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Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Todd Alexander

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Norton Rose Fulbright

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Latin America: International firms

Banking and finance

Within: Banking and finance

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP established itself as a major player in Latin America banking and finance, thanks to its 2017 merger with Chadbourne & Parke. The firm now offers strong banking and finance teams in São Paulo, Mexico City, Bogota, New York and Washington DC. Moreover, thanks to the firm’s European lender client base, the core Latin America team is experiencing an uptick in engagements from Europe and is also seeing growth in cross-border financings from China and Japan. Sources note ‘a very good level of service’, ‘quick responses’, and ‘enlightening legal support and advice’. The firm is one of few to have a substantial banking and finance group in São Paulo that has a significant presence in both the local market and across Latin America. Notably, it is especially well positioned for growth in Argentina, including in relation to the country’s PPP programme, a segment in which the team has impressed the market in other jurisdictions such as Peru. Project finance accounts for a significant portion of the overall practice, followed by general banking, acquisition finance, structured trade and commodity finance, and asset finance. In São Paulo, Alison Baxter has joined from the Rio de Janeiro office to further enhance the large team’s asset finance capabilities. Considerable project finance growth is notable for a practice that, overall, is especially active in Colombia, Chile and Uruguay, and well poised for Argentina deals. Moreover, Brazil financings have remained a core part of the practice. In general banking, the São Paulo team led by Charles Johnson, advised Vale on its $2bn syndicated revolving credit facility (one of the largest cross-border syndicated loan facilities to a Brazilian company in 2017), and in another headline deal, advised 12 lenders on a $925m debt restructuring for Brazilian sugar and ethanol producer, Group Santa Terezinha. Other clients include ING Bank, Rabobank, Banco Itaú, Deutsche Bank, Vale, Enel Brasil and Credit Suisse. Key partners include the previously mentioned Charles Johnson, who ‘has a lot of experience in financial transactions and structured loans’; and fellow São Paulo partners Silvia Fazio, Michael McCourt and project finance leader, Daniel Spencer. Elsewhere, New York’s Todd Alexander, Mexico specialist Raquel Bierzwinsky, and Washington DC partners Kenneth Hansen and Peter Fitzgerald are also key Latin America-focused project-finance specialists.

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Projects and energy

Within: Projects and energy

A top firm for power and renewables in particular, Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP’s merger with Chadbourne & Parke has helped cement its relationships with a range of DFIs and ECAs. The integrated team now frequently advises the likes of Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), IFC and IDB. It also advises a range of commercial banks and sponsors and is ‘definitely in the mix’ for top engagements, according to one rival firm. Other clients include Macquarie, Enel Green Power, Credit Agricole, Mitsubishi and Engie. The Latin America team has an especially strong record in Mexico, where it is at the forefront of renewable energy projects and hydrocarbon sector auctions. Chile and Colombia are also notably active jurisdictions. A team led by New York and Mexico City partner Raquel Bierzwinsky advised Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), IFC, The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, Banobras and Bancomext, as senior lenders, on the financings of the 150MW Solem I and 140MW Solem II photovoltaic projects in Aguascalientes, Mexico; these were the first two solar projects under Mexico’s long-term clean energy auctions to obtain project financing. In Chile, the firm has developed a significant market share of solar and wind projects. In Colombia, it is very active in power and oil and gas, while it has gained a foothold in Argentina with a series of infrastructure engagements, including a number that are part of the nation’s PPP programme. São Paulo partner Daniel Spencer is widely recognised for his work on the Lima Metro financings, renewable energy financings in Peru, infrastructure deals in Brazil and securitisations in the oil and gas sector. New York’s Todd Alexander has a sizeable profile in Latin America, including in major renewable energy projects in Mexico and Chile. In the Washington DC office, Peter Fitzgerald has impressed in a number of major Latin America projects, while the ‘very constructive’ Noam Ayali ‘fights his points but knows when to stop arguing’, ‘won’t delay the deal’ and is a ‘very good and capable lawyer’. Hernán González Estrada is the key name in Mexico City where the firm recently hired Jose Sifuentes from local firm Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, SC to bolster its reserve-based lending practice. Strong teams in Canada and London have also contributed to the firm’s success in Latin America’s mining sector. Former Washington DC partner Rohit Chaudhry, a ‘tremendous lawyer’, has joined Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

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United States: Finance

Project finance

Within: Project finance

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP was highly active for both sponsors and lenders in the renewable energy space; recent mandates include New York-based Robert Eberhardt acting for Allianz Risk Transfer and REsurety on a ten-year proxy revenue swap and associated price hedging arrangements for the Bloom wind farm in Kansas, and Benjamin Koenigsberg advising the lenders on the construction and equity bridge loan financing of the Deerfield wind project in Michigan. The practice is best known on the lender side, where remits extended to a number of multibillion-dollar conventional power deals; the team assisted a consortium of lenders on the $2.3bn financing for the Southland repowering project in Southern California, and Todd Alexander and Eberhardt advised GE, BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole on the $1.6bn financing of the construction of the Cricket Valley Energy Center in New York. Practice co-head Keith Martin and cross-border specialist Noam Ayali (both based in Washington DC) are also key figures. All named partners are based in New York save where stated otherwise. Rohit Chaudhry joined Kirkland & Ellis LLP in 2018.

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United States: Industry focus

Energy transactions: conventional power

Within: Energy transactions: conventional power

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP provides ‘excellent tax advice on cutting edge issues’, with co-chair Keith Martin singled out as ‘an industry leader’. Of equal repute is co-chair Rohit Chaudhry, whose financing mandates included advising a consortium of lenders on the $2.3bn financing of the Southland repowering project in Southern California. Aside from Washington DC, where both named partners are based, the practice is also present in New York; Todd Alexander and Robert Eberhardt acted for the senior lenders on the $1.6bn financing of the Cricket Valley Energy Center in New York.

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Energy: renewable/alternative

Within: Leading lawyers

Todd Alexander - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Within: Energy: renewable/alternative

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP’s ‘solution-oriented and efficient team’ includes a considerable number of highly regarded practitioners, including DC-based joint heads of practice Keith Martin and Rohit Chaudhry, and New York-based Todd Alexander; Martin is particularly recommended for tax equity work, while Alexander is highly rated on the debt side. Another key figure is New York-based Robert Eberhardt who handled the development, financing and commodity hedging arrangements for a number of wind farm projects in Texas and Kansas. The broad practice takes in M&A mandates and in one example Alexander acted for Ullico Infrastructure Master Fund on its acquisition of a portfolio of assets owned by D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments.

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