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Colombia > Banking and finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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  2. Leading lawyers

The sizeable and ‘very professional’ banking and finance team at Brigard & Urrutia has been busy assisting corporate clients in financings connected to the ambitious ‘fourth generation of road concession’ projects (4G), as well as advising in relation to banking and financial services, capital markets, private equity, foreign exchange/derivatives and structured products. Praised for its ‘innovative approach and great skills in developing financing structures’, the four-partner group includes the ‘fantastic, internationally focused’ Carlos Fradique-Méndez; ‘experienced and knowledgeable practitionerManuel Quinche (who is well versed in structured finance, project finance and M&A); managing partner Carlos Urrutia; and Luis Gabriel Morcillo, whose practice also covers capital markets, private equity and M&A. The team acted as counsel to Bank of Nova Scotia, as agent of a syndicate of banking institutions, on the $50m refinancing of a credit line to Nova Scotia Limited; and advised BBVA Colombia and Banco Colpatria on the debt restructuring of Intecplast Inyección Técnica de Plásticos and Andeanplast (packaging services companies, from Colombia and Peru respectively), involving an international credit facility of $38m. Other clients include Itaú Unibanco, Ecopetrol and Credit Suisse.

With a ‘large and experienced’ banking team, Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta attracts many high-end instructions, including big-ticket project-financings connected to the 4G concessions. The 25-strong team has outstanding expertise in derivatives, private equity and capital markets, and an unparalleled practice in IPOs. Ricardo Fandiño and José Luis Suárez led advice to Credit Suisse and HSBC as the underwriters of Ecopetrol’s $1.5bn notes issuance. Fandiño is also leading the advice to a syndicate of lenders (led by Corpbanca) in relation to the COP450bn Project César Guajira toll road concession, covering regulatory, environmental, construction and financing matters. In another highlight, Suárez advised consumer finance corporation Credivalores on a syndicated credit line worth $100m, to bolster the client’s interest-free loans to employees and pensioners in the public and private sectors. Other notable team members include Daniel Londoño, Germán Villamil, Jaime Robledo and Andrés Hoyos.

Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uríahas made its mark in the market with its acknowledged capabilities in international corporate finance and structured finance’, and ‘its growing force draws heavily on the expertise of its network of lawyers in different jurisdictions’. Work highlights included advising Interamerican Development Bank IDB) on the financing of a PPP for the construction, rehabilitation, improvement, operation and maintenance of the Perimetral Oriental highway in Bogotá (a 4G concession project); advising Brookfield in relation to the financing of its acquisition of the Colombian state power generator Isagen; and acting for Goldman Sachs on the PPP financing of the Pacífico 3 road concession project (Autopista Conexión Pacífico Tres). ‘Experienced practitionerJuan Fernando Gaviria leads the practice. Hernando Padilla is also noted, together with associates Carolina Duque and María de Bedout.

Posse Herrera Ruiz is praised for its ‘outstanding advice, expertise, availability and responsiveness’. The team has been instructed in relation to some of the market’s most innovative project finance transactions, and has been very busy of late advising clients on 4G-related financings. Its roster of clients includes major local and international corporations. It is currently advising an international financial institution on a bond subscription agreement and IPO with an aggregate value of COP50m, a multi-jurisdictional transaction led by the ‘very balanced and pragmaticMariana Posse. She and Alvaro José Rodríguez are acting for Bank of Nova Scotia, the leading name in a syndicate of international lenders, in relation to a $500m financing for oil-and-gas exploration company Gran Tierra Energy International Holdings. Other clients include Banco Davivienda, Terpel and Centennial Towers. Alessia Abello is ‘talented, and an expert in the structuring and incorporation of private equity funds’.

Baker McKenzie S.A.S.’ banking and finance team provides ‘a very high level of service, with responsive lawyers working 24/7 and ready to adapt to incoming changes’, and is ‘well placed to deal with international investments, complex financial structures and related tax advice’. Among its work highlights, it advised Bank of Nova Scotia on Colombian matters related to the financing for Broookfield Asset Management’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Isagen, a transaction worth $750m; and acted for a banking corporation on setting up a real estate portfolio with a value well over $200m. Paypal and Tradition Securities Colombia are also clients. The team is led by Jaime Trujillo, who is ‘well reputed for his knowledge and experience in the sector’. Ricardo Trejos Robledo, Juan de la Rosa and Daniel Botero are also very involved in the practice.

Martínez Neira Abogados now works in co-operation with global firm DLA Piper, as DLA Piper Martinez Neira. The banking and finance team, which has ‘unrivalled knowledge of the industry and its regulations’, was boosted by the return of Néstor Humberto Martínez, and provides advice to banks, financial corporations, and companies on complex transactions and regulatory matters. The firm is currently acting on the financing aspects of a $300m toll road project (part of the 4G concession programme launched by the Colombian state); and is also advising a concessionaire corporation (as sponsor of a PPP project) on a complex $1.5bn financing. Camilo Martínez is noted for his knowledge and experience. Since the conclusion of research, Néstor Humberto Martínez has been named Attorney General.

The team at Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas, which has announced its merger with Dentons, is praised for its ‘responsiveness and understanding of business issues’ as well as ‘its solidity, fair costs and excellent service’. Highlights included acting as local counsel to HSBC Securities and others, as the initial purchasers, on Colombia Telecomunicaciones’ $500m issue of subordinate notes under Rule 144A Reg. S; and advising Crédit Agricole Investment and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) on a $350m credit facility for Boyacá Navigation and IWL River (both affiliated companies of Trafigura Behevver). Bernardo Cárdenas and Eduardo Cárdenas are recommended.

Durán & Osorio Abogados Asociados is a highly specialist boutique which ‘stands out for its solid banking and finance expertise’ and is ‘well known for its work with major institutions particularly in the public sector, as well as for its project finance counsel’. The practice is led by Gabriel Taboada, who previously worked in-house at Banco de Bogotá and is a former Superintendent of the Colombian Stock Exchange. The team advised Ecopetrol on the structuring and implementation of a policy to transfer pension liabilities into a government fund; and senior partner Gustavo Osorio is leading advice to the Superintendence of Domiciliary Public Utilities on the restructuring of various public liabilities of state companies providing public services such as water supply, energy and sanitation.

Garrigues’ banking and finance group continues to strengthen its presence in the Colombian market; it is now under the leadership of former Chief Financial Superintendent of Colombia, of counsel Roberto Borrás, and senior associate Camilo Gantiva is also noted for his expertise and capabilities. The practice is advising a concessionaire corporation on financing matters relating to a $600m road project, part of the 4G concession programme launched by the state; and it also provided BNP with advice in connection with local custody agreements and negotiations with several financial institutions in the country. Other clients include Banco de Sabadell, Alianza Fiduciaria, OHL and Thomson Reuters.

Distinguished practitionerLuis Carlos Neira heads the eight-strong team at Norton Rose Fulbright, which attracts praise for ‘its efficient work and good, timely advice’; ‘its lawyers’ experience and skills in dealing with financial challenges is very visible’. The wide-ranging practice covers acquisition financing, debt capital markets, financial services, project finance, structured finance and commodity finance. Recent work includes assisting a concessionaire corporation with the negotiation of a credit agreement to finance the preliminary stages of a highway project, valued at well over $400m; advising Sociedad Portuaria Puerto Antioquia on the structuring of its bid to construct a multi-purpose port under an EPC scheme, valued at $400m value; and assisting Acciones y Valores in structuring and managing its collective portfolio. Senior associate Pablo Jaramillo is also recommended.

Rodriguez Azuero Contexto Legal Abogados has a well-deserved reputation in the banking and finance sector, providing ‘effective, opportune and specialised advice’. The firm is the result of the merger of two well-known firms, and now offers its services from offices in Bogotá and Medellín. ‘Knowledgeable and respected lawyer’ Sergio Rodríguez and the ‘recognised’ Carlos Andrés González lead the team, which recently advised SODIMAC on all matters relating to its COP4.5bn bond issuance, the first transaction of its kind in the country. Other clients include Cititrust, Fiduciaria Bogotá and Payu Latam.

Lloreda Camacho & Co.’s ‘responsive’ team is noted for its ‘good industry knowledge and strong advocacy’. It acts for an array of clients including foreign banks and insurance companies on regulatory matters, and also advises international credit corporations on syndicated loans to private and public bodies in Colombia. It is also notable for its capital markets experience, in particular in relation to the acquisition and control of listed companies. It advised L’Agence Française de Développement on a $400m credit line to the Colombian state, while other clients have included Ecopetrol, Banco de Tokyo and Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM).

Boutique Mosquera Abogados, S.A.S. works for state entities, local and foreign institutions, private investment funds, and insurance and other companies, and is appreciated for its ‘personalised service’ and ‘heavy-partner involvement’. Juan Pablo Mosquera leads the team, which counts L’Agence Française de Développement, Ecopetrol and Banco de Tokyo among its clients.

Palacios Lleras has ‘excellent standing in the financial sector’, especially in terms of its expertise in the regulatory arena. It is notable for its work on privatisations and acquisitions in the financial sector, as well as its experience in representing financial institutions in disputes before arbitral, administrative and judicial courts. Hugo Palacios Mejía has held senior positions in several public financial organisations, and leads the practice with Pedro Pacheco Jiménez. Clients include Suramericana, Royal and Sun Alliance, and Hyperion.

Torrado Angarita & Pinzón Abogados has a particularly strong capital markets practice, covering sophisticated and complex transactions across debt, equity and related financings. Juan Pablo Pinzón and Jorge Torrado are the key contacts.

Chalela | Abogados advises international and multilateral financial bodies, underwriters and sponsors on corporate finance, project finance, capital markets and derivatives, with sector strengths including oil and gas, energy, mining, infrastructure and transportation, construction, and financial services. Federico Chalela - is the key name.

Holland & Knight’s banking team represents banks and multilateral financial institutions on complex lending transactions, including those involving investment funds of various kinds. Enrique Gómez-Pinzón leads the eight-strong practice, and senior counsel Carlos Meza has recently relocated to Bogotá from the firm’s New York office. The group recently advised a major banking institution on a $250m credit facility to an international corporation.

Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados’ practice is jointly led by Diego Muñoz Tamayo and Felipe Trías, and is active in the structuring and restructuring of debts involving multiple jurisdictions. Société Générale is among its clients.

Parra Rodríguez Abogados’ team advises local and international clients, and has a niche acting for corporations in the aviation sector. Bernardo Rodríguez is the key name.

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Legal Developments worldwide

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