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Colombia > Projects > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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Brigard & Urrutia has a ‘very busy projects practice’ and is praised for its ‘innovative approach to instructions’. The 19-strong team (including four partners) is regularly involved in big-ticket instructions, particularly highway concession and public transport projects, and has a track record in pioneering work. A team led by Carlos Umaña and Manuel Quinche advised Perimetral Oriental de Bogotá on the $700m PPP scheme for the construction, operation and maintenance of the Perimetral de Cundinamarca highway, part of Fourth Generation of road concessions (4G). The practice is also acting as local adviser to Itaú Unibanco and other financing institutions in relation to the Concesión Autopista Conexión Pacífico 2 project, involving the development, design, construction, improvement, rehabilitation and operation of the toll road and ancillary facilities. Other clients include BBVA Colombia, Ecopetrol, Bogotá Eléktrica and Salini Impreglio. Carlos Urrutia and Carlos Fradique-Méndez are recommended together with director of the infrastructure and public utilities group Claudia Navarro.

Projects has been a core practice area for Durán & Osorio Abogados Asociados for more than two decades. Well known for its work for public bodies, it is regularly involved in the structuring of complex and sophisticated transactions, and attracts praise for ‘its appropriate advice and deep knowledge’. The group continued to advise the National Planning Department (DNP) on the negotiation and structuring of a PPP project to build the water supply and sewerage system for the city of Santa Marta. It has also been engaged by Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional to advise on a scheme for the construction of a tramway on Avenue 80, the main artery in the city of Medellín; the work includes due diligence, structuring matters, and supporting Empresa Metro de Medellín in relation to the public tender process to select the contractor/concessionaire. Other clients include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Colpatria, Transmilenio and the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. Managing partners Álvaro Durán and Jorge Gabriel Taboada lead the team, with support from Gustavo Osorio and junior partners Carlos Andrés Sánchez and Álvaro Gasca.

‘A leading firm without a doubt’, Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta has one of the largest practices in the country and advises major local and international clients on projects in a range of sectors, including oil and gas. It has been involved in most of the tendering processes for the 4G road projects, and is currently instructed in relation to ten major project financing deals. Among its recent work, it acted for OHL Construcciones on the pre-qualification steps relating to a PPP project to finance and build the offices of the Attorney General in the city of Cali, and also on several public bid applications connected to 4G projects, with a total value approaching $20m. The team supported the same client in the preliminary steps of 32 bidding processes before the Colombian National Roads Institute (INVIAS). Ricardo Fandiño, Germán Villamil, Miguel Ignacio Castro, Paula Samper, Patricia Arrázola and Andrés Hoyos are all key figures. However, Jaime Robledo has moved to Brigard & Urrutia.

‘A very visible name in the projects field’, Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría advises an outstanding list of local and international clients on port, airport, road, railway and PPP projects, from their inception and structuring to completion. It advised Inter-American Development Bank on the financing of a $300m PPP for the construction, rehabilitation, improvement, operation and maintenance of the Perimetral de Oriente toll road concession; and also acted for Goldman Sachs on the financing of the $650m Pacífico 3 toll road concession PPP. Another highlight saw the team advise Brookfield Asset Management on the acquisition (via its subsidiary BRE Colombia Hydro Investments) of power generator ISAGEN. CINTRA, Corpbanca, Corficolombiana, JP Morgan and Banco Santander are also clients. The practice is led by corporate and finance expert Jorge Di Terlizzi and Juan Fernando Gaviria on the banking and finance side; they are supported by associates including Carolina Duque, María de Bedout and Carlos Eduardo Padilla.

Posse Herrera Ruiz works for local and international sponsors and lenders, with a focus on sectors such as infrastructure, transportation, power, hydrocarbons and telecoms. It has vast experience in PPPs, bidding procedures and financings, and has been very active in major 4G concession projects. It is currently advising a client on its potential application as a bidder for the Ciudad CAN project, for the construction, operation and maintenance of three public buildings which will house government offices. Practice head Alessia Abello is leading advice to Conconcreto on its $1.3bn project to construct a third lane for the Bogotá-Girardot highway section; the work has included assisting in the submission of a private non-solicited offer with no public funds which was approved by the National Agency of Infrastructure (ANI). Other clients include CODAD, Macquarie and Vinci Concessions. José Alejandro Torres, Jaime Herrera and Álvaro José Rodríguez are all active members of the practice, with associates Paola Aldana and Sebastián Lora also noted for their work.

Boutique Arrieta Mantilla & Asociados has a strong reputation for its expertise in the projects arena. Its practice includes PPPs in the transport, real estate and infrastructure sectors, the financing of private sector projects, and the study and implementation of public bids, concessions and project contracts. It recently advised Sociedad Portuaria de Cartagena on the structuring of an $80m project for the operation and maintenance of the Bocachica Channel in the city of Cartagena. Clients have also included Ecopetrol, Drummond and COVIANDES. Álvaro Mantilla, Carlos Gustavo Arrieta and Adriana Espinoza are all key members of the practice.

The integrated projects team at Baker McKenzie S.A.S. works from Perú and Colombia, and benefits from the firm’s global profile. It is fast establishing itself as a major player in the market, having been involved in notable projects in the infrastructure and energy sectors among others. Co-head of the team Alejandro Mesa led advice to Graña & Montero and its Colombian subsidiary Morelco on their successful bid to build a $100m transmission line in La Guajira province. Fellow practice head Claudia Benavides assisted global airport services operator AENA as a shareholder of Aeropuertos del Caribe (ACSA) in relation to proceedings between ACSA and the Colombian Civil Authority concerning the alleged breach of a contract concession.

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas’ ‘knows the projects sector in Colombia thoroughly, and its knowledge is always up-to-date and effective. This is successfully combined with high-standard response times and value for money’. The team is now led by Ximena Zuleta after Andrés Fernández De Soto’s departure to set up his own practice. The team assisted engineering corporation Moffatt & Nichol with an analysis and legal opinion on the performance of a consulting agreement entered into with Fondo Adaptación, concerning works on the Canal del Dique project. It is also advising an international broadcasting corporation on penalties imposed by the Ministry of Technology and Telecommunications (MinTIC) in relation to major concession projects. Name partner Bernardo Cárdenas is also an active member of the practice.

Castro Leiva Rendón Criales Abogados SAS’ five-strong team covers the structuring and financing of projects for the public and private sectors, and has particular expertise in sectors such as infrastructure, transportation, telecoms, hydrocarbons, energy and utilities. The ‘creative and solution-oriented’ team is led by Marcela Castro and José Ignacio Leiva. It advised the concessionaire and sponsors of the Conexión Pacífico 3 road concession on the financing of the project through local and international financial markets, including an issue of senior secure notes in US dollars.

With significant experience in the structuring and financing of private and public projects, Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados acts for clients in complex, highly regulated sectors such as telecoms, hydroelectric power, gas transportation, and health, and has been particularly active representing emanations of the state in privatisation projects. It advised the Catalyst group on the restructuring process which led to the recapitalisation of Pacific Exploration & Production; and, in the telecoms infrastructure sector, is assisting Andean Towers Partners Colombia in relation to various projects including M&A transactions and bidding processes. Founding partner Diego Muñoz Tamayo, Felipe Trías and senior associate Fernando Bermúdez are all key members of the practice. Since research concluded Carlos Gerardo Mantilla has returned to the firm as partner; in addition to handling corporate, insurance and mining work, he has extensive experience in the structuring and administration of projects.

Norton Rose Fulbright acts for multinational corporations, banks, government bodies and multilateral institutions, and is particularly well-versed in 4G concession, infrastructure and energy projects. ‘Distinguished banking and finance expert’ Luis Carlos Neira leads the practice, with Jorge Neher, Leopoldo Olavarría and Hernán Rodríguez also recommended. The team advised Kentz Caribbean (SNC Lavalin) on the preliminary steps leading to the public bidding to repair the Cartagena and Barrancabermeja refineries; and is also assisting Air Liquide in relation to the establishment of an industrial facility in a free trade zone.

CMS Rodríguez Azuero Contexto Legal Abogados’ practice covers credit agreements, guarantees and payments structures, corporate and project finance transactions, and tax matters, and the team regularly acts for financial institutions on complex infrastructure-related instructions. Co-head of the team Daniel Rodríguez assisted RS Corp (Hacienda La Gloria) in structuring a warranty for a subsequent bank credit to develop an agricultural project to cultivate palm trees. The firm is also advising Promotora A.C on the financing of the La Serrezuela project, valued at more than $100m. Carlos Andrés González is also noted.

Gamboa & Acevedo has a strong record in high-profile port infrastructure projects. Its recent work includes assisting Sociedad Portuaria Regional de Buenaventura in negotiations with the authorities for permission to deepen the access channel to the Buenaventura port, with an aggregate value nearing $150m. Ernesto Gamboa and Juan Fernando Acevedo are the contact names.

Regularly involved in large infrastructure projects, the multidisciplinary projects team at Garrigues combines financing expertise with public law capabilities and is currently acting on three significant 4G projects. It is acting for the concessionaire of Conexión Vía del Pacífico, COVIPACIFICO, on the financing of the $1bn toll road concession; and is also advising China Harbour Company on financing and other matters relating to the $517m Autopista Mar 2 project (a 245km highway in Antioquia). Oscar Martínez, Ignacio Londoño and Felipe Quintero are the key names.

Highlights for the small but active projects team at Godoy & Hoyos Abogados SAS included advising EVIMAR and its sponsors (Sacyr, Strabag and Concay) on the financing of the Autopista del Mar 1 4G project, covering bridge facilities, senior debt and bonds, and subordinated facilities with an aggregate value of $800m. Jaime Moya leads the group, which advises on public and private projects in areas such as oil, mining, airports, ports, roads and rail.

Federico Chalela leads the team at Chalela | Abogados and advises on highway, airport, railway, oil and gas, and energy projects. It has vast expertise in RFPs, bidding processes, PPPs and port concession agreements.

A new entry to the ranking, DLA Piper Martinez Beltran assists clients at all stages of projects, including in relation to environmental assessments and regulatory matters, and has been busy acting for significant clients in 3G and 4G projects. Practice head Camilo Martínez is leading advice to Corficolombiana on the financial aspects of the COP651bn Chirajará-Loboguerrero highway project.

Lloreda Camacho & Co.’s projects team is noted for its regulatory experience and its expertise in public procurement and infrastructure. It represented Concesionaria Via del Mar in litigation with the ANI over the interpretation of the force majeure clause in the concession agreement for the Mulalo-Loboguerrero highway, a 4G project. Andrés Hidalgo is the key contact.

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