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Greenhill hires Pereira from Goldman to beef up Brazil unit

SAO PAULO, April 7 (Reuters) - New York-based investment bank Greenhill & Co Inc on Monday said it hired former Goldman Sachs Group Inc dealmaker Rafael Pereira, expanding its mergers and acquisitions unit in Brazil.

Pereira, who for eight years worked at Goldman, joins Greenhill's São Paulo-based office as a vice president. Prior to Goldman, where he covered the insurance, financial services, healthcare and technology sectors, Pereira was a banker at Credit Suisse Group AG.

Pereira's hiring comes about two months after Greenhill brought in seasoned dealmaker Rodrigo Mello, who is currently a managing director at the shop. Pereira, who started on Monday at Greenhill, will report to Daniel Wainstein, Greenhill's country head, with whom he worked for years at Goldman.

"He is a great addition to our team and a highly experienced M&A banker," Wainstein said in a phone interview. "The fact that we are moving forward with the hiring plans as expected reflects the level of positive response we are getting from our clients."

Wainstein, who left Goldman last year, is building a team to advise global and local clients on mergers and acquisitions in Latin America's largest economy. In 2013, companies announced $74.43 billion worth of deals in Brazil, up about 5.7 percent from $70.40 billion a year earlier, according to a Thomson Reuters report on M&A activity.

Still, 611 deals were announced last year, down from 823 in 2012, according to the Thomson Reuters data. Yet, the trend is one for robust growth in Brazil M&A in the years ahead as companies with potential for expansion manage to lure strategic or private-equity investors regardless of market and political uncertainty in Latin America's largest economy, Wainstein said.

The hiring of Pereira was in line with Greenhill's plans to hire one senior vice president, a vice president, as well as a few junior associates and analysts for its advisory operation. Apart from M&A, Greenhill wants to act as an independent financial adviser for firms seeking to carry out an initial public offering or go private, he added.

The shop expects to have 15 bankers by the end of June, compared with 11 currently. Pereira participated in Apax Partners LLP's acquisition of Tivit Terceirizacao de Tecnologia e Servicos SA in 2010, as well as Bovespa SA's initial public offering and subsequent merger with Bolsa de Mercadorias e Futuros de São Paulo SA - which created financial bourse BM&FBovespa SA in 2008.

(Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Tom Brown)