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Mayer Brown

1999 K STREET, NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20006-1101, USA
Tel:
Work +1 202 263 3000
Fax:
Fax +1 202 263 3300
Email:
Web:
www.mayerbrown.com

Gabriela Sakamoto

Tel:
Work +1 202 263 3029
Email:
Mayer Brown

Work Department

Finance

Position

Gabriela Sakamoto is a partner in Mayer Brown’s Washington DC office and a member of the Banking & Finance practice and Latin America and Global Projects groups. Gabriela’s practice focuses on advising commercial banks, multilateral agencies and other financial institutions, as arrangers, lenders and agents, on cross-border project finance, structured finance, capital markets and acquisition financing transactions, particularly in Latin America. Her Latin American experience is extensive and includes transactions in more than ten countries in the region and across a wide range of sectors, including energy, oil and gas, and infrastructure. In addition, Gabriela has significant experience with financial institution financing, having represented arrangers, investors and originators on numerous future flow financing transactions (e.g. diversified payment rights, credit card merchant vouchers). Gaby was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is fluent in Spanish.

Education

New York University School of Law, JD 2006; Columbia University, BA, summa cum laude 1990


Latin America: International firms

Banking and finance

Within: Banking and finance

Mayer Brown’s breadth of product range and geographic coverage has served it well during a volatile period in the Latin America banking and finance sector. Despite fewer syndicated deals in the market, the firm has found bilateral loans a relatively fruitful segment of the market. Its expanding presence in Mexico City has brought an uptick in lending transactions in the newly liberalised hydrocarbons sector, including financings involving a capital markets component and drillship sector loans. Real estate deals in Mexico and Central America are another strength of the practice. Clients include Goldman Sachs, Banco Santander, Citibank, Mizuho Bank, Scotiabank, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and OPIC. The practice advised IFC and the OPEC Fund for International Development on the restructuring of major Latin American shipping group Ultrapetrol, which included the sale of approximately $65m of term loan financings, and also represented a syndicate of banks in the amendment and extension of a $1.5bn credit facility for Freeport-McMoRan subsidiary, Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde. Other matters included advising Mizuho Bank as lead arranger on a $193m syndicated loan to Panama-based multilateral lender Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior (Bladex). Chicago-based co-head of the Latin America practice and co-head of the firm’s global banking and finance practice, Douglas Doetsch is a ‘big player’ who is ‘extremely smart’, ‘pragmatic’ and is ‘always working to look for solutions’. New York partner David Duffee is co-head of the firm’s global lending practice and has a high degree of focus on Latin America, with a strong record in syndicated lending and acquisition finance. A ‘great lawyer’ who is ‘always mindful of the interest of the client’, New York and Washington DC partner Christopher Erckert couples ‘vast experience and market knowledge’ with a ‘practical approach to facilitate an efficient execution’; he demonstrates a ‘client-oriented approach’ and ‘unparalleled understanding of Latin America and structured finance transactions’. Other notable figures include Washington DC’s Gabriela Sakamoto, who advises a range of lenders, including banks, MLAs and export credit agencies (ECAs); Mexico City partner Ariel Ramos, who has broad financing experience in the jurisdiction, most notably in relation to projects; and Eduardo Lima at Brazilian associate firm Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown who is highlighted for his versatility and has extensive experience in restructurings and refinancings. Chicago-based senior figure Debora de Hoyos is also highly regarded.

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Capital markets

Within: Capital markets

Mayer Brown has maintained its strong standing in structured bonds, high-yield bonds, and project and infrastructure bonds. It is also building market share in Brazilian IPOs and straight debt transactions, working alongside its associate firm Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown. It continues to be benefit from its excellent bank relationships and advises a number of Latin American banks on structured bond issuances. Finance-institution clients include Banco General, Credit Suisse, Global Bank, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. In project and infrastructure bonds the practice recently advised Celeo Redes Operación Chile on its $600m issuance of dollar-denominated and local currency-denominated notes to finance electricity transmission lines; and also represented the noteholders in the private placement of $135m in investment grade-rated project bonds issued by Invenergy (to finance the operation of its 70MW Campo Palomas wind energy project in Uruguay). Among a number of Brazilian IPO mandates, the team advised Brazilian water sanitation company, Sanepar, on its $496m Rule 144A/Reg S IPO on the Brazilian Stock Exchange. Head of the Latin America practice and co-head of global banking and finance, Douglas Doetsch is a leader in securitisations and structured credit transactions. James Patti has extensive experience in Latin America, including in structured finance transactions, diversified payment-rights deals and infrastructure-related project finance. Leader of the Latin America project finance practice Christopher Erkhert divides his time between New York and Washington DC and has a fine record in project and infrastructure bonds. Washington DC partner Gabriela Sakamoto is also noted for structured bonds and project bonds. New York partner George Baptista is building the firm’s presence in Brazil equity deals and vanilla debt across Latin America. Named partners are Chicago-based unless stated.

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Projects and energy

Within: Projects and energy

Mayer Brown continues to cement its position in projects and energy in Latin America. The firm’s now well-established Mexico City office has further enabled it to build market share in energy and infrastructure, particularly in relation to the liberalisation of Mexico’s hydrocarbons sector, and the firm’s notable Houston office is also actively involved with the Mexico market. Its Chicago, New York and Washington DC offices provide further connections to key lenders, including commercial banks, MLAs and development finance institutions (DFIs), and a number of sponsors and borrowers. The firm has a significant market share of high profile renewable energy projects in Latin America and has attracted a consistent pipeline of infrastructure project engagements. In addition to mainstream project finance, the firm is also at the forefront of project and infrastructure bonds. Clients include Panama Canal Authority, Invenergy, Banco de Credito del Peru, Credit Suisse, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Celeo Redes, Grupo Odinsa and Empresas. The firm is praised for its ‘market and legal knowledge, efficient work, proactivity and value for money’. It advised Celeo Redes Operación Chile on the $600m issuance of US dollar and Chilean peso-denominated notes to finance electricity transmission projects; this was the first portfolio project bond in Chile. It also advised Invenergy on the acquisition, development and financing of the Energía del Pacífico Project, a greenfield LNG-to-power project in El Salvado. Other matters include representing the noteholders (private investors) in the private placement of $136m in investment-grade rated project bonds issued by Invenergy to finance the operation of its 70MW Campo Palomoas wind energy project in Uruguay. New York and Washington DC-based Christopher Erckert is the most celebrated partner in the team, having a solid record in mainstream project finance and project bonds, including in the infrastructure and renewable energy sectors. Ariel Ramos is a key name in Mexico City, while Houston-located Francisco Mendez (who previously spent 20 years at ExxonMobil as an in-house lawyer for Latin America), is at the heart of the Mexico energy reform-related work. Spending much of his time in the country, Mendez was involved in the formation of the Mexican Hydrocarbons Association and is highly regarded in the upstream oil and gas sector. Also in Houston, Jose Valera and Pablo Ferrante are prominent in upstream oil and gas, power and renewables transactions in Mexico and elsewhere, while Edward Lima at Brazilian affiliate firm Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown is another pivotal practitioner. Chicago-based Barry Machlin has a great deal of experience in Latin America energy, infrastructure and mining projects, while Gabriela Sakamoto in Washington DC is an emerging talent.

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