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Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Leading lawyers
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Leading lawyers

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Historically focused on representing lenders, although increasingly active in assisting borrowers, the banking and finance practice at Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C. gives clients a ‘superlative’ service, with ‘immediate responses and deep specific know-how’. The firm is ‘expensive, but worth it’. The 33-strong team is the first port of call for large-scale, complex financing mandates, including syndicated loans, corporate financing, energy financing, real estate financing and transport financing (shipping and aviation). Carlos Aiza leads the team, acting mainly as a rainmaker; he is valued by clients for being ‘a strong strategist, with a profound knowledge that he is constantly updating’. Client and peer favourite Pedro Velasco had an active year, leading teams that advised Citibank, as agent, on a $284m financing; Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, as administrative and collateral agent, on an $810m multi-jurisdiction secured syndicated financing in favour of McDermott International; and BBVA Bancomer, Goldman Sachs (USA) and Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, as arrangers, on a $400m super senior revolving credit facility granted to Atento. Giovanni Ramírez Garrido acted as counsel to Southern Cross Group subsidiary Tars Holding, as borrower, on a MXN$1.25bn syndicated financing for refinancing of existing debt and other corporate purposes; and Santander, as lender, administrative agent and security agent, on a MXN$2.26bn syndicated financing by several banks and other financial institutions in favour of Invercap Service Management. Lauded by clients for his ‘deep expertise and good client service’, Rodrigo Castelazo led a team that counselled Crédit Suisse (Cayman Islands branch) as collateral agent, administrative agent and lead arranger on a $42m credit to International Tug for the acquisition of vessels. Key support comes from Mercedes Haddad A, and associates Victor Gallegos and Emilio Aarun. Associate Andrés Barrosov is also noted. Eduardo Flores Herrera joined the firm as a partner in July 2017, having previously been Vice-President for Securities Oversight at the National Banking and Securities Commission; as did Iker Arriola (a specialist in development and financing of energy and infrastructure projects) and José Ignacio Segura (who has a specialisation in project finance and PPPs) in March 2018 from White & Case S.C.. Lender side clients include Banco Sabadell, Banco del Bajío, Bank of America, Barclays, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Inter-American Development Bank, Scotiabank and UBS; and, on the borrower side, Blackstone, BlackRock, FINSA, Grupo Lala, Grupo Mexico, Mexico Retail Properties, Prudential Real Estate Investors, and Walton Street Capital.

Galicia Abogados SC remains one of the most highly rated firms for banking and finance matters in Mexico. The ‘very strong and confident’ team, composed of six partners and 15 associates, advises national and international banks on all manner of issues, including project finance, and corporate, structured, syndicated, and automotive finance, as well as having built a very strong regulatory and compliance practice. ‘The service is always great, with a high level of expertise, personal attention, and superb knowledge of the clients and scope of work’, enthused one client. ‘Leading lawyer’ Manuel Galicia is a reference point among his peers, and clients appreciate the service he offers, which ‘goes beyond providing legal advice, extending to understanding clients’ needs. Finance and project finance specialist Humberto Pérez Rocha assisted Element Fleet Management in a $1bn multi-jurisdictional financing, while Arturo Perdomo, who covers transactional and regulatory work, advised Citibanamex on entering into a definitive agreement to sell its asset management business to BlackRock. Also of note was the team’s assistance to GMéxico Transportes on its $2.1bn agreement to acquire Florida East Coast Railway Holdings from the Fortress Investment Group; capital markets counsel Maurice Berkman assisted on the mandate, as did ‘very active’ Guillermo Pérez Santiago. Pérez Santiago also advised BBVA Bancomer and Banco Nacional de México on a MXN$7.5bn credit agreement with Banco Invex, in the context of the National Education Infrastructure scheme. Other key practice contacts include José Visoso, Alejandro de la Borbolla, Bernardo Martinez Negrete, and Eugenio Sepúlveda, with support from associates Cecilia Díaz de Rivera, Rodrigo Rivera S and Rosemarie McLaren Magnus. Claudio Kurc joined as a partner from the Ministry of Finance, but Roberto Ortiz left to join Investa Bank.

Mijares, Angoitia, Cortés y Fuentes S.C.’ banking and finance team is ‘business oriented and able to work things out – rather than putting obstacles in the way of business’. The ‘very good’ team (15-strong, including five partners) advises lenders and borrowers on high-end, sophisticated matters, including corporate lending, real estate finance and project financing, and has a special focus on the energy sector. The ‘great’ (Manuel Echave advised Nomura Corporate Funding Americas, as lead arranger, on a $30m loan to Codere México; and a syndicate of banks, including (Citibank, Intesa San Paolo, and JP Morgan Chase) on a $1.5bn loan to Ternium Investments. In conjunction with Martín Sánchez, Echave also acted for IEnova, as borrower, in a $1bn Letter of Credit Facility and Reimbursement Agreement entered into with a syndicate of banks. In another headline case, the ‘competent and experienced’ Patricio Trad and Francisco Ibáñez assisted Banco Santander and UK Export Finance, as creditors, in financings granted to concessionaires Operadora Línea 7 and Sky Bus Reforma, for the acquisition of buses for Mexico City’s Metrobus Linea 7 service. Another key partner, Ricardo Maldonado has 20 years’ experience advising on domestic and cross-border finance and capital markets transactions; while Pilar Mata, who covers banking and project finance, has a focus on the energy and infrastructure sectors. Clients include MetLife, Banamex, Banco del Bajío, Be Grand, Banco Santander, Banobras, Deutsche Bank, Natixis, and JP Morgan.

Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, SC fields a ‘very good’ banking and finance practice whose strength is based not only on its experience in mid- and high-end sophisticated and complex transactions, but also as a result of the fact that many members of the 31-strong team have been working together for over two decades. The practice covers the full range of banking and finance matters, including complex securitisations and structured finance, equity placements, equity funds and leveraged buyouts, leasing, corporate lending, real estate finance and project finance, traditionally advising banks, although occasionally also representing borrowers. Recent work involved numerous structured credits in the corporate, infrastructure and real estate sectors, including advising Citibanamex, Citibank and Citigroup Global Markets on a $347m project financing to BlackRock for a coal transport and storage system in western Mexico. Javier Arreola and Michell Nader S led on the deal. A specialist in project finance, asset-backed finance, and workouts, Arreola is considered ‘a very diligent lawyer who has a great deal of control over the operation’, while ‘extraordinary’ practice head Nader ‘has a reputation that precedes him’; he also has a specialisation in project finance. Hans Goebel, whose wide-ranging practice covers banking, regulation, financing and capital markets, assisted Bank of Montreal, as administrative agent of a syndicate of lenders, on providing an $8.5bn revolver financing to Element Financial for the acquisition of a terrestrial fleet owned by GE in several jurisdictions. Julián Garza C also has a broad practice, with a specialisation in regulatory and finance work; 2017 saw him handle a variety of matters, including advising banking and financial clients on the regulatory, corporate and transactional aspects of operations; undertake contractual arrangements concerning associations with other entities involving the use of banking products, and assist with securing governmental authorisations regarding changes to corporate and equity organisation and structure; as well as handling a number of financings structured through private placements. Real estate and project finance specialist Vanessa Franyutti J advised lenders, Banco Santander, Banco Nacional de Obras y Servicios Públicos and Banco Inbursa on providing a MXN$5.31bn syndicated loan to a subsidiary of Spanish construction company OHL for its Atizapán-Atlacomulco toll road concession. Also specialised in real estate finance, Eduardo Villanueva O (acting in conjunction with Nader) advised Banorte and Banco Nacional de México, as lenders, on a MXN$4.5bn secured credit facility to Frisa, primarily for the repayment of existing debt and capex. In line with his practice assisting international clients and foreign investors, Yves Hayaux-du-Tilly advised the European Investment Bank on the extent of the Mexican Federal Government’s liability under certain guarantees from Mexican state-owned banks, and, in conjunction with Luciano Pérez G, assisted BNP Paribas NY with all legal aspects related to the opening of cash management accounts for Mexican clients. Key support comes from Adrián López G and Mónica Ramos C (named counsel in early 2018), who one peer describes as ‘having a deep understanding of what they are doing; they discuss what needs to be discussed and don’t waste time on the rest. They have thoroughness and expertise’. Other team members include Gunter A Schwandt G, Héctor Arangua L, Alejandro Rojas V, and associates Jose H Rocha S and Gustavo Díaz B. Clients include Bank of America, Bancomer, Barclays, Scotiabank, Metlife, Prudential, HSBC, and Rabobank.

The ‘excellent’ 36-strong banking and finance team at Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. advises mostly lenders, but also borrowers, on high-end transactions, including on energy and infrastructure project finance, real estate and acquisition finance. The lawyers are ‘very strong players’ whom clients value because ‘they build solid ties with their clients, thereby generating confidence’, moreover ‘they are very well versed in how banks in Mexico work’. The practice group’s core is comprised of four key partners (Jean Paul Farah Chajin, Luis A Nicolau, Thomas Heather1, and Pablo Perezalonso Eguía), with an additional 14 partners and 18 associates. In what was a particularly active year, Farah Chajín assisted Banco Nacional de México with a $600m long term loan (and a revolving facility) to Acritus; and HSBC Securities, JP Morgan Securities, Mizuho Securities and Santander Investment Securities in connection to Grupo Bimbo’s $650m acquisition of East Balt Bakeries. Jorge Oria y Anaya assisted The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, BBVA Bancomer, CaixaBank, Mizuho Bank, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation with a $534m senior financing to Carso Gasoducto Norte for the development, construction, and operation of the Samalayuca-Sásabe gas pipeline in north western Mexico; and advised Parque Eólico Mezquite on a $222m senior financing from NadBank, Bancomext and Banobras, and a $46m VAT financing from Bancomext and NAFIN, for the development of a wind-power generating plant in Nuevo León. According to one client, Oria y Anaya ‘has full knowledge of his sector, which he dominates from a technical perspective, as well as being a great negotiator’. Gabriel del Valle advised Morgan Stanley, as arranger, and the lenders in a syndicated financing facility of over MXN$2.3bn to AlphaCredit Capital, secured by pay-roll receivables. Perezalonso Eguía represented HSBC México and Banco Inbursa on the credit granted to Grupo Martí for MXN$800m. Capital markets specialist Nicolau advised JP Morgan Chase Bank on a MXN$25.2bn unsecured bridge credit agreement (under US law) with Grupo Lala, as borrower, for the acquisition of Vigor Alimentos. Heather, who is best known for his bankruptcy work, acted in conjunction with counsel James Ritch to assist Obrascón Huarte Laín Desarrollos with the $142.5m sale of 51% of four Mayakoba-brand hotels and the El Camaleón golf course. The practice also has a very strong aviation finance capability, co-led by Octavio Olivo Villa, who recently advised Airbus on a pre-delivery payment financing relating to a series of aircraft for several airlines. His fellow aviation finance team co-head, Federico Santacruz González, assisted a syndicate of banks led by Santander with the senior financing extended to Parque Eólico Reynosa III for the development of a wind power generating plant in Tamaulipas. Further support comes from Eduardo Triulzi and Ricardo Calderon, as well as from Jose Berrueta Ochoa (who was made partner in January 2018), and senior associate Ana Casasús.

The ‘100% recommended’, 19-strong Greenberg Traurig, S.C. banking and finance team offers ‘a quality service that is reflected in adequate response times, technical and comprehensive knowledge, and good value for money since we know that operations will be carried out correctly, avoiding legal risks’, according to one client. Practice co-head José Raz Guzman assisted HSBC México with a MXN$9.9bn loan to a major infrastructure developer. Raz Guzman ‘is an exceptional and conciliating lawyer, with impeccable technical knowledge, a fair negotiator, offering full and responsible support in operations and who is committed to our needs’, stated one client. Fellow practice co-head Juan Manuel González represented Mexican development bank Banobras, as lender, in the drafting and negotiation of a 20-year, MXN$5.2bn loan for the construction of the (Río de los Remedios–Venta de Carpio, Gran Canal) "Siervo de la Nación" toll road connecting the municipalities of Naucalpan and Ecatepec in the State of Mexico with a complex two tranche structure. González was assisted by Carlos Garduño and Miguel Yturbe; who have transactional and regulatory financial, and complex transactional project finance expertise, respectively. In another highlight case, González was assisted by associate José Antonio Butrón (who handles project finance and cross-border securities) in representing Bank of America Merrill Lynch (as financial advisor to the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation) in the structuring and coordination of the competitive tender process for the Red Compartida project, which requires an estimated investment of $7bn over 10 years, and in the negotiation and approval by the Telecommunications Investment Promotion Agency (Promtel) of the financing facilities granted to Altán Redes, which included a multi-tranche syndicated senior secured credit facility for MXN$17.75bn granted by three Mexican Development Banks (Banobras, Nafin and Bancomext); and two vendor credit facilities for an aggregate amount of US$850m. ‘A lawyer of great qualities’, associate David Argueta ‘is knowledgeable, ethical and responsible, available at all times, and able to communicate his arguments in an excellent and solid way’. Clients also appreciate his ‘complete dedication and integrity’. He assisted Raz Guzman in the HSBC México mandate, and also in the representation of BBVA Bancomer in a $230m financing granted to Vitro for the acquisition of Pittsburgh Glass Works’ automotive Original Equipment Manufacturer glass business from LKQ. Other members of the team include Miguel Moisés (banking and finance, capital markets, M&A, and real estate), and associate Cecilia Quintanilla Madero (project finance). Active clients include Elementia and Impulsora del Empleo en América Latina.

The 14-strong Jones Day banking and finance team is growing both in size and in regional capability, while retaining the competitive advantage of being able to call on the firm’s international network. The team is known for its infrastructure finance work, and clients appreciate its ‘expertise, response times and value for money’. Recent highlights were mainly carried out domestically, bar a couple of exceptions, such as the development of the financial structure of the new Mexico City International Airport, in which Alberto de la Parra led a team involving lawyers from the firm’s Singapore office as counsel to Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de México on the Mexican legal aspects of the issuance of $4bn worth of green bonds through the Mexico City Airport Trust, executed under the Rule 144A/Reg S. De la Parra (in conjunction with M&A partner Mauricio Castilla) also assisted BBVA Bancomer, BBVA Securities and Credit Suisse Securities/Banco Santander in a $1.55bn New York law-governed unsecured bridge loan agreement extended to GMéxico Transportes for the acquisition of rail-operator Florida East Coast Holdings. Practice co-head Antonio Franck advised Invex Infraestructura 4 and Gas Natural Noreste on the $700m development, financing, construction and operation of the "Tajín system", which will consist of a port and storage terminal in Tuxpan and a storage terminal in Tula. Javier Martínez del Campo advised Grupo Gigante on the $236.6m syndicated credit facility granted by BBVA Bancomer, as lender and administrative agent, and Scotiabank Inverlat and Banco Santander as lenders; and Grupo Kuo on several banking matters involving operations in Mexico and abroad, including a credit agreement from Bancomext for $53m. According to some, Martínez del Campo is ‘the best banking lawyer at the firm’. ‘He is very knowledgeable, very good to work with, and he always puts something on the table’, stated one peer. In both mandates he was assisted by associate Carlos Sámano, considered ‘a name to watch’. Key support further comes from office managing partner Manuel Romano; Fernando de Ovando, who has over 40 years’ experience in the practice; José Estandía, who covers project finance and M&A in the energy sector; and Silvia Malagón, who covers banking, capital markets and funds. Banco del Bajío is another key client.

White & Case S.C. undertakes an impressive array of banking and finance deals for a broad client-base. The team is led by Juan Antonio Martín and Vicente Corta. Martín has a strong practice in regulatory compliance in the FinTech sector, which he combines with other financing and day-to-day banking work; Corta led on a number of headline transactions, including assisting Banorte in the acquisition of Interacciones’ banking, broker-dealer, insurance and asset manager subsidiaries, through a merger valued at $1.4bn; and Bolsa Institucional de Valores (BIVA), Mexico’s second stock exchange, in obtaining an operating concession title from the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit. In other work, Francisco García Naranjo acted as counsel for Principal Afore in its full ownership acquisition of MetLife Afore (in conjunction with Corta); and assisted leading Korean bank KEB Hana Bank in obtaining a licence to incorporate a subsidiary multiple banking institution in Mexico (in conjunction with Martín). In the latter case, García Naranjo and Martín were accompanied by María Teresa Fernández, who also worked on the Banorte and BIVA mandates, and who is an expert in regulatory compliance matters. Key support comes from Sean Goldstein and Manuel Groenewold. Goldstein (who is NYC qualified) covers banking and finance, project finance and equipment leasing; while Groenewold handles general banking and finance, and recently advised clients on regulatory compliance and secured loans. However, the practice group has experienced turbulence, with the early 2018 departures of José Ignacio Segura and Iker Arriola to Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C., and Raúl Fernández to Mayer Brown Mexico, S.C.. The practice’s clients include Altán Redes, Banco Santander (México), BBVA Bancomer, Citibank, Codere, HSBC Mexico, Proteak Uno, Credit Suisse, BlackRock, The Vanguard Group, CLS Bank, LaSalle Investment Management, Pay Pal, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Afluenta Afore Sura.

González Calvillo, SC continues to sharpen its position on the Mexican banking scene. The large team (40 professionals) provides the full range of services in this area, from securities, secured and asset financing, to restructuring, syndicated and commercial lending and regulatory matters. Well regarded by peers, the team was present on some of the year’s most important transactions, including the Red Compartida project development, in which the firm assisted Huawei and Nokia (as vendors of services and infrastructure for the development of the project) to borrower Altán Redes, a transaction which involved an $850m financing; and Mexican development banks Banobras, Bancomext and Nafin on the MXN$17.7bn project financing, which included the drafting of an inter-creditors agreement with Huawei and Nokia. In another highlight case, the team acted as Mexican counsel to Macquarie Capital and Techint, as sponsors, in the acquisition (from Abengoa) and subsequent project financing (from 10 financial institutions) of the 907MW combined-cycle power generation facility referred to as "Norte III". Key partners José Ignacio Rivero and Enrique González Calvilllo led the first and second deals, respectively; another key partner Jorge Cervantes, who specialises in projects, energy and infrastructure finance, led the Norte III matter. Further support comes from partners Jaime Cortés Alvarez and José Víctor Torres, both ‘good, experienced lawyers’, according to peers. Cortés Alvarez assisted a group of investors in obtaining acquisition finance amounting to $82.5m from BBVA Bancomer and Bancomext, as lenders, for the acquisition of a hotel; Torres specialises in cross-border financings involving projects, syndicated loans and leasing. Other team members include Hernando Becerra and associate Eugenio Arnoux Arena, of counsel Antonio De Lisi (who joined the firm from Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle S.C.), and associate Diego Hernández Schmidt-Tophoff (who joined from Jáuregui y Del Valle, S.C.). Seasoned practitioner Rodrigo Rojas is also noted by peers for his work in this sector. Clients include Unicredit Bank, Barclays Bank, Santander, and Olympus Capital Asia Credit.

The eight-strong banking and finance team at Holland & Knight recently focused on the areas in which it has increasing specialisation, namely real estate finance, infrastructure finance, and sub-sovereign finance. The team also works with its US offices, covering the Mexico side of cross-border transactions, offering an integrated service with capital markets and other practice areas in the country. In recent work, practice head Alejandro Landa Thierry led the Mexico City team that assisted borrower Premium Restaurant Brands obtain a $53m loan from Goldman Sachs in the US, a cross-border transaction that also involved the firm’s Miami and New York offices. In a domestic highlight, the firm advised Banco Santander on the $210m restructuring and financing of Spanish hospitality and real estate business Grupo Oasis. In the sub-sovereign loans niche, the team once again advised Banco Multiva on loans to various States, namely of Nuevo Leon (MXN$1.2bn, MXN$5.8bn and the combined amount of MXN$4.3bn as part of a MXN$42.7bn financial reorganisation), Veracruz (MXN$5bn as a part of a MXN$46bn financial reorganisation and MXN$2.1bn), Oaxaca (MXN$500m), Coahuila (MXN$1bn and MXN$4.2bn) and Morelos (MXN$838.5m). Meanwhile, in another multi-office case, the firm advised Apple Bank (on behalf of Savings and AirFinance Leasing, as its servicer and qualified business aircraft financial advisor), on a $10m aircraft financing to Rotor XM. Another key figure in the practice is Guillermo Uribe who focuses on securities and other capital markets, as well as FIBRAs and CKDs, as does senior associate Adrián Gay. Antonio Casares left to set up Casares Carrillo Abogados, and former office managing partner Boris Otto also left the firm.

ExcellentKuri Breña, Sánchez Ugarte y Aznar is recommended by clients in banking and finance for its ‘adequate response times, profound knowledge of the industry – which makes processes easier, and very good value for money’. Work carried out by the 12-strong team includes corporate finance, real estate and project finance, bonds issues, securitisation of loan portfolios, and restructuring. Daniel Kuri-Breña leads the team, setting its culture. His recent highlight cases included assisting microfinance and communal lending entity Te Creemos (in conjunction with Alvaro Sarmiento) with its second issuance of trust certificates for an amount of MXN$500m; Banobras (in conjunction with Jesús Sánchez Ugarte and Bernardo Luna) in the $80m Public–Private Partnership financing for the construction, operation and maintenance of the General Hospital of ISSSTE in Tepic, Nayarit; and Citibanamex (in conjunction with Rodrigo López Márquez) in the structuring and negotiation of the settlement and termination of two loan agreements granted by the client to Corporación Geo and its subsidiaries for MXN$2bn. Alejandro Sobarzo advised Scotiabank Inverlat on a MXN$550m loan to Grupo Estancias Extendidas for the construction of nine hotels. Guillermo Garay, who co-heads the department, provides additional expertise, as does Luis Octavio Núñez; senior associate Miguel Vallejo is also noted. Other clients include Altum CP, Itaú Unibanco, Whitehorse Finance, Consubanco, and Crédito Real.

Corporate boutique Robles Miaja, SC is respected in the market for its ‘strength and level of activity’ in banking, finance and capital markets (the latter being its main focus), especially because of ‘star individual’ Rafael Robles. ‘He’s very experienced and has done tons of transactions’, says one peer. Six other lawyers at the firm handle banking and finance work.

The banking and finance team at full-service Santamarina y Steta (one of the oldest firms in the country) is known for advising lenders and borrowers on secured and unsecured loans, syndicated loans, asset financing, debt exchange and restructuring, as well as corporate financing and refinancing; it is especially noted for its project finance work. The outfit also assists financial institutions of all kinds in all types of corporate and governance matters, as well as with regulatory issues. The team assisted paper company Kimberly-Clark with obtaining a loan for MXN$3bn from Banamex; and Albea Beauty Holdings with matters related to the termination of the securities granted as collateral for its senior secured bond issue. Alberto Saavedra leads the team, and focuses on banking and finance, restructuring, capital markets and corporate governance; Sergio Chagoya covers project finance, banking, capital markets and regulatory matters in relation to derivatives; Alfonso Castro has a special focus on restructuring, workouts and insolvency, which he combines with his financing practice; Juan Carlos Machorro also handles project finance. Support comes from associates Ricardo Orea and Arturo Rosette.

At Baker McKenzie Abogados, S.C., the 11-strong banking and finance team advises an impressive roster of clients (lenders, borrowers, arrangers and guarantors) primarily on trade finance, financing via receivables and real estate finance; it also evidences a growing regulatory compliance and anti-money laundering practice, and also sometimes works on cross-border deals with the firm’s other offices. One client lauded the firm’s ‘good value for money’ but suggested that the team could strengthen its second tier of lawyers. Recent work highlights saw the team assist: Apple Leisure Group, with the negotiation and execution of the Mexican security interests corresponding to a $950m refinancing operation, in connection with KKR’s purchase and sale of Bain Capital’s holding in the client; and Kemet Electronics in the negotiation and execution of security interests by subsidiary Kemet de México to guarantee a $350m loan facility granted in its favour by Bank of America and other lenders. This latter transaction was led by key partner Carlos Sagaón-Garza (‘always looking to get the deal done’, clients value his ‘attention to detail’) in conjunction with senior associate Alfonso Martínez-Bejarano. The pair constitute the core of the team and have a very strong real estate finance practice. In other work, they assisted the SOFOM of Blackstone with the negotiation and execution of a final $118m prepayment by Fibra Terrafina and represented Emerging America Inmobiliaria during the negotiation of a $50m (approx.) financing facility granted by Banorte and Nafin for the development of a 110MW power project. Associate Michelle Pfeffer Nuñez assisted on all four mandates. The team is led by Gaspar Gutiérrez-Centeno who heads the transactional practice in Mexico; he recently assisted Korea Development Bank with a $40m loan granted to Hyundai WIA Mexico. Further support comes from María Casas-López and Lorenzo Ruiz de Velasco Beam. Active clients include UniCredit Bank, Virgin Mobile, IKB Deutsche Industriebank, JP Morgan (Suisse), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Macquarie Capital, Merrill Lynch, Bancomext and Abraaj.

Bello, Gallardo, Bonequi y García, S.C.’s expertise in regulatory and compliance work is ever more in demand as Mexico’s banking market becomes increasingly preoccupied with this side of business and financial institutions seek to strengthen their compliance solidity; in some cases, entire BGBG teams integrate banks’ structures as their compliance departments. In this vein, under a secondment scheme, the firm gave day-to-day legal and compliance support to Deutsche Bank’s local brokerage arm regarding all its business lines, as well as to Deutsche Bank Mexico, with recent activity including assisting the client with important regulatory changes in the Mexican market, notably those relating to anti-money laundering, money transfer systems, and securities intermediation. The team does similar work for long-term client Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, while also providing assistance on transactional operations. Other matters included advising Morgan Stanley on a variety of banking and finance matters and it was recently hired by Scotiabank for similar services. Compliance and AML expert Miguel Gallardo leads the 19-strong team, which includes Juan Carlos Tejado (who also covers capital markets), senior associates Marco López (AML and compliance) and David Durán (finance, banking and securities), and senior counsel Adolfo Hegewisch, who, on secondment, acts as head of the legal and compliance area of Deutsche Bank México. The firm’s role advising Sofomes (Sociedades Financieras de Objeto Múltiple), small regulated and unregulated non-banking financial institutions, is also of note. Additionally, in a significant recent development, the firm opened a Queretaro office under the leadership of senior associate Samuel Rivero in late August 2018. Additional significant clients include CitiBanamex, Banco Santander, ICBC–Industrial and Commercial Bank of China México, Daimler Financial Services México, Banorte and UBS.

Twelve lawyers handle banking and finance at Chávez Vargas Abogados, S.C., a small finance boutique born out of the former Chadbourne & Parke’s Mexico office in 2010. The practice has carved out a niche for itself in public sector financing (one of the few firms to have done so, along with Holland & Knight and Hogan Lovells BSTL), although it does cover the full range of banking and financing services, including credit lines, project finance, FIBRAs, and CKDs. Recent work highlights involved several financings for Mexican states, including assisting Campeche with the structuring of its $43m public debt; the State of Mexico with a $137m SWAP transaction and a $127m credit (both with Banorte); and Tabasco in a $39m financing agreement with Scotiabank Inverlat. In other work the team assisted FOVISSSTE on three warehousing funding structures (aggregate value $1.02bn); and Banco Invex with the acquisition of the stock of a card issuing company. All cases were led by José Antonio Chávez Vargas and Brian Minutti, with strong support from senior associates Miguel Martínez and Alejandro Carreño. Martínez handles public securities offerings, credit transactions and public-sector credit restructurings, while Carreño advises banks and debtors in credit transactions and warehousing credit facilities. Clients include Banco Interacciones and Banco Santander.

Acting for both borrowers and lenders, the banking and finance team at DLA Piper Gallastegui y Lozano has leveraged its energy expertise to access the wave of post-liberalisation energy-sector work in the country, in at context where banks have been more willing to lend to projects in the sector. Beyond energy-related financings, the team has a particular focus on aircraft and shipping finance. Clients in the latter segment include Mantenimiento Express Marítimo and Arrendadora Aeronautica. A recent work highlight involved assisting ING Bank with the restructuring of a syndicated senior secured facility granted to Seamex and its subsidiaries by a large group of banks. The operation was led by partner Maria Rios, who also handles real estate matters. Edgar Romo assisted financial services provider Crédito Real, as borrower, with the refinancing of a $110m syndicated loan from Credit Suisse – an operation undertaken in conjunction with the firm’s Miami office. Other work included restructurings, secured credit facilities, revolving credits, and terms loans. Gerardo Lozano, who is active across the full range of financing transactions, leads the practice. Jorge Benejam is also a member of the team. Other clients include World Wide Automotive, Remy Power Products and ICON Capital.

Garrigues opened its Mexico office in 2014, and, to a certain extent, it is still in formation, most recently hiring principal associate Miguel Angel de la Fuente from Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, SC in May 2017. Gradually gaining recognition from peers, the team comprises three partners and ten associates who advise a growing client roster on project finance, structured financing and commercial bank lending, and regulatory and day-to-day matters. Practice head Mario Juárez had a very busy year, including advising Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) on the structuring and formalisation of a $12m loan to Mexican company Hortícola Cimarrón; and new client Acrecent Mexico on a $10m loan granted by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), with the aim of expanding the client’s equipment lease origination capabilities. Acting in conjunction with Juárez, new partner Gabriela Perez Sierra assisted International Finance Corporation (IFC) with a partial credit guarantee related to a MXN$200m bond issue by Consejo de Asistencia al Microemprendedor on the Mexican Stock Exchange, and the execution of a guarantee issuance and revolving stand-by loan agreement related to said guarantee; de la Fuente (also in conjunction with Juárez) advised the ICC on a MXN$420m credit facility to one of its funds, Mezzanine Mexico Uno. Key support comes from Daniel González Delgado (also a principal associate) whose practice focuses on regulatory law and financing transactions. Other work included advising new clients Log Creek, Startive, PM Capital and Sypkes, as underwriters, on an issuance of up to AUD$10bn convertible notes by LatAm Autos on the Australian Stock Exchange (including the granting of certain securities in Mexico by LatAm Autos’ Mexican subsidiary); and the IFC with a credit facility of up to MXN$80m to fintech business Konfio’s Mexican subsidiary Red Amigo Dal (which providing loans to SMEs via a digital platform). Other clients include BNP Paribas, Wells Fargo, UniCredit Bank, BBVA Bancomer, and Banco Sabadell.

According to peers, Hogan Lovells BSTL’s banking and finance practice is growing in sophistication, ‘getting more work and becoming more institutionalised’. Clients concur that ‘this is one of the best firms we have worked with in the past year. The levels of service have been excellent, the fees are reasonable, the response times are always successful and the advice very accurate’. Operating from offices in Mexico City and Monterrey, the 14-strong team advises lenders and borrowers, including non-traditional lenders (such as funds and SOFOMs), and on sub-sovereign transactions. Mexico City-based practice co-head Federico De Noriega (in conjunction with the firm’s NYC office) acted for Credit Agricole on a MXN$1.8bn receivables programme granted to CEMEX. Clients appreciate De Noriega since ‘he is technically good and understands the requirements from a banking perspective’. He also assisted Banco Santander with a MXN$3bn factoring programme to Mabe. Monterrey-based practice co-head Rene Arce Lozano is noted for his work in sub-sovereign financing: he advised the state of Zacatecas on the refinancing of its approximately $377m debt; and Quintana Roo on the creation of its Strategic Projects Agency (Agencia de Proyectos Estratégicos) and the associated bill to modify the legislative framework regarding property matters in the state, as well as its Public-Private Partnerships legislation. In the latter case Arce Lozano was assisted by counsel Mayuca Salazar Canales. Other key team members include Mexico City-based practice co-heads Carlos Ramos Miranda – who has specialisations in insurance and infrastructure and energy, and Miguel Ángel Mateo Simón, whose practice focuses on project finance in the energy sector. Other clients include the states of Oaxaca, Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, the Municipality of Guadalupe (Nuevo León), and Sanfer, Cydsa and Banorte.

Now officially named CMS Woodhouse Lorente Ludlow, the firm has formalised a collaboration that began in 2013 with the forming of a consortium to advise the Mexican government on the drafting of electricity legislation. The strength of the office’s energy practice is frequently reflected in the kinds of banking and finance mandates it takes on: it advised Proactiva Medio Ambiente México and Termoenergía CDMX Holding on the structuring, negotiation and signing of a syndicated long term loan agreement and related guarantee documents for Latin America’s largest waste-to-energy generation plant, in Mexico City; and also assisted Banco del Bajío on all legal matters related to the financing of a number of solar farms in Baja California Sur. The seven-strong team, which in addition can draw on its expertise in real estate and in the financing of other types of infrastructure projects, is co-led by name partner Enrique Lorente Ludlow, who also handles corporate work, and by real estate specialist César Lechuga, who made partner in July 2017.

Mexican MERITAS alliance member, Cuesta Campos y Asociados S.C.’ ‘incredibly professional’ nine-strong banking and finance team principally advises foreign lenders on credits involving Mexico-based assets, although, as anticipated here last year, it has been developing capability in bankruptcy and restructuring and in the very topical fintech sub-sector. In addition to this, HSBC joined the firm’s already impressive roster of clients: the team assisted the bank with several operations, including a loan and consignment agreement entered into by the client in its capacity as collateral agent. One commentator appreciated the lawyers’ ‘values’ and ‘full knowledge of what they are doing: I never doubt that their work will be less than impeccable’. Other clients include Bank of America, Specialized Packaging Group / Estapack, Cerberus Business Financing, with the team’s expertise ranging from senior secured revolving asset-based credit facilities, to the restructuring of securities and pension systems, amongst other types of financing. The firm has an unusual geographical footprint with offices in Mexico City, Guadalajara and El Bajío, as well as affiliations with lawyers in other cities; the team is co-led by Hugo Cuesta and by the ‘spectacularAzucena Marin, with principal associate Miguel Angel Romero lending invaluable support. Romina Fernández joined the firm in September 2017 upon completion of her LLM, having previously been at Kuri Breña, Sánchez Ugarte y Aznar.

The banking and finance practice at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle S.C. handles oil and gas project financings for state-owned entities, as well as corporate, structured, trade, export and project finance, PPPs, equipment leasing, and securitisation and other asset-based financing for borrowers, issuers, lenders and investors; it also handles regulatory work. Recent highlights for the seven-strong group included acting as Mexican counsel to PNC Bank in several transactions including a $135m secured revolving credit facility to C&D Technologies; a $225m secured revolving credit facility to TaylorMade Company subsidiary, 19th Holdings (Delaware); and a secured revolving credit facility for an aggregate amount of $65mn to Robertshaw US Holding Corp et al. In other work, the team advised Grupo Posadas, as seller and lessee, on a Mexican-peso sale and leaseback transaction (equivalent to $154m) of its hotel Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancún to FibraHotel; and Banobras, on the negotiation and implementation of a peso-denominated secured credit facility (as additional indebtedness) to Red de Carreteras de Occidente under an existing MXN$4bn financing structure. Rodrigo Valverde leads the team and acted on all the above highlights. Other team members include Mexico City managing partner Eloy Barbará de Parres (project finance), Javier Jimenez (commercial transactions in the oil and gas sector), and Santiago Corcuera (debt and equity securities).

The finance practice at Deloitte Legal Mexico has grown strongly of late, as reflected in new clients such as Bankia, Banco Popular Español and Caixabank. The six-strong team works across corporate finance – where it recently assisted Universidad Univer Milenium del Estado de México with a MXN$230m financing for the acquisition of an online business; complex financial agreements – such as a master accounts receivable loan and security agreement (and associated collateral and ancillary financial and commercial agreements, included asset based lending agreements) on behalf of TFS RT; and regulatory matters – most recently assisting Alkanza with obtaining registration as an investment advisor and agent before the National Banking and Exchange Commission, and the IFC with the assessment and preparation of a legal opinion regarding asset-based lending regulations in Mexico. Formerly at Hogan Lovells BSTL, Mexico City-based practice co-head Ramon Bravo Herrera has over 30 years’ experience of complex banking, corporate finance and transactional matters; he led on the above Universidad Univer deal, with support from impressive senior associate Hector Cuevas González, who arrived from Rico, Robles, Libenson y Bernal. Bravo’s fellow practice co-head, ‘remarkable’ Monterrey-based Luis Lavalle receives strong feedback from clients: he is ‘always available’ and has ‘extraordinary business acumen’ as well as ‘knowledge of many industries’; moreover, he is ‘a good conciliator, an extraordinary negotiator’ and is ‘able to think creatively to accomplish our goals’. The team was further strengthened with the hire of associate Daniela Soto from Amicorp Group. Other clients include Credit Agricole, Global Jet Capital and TFP International.

Counsels Eduardo Corzo and Rafael Carmona co-head a banking and finance team of four associates at Haynes and Boone, L.L.P.’s Mexico City office. The group advises on project, shipping and real estate finance, among other matters, with recent work highlights including serving as lender’s counsel to key client Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior on a $33m financing to Naviera Petrolera Integral to refinance the debt for the construction and operation of two offshore support vessels in the Gulf of Mexico; and in a $50m financing to Grupo Kuo. The practice is supported by Jorge Sanchez, who focuses on commodity finance and also covers mining-related matters, and chair of the Americas practice Larry Pascal in Dallas. However, the practice endured the loss of key partner Jorge Labastida who moved to Thompson & Knight LLP in early 2018. Other clients include Banco Nacional de Obras y Servicios Públicos, BBVA Bancomer, Inmobiliaria y Fraccionadora Cadena, Nacional Financiera, and North American Development Bank.

The 13-strong banking and finance team at Jáuregui y Del Valle, S.C. handles project finance – focused on energy and especially renewables – capital markets, structured finance, regulatory matters, and of late, new activity in the e-payments segment. Relevant highlight work saw the team advise Bank of Montreal on a $125m financing granted to Packaging Holding (and its Mexican subsidiaries), as well as with the Mexican guaranties granted in connection with the financing. The mandate was led by practice head Luis Alberto Balderas Fernández, who was active on most of the department’s recent work, including providing ongoing advice to PayU Latam regarding all regulatory matters applicable to participants of payment networks; and assisting new client Procesa – Procesamiento Especializado de Alimentos with a $9m mezzanine loan and a MXN$76m equity contribution to the client’s capital stock by Central American Mezzanine Infrastructure Fund II (CAMIF), and associated authorisations. Balderas Fernández receives key support from senior associate José Manuel Carrillo Méndez. However, while Fernando Alonso-de-Florida R, who left to set up his own firm in 2012, re-joined the team in October 2017, founding partner Miguel Jáuregui Rojas announced his retirement and senior associate Diego Hernández Schmidt-Tophoff left to join González Calvillo, SC. Banamex is a new practice client; other clients include AT&T Mexico, MetLife, Banco Base, and Aseguradora Patrimonial Vida.

Operating from offices in Mexico City and Monterrey, the ‘very professional’ six-strong banking and finance team at Sánchez Devanny has a more or less equal balance of lenders and borrower-side work covering areas including real estate, technology and automotive finance, and often acts as local counsel on international deals involving Mexican assets. In a highlight case, the team assisted Constantia Flexibles International with the termination and release of a Mexican law collateral package of the company’s label division for its sale to Multicolor; it also continued to represent Barclays Bank, as lender, on the Mexican aspects of a $1.4bn credit agreement and the creation of a security package by the borrower’s Mexican subsidiaries. Commentators opine that the lawyers ‘are a pleasure to work with, fix problems and come up with solutions. Communication and response times are good, with a well-organised team which ensures efficient cooperation’. In addition to this, the team has ‘an in depth understanding of what is essential in respect of a financing transaction and provides concise responses that always contain the necessary information’. This feedback extends to Monterrey-based Ernesto Silvas Medina and senior associate Luis Orlando Pérez-Gutiérrez who ‘immediately get to the essence of issues, and, besides their professional appearance, are kind and easy-going’. As a team, the pair were very busy last year, acting on the two above cases. Key support comes from the Monterrey-based Jose Antonio Postigo and Daniel Maldonado-Alcántara, and from Francisco Andrés Gámez-Garza in Mexico City. Clients include JP Morgan Chase Bank, KeyBank National Bank, and DBG Canada.

Operating principally out of Guadalajara (albeit with an office in Mexico City), Vazquez Aldana, Hernandez Gomez Asociados (VAHG) is a truly regional firm, advising big name lenders operating in the area, such as Banregio, HSBC Mexico and Banco Finterra. The banking and finance team numbers eight members and has been active, recently, advising clients on securitised credits involving mortgages and trust securities to companies operating in the construction, real estate, industrial, automotive, and commercial sectors, as well as acting for private borrowers. The team also carries out due diligence, advises on compliance, and issues legal opinions on its other areas of expertise, namely corporate and M&A, real estate, and intellectual property. Founding partner Felipe Ignacio Vázquez Aldana leads the practice, supported by fellow name partner Fernando Hernández Gómez and senior associates Cristina Vázquez Aldana, Ana Elena Ibargüengoitia and Guadalupe Llamas.

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  • Notorious Marks

    Notorious marks or the declaration thereof, has always been an issue widely discussed in Mexico by the IP legal community. This is so because provisions of the Paris Convention dealing with this topic have for a long time been uses as an effort to cancel or nullify trademarks registered by Mexican authorities without really making an extensive evaluation of proposed denominations and without examining in depth if such marks may be potentially affecting rights acquired by third parties elsewhere. So, a specific regulation and legal frame that at least tries to resolve this issue is always a good start in the right direction.
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    Advertising in Mexico is governed by multiple bodies of law including for at least seven Federal Laws, five Regulations also of Federal application, a number of the so-called Mexican Official Standards (NOM's) and certain other laws and regulations applicable into specific States within the Republic of Mexico. All of them are focusing to establish the form and manners for producing and communicating advertising of products and services in Mexico.
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  • ANTI-COUNTERFEITING IN MEXICO

    By Jose Luis Ramos-Zurita

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