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Being ‘one of the very few truly specialist Mexican law firms in this area’, Cervantes Sainz, S.C. is ‘acknowledged by the industry to be at the very top of the game’, particularly ‘for potentially contentious bankruptcies’. Undertaking all aspects of the practice, from domestic and cross border insolvency procedures to in – and out-of-court restructurings and workouts, the seven-strong practice group is equally at home in either the corporate or litigious aspects of the sector. Recent headline matters include advising the ad-hoc committees of unsecured notes holders in the MXN$5bn cross-border restructuring, insolvency and liquidation of Hipotecaria Su Casita and the pre-pack insolvency procedure of Corporación Geo; the ad-hoc committee of secured noteholders in the $900m restructuring of Oro Negro; representing H/2 Capital Partners in the insolvency procedure of Couzumel Caribe; and advising Empresas ICA on its $1.5bn out of court debt restructuring. Generally regarded as ‘the leading bankruptcy/restructuring lawyer in Mexico’, name partner and practice head Alejandro Sainz is a stand out figure and is ‘involved in almost every major restructuring in the country’. Manuel Ruiz de Chavez is also a key figure in the practice while name partner Luis Cervantes is noted for his involvement on the litigious side. Further support comes from ‘experienced associates’ Santiago Alessio and Gabriela Avendaño. Other matters include advising the ad-hoc committee of senior secured noteholders in the cross-border restructuring and insolvency of Oceanografía; and Grupo Edme on its out-of-court debt restructuring.

The ‘excellentGuerra González y Asociados, S.C. is ‘simply the best litigation firm in Mexico regarding bankruptcy and restructuring matters’. Clients report the firm to be ‘very responsive’, ‘highly technical’ and ‘impressive strategists’ who provide ‘immense depth in their legal analysis’ and ‘always deliver on time’; service too, is noted as ‘outstanding’. Recent headline matters include acting as special counsel to Codere on its $1bn debt restructuring and the impact of its UK restructuring on its operations in Mexico; Altos Hornos de México on its long-running $1.9bn insolvency proceeding, finally concluded in 2016; and Hipotecaria Crédito y Casa, on ongoing matters raised by minority stakeholders in the wake of its MXN$2bn out-of-court restructuring, originally concluded in 2008. All thirteen of the firm’s partners are involved in bankruptcy matters but the core team comprises senior partner Jaime R Guerra González (‘an icon in the Mexican market with whom clients feel very comfortable due to his vast experience’, he is ‘always available for insight and strategy’); the ‘very responsive and assertive’, Jesús A Guerra Méndez (his ‘knowledge and experience is definitively a great asset in any deal – not only bankruptcy proceedings – which may end in litigation’); and Patricio F Hidalgo Estrada (who is characterised as ‘aggressive, proactive and business oriented’). Also noted is young senior associate Elías Mendoza Murguía. Other matters include advising Deutsche Bank (Mexico), as the trustee of certain bonds in the bankruptcy proceedings of Hipotecaria Su Casita. Clients include Comisión Unida de Ahorradores de Ficrea, Editorial Armonía, Banco Base, Axis Asset Management, Kansas City Southern de México and Wells Fargo Bank.

One of only two local firms whose participation is ‘not only as counsellors to the company in bankruptcy and/or its creditors, but also in roles such as comptroller, receiver or conciliator (insolvency trustee)’, Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SChas deep knowledge of the Mexican insolvency law’. More importantly, according to clients, ‘it always comes up with a constructive approach to avoid unnecessary friction with the parties involved’, thereby ‘saving both time and fees’. Recent headline work includes the successful completion of its advice to Corporación GEO (and subsidiaries) in their complex $2.9bn restructuring and recapitalization; and representation of the ad-hoc bondholders committee in the bankruptcy and restructuring of developer URBI Desarrollos (involving $1.6bn in bonds and MXN$26bn debt). ‘A corporate lawyer with a brilliant vision and grasp of business’, the ‘exceptional’ Thomas S Heather is ‘one of the most respected lawyers in Mexico due to his knowledge of the law and his integrity. He has ‘worked for both companies and banks in large restructurings and accordingly knows how to facilitate negotiations, even in the most complex environments’; as a result he has now completed some 20 cases as ‘conciliator’ (insolvency trustee). Key support comes from ‘top flight partners’ Luis A Nicolau, Jean Paul Farah Chajin and Gabriel del Valle Mendiola, and clients highlight that ‘the service from the partners is always great’ and ‘the team is very hands on and therefore you get to deal with the senior members of the team, who ensure timely delivery of quality work’. Other matters include representation of the bondholders in the $420m restructuring of IUSA’s senior notes. Associate José Miguel Ortíz, Patricia Quezada and Adriana Padilla are also noted.

Best known for working on the side of the debtor, full-service firm Santamarina y Steta is ‘very complete’ and ‘an important player’ in bankruptcy matters, where it fields a 15-strong team, including four partners. Noted as being ‘very strong on both the transactional and litigation sides of the practice area (something very unusual, if not unique in Mexico)’, peers highlight the team as being ‘particularly good in pre-insolvency stages’. Recent significant matters include representing Abengoa (México) in local restructuring proceedings that began in late 2015, as well as in relation to the group’s global reorganisation; acting as Mexican counsel to the holders of the 2019 senior guaranteed bonds issued by Oro Negro Drilling; and advising the IFC on the recognition of it debt in the insolvency proceedings of developers URBI and Homex. Head of the firm’s litigation practice and ‘a magnificent lawyer’, Fernando del Castillo is ‘an old hand for bankruptcy matters’. Key support comes from the ‘excellent’ Alfonso Castro, with clients noting that both ‘are also very good at out-of-court transactions because of their knowledge of how a bankruptcy proceeding will play out’. Further support comes from ‘very knowledgeable’ senior associate Carlos Montes and Anan Laura Elizalde. Other matters include advising Nicasmex on obtaining its recognition as a creditor in Avalon Marine’s insolvency proceeding; Banco Mercantil del Norte, as the trustee of business trust F/570, in the latters insolvency proceeding; and acting as special Mexican corporate and restructuring counsel in the chapter 11 filing by Maxcom Telecomunicaciones to facilitate its comprehensive recapitalization programme.

A ‘frequent participant in key cases’, Quijano, Cortina y de la Torre Abogados is best known as a litigation boutique but also houses ‘enormous expertise in bankruptcy matters’. Recent work includes acting as legal advisor to the trustee and agent in the insolvency procedure of Cozumel Caribe; as counsel to one of the main creditors in the MXN$110m restructuring of a Mexican hotel and resort operator; and representing Banamex in CONDUSEF conciliation related to the Oceanografía bankruptcy case. The dozen strong team is led by ‘deeply experienced partners’ Javier Quijano Baz and Xavier Cortina, and ‘very capable’ associate Pablo González de Cossío is also noted for his participation in contentious insolvency matters.

Drawing on its expertise as ‘one of Mexico’s leading finance sector legal-service providers’, Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, SC has extensive involvement in the bankruptcy sector, particularly in relation to restructurings, workouts and non-litigious insolvency matters. The team acts almost exclusively for creditors, be they banks (such as Barclays Bank, Rabobank and Danske Bank), bondholders, creditors’ committees, and investment or hedge funds. Headline work saw practice co-heads Javier Arreola and Michell Nader S advising the largest group of creditors in the long-running $1.7bn Altos Hornos de México (AHMSA) case. The ‘savvy and effective’ Nader teamed up with Julián Garza to advise PREI – now PGIM Real Estate – on the restructuring of various of its real estate holdings, including its $700m portfolio developed in conjunction with URBI Desarollos, the $250m portfolio developed with GEO, and the $3.7m portfolio established with ViveICA. In a complex, cross-border and industry-specific case, insurance partner Yves Hayaux-du-Tilly advised Tokio Marine Gobal RE in the negotiations and final settlement reached with the Insurance Superintendence of the Dominican Republic, and acting as liquidator regarding the debts of Segna (formerly: National Insurance Company), to TMG-RE. Promoted to partner in early 2016, Adrián López has been active with clients including Portigon and Bank of America; and senior associate Lucia G Laganá (who has ‘growing expertise’) was extensively involved in the AHMSA and PREI cases. Other matters include advising Chrysler Financial Servicios Corporativos and its shareholders on the conclusion of its liquidation process, and additional clients include Argentem Creek Partners (fmly: Black River Asset Management), Fondo Nacional de Infraestructura (FONADIN), D E Shaw and LandAmerica Financial Group.

Standing out for its ‘experience in all aspects of the sector, be it debtor, creditor or comptroller’, Solcargo demonstrates ‘specialised bankruptcy knowledge’. The 11-strong team is ‘thoroughly recommended’ by clients who praise its ‘professionalism’, manner and ability to ‘establish a close and committed relationship’. Service levels are reported as ‘excellent’, response times ‘short’ and the attention is ‘direct and personalised’; the fact that the team ‘has considerable experience and knowledge of bankruptcy and insolvency matters is clearly evident’. Recent headline matters saw practice head Fernando Pérez Correa complete his assignment as comptroller in the $1bn-plus Compañía Mexicana de Aviación (Mexicana) bankruptcy case. Highlighted for his ‘knowledge and leadership’, Pérez Correa is one of the few practitioners with experience of acting as an officer in bankruptcy proceedings, be it as receiver (such as in the Arc International case), conciliator (eg: Retículas Gráficas), or indeed, comptroller (as above). In other matters, on the debtor side the team acted as counsel to Turbo (formerly Biciclo) and TGC Ingeniería in their respective $30m and $10m bankruptcy proceedings, including handling all civil and commercial litigation related to the insolvency. On the creditor side, the team is representing CVI Global Lux Oil and Gas 2 SARL in Oceanorafia’s insolvency proceeding, and assisted Novus Intellego obtain recognition as the sole secured creditor of Avalon Marine (fmly: DyR Evya). Dedicated full time to bankruptcy matters, the ‘knowledgeable’ Abimael Hernández was made partner in late 2016; a ‘critical asset’ and a ‘strong team player’, clients note his ‘care with both details and official relations’. On the litigious side of the practice, José Covarrubias is also noted. Other clients include CarVal Investors, Cal Dive International and Consultores en Tecnologia Interactiva.

White & Case S.C. fields a ‘truly impressive’ 20-strong bankruptcy team which demonstrates ‘great capability’ across the range of insolvency-related matters, particularly in relation to financial services and financial products’ restructurings. Recent and current matters saw practice head Vicente Corta, in conjunction with Álvaro E Garza-Galván and Manuel Groenewold, advise Mexico’s asset transfer and administration service, SAE (as receiver), in the court-assisted liquidation of oil-services provider Oceanografía; bankruptcy-litigation head, Enrique Espejel, and Maria Teresa Fernandez-Labardini advise Bancomext regarding the bank debt restructuring of Desarrolladora Homex; and Juan Antonio Martín act for Barclays (Mexico) on the derivatives debt restructuring of the same debtor. Martín and Espejel are also advising Morgan Stanley in the bankruptcies of developers Corporación GEO and Fadesamex, while Iker Arriola and Garza-Galván combined to advise a bankrupt Brazilian corporation on the sale of the corporate capital of its Mexican subsidiary. Other ongoing matters include advising Mexico’s Institute for the Protection of Banking Savings (IPAB), in the landmark, court-assisted liquidation of Banco Bicentenario; and, in the wake of advising the commercial banks’ steering committee on Urbi’s bank debt restructuring, advising Morgan Stanley, Barclays and Deutsche Bank on the derivatives debt restructuring of the same developer.

Offering ‘great response times, great business acumen (and) great advise for difficult situations‘ according to clients, ‘excellent law firmCreel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C. is ‘incredibly responsive and very savvy about international financial transactions’, according to international peers. It is on the strength of this financial practice that the firm continues to develop its participation in the bankruptcy sector, covering the full range of non-contentious insolvency-related matters including corporate recovery, restructuring and workouts, representing both creditors and debtors. ‘Creative and willing to come up with solutions’, key partner Rodrigo Castelazo has ‘a very good “bedside manner” with clients and knows how to answer their questions efficiently and effectively – he is very results-oriented and knows how to get a deal done’. Senior associate Emilio Aarun is ‘a rising star’ according to clients who regard him as ‘without doubt one of the most committed lawyers that we have worked with’; ‘always available’, he has the ability to ‘organize a relatively small team to take on a big project’. Recent matters saw the pair advise the bond-holders in the $100m restructuring of Arendal’s 2016 medium notes issue; and Credit Suisse, as administrative agent and lender regarding a $409m syndicated facility to Bio Pappel employed to restructure its existing debt. Practice head Carlos Aiza and Pedro Velasco led a team acting as special counsel to Banorte on the restructuring of its debt with GEO; and, in ongoing work, are advising a group of Brazilian bondholders (and recognised creditors) in Desarrolladora Homex’s MXN$7bn restructuring. Aiza is hailed as ‘one of the finest lawyers in Mexico’ and is frequently asked ‘to opine on particularly tough issues as a “second look”’. Velasco, in turn, also handled the restructuring of a MXN$3bn loan to Mexico Retail Properties (MRP) by Banorte. Mercedes Haddad is also increasing active in the practice. Other clients include IDB, ING Wholesale Banking, Actinver Wealth Management, Invex and CI Banco.

Acting for creditors and debtors, the 14-strong practice at international firm Hogan Lovells BSTL, S.C.’s Mexico office handles both voluntary and involuntary bankruptcy proceedings, restructurings and reorganisations. Recent matters saw practice co-head Omar Guerrero lead advice to Banco Bradesco on gaining its recognition as a creditor, and Banco Votorantim on the recognition of the full amount of its creditor’s claim, in the bankruptcy proceedings of Desarrolladora Homex. His fellow practice co-head Federico de Noriega advised Banco de Chile on its recognition as a creditor in Corporación Geo’s bankruptcy case, and subsequent liquidation of the bondholder’s shares. Other matters include acting for the Mexican subsidiary of Sony Corporation in the bankruptcy of Quality Films, as well as acting on issues including replacement creditors, assigned credits, separation of asset claims, the acquisition of assets from companies undergoing bankruptcy, liquidation proceedings and the design and implementation of out-of-court reorganisations. Finance partners René Arce Lozano (in Monterrey) and Carlos Ramos (in Mexico City), and corporate specialist Juan Francisco Torres Landa are also active in this sector as required, while counsels Jorge Valdés King and Luis Peón, who assisted with the Bradesco and Votoranitim matters, respectively; bring significant litigation expertise to the team. Other clients include Archer Daniels Midland, Hewlett-Packard, Mondial Assistance México, Tomkins Poly Belt Mexicana, Solunion México Seguros de Crédito and Talkpool.

With an established reputation as a leading litigation firm, Martínez, Algaba, de Haro, Curiel y Galván-Duque, S.C. is also an experienced participant in bankruptcy matters, particular in the finance sector where it has previously acted for Institute for the Protection of Banking Savings (IPAB) in relation to the liquidation processes of seven Mexican banks. More recent matters include advising creditors in the Aviación de Mexicana case, and acting as counsel to HSBC and Banco Santander in Corporación Geo’s insolvency procedure. All nine of the firm’s partners have considerable knowledge of bankruptcy (and associated litigation) and restructurings; best known among them key figures Jorge De Haro and Javier Curiel, for litigation and restructuring, respectively. Experienced associate Alejandro Legaspi is also noted.

While undertaking some debtor-side work, the seven-strong practice at Von Wobeser y Sierra, SC is primarily involved in creditor-side representation. Recent matters include advising Universidad Interglobal on its insolvency request (wherein the team successfully obtained various interim measures that permitted the company’s ongoing operation); and BAC Florida Bank, a leading creditor in the bankruptcy of Proveedora la Perla, in relation to its attempts to pursue a restructuring rather than a liquidation. The team has also been active in the Oceanografía case, obtaining creditor recognition for a number of trade finance houses and banks. ‘Experienced’ practice head Diego Sierraknows his way around bankruptcy cases’ and his dual-qualification (Mexico/USA) is of particular relevance for cross-border insolvency matters. Key partner Luis Miguel Jiménez has over 15 years’ experience handling bankruptcy work; he and Sierra recently acted in tandem on one of the first acquisitions of an ongoing business within the context of a bankruptcy. Other matters include advising Corporativo Procter & Gamble regarding the bankruptcy of Grupo Corvi; Gavilon, as creditor, in the insolvency of Ganadera La Tizapa; and Burger King Corporation on the possibility of collecting royalties relating to a master franchise agreement. Other clients include DF Deutsche Forfait, Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale, AIG, Zebra Technologies and Bayerische Landesbank.

Four-strong litigation boutique Bufete Davalos y Asociados has considerable experience in both insolvency proceedings and complex restructuring matters and has ‘earned its place in the market’. Particularly active on behalf of clients in the banking and finance sector, its recent matters include acting as litigation counsel to a well-known US bank in relation to the bankruptcy proceedings of a major housing developer. Name partner Carlos F Davalos has ‘real expertise’ in contentious bankruptcy matters.

The late 2016-departure of Eduardo Facha and Jesús Soledad to establish Facha y Soledad, S.C., shows no sign of having impacted upon the re-named López Melih y Estrada S.C.’s participation in bankruptcy matters. The team undertakes competition and litigation as part of its service offering but is arguably best known for its bankruptcy work, particularly on contentious mandates. Name partner Alfonso López Melih is an ‘impressive litigator’ who ‘gets results’. In the bankruptcy area, he recently led a team acting for the banks in the bankruptcy of a major construction company; advise GE Capital, CEF México and GE Servicios Financieros in the bankruptcy of Turbo (formerly Biciclo); and representing two of the creditors in the Desarrolladora Metropolitana (Demet) insolvency procedure. Experienced associate Javier Palacios Ruano is also noted.

Commercial litigation specialists Ramírez Ornelas Abogados has established a solid reputation for its participation in complex and contentious insolvency work. Recent headline matters include acting as special litigation counsel to PREI – and subsequently PGIM Real Estate – in the restructuring of a number of real estate portfolios; and representing BBVA and Banorte, as creditors, in the bankruptcy proceedings of Corporación Geo. Founding partner Gerardo Ramírez Ornelas has over 30 years in the sector (he represented the business community coordinating committee before the commission that drafted Mexico‘s commercial bankruptcy law), and is recognised as a ‘true insolvency specialist’. Also noted are counsel Juan Pablo Silva García and associate Julián San Martín.

With offices in Monterrey and Mexico City, dispute resolution specialists Rivera Gaxiola, Carrasco y Kálloi, S.C. also houses deep financial expertise – of counsel José Alfredo Solorio, for example, was formerly head of the Dirección General de Delitos y Sanciones of Mexico’s banking and securities regulator (CNBV) – which has allowed the firm to develop a strong and growing profile in the bankruptcy sector. Recent matters saw the team acting as Mexican counsel to Arendal on the restructuring of a 2016 notes-issue (governed by New York law); and acting as local counsel to Oro Negro in its cross-border restructuring. Dedicated to bankruptcy, restructuring and shareholder disputes, founding partner Alonso Rivera Gaxiola has over 25 years’ experience and is regarded as ‘one of the best technicians in the market’. Strong support comes from fellow name partner José Luis Carrasco, Pedro Iván Quevedo, Alejandro del Castillo (who joined the firm as partner in 2016), and Ramón Fernández Vigil; all have over a decade’s experience of insolvency matters.

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