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Editorial

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Leading lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi is ‘top of the league’ and distinguishes itself through its ‘excellent knowledge of the market’ and ‘strong commercial sense’. Hugo Bruzone heads a ‘deep and broad’ practice that shines across the full spread of traditional lending, structured finance, funds and project finance matters, regularly acting for major multinational financial institutions and corporate borrowers. However, it really stands out in capital markets transactions, where it advises on an impressive volume of deals; notably, it acted on 81% of international placements made by Argentine issuers in 2016. Managing partner Carlos Lombardi is widely regarded as a stalwart in the banking sphere and the group also calls on the services of the ‘very experienced’ Analía Battaglia, Julieta De Ruggiero and ‘rising star’ José María Bazán. In a key headline deal, in 2016 the firm advised the initial purchasers on the Republic of Argentina’s mammoth $16.5bn bond issuance – it also advised the initial purchasers on two other bond issuances made by Argentina, worth a combined $5.5bn. The team also acts for issuers and acted for eight public-sector bodies on $4bn worth of offerings during 2016. On the lending side, the team advised the lenders (Citibank, Deutsche Bank London branch, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires, Banco Hipotecario and ICBC Dubai (DIFC) branch) on a $600m senior secured bridge loan to Pampa Energía to finance the acquisition of a 67% stake in Petrobras Argentina. The banking team also houses a robust regulatory capability and the Argentine Banking Association is a significant client in this area. Since the conclusion of research, De Ruggiero has moved to Tavarone, Rovelli, Salim & Miani – Abogados.

The ‘excellent’ group at Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal possesses the ‘optimal combination of up-to-date technical know-how and logistical capacity to cover the operational needs of a commercial bank’, according to some. The firm’s ‘deep expertise in the banking area’ spans capital markets, structured finance, corporate lending, M&A and contentious matters, and it acts for an enviable list of international and local banks and financial institutions. Roberto Silva Jr co-heads the department and is highlighted for his ‘experience and strong relationships with regulatory agencies’; he recently advised the initial purchasers (Oppenheimer & Co, Morgan Stanley and Macro Securities) in Aeropuertos Argentina 2000’s $400m notes issuance. Corporate finance specialist and team co-head Santiago Carregal is ‘very efficient with strong business acumen’ and acted as local counsel to the international purchasers (UBS and Itaú Securities) and local purchasers (Balanz, Industrial Valores and Puente Hnos) in Raghsa’s $100m debt issuance and exchange offering. The ‘absolutely first-rateGabriel Matarasso is also a respected senior figure and paired up with the ‘technically very strongLuciano Ojea Quintana to advise Santander Río on the acquisition of Citibank’s consumer banking unit in Argentina, which established it as the largest private bank in the country. In another headline deal, Ricardo Beller and Fernando Hernández acted together to advise the joint lead managers and bookrunners on Cablevisión’s $500m notes issuance. Cecilia Mairal is also a key member of the team and is highly recommended for regulatory and compliance work, including banking litigation. Senior associate Francisco Abeal is establishing a reputation as a ‘rising star’.

Lawyers at Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites, Arntsen & Martínez De Hoz, Jr are ‘among the best’, due to their ‘strong knowledge’ and their ‘very good understanding of the commercial drivers behind cross-border transactions’. Considered by some as ‘the first port of call for multi-jurisdictional work’, the increasingly prominent banking and finance group covers all the bases with capital markets, commercial lending, project finance, export and trade finance and structured finance all standing out as solid areas of experience. Practice head Diego Serrano Redonnet is a ‘clear leader in the area’ and acted for the underwriters in real estate developer IRSA Propiedades Comerciales’ $210m notes issuance. José Martínez de Hoz (n) is a ‘fantastic younger partner’ and teamed up with Redonnet to advise the underwriters in a $650m issuance of hydrocarbon-secured bonds by the province of Chubut. In another high-profile bank-side mandate, Alan Arntsen advised IFC on a $400m loan to Telecom Personal, which represented its largest investment in Latin America’s telecoms sector. The firm also shines on the borrower side and Martínez de Hoz advised Axion Energy on a $420m loan from IFC and a group of commercial banks. The ‘top-notch’ Mariano Grondona and the ‘up-and-comingFederico Wilensky are also highly rated. Other representative clients include Banco Santander, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan.

Allende & Brea’s comprehensive banking practice regularly handles a broad scope of commercial lending, capital markets, banking M&A, trade finance and regulatory matters, for a varied mix of multinational, regional and local banks – as well as corporate borrowers. Carlos Melhem is a respected figure in the market and heads a team that also includes banking specialist Jorge Mayora. Among the group’s recent highlights, it advised Codere Finance 2, a subsidiary of international gaming operator Codere Group, on the local law aspects of two separate notes issuances, worth $300m and €500m respectively. Other key clients include Mastercard and Grupo Sura.

Beccar Varela’s banking team finds favour for its ‘quality advice’ and ‘very experienced professionals’ – many of whom bring invaluable in-house experience to their roles, including eminent departmental co-head Roberto Fortunati who was formerly general counsel at Citigroup Argentina. Other senior names in the team include Javier Magnasco, who is ‘very professional and gives clear and concrete answers’, and Pablo Torretta – both co-lead the group alongside Fortunati. In a high-profile piece of banking M&A, Magnasco paired up with Alejandro Poletto to advise Deutsche Bank on the sale of its business in Argentina to Banco Comafi. Among its lender highlights, Torretta advised IFC in a $420m project finance loan to Axion Energy Argentina. Other representative clients include Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires, Banco Itaú Argentina and Citibank. Roberto Crouzel and Maximiliano D’Auro are also recommended.

A ‘growing powerhouse in the market’, Errecondo, González & Funes is roundly praised for its ‘sophisticated practice’ and ‘tenacious attitude’. The firm acts for an impressively high-end roster of local and multinational banks and financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Banco Macro, and it also regularly represents corporate borrowers. Sector lead Javier Errecondo is a stalwart in the area and has first-rate experience across a wide range of corporate finance matters, with a particularly impressive record in securities and private equity. Recent department highlights include advising Telecom Personal on a $400m loan from IFC and also acting for Empresa Inversora Energética on its $300m loan from UBS.

M & M Bomchil is ‘business-oriented, proactive and creative’ and the firm’s banking team is comprised of ‘committed, professional and technical lawyers’. Néstor Belgrano heads the group and maintains a broad practice, with strong experience in banking law, aviation and ship finance and capital markets. The team also includes Fermín Caride, who receives rave reviews due to his ‘sophisticated, practical advice’ and ability to ‘search for ways to resolve problems rather than just point them out’; he advised the lenders (Banco Macro, ICBC (Argentina) and Banco Itaú Argentina) on two structured loans to Genneia, worth a combined $102m. Patricio Martin is also highly regarded and advised Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 in its $400m issuance of bonds. Other key figures include Tomás Araya, who is a respected name for bankruptcy and restructuring work, and senior associate Maria Victoria Funes.

The ‘outstanding team’ at Mitrani, Caballero, Ojam & Ruiz Moreno impresses with its ‘international quality’, with its ‘speedy response times’ and ‘commercial advice’ both scoring highly with clients. Diego Parise is a ‘very strong lawyer’ and heads a team with a robust reputation for debt restructuring. The group also regularly advises both banks and corporations on traditional lending, structured finance and capital markets work. Among the team’s recent lender highlights was advising a Chinese hedge fund on the enforcement of international securities in Argentina against a defaulting borrower, and it also advised an international lender on the Argentine aspects of a covered bonds programme. On the borrower side, it represented Siderar on several import financing facilities granted by Natixis. Other notable partners in the team include Julio Martínez and the newly-promoted Carlos Trogolo Eliçabe.

Salaverri, Dellatorre, Burgio & Wetzler Malbrán continues to benefit from the continued opening of Argentina’s capital markets and won a significant share of headline debt deals over the past year. As a case in point, ‘highly accurate and responsive’ department co-head Roberto Lizondo advised Goldman Sachs, UBS Securities and Macro Securities as the joint lead bookrunners in Banco Macro’s $400m issuance of subordinated notes. Heavyweight banking specialist Diego Salaverri co-heads the practice and acted with Lizondo to advise Pampa Energía on a $500m notes offering by Petrobras Argentina (which was in the process of being acquired by Pampa Energía). On the lenders side, the group advised Albanesi Energía as borrower on a $175m syndicated loan from UBS to finance the development of a new co-generation plant. Victoria Hitce, Martín Fernández Dussaut and Tomás Arnaude are also key names for banking work.

Put simply, Tavarone, Rovelli, Salim & Miani – Abogadosknows the market inside out’. Led jointly by Marcelo Tavarone, Federico Salim and Juan Pablo Bove, the ‘entrepreneurial practice’ is recommended by clients for its ‘unswerving focus on the end result’. Debt capital markets is a core area of activity and in a significant coup, the firm represented the province of Córdoba in a $725m notes offering. In another headline deal, it acted for Generación Mediterránea, Generación Frías and Central Térmica Roca as co-issuers in a $250m notes offering. Since research concluded, the firm has further boosted its capabilities with the hire of fomer Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi partner, Julieta De Ruggiero in August 2017.

Baker McKenzie’s ‘well-staffed and hands-on teams’, combined with its ‘good balance between regulatory and transactional experience’, ensures it has the ‘depth and capacity to tackle a wide scope of matters’. Gabriel Gómez Giglio is singled out for his ‘excellent knowledge of the international regulatory framework’ and heads a group with a strong reputation for both domestic and cross-border transactions. Among its recent work, the team advised Banco Industrial on its $150m business restructuring, which involved its bank, securities and insurance brokerage entities. ABM Amro, Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) and Deutsche Bank are also clients.

Bulló Abogados leverages its top-tier insurance expertise to specialise in advising financial services companies on regulatory and compliance issues. However, it also acts on a significant volume of restructurings and commercial loans. Gustavo Torassa recently advised trophy client HSBC on the voluntary tax disclosure programme initiated by the Argentina government. Banco Itaú Argentina and Banco Comafi are also on the firm’s books. Esteban Gramblicka, Francisco Roggero and Pablo Falabella are the other key contacts.

Cabanellas, Etchebarne & Kelly’s banking and capital markets departments are mainstays of the firm and its sophisticated offering is widely admired. Clients include local and multinational commercial, investment and merchant banks, as well as corporate borrowers, and it advises across the full spread of loan and credit agreements, project finance, debt offerings and regulatory matters. Marcelo Etchebarne heads the firm’s New York office and is highly recommended for debt capital markets and private equity; he recently advised the province of Chubut on its $650m notes offering.

In 2017, Nicholson y Cano Abogados significantly boosted its banking and finance practice with the hire of corporate finance expert Mariano Fabrizio, who was formerly managing partner at FGM Abogados. Marcelo Villegas remains a noted name and advised Havanna Holding in its AR$158m IPO. He also acted as Argentine counsel to Citibank and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria on a $150m loan to Enap Sipetrol Argentina. Both Mario Kenny and Emiliano Silva also specialise in banking and capital markets work and are key practice contacts.

Uriel O’Farrell’s team at Estudio O'Farrell is a ‘safe pair of hands for banking work’ due to its ‘solid knowledge’ and ‘diligent lawyers’. The firm continues to advise national oil company YPF on all its local and international bond issuances. In a recent example, O’Farrell teamed up with Sebastián Luegmayer to represent YPF in a $1bn notes offering. John Deere Credit Compañía Financiera is also an active client and Luegmayer acted with associate Marina Laura Quinteiro to advise it on an $18.2m notes issuance.

Led by Carlos Tombeur, Severgnini, Robiola, Grinberg & Tombeur’s banking group has a diverse focus that encompasses traditional lending, project finance, restructuring and capital markets work. In a borrower-side highlight, Tombeur advised Profertil on two loans with Rabobank worth a combined $40m. Among its work for banks, key partner Matías Grinberg represented the lenders (Banco Patagonia, as administrative agent, Banco Macro, Banco de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Banco de la Pampa and Banco Provincia del Neuquén) on a AR$55m syndicated loan to Energía San Juan. AES Generación Argentina, Deutsche Bank and Société Générale are also on the firm’s books.

Tanoira Cassagne Abogados is ‘very professional and cost-effective’ and strikes the right note with its ‘pro-business attitude’. Firm co-founder and practice head Alexia Rosenthal enjoys a high profile in the banking arena and her ‘excellent knowledge’, ‘strong resolve’ and ‘prompt response times’ all find favour with clients. Banks and financial institutions provide the bulk of instructions and the group routinely advises across the full range of lending, capital markets, restructuring and regulatory matters. In what was arguably the team’s major highlight of the year, Rosenthal advised the initial purchasers and the local placement agent in YPF’s $1bn cross-border bond issuance. In 2016, senior associate Rocío Carrica left for an in-house position at Itaú BBA.

As one would expect, Zang, Bergel & Viñes Abogados leverages its leading real estate practice to pack a punch in property finance. That said, it has genuine firepower across the full breadth of finance-related matters, with strong showings in debt capital markets and restructurings. Group head Carolina Zang is ‘technically excellent and highly commercial’ and is highly recommended for capital markets work. Among Zang’s recent highlights, she advised Banco Hipotecario on a $400m notes offering and also acted for IRSA Propiedades Comerciales in a $360m notes issuance. In 2017, the firm boosted its finance and capital markets capability with the hire of senior counsel Maria Cecilia Pasman from LCM Abogados.

Alfaro-Abogados houses a capable finance offering with solid experience in trade finance, project finance, debt capital markets and aircraft finance. Carlos Alfaro heads a department that recently advised the lenders in a $25m pre-export financing. Clients include both local and multinational financial institutions and corporate borrowers.

At Cerolini & Ferrari Abogados, Agustín Luis Cerolini regularly advises on loans, trusts, debt capital markets, financial restructurings and compliance issues. Regulatory work is a strength and the firm acts as regulatory compliance officer to several banks, including Merrill Lynch Argentina and Banco del Chubut. In 2016, the group added associate Tomas French, formerly of Brons & Salas, to its ranks.

Hope, Duggan & Silva advised on a steady stream of debt capital markets deals over the past year. Most notably, it represented Rombo Compañía Financiera in its AR$1.4bn notes programme – Gotardo Pedemonte and senior associate Nicolás Bühler led that work. Juan Duggan heads the department.

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