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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

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Melissa Raciti-Knapp

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Work Department



Partner and Co-Head of Latin America Practice


New York-based Melissa is a finance partner, co-head of the firm’s Latin America practice and head of our US energy and infrastructure group.

Melissa assists commercial banks, export credit agencies, multilaterals and other financial institutions in private equity ventures and a wide variety of financing, such as corporate, project financings, private placements, first- and second-lien financings and sovereign lending. Her sector experience includes power (both conventional and renewable), mining, oil and gas, water treatment, telecoms and other infrastructure.

While Melissa has significant experience in US matters, her expertise is focused on Latin American countries. These draw upon her language skills and ability to bridge cultural differences. Alongside local counsel, she and her team routinely negotiate and draft in Spanish and Portuguese.

All this experience, combined with knowing how the same issues are addressed in different contexts, allows Melissa to come up with thoughtful, constructive solutions – even in the most contentious and complex situations.

Latin America: International firms

Projects and energy

Within: Projects and energy

Very supportive without over-lawyering’, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP provides ‘excellent service’, is ‘practical and responsive’ and constantly demonstrates ‘business mindedness’. The firm has an impressive record in infrastructure projects in Latin America and is a growing presence in oil and gas and renewable energy. It is increasingly active in Mexico’s hydrocarbons sector and maintains an impressive record in Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Peru. It continues to advise OPIC on the financing and restructuring of the installation of a 4G LTE network in six Colombian cities. New York partner Melissa Raciti-Knapp is ‘sensitive to the key issues’, ‘avoids over-heating negotiations’ and ‘achieves results’. London partner and Spanish speaker Graham Watson is increasingly active in Latin America’s oil-and-gas sector and was the lead partner on advice to BG regarding its $80bn takeover by Royal Dutch Shell, which involved assets in five Latin American jurisdictions.

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United States: Finance

Project finance

Within: Project finance

Melissa Raciti-Knapp and Lisa O’Brien lead Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s New York-based practice, which acts for lenders and sponsors on a wide range of energy and infrastructure projects. Raciti-Knapp, who advises on projects in various jurisdictions with an emphasis on Latin America, was notably active in the telecoms and transport infrastructure space: she assisted Overseas Private Investment Corporation with its $253m financing of Avantel’s deployment of a 4G LTE network in six Colombian cities, and advised the same client on its $336m financing of a network of cell-phone towers and associated infrastructure across Myanmar, with Apollo Towers Myanmar as sponsor. On the sponsor side, Raciti-Knapp assisted Abertis Infraestructuras with transport infrastructure financing, and advised Ferroviaria Oriental on the development of a port in Rosario, Argentina. The practice frequently handles large US projects: O’Brien acted for the Colorado Department of Transportation on the bid and selection process for the $1.1bn I-70 East PPP project, and Raciti-Knapp continued to advise KfW IPEX-Bank on the $400m development financing of the Mississippi Silicon smelter plant. Other lender clients include ArcLight Capital Partners, Goldman Sachs and RBS.

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