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Latham & Watkins LLP

Veronica Relea

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Latham & Watkins LLP

Position

Veronica Relea is a partner in the Finance Department of the New York office of Latham & Watkins. Her practice focuses on representing commercial and investment banks, sponsors, developers and private equity firms in connection with the development, construction, operation and financing of energy, oil and gas and infrastructure projects (including LNG projects, fuel storage facilities, renewable energy assets and mining assets). She also has extensive experience in leveraged finance transactions, including acquisition financings, asset-based facilities, private equity transactions, mezzanine facilities and cross-border financings. Ms. Relea is also a member of the firm’s Latin America, Banking and Special Situations Practices.


Latin America: International firms

Banking and finance

Within: Next generation lawyers

Veronica Relea - Latham & Watkins LLP

Within: Banking and finance

Latham & Watkins LLP is a big name in energy and infrastructure deals and has seen growth in leveraged and commodity finance; and as a consequence of its growing activities in the region it has an increasing number of fee earners involved in Latin America financings. The Latin America team has seen an uptick in sponsor and borrower engagements, although it remains primarily active on behalf of lenders in the leveraged finance segment –the latter being a key strength of the firm around the world. The group is especially active in Mexico, where it is at the heart of the energy sector liberalisation process, and in Chile, Colombia and Brazil. Clients include Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Agricole, First Reserve, Goldman Sachs, ICE Canyon, IDB, Linzor Capital, Norddeutsche Landesbank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and UBS. Highlights include advising First Reserve on a multi-tranche financing for the acquisition and subsequent leaseback by Pemex Transformacion Industrial, of the ultra-low sulphur gasoline assets attached to its refinery in Madero, Mexico. It also advised ICE Canyon and Pine River as lenders on the restructuring of a secured credit facility to independent oil and gas field developer Petra Energia. In addition, it advised Fermaca Global on the project financing of the 378km Villa de Reyes–Aguascalientes–Guadalajara and the 450km La Laguna-Aguascalientes natural gas pipelines, in Mexico. Christopher Cross is a prominent name in project financings in the oil and gas sector, principally in Mexico. Veronica Relea made partner in 2016 and is an emerging name in project finance and acquisition finance. Co-chairs of the Latin America practice Antonio Del Pino and Sony Ben-Moshe (who is based in San Diego), are also pivotal members of the team, as are Washington DC partner David Penna and Washington DC counsel Luis Torres. Renewable energy and infrastructure expert John Sachs has retired as a partner but remains of counsel to the firm. All named individuals are New York based unless stated otherwise.

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Projects and energy

Within: Projects and energy

Latham & Watkins LLPcompares favourably’ to other firms thanks to its ‘all-round excellent service’, ‘timely and high-quality advice’, ‘friendly manner’ and ‘ability to manage large transactions’. The firm has top global credentials in the energy sector and has a particularly strong record in oil and gas and power in Latin America; Mexico and Chile are its primary markets. In Mexico, the firm has advised a number of major sponsors on oil-and-gas pipeline projects. The team’s clients include Andes Mining & Energy, Arclight Capital, Ecopetrol, First Reserve, Fermaca Global, IDB, Norddeutsche Landesbank, Repsol, Sempra Energy (and its Mexican subsidiary IEnova), and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. 2016 saw the firm continue ongoing advice to Fermaca Global on the $425m project financing of the 378km Villa de Reyes–Aguascalientes–Guadalajara gas pipeline, and on the $622m project financing of the 450km La Laguna-Aguascalientes natural gas pipeline; the financings for each pipeline project were undertaken concurrently. Other highlight transactions include advising Spain’s Repsol on the $1.2bn financing for the expansion of the Petroquiriquire oil-and-gas fields, which are operated by Petroquiriquire, a mixed company (empresa mixta) co-owned by Repsol and Venezuelan state oil-and-gas entity, PDVSA. Christopher Cross is co-chair of the energy, oil and gas industry group and has a fine record in Mexico’s oil-and-gas sector, particularly in relation to pipelines. Washington DC’s David Penna was a lead partner on the previously mentioned Fermaca Global pipelines transactions in Mexico and is an increasingly pivotal member of the Latin America practice. Co-head of the Latin America team Antonio Del Pino is another key figure with impressive sponsor-side relationships. Former Washington DC partner John Sachs has retired; but Spanish and Portuguese speaker Veronica Relea was promoted to partner in 2016 and is a key figure in energy, oil-and-gas, and infrastructure projects. Washington DC counsel Luis Torres is also recommended. All partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

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United States: Finance

Project finance

Within: Project finance

The ‘very constructive and professional’ team at Latham & Watkins LLP is strong on both the lender and the sponsor side, with work for the former set of clients on power and renewables sector financings a particular highlight in 2016. Jeffrey Greenberg (‘a superstar’) assisted Morgan Stanley Senior Funding with the $1.2bn debt refinancing of the Linden cogeneration project, while the ‘proactive and problem-solvingAmy Maloney, who is praised for her ‘in-depth knowledge of the renewable energy financing market’, advised a group of senior lenders on the financings of two wind farms in Texas and New Mexico. Other lender clients include BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Mizuho Bank. On the sponsor side, practice head Jonathan Rod acted for five sponsors, including Dakota Access and Energy Transfer Partners, on the $2.5bn financing of the 749-mile Bakken pipeline project. He also assisted Cheniere Energy with its $2.8bn project debt refinancing of the Creole Trail pipeline. The department regularly handles projects in Mexico; sponsor clients in this space include D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments and First Reserve Corporation. Eli Katz, a project finance expert with particular experience in the renewables space, joined in September 2016 from Chadbourne & Parke LLP, and oil and gas expert Eugene Elrod joined the Washington DC office from Sidley Austin LLP in January 2017. Veronica Relea and Omar Nazif made partner at the New York and San Diego offices, respectively, while Suzanne Logan and Kelly Thomason Self made counsel in Washington DC and Chicago.

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