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

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Index of tables

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Who Represents Who

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Brigard & Urrutia is ‘a top name in the banking and finance sector’ and fields a large team which specialises in syndicated lending and asset-backed financings, and is regularly involved in the country’s standout transactions. The team is ‘highly responsive, thorough, creative and committed to clients’, and is very active advising companies on financings related to the ‘Fourth Generation of road concessions’ (4G), banking and financial services, capital markets, private equity, derivatives, and structured products. The ‘experienced and knowledgeable’ Manuel Quinche advised Ecopetrol in relation to a $298m loan from Bancolombia for corporate purposes; a team led by Carlos Urrutia and Carlos Fradique-MĂ©ndez acted as special Colombian adviser to Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and BBVA on several bond offerings made by the Colombian state in the US and international markets, for around $1.4bn; and Fradique-MĂ©ndez and Luis Gabriel Morcillo assisted BlackRock in the structuring and formation of a local private equity fund created to invest in Colombian infrastructure projects. Associate CĂ©sar RodrĂ­guez is also noted.

GĂłmez-PinzĂłn Abogados (GPA)’s 25-lawyer team stands out for its experience in derivatives, private equity and capital markets, including outstanding expertise in IPOs. In a recent mandate, Ricardo Fandiño and GermĂĄn Villamil led advice to Bank of America (as the arranger for the syndicate of lenders) on the Colombian aspects of Pacific Exploration and Production’s debt restructuring, with a global value of $5.2bn; and Fandiño, aided by senior associates Adriana Moreno and Cristian Cruz, acted for the underwriters of state-owned Ecopetrol’s $500m bond re-issuance. Daniel Londoño, JosĂ© Luis SuĂĄrez and AndrĂ©s Hoyos are also recommended; but Jaime Robledo has moved to Brigard & Urrutia.

‘First port of call for many corporations in banking matters’, Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría is praised for its ‘hands-on approach to transactions, excellent response times, and deep knowledge of the field’. It handles financial transactions and regulatory matters for financial institutions, as well as borrowers and sponsors. In a recent work highlight, a team led by Juan Fernando Gaviria and Jorge Di Terlizzi assisted Goldman Sachs and others in connection with the financing of the Pacífico 3 highway (a 4G concession project), the credit facility involving the multimillion issuance of series A and B notes (in US dollars and COP respectively) and a four-tranche COP multibillion loan. Claudia Barrero advised Brookfield Asset Management on BRE Colombia Investment’s acquisition of an additional 16% stake in ISAGEN, in accordance with current privatisation law. Other clients include Sumitomo Mitsui, JP Morgan, Bancolombia, and Banco de Bogotá. Gaviria and Barrero together with Hernando Padilla and Javier Valle lead the team. Senior associates Carolina Duque and María de Bedout are also recommended.

Posse Herrera Ruiz’s banking team ‘understands clients’ needs throughout the entire transactional process, and provides creative solutions to the most challenging issues’. The practice advised Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana on a $50m bond issuance, under Rule 144A/Reg.S, subscribed by Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan as the initial purchasers; and the ‘pragmatic and balanced’ Mariana Posse advised Bodytech on the structuring and negotiation of a multi-jurisdictional loan of around $104m granted by Corpbanca and others, and guaranteed with assets in Colombia, PerĂș and Chile. Other clients include CorporaciĂłn Andina de Fomento (CAF), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Scotiabank. Alessia Abello has extensive experience in the structuring and incorporation of equity funds, and associate Mateo Mendoza is also a key member of the practice.

Baker McKenzie S.A.S.’ banking and finance group attracts praise for its ‘responsiveness, creative approach to instructions, and dedication to clients’. It acts for local and international corporations on regional and multi-jurisdictional mandates, and has particular expertise in acquisition and project finance, foreign exchange issues, fund formation and related regulatory matters. Work highlights included acting for Bank of Nova Scotia and Sumitomo Mitsui (as lead arrangers) in relation to a $175m credit line to finance the acquisition of ISAGEN shares by a consortium led by Brookfield Renewable Energy; and advising JP Morgan on a credit facility granted to certain SPVs of Terranum to acquire a stake in a private equity fund focused on real estate. The firm’s roster of clients also includes Wells Fargo, Banco Colpatria and Banco Centro Americano. Jaime Trujillo, Ricardo Trejos and Daniel Botero are the names to note.

DLA Piper Martinez Beltran is ‘a visible player in the Colombian banking and finance sector’ and has earned a name for its work in high-yield bonds, asset-backed securities, syndicated lending facilities to Latin American borrowers, project and infrastructure finance, structured finance and securitisation, and debt restructuring. It acted for Banco de BogotĂĄ on its $600m issuance of subordinated notes, under Rule 144A/Reg.S; Camilo MartĂ­nez led the team with support from senior associates AndrĂ©s Torres and SebastiĂĄn Celis. The team advised the same client in relation to a senior bridge loan of $600m, facilitated by HSBC, Citibank and Bank of America.

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas ‘gives advice and support beyond what is expected’, and covers the full spectrum of banking and capital markets work. Bernardo Cárdenas led advice to the ad hoc committee of noteholders of Pacific Exploration & Production and Computershare Trust Company (as the collateral agent), in relation to Pacific’s issuance of guaranteed debtor-in-possession (DIP) notes as part of the restructuring of its financial obligations. The team also advised Financiera de Desarrolllo Nacional on a COP190bn credit facility to Sociedad Concesionaria Operadora Aeropuertaria Internacional (OPAIN) to fund infrastructure improvement works at Colombia’s main airport, El Dorado. Co-head of the practice Eduardo Cárdenas has more than 30 years’ experience in the field, and senior associates Catalina Pinilla and Juan Sebastián Hoyos also attract praise for their work.

Rodríguez Azuero Abogados has vast expertise in the banking and finance arena. The ‘knowledgeable and respected’ Sergio Rodríguez Azuero assisted financial institution Celuplata with its incorporation and registration before the Colombian authorities, as a first-of-its kind entity specialised in electronic payments and deposits; the process required a high level of expertise to comply with legal and regulatory requirements. The practice also advises Fiduciaria La Previsora on day-to-day matters connected to its trust activities. Since publication the firm's tie-up with the Medellín-based Contexto Legal has been dissolved.

Boutique Durån & Osorio Abogados Asociados is widely recognised in the market for its advice to major institutions, mainly those in the public sector. Its recent work includes assisting the Colombian Treasury in maximising the administrative capacities of state-owned corporations to comply with new state-ownership public policy, including the review and application of OECD-recommended standards of corporate governance. Practice head Jorge Gabriel Taboada and junior partner Álvaro Gasca are leading advice to a significant public corporation on all matters regarding its privatisation, including the analysis of risk and legal consequences in commercial, administrative, financial and tax issues. Gustavo Osorio is also a key member of the team.

Garrigues’ banking and finance practice is ‘simply excellent’, and a ‘fast-growing actor in the Colombian market’. The ‘experienced’ team, led by former Chief Financial Superintendent Roberto Borras, is well-versed in the regulation of the financial, securities and funds industries. Felipe Quintero is leading the advice to the concessionaire of the ConexiĂłn PacĂ­fico 1 toll road (a 4G concession) regarding the first credit disbursement to finance the project, valued at approximately $840m; and a team led by Javier Ybañez and including principal associate Camilo Gantiva is acting for Cirsa Funding Luxembourg-Winner Group on a €450m bond issuance in the European public markets.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘very professional and innovative team’ has a wide-ranging practice covering acquisition finance, banking and finance, debt capital markets, derivatives, financial services, project finance, and securitisation. A team headed by Jorge Neher advised Red Kite Mine (as lenders) in connection with a $250m secured debt facility to Continental Gold for the development of the Buriticá gold project. It also provided assistance to Gran Tierra Energía on its acquisition of junior oil and gas corporation Petroamerica Oil Corp for approximately $70m. Puma Energy, CODAD, OHL and Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional are also clients. Practice head Luis Carlos Neira, Leopoldo Olavarría, Hernán Rodríguez and Ana Cristina Jaramillo are all noted for their expertise.

Holland & Knight acts for banks, multilateral financial institutions and borrowers in complex, high-end transactions, in particular transactions involving investment funds. It also advises on financial transactions secured by a variety of collateral including financial assets, inventory and equipment, account receivables and loan portfolios. The practice recently advised a well-known banking corporation on a $250m credit line to a major international transport corporation. Enrique GĂłmez-PinzĂłn leads the eight-strong team, which includes senior counsel Carlos Meza.

Under the leadership of Juan Pablo Mosquera, specialist boutique Mosquera Abogados, S.A.S. acts for emanations of the state, local and international corporations, investment funds and insurance corporations. Its personalised service and strong partner involvement are all appreciated by clients. Clients have included Ecopetrol and Bank of Tokyo.

At Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados, Felipe TrĂ­as and Diego Muñoz lead ‘a very active practice’ notable for its experience in financial structuring and the restructuring of existing debts in cross-border transactions. The group is advising a committee of noteholders on a high-profile restructuring process with an aggregate value of well over a billion euros.

Chalela | Abogados has a fast-growing profile in the Colombian market. It acts for international and multilateral financial institutions, underwriters and sponsors in matters of corporate finance, project finance, capital markets and derivatives, and has particular expertise in sectors including oil and gas, energy, mining, infrastructure and transportation, construction, and financial services. Federico Chalela is the main contact.

New to the ranking this year, Esguerra Asesores Jurídicos has considerable experience advising local and international clients on banking regulatory matters related to incorporation, M&A, and the reorganisation and liquidation of financial bodies, and is also active across restructuring, corporate finance, project finance and capital markets. The small but ‘visible’ multidisciplinary group is led by Juan Pablo González. Work highlights included acting for Corporación Interamericana para el Financiamiento de Infraestructura (CIFI), as creditor, on the restructuring of a $14m credit facility; and advising Suramericana on a COP$1bn issuance of ordinary bonds.

Lloreda Camacho & Co. is noted for ‘its good industry knowledge and strong advocacy’. It acts for a range of foreign banks and insurance corporations on regulatory matters, as well as advising international credit institutions on syndicated loans to local corporations, both private and public. Clients have included L’Agence Française de DĂ©veloppement, Ecopetrol and Empresas PĂșblicas de MedellĂ­n.

Palacios Lleras has vast expertise in privatisations and acquisitions in the financial sector. It excels in representing financial institutions in arbitral, administrative and judicial proceedings, and is also very experienced in regulatory matters. Hugo Palacios MejĂ­a is the leading figure in the practice, and has held senior positions in several public organisations. The firm counts Suramericana, Royal & Sun Alliance, and Hyperion among its clients.

Bernardo RodrĂ­guez is the key name at Parra RodrĂ­guez Abogados, which acts for local and foreign clients and stands out for its experience in the aviation sector. RodrĂ­guez led advice to an international banking institution in connection with a credit facility of over $400m provided to a Cayman Island company. The team also acted for a major lending institution in relation to the acquisition of two aircraft by a major Colombian transport corporation.

Torrado Angarita & PinzĂłn Abogados has a strong capital markets practice and deals with a wide range of instructions including debt, equity and other financings. It is also heavily involved in the structuring of new financial products. Juan Pablo PinzĂłn and Jorge Torrado are the names to note.

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