use of the Trump name.


Donald Trump became known worldwide for his reality show appearing on NBC’s “The Apprentice.” He has gone bankrupt Continue reading

Brazilian Ebooks: Cheaper, but Not as Cheap as Expected

Kindle for sale in Brazil at R$299

Kindle for sale in Brazil at R$299

Publisher fear cheap e-books

They’re finally here: Amazon, Kobo and Google have joined veterans Saraiva, Buqui, Gato Sabido and others in Brazil’s digital publishing market. But all that journalists, consumers and publishers wanted to talk about was the price of ebooks on sale. They noted, with much chagrin, that while Brazilian ebooks are cheaper, they are not as cheap as expected.  Continue reading

ThyssenKrupp writes off US$ 4bn over Steel Americas operation in Brazil

The plant in Sepetiba Bay, Brazil: It should produce more cheaply than Germany - it produced more expensive

The plant in Sepetiba Bay, Brazil: It should produce more cheaply than Germany – it produced more expensive

Mismanagement and corruption

The crisis of ThyssenKrupp has much to do with the new steel mill in Sepetiba, Brazil: It should produce steel slabs at a significant lower cost compared to the slabs produced in Germany. In fact, the slab was $ 170 more expensive.

The loss was caused primarily by a 3.6 billion euro write down on its steel mills in the United States and Brazil, which Thyssen is trying to sell. The book value of the mills, bundled in the Steel Americas business, is now 3.9 billion euros, well below the 12 billion euros Thyssen invested in the unit over the years. The division had been meant to give ThyssenKrupp a foothold in the Americas, but costs for the mills ran far over budget while demand for the steel they made subsided.

Thyssen said management at the time based its decisions on overly optimistic projections and took too long to tell the supervisory board of problems with the project, which eventually forced Hiesinger’s predecessor Ekkehard Schulz to step down.

The story of a gigantic bad investment.

It should have been the really big coup. What came out is a disaster, likely to shake this company to its foundations. The titan ThyssenKrupp staggers. The largest German steel and technology company in Brazil literally built the steel mill in the slumps  in the bay of Sepetiba. The construction of the steel plant, which would produce steel slabs far cheaper than German plants, without all kinds of cumbersome environmental regulations, fell into a multi-billion dollar disaster. On top of that, fishermen and residents complain against the steel  work due to massive environmental violations.

“At first we had no luck, then came bad luck,” humorously said by Gerhard Cromme, Chairman of the Supervisory Board ThyssenKrupp, almost a year ago to appease the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting in Bochum’s Ruhr Congress. Already there was clear how much of this entrepreneurial venture would come to stand the Group: Instead of the originally planned 1.9 billion euros it cost – until then – a quadruple it.

Not tricked, only optimistic

Cromme, who had recently commissioned a legal investigation into the case, tried to defend the executive management and Board of ThyssenKrupp. They had cheated nor deceived, they had reported only too optimistic.

The shareholders are now more than worried, especially since ThyssenKrupp on Wednesday night fired half board. “Shows this radical solution us how serious the situation is,” says Thomas Hecht Fischer, CEO of the managing director of the German association for securities (DSW), and: “We must now assume that it is about a completely different dimension.

Market value well below book value

The book value of the plants in Brazil and in the U.S. is seven billion euros, but the market value is rather under four billion euros. Therefore ThyssenKrupp has written down around €3 billion. Furthermore, ThyssenKrupp is accused of bribery and violating antitrust regulations. . Now even the has to be feared that the full German steel industry stands on trial.

70 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro can be seen what ThyssenKrupp did stumble: the blast furnaces, the coke plant, the power plant, which is situated between the sea and the favelas of Rio de Janeiro steel work. In September 2006, as Ekkehard Schulz, the former chief executive of Thyssen-Krupp, the first sod was done here, the future seemed glorious. And the numbers that make up the consulting firm McKinsey worked in their feasibility study promised great things.

Cheap energy, low costs labour and “easy” environmental regulations


With cheaper energy, lower wages, fewer environmental regulations, each Brazilian steel slab should be $ 55 cheaper per ton of steel produced than in Germany. Million tons of steel were to be transported by ship, refined in Germany or in the United States. A supposedly lucrative large investment.

The reality however was different. The steel mill site turned out to be so muddy and slumpy that an extra million dollar investment had to be made to make sure the mill was not sinking in the slumps. But above all, it was decided in the Thyssen-Krupp’s boardroom, that a Chinese company was given the order to commission the work, rather than the fully owned German subsidiary Uhde.  A decision that was to proved to be fatal. From year to year became the mill became more expensive to build. Up to today the plant due still does not run at full capacity due to technical problems. The steel slab is already $ 170 more expensive than from German production.

The coking plant: build, demolished, rebuild

And the coking plant, which was also built by the Chinese, has been demolished. Uhde, which was rejected at the first time because of their higher priced  is now building at the same place a new one.Of course this will not be free of charge.

Additionally in 2007, the protests of fishermen came for the pollution of their fish-rich coast. And as soon as the plant was turned into operation in June 2010, it was raining polluted dust all over the place. Residents protested and complained. The dust was found to be adversely affected by toxic heavy metals. The prosecutor of Rio de Janeiro rose soon after charges of massive environmental violations.

“Mr. Cromme, how often were you there?”

Despite all the delays, construction, technical and polluting defects, no one at the board of ThyssenKrupp seems to have recognized the problems and take proper measures. “Mr. Cromme how often were you even there?” Said one shareholder at the shareholders meeting in January 2011.

The day after the shareholders meeting on December the 11th, ThyssenKrupp Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger vowed to clean up Germany’s top steel-maker after recent losses and corruption allegations prompted him to axe half his management board.

“I’m not going to talk anything up here, because it is obvious that a great deal has gone wrong in the past,” he told journalists at a news conference on Tuesday, the day after Thyssen reported a 4.7 billion euro ($6.08 billion) annual loss.

Thyssen also decided not to pay shareholders a dividend for the first time in the company’s history,

To be continued…..



Remittances from Brazil with Bitcoin and Save Huge!

Step-by-step guide for remittances from Brazil

Bitcoin, the engine for remittances

Bitcoin, the engine for remittances

Making a remittance from and to Brazil is not as easy as compared to many other countries. It is a very cumbersome process, often surrounded by a lot of red tape, incompetent and uninterested banks, high fees and very unattractive exchange rates.

This guide will detail step-by-step on how to set up your own Bitcoin bank, transfer the funds you have in your bank to anywhere in the world in about an hour and at a very low-cost.

What is Bitcoin

Bitcoins are a digital token or commodity accepted by groups or people in exchange for services. Bitcoin is the world’s first decentralized means of wealth transfer and as such, incorruptible. The prolific implications of this new technology are astounding.

Bitcoin is still an experimental new digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to work with no central authority: managing transactions and issuing money are carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is also the name of the open source software which enables the use of this currency.

Q. What is Bitcoin?

A. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer currency. Peer-to-peer means that no central authority issues new money or tracks transactions. These tasks are managed collectively by the network.

Bitcoin offers many advantages over traditional and other electronic currencies. Nobody owns or controls the Bitcoin economy. Utilising an ingenious decentralized structure, Bitcoin relies on cryptography and mathematics to make sure security and reliability. It is secure, reliable and eliminates almost all overhead seen in traditional banking.


  • Bitcoins are sent easily through the Internet, without needing to trust any third-party.
  • Transactions:
    • Are irreversible by design
    • Are fast. Funds received are available for spending within minutes.
    • Cost very little, especially compared to other payment networks.
  • The supply of Bitcoins is regulated by software and the agreement of users of the system and cannot be manipulated by any government, bank, organization or individual. The limited inflation of the Bitcoin system’s money supply is distributed evenly (by CPU power) to miners who help secure the network.

Is it legal?

This is a very good question, and to be honest I don’t know. I am neither a lawyer nor a judge, so I won’t give you any legal advise here. I would welcome any insight from Brazilian lawyers on this subject.

The only intention of this guide is to show you a method on how somebody could make a remittance at very low costs and almost instantaneously. The only thing I am 100% sure of is that Bitcoin is an extreme disruptive technology, which has the potential to fundamentally change the current worldwide corrupt financial system. There will be no place for the MoneyGrams and WesternUnions of this world.

More information

One of the best sources to start with is with the Bitcoin Wiki.  A wealth of information in many languages can be found at this wiki. If you would like to dive a bit deeper have a look at this Bitcoin forum.

Have great fun with the Step-by-step guide for remittances from Brazil

Step by step guide


Step 1) Open an account at one of the larger Bitcoin exchanges: Mt.Gox or Intersango;

Step 2) Open an account at MercadoBitcoin, or buy your Bitcoins at a cash exchanger at localbitcoins; The following steps only refer to MercadoBitcoin and Mt Gox

Step 3) Verify your Mt.Gox account and MercadoBitcoin account by scanning and sending a photo ID and utility bill. This may take a business day or two, but will not have to be repeated for future transactions;

Step 4) Deposit your Brazilian Reais on the bank account of MercadoBitcoin. Detailed instructions will be sent to you;

Step 5) Once the funds are added to your MercadoBitcoin account, buy Bitcoins by clicking “comprar” and entering your order. You will be charged 0.65%;

Step 6) Using the withdrawal (Retirado) page on MercadoBitcoin, send the Bitcoins you bought to your Bitcoin address on Mt Gox (this will take about an hour to complete, as the Bitcoin network verifies the transaction;

Step 7) Sell your Bitcoins on MtGox for US$, Swiss Francs,Yen or Euro. You will be charged between 0.4 and 0.6%;

Step 8) Withdraw your position using either vouchers, bank transfers, transfer for free your Bitcoins to your own localbitcoins cash exchanger . Withdraw fees vary by method.


Of course there are many varieties on the above guide. I really hope this information has value to you. If you believe it has something new to you, something which you haven’t heard from before and will bring you a bit more freedom, I will appreciate if you make a small donation to keep this voluntary blog up and running.










Bitcoins do hold a value. Keep them safe. Holding huge amounts on your Bitcoin wallet is just not smart. Loosing your PC or iPhone with your wallet means most likely you have lost your Bitcoins as well. Secure your wallet and your PC.

Walking in Brazil with large amounts of cash is extremely risky. Even the Central Bank is not immune to bank robbery. Just don’t do it. Use electronic bank transfers instead. If you work with localbitcoins make sure you build a trusted relationship with your seller of Bitcoins.

Don’t spend more on exchanges as you can afford to lose. Think about your kids, your husband or man.




Legal disclaimer


MasterclassBrazil contains articles on many legal topics; however, no warranty whatsoever is made that any of the articles are accurate. There is absolutely no assurance that any statement contained in an article touching on legal matters is true, correct or precise. Law varies from place to place and it evolves over time—sometimes quite quickly. Even if a statement made about the law is accurate, it may only be accurate in the jurisdiction of the person posting the information; as well, the law may have changed, been modified or overturned by subsequent development since the entry was made on MasterclassBrazil.

The legal information provided on MasterclassBrazil is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a licensed professional, i.e., by a competent authority with specialised knowledge who can apply it to the particular circumstances of your case. Please contact a local bar association, law society or similar association of jurists in your legal jurisdiction to obtain a referral to a competent legal professional if you do not have other means of contacting an attorney-at-law, lawyer, civil law notary, barrister or solicitor.

Neither the individual contributors, system operators, developers, nor sponsors of Wikipedia nor anyone else connected to Wikipedia can take any responsibility for the results or consequences of any attempt to use or adopt any of the information or disinformation presented on this web site.

Nothing on MasterclassBrazil  should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law.

Brazilian judge orders a statewide, 24-hour suspension of Google and its video sharing web site

A regional judge has ordered the arrest of Google’s president in Brazil, Fabio Jose Silva Coelho, after the company failed to take down YouTube videos.

Judge ordered a statewide, 24-hour suspension of Google and its video sharing web site YouTube

Judge ordered a statewide, 24-hour suspension of Google and its video sharing web site YouTube

Authorities say the videos are slanderous towards a candidate running in a city’s election for mayor. The judge ordered the removal of the videos last week, but Google has refused to remove them and says it is appealing.

It says it is not responsible for the content posted on its site.

According to Brazilian media, the videos in question suggest Alcides Bernal – a mayoral candidate in the city of Campo Grande – is guilty of committing crimes.

Judge Flavio Peren, who sits at a regional electoral court in Mato Grosso do Sul state, ruled the videos violated local election laws.

But his order for the videos to be removed was ignored and on Monday he ordered the arrest of Mr Coelho.

“Google is appealing the decision that ordered the removal of the video on YouTube because, as a platform, Google is not responsible for the content posted to its site,” the company said through a spokesman in Brazil.

It has previously argued that the internet should be a space for voters freely to express their opinions about candidates for political office.

But Google’s responsibility for the content it disseminates has recently come into question in other contexts, such as the case of the anti-Islam video that sparked protests around the Muslim world, say correspondents.


IOF Taxes exempted from loans

Six percent IOF tax exempted from foreign loans

Dilma Rousseff

Dilma Rousseff

The Brazilian administration is rolling back curbs on foreign capital imposed in the past 19 months after the real posted the biggest loss of any major currency this year.

The government exempted foreign loans which matures in more than than two years from a 6 percent tax to help companies and banks rollover debt, said Finance Minister Guido Mantega. The financial transaction tax was before charged on loans taken abroad maturing as many as five years.

The tax was one of a series of measures taken to weaken the real and protect exporters from what Rousseff dubbed “a monetary tsunami” unleashed by rich nations seeking to devalue their currencies. Mantega said today that the “excessive liquidity” that led to capital controls ended with the worsening of the European debt crisis.

“Before the crisis worsened, it was easier to have access to long-term credit,” Mantega told reporters in Brasília. Brazilian banks and companies “need to rollover loans taken in the past, and this makes it easier.”

After being the best performing major currency in the first two months of the year, the real reversed course and plunged, raising concern the move could stoke inflation as imports became more expensive.

Growth Forecasts and GDP review

Economists covering the Brazilian economy reduced their 2012 economic growth forecast for a fifth straight week on June 8. The world’s biggest emerging market after China will expand 2.53 percent this year, less than the 2.73 percent growth rate posted last year, according to the median estimate in a central bank survey of about 100 analysts. GDP Preview: The IBC-BR recorded a high of 0.22% in April compared to March, which means that the economy is growing again. The above data was reviewed. In March, a drop was 0.61%, in February, up 0.56% and in January, down 0.38%.

New stimulus package

Government announced a further package – The government today announced a line of credit to the states, through BNDES, which can reach $ 20 billion. Expectations are that the new credit lines increase investment to stimulate the economy.

Public-sector pay in Brazil: Shaming the unshameable | The Economist


How the bureaucrats rob the taxpayers

How the bureaucrats rob the taxpayers

Public-sector pay in Brazil: Shaming the unshameable | The Economist

When his time as São Paulo’s mayor finishes at the end of the year, jokes Gilberto Kassab, he will look for work in the garages of the city’s municipal assembly. This month the city’s legislature published, for the first time, the salaries of some of its 2,000 employees. Half the 700 people named, paulistanos were surprised to learn, take home more each month than the assembly’s chairman, who earns 7,223 reais ($3,508) after tax.

House of Representatives approves purchase of agricultural land by foreigners

Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives approves purchase of agricultural land by foreigners

The Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives approved on Wednesday (13th of June 2012) the text of the bill that allows the acquisition of large plots of land by Brazilian companies controlled by foreigners. Today, the actual limit is up to 100 “fiscal units” (módulos ficais).

Fiscal unit is a unit of land measurement used in Brazil. It is expressed in hectares and is variable and is determined for each municipality, taking into account:

  • main type of farming in the municipality;
  • proceeds from the exploitation prevalent;
  • other farms in the municipality which, although not predominant, are expressive function of income or area used;
  • concept of family property.

Today, by law, foreign companies can buy up to 5 000 hectares, never exceeding 25% of the municipal area of the location of the farm. Citizens of the same foreign nationality can not together have more than 10% of the area of a municipality.

The text proposes that Brazilian companies with foreign capital are treated as domestic companies, no limit for land acquisition. The companies and foreign people, who currently limit the acquisition of 100 and 50 fiscal modules, respectively, can now acquire up to one quarter of the municipality where the farm.

The proposal also eliminates the authorization or license from the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra) for acquisition by foreigners of rural property tax of up to four modules and rental tax of up to ten modules. The legislation established the current limit of three modules operating indefinitely.

Non-governmental organizations

The acquisition of land by non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) with foreign capital or headquarters outside of Brazil, which is not mentioned in current law, is prohibited in the new proposal. Upon approval, the report will be turned into a bill and distributed to other committees for analysis, then, be voted on in Congress.

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