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Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

AV. PEDREGAL NO.24, 10TH FLOOR, MOLINA DEL REY, 11040, MEXICO DF, MEXICO
Tel:
Work +52 55 9178 7000
Email:
Web:
www.ritch.com.mx
Mexico City, Mexico City

Mexico

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 1

Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

Being ‘truly a top law firm’, Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC is ‘calm and assured in its dealings’, has ‘a thorough understanding of local factors’ and is ‘punctual and to the point’; ‘I wish more firms had the value they possess and ownership of their work in assisting their clients’ commented one source. The 31-strong group covers the entire spectrum of banking and finance matters and is made up of ‘excellent lawyers, respectful and mindful of the consequences of each action on the business involved’. ‘A phenomenal attorney’ key practitioner Jean Paul Farah Chajin had a very active 2016, advising Caylon on a $1.5bn revolving credit facility to Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex); Banamex (Citibank) on a MXN$10bn syndicated loan to retailer Liverpool; Citigroup on a $835m syndicated loan to Axtel/Alestra in relation to their merger; BBVA Bancomer on a $150m syndicated, unsecured financing to FIBRA Terrafina; and Citibank on a euro-denominated $2bn syndicated facility to América Móvil. In other work, Gabriel del Valle advised Morgan Stanley and Credit Agricole on a $500m senior credit agreement and a $530.8m notes issue (under Rule 144A/Reg.S) to KKR-vehicle, Poinsettia Finance; Jorge Oria y Anaya advised the lenders on a $278.2m loan to Eólica Coahuila for the development and operation of a 180MW wind power plant; Pablo Perezalonso advised BBVA Bancomer on the establishment of a $5bn structured notes programme (which represents more than 40% of the existing market in such instruments); and Carlos Obregon advised Engenium Capital, as debtor, on an MXN$8.2bn long term syndicated loan to refinance the loan granted for its purchases of GE’s Mexican subsidiaries. Other key figures include Thomas S Heather and Luis Nicolau Gutierrez, who – while probably best known for bankruptcy and capital markets work, respectively – ‘know their way around financial transactions better than most’. The practice group also features a distinct, seven-strong aviation finance capability, co-led by the ‘competent and calmOctavio Olivo Villa and ‘amazing aviation attorneyFederico Santacruz González; the pair ‘understand the aviation business inside and out’, according to clients. Eduardo Triulzi, who made partner in 2016, along with senior associates Gabriel Robles Beistegui and Gabriel García-Peña, are also noted.

Leading lawyers

Jean Paul Farah Chajin - Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.

Luis A Nicolau - Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.

Thomas Heather - Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

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Bankruptcy and restructuring
Bankruptcy and restructuring - ranked: tier 1

Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

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.

Leading lawyers

Thomas Heather - Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

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Capital markets
Capital markets - ranked: tier 1

Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.

An undoubted ‘pillar of the market’ and ‘absolutely first class’, Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. is a ‘preferred choice’ that demonstrates ‘great responsiveness’ and ‘efficient delivery’, as well as providing ‘know-how, expertise and contacts in a single package’. Headline work saw ‘capital markets machine’, Luis Nicolau (‘he has a hand in everything’), advise the international underwriters on Sigma’s $1bn bond issue. The office fields a 24-strong practice group, including eight partners, and advises issuers and underwriters on the full range of debt and equity matters, both domestic and cross-border. Both Nicolau and Carlos Obregon have particular expertise in structured debt and quasi-equity products in the domestic market. The team’s recent caseload saw Nicolau (one of only three lawyers appointed to the CNBV commission that drafted the current securities law), also lead advice to the initial purchasers on Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE)’s $375m senior notes issue; Crédito Real’s $625m senior notes issue; Banorte’s $500m issuance of subordinated preferred capital notes; and Bancomext’s $700m issue, also for subordinated preferred capital notes under Rule 144A/Reg.S. Obregón, who ‘provides top service for complex/ new types of transactions’, represented Engenium Capital on its offer of $340.5m asset-backed notes; and Grupo Hotelero Santa Fe on its MXN$1.83bn initial public offering on the Mercado Integrado de America Latina (MILA). Other work saw Gabriel del Valle represent Morgan Stanley and Credit Agricole, as underwriters, on the financing of KKR-vehicle Poinsettia Finance, involving a $530.8m senior secured notes offering under Rule 144A/Reg.S. Other key team members include the ‘highly experiencedPablo Perezalonso; Eva Frías, a former legal director at Blackrock (Mexico), who re-joined the firm in 2015 and has extensive capital markets and finance regulatory experience; and Eduardo Triulzi who was elected to the partnership in January 2016. A strong second line of senior associates includes Joaquín Pani, Joshua Párraga and Patricia Quezada, and in particular, the ‘conscientious’ and ‘hardworking’ José Berrueta.

Leading lawyers

Luis A Nicolau - Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.

Next generation lawyers

José Berrueta - Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.

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Corporate and M&A
Corporate and M&A - ranked: tier 1

Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC is an ‘excellent’ choice for corporate matters and is commended for its ‘great response times and quality of advice’. The seven-partner team has several market-leading practitioners, including ‘great lawyer’ Luis A Nicolau, who is ‘extremely thorough and accurate’ ; Carlos Obregón, who is praised for his ‘expertise advising private equity firms in the Mexican market’; and Rodrigo Conesa, who is particularly active on the real estate aspects of M&A. Younger partners such as the ‘very experienced’ Eduardo Triulzi are also establishing strong names for themselves, particularly in areas such as private equity. The firm was instructed on a raft of major transactions, including advising Linzor Capital Partners on its $1bn acquisition of three equipment lending and leasing businesses from General Electric Mexico. Another highlight was advising Falabella on its $600m joint venture with Soriana to develop a business focused on home improvement and building supply stores. Other key clients include Nexxus Capital, which it advised on the acquisition of Premier Foods, the third largest Carl’s Jr. operator in the country.

Leading lawyers

Luis A Nicolau - Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

Rodrigo Conesa - Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

Next generation lawyers

Eva Frías - Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

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Energy and natural resources
Energy and natural resources - ranked: tier 1

Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC’s highly rated team ‘offers very good-quality advice’, and is a regular feature on Mexico’s largest energy-related corporate deals, handling a mix of oil and gas, renewables and power projects. A highlight was advising Morgan Stanley, Credit Agricole and BBVA Bancomer on the provision of $1.2bn financing to a special purpose vehicle established by KKR for the acquisition of oil and gas infrastructure assets from Pemex. The firm also acted for the lenders, including BNP Paribas and ING Bank, on the $620m financing for the Fermaca Pipeline Laguna project. Key partners include Thomas Mueller-Gastell, Gabriel del Valle Mendiola and Jorge Oria y Anaya, who is noted for his ‘excellent customer service and extensive knowledge in M&A, project finance and contract negotiation’.

Leading lawyers

Jorge Oria y Anaya - Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

Thomas Mueller-Gastell - Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

Next generation lawyers

Asaf Jiménez - Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

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Environment
Environment - ranked: tier 3

Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC is among ‘the best legal advisers in the market at the moment on social issues and indigenous consultation’, areas in which practice head Héctor Garza ‘has a lot of knowledge’. The practice is particularly busy in the real estate and oil and gas sectors; among its recent highlights, it acted for retail group Falabella on environmental and real estate due diligence in relation to the development of stores in both the city and state of Mexico in conjunction with Soriana.

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Projects and infrastructure
Projects and infrastructure - ranked: tier 1

Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC is very well regarded by both clients and peers alike for its work in projects and infrastructure. The opening up of the Mexican energy market has meant that it has been very active on oil and gas, power and renewables projects, but its workload also covers major transport and social infrastructure projects; it recently advised Concesionaria Vía Rápida, as borrower, in relation to a MX$6bn loan to refinance existing facilities, secured against revenues from the Supervia Poetas and Segundo Piso Luis Cabrera highways in Mexico City. On the lender side, the firm acted for Nacional Financiera, among others, on the construction and financing of the 200MW Eólica de Coahuila wind project. The firm boasts an array of highly respected partners, including Thomas Mueller-Gastell, Jorge Oria y Anaya (noted for his ‘excellent customer service and extensive knowledge’), Gabriel del Valle Mendiola and Federico Santacruz.

Leading lawyers

Federico Santacruz - Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

Gabriel del Valle Mendiola - Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

Next generation lawyers

Andrés Alcántara - Ritch Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC

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Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 1

Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.

Market mainstay Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. has over 40 years’ involvement in the real estate sector: its ‘attention is efficient’, its responses ‘rapid’ and its ‘prices competitive’, and its lawyers ‘know the industry in depth’ and ‘can always propose solutions to the issue in question’. Moreover, the firm’s establishment of a tax practice in early 2017 will produce notable synergies on real estate transactional matters. The 22-strong practice group includes five partners, most notably practice head Rodrigo Conesa Labastida (‘his knowledge of the industry and his sense of the market are unmatched’); ‘finance wizardJean Paul Farah Chajín; and Javier Domínguez Torrado, whose experience includes the structuring of FIBRA Monterrey and handling several of its portfolio acquisitions. Recent work saw Conesa lead on matters including advising a real estate investment trust on the multi-hundred-million dollar acquisition of a portfolio of industrial warehouses; high-end office and industrial plant leasing issues in Mexico City and the state of México, respectively; land acquisitions and sales (notably for mixed-use projects); and assisting a financial entity on its first investments in the Mexican real estate sector via an international fund. Other matters include commercial leases; minority investments in the hospitality sector; a high-end tourism real estate development in Nayarit; and the multibillion-peso acquisition of a portfolio of class-A residential properties. A ‘healthy’ second tier includes senior associates Joaquín Pani and energy and infrastructure-specialised Cecilia Legaspi; and environmental associate Christian Rosales, currently undertaking his LLM. Formerly at Banco de Mexico, senior associate Cristian E Sánchez joined the firm in late 2016 and participates on finance-side real estate matters.

Leading lawyers

Rodrigo Conesa - Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.

Next generation lawyers

Gabriel Torres - Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.

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Tax
Tax - ranked: tier 5

Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.

With its January 2017 hire of two ‘very capable’ energy-focused tax partners (and their seven-strong team, which includes accountants) from Ernst & Young, Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. became the most recent of Mexico’s full service corporate law firms to begin the process of developing a significant in-house tax capability. While sources comment that the team will have to ‘manage the learning curve of moving from a Big-4 consultancy environment to a law firm’ and ‘broaden out of just energy work’, it is also noted that ‘they have hit the ground running’ and are ‘already very active in windfarms, projects, oil and gas, and infrastructure’. Recent mandates saw practice head Oscar Lopez Velarde Pérez (‘a great lawyer despite his youth’), advise BHP Billiton on all tax aspects of the structuring of its $1.8bn joint venture with Pemex, regarding the farm-out, exploration and extraction activities for the Trion deep-water block; CENAGAS on its Mexican energy sector reform-mandated corporate restructuring; and Glencore on the structuring of the first-ever joint venture between an international petroleum trader and a group of gas stations (that will subsequently relinquish the Pemex franchise). His fellow partner, Santiago Llano Zapatero teamed-up with corporate-finance specialist Jorge Oria y Anaya to advise Canadian Solar on the structuring of its investments in Mexico as part of its participation in auctions for long-term clean energy production PPAs. While, given the recent inception of the practice, client feedback is limited, one enthused client noted: ‘yes for energy-related tax work – yes, already!’ Senior associate Juan José Paullada is also noted.

Leading lawyers

Oscar Lopez Velarde Pérez - Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.

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