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Top-tier recommendations

  • Chile: Energy and natural resources > Mining


Latin America: International firms



Within Banking and finance, Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner is a first tier firm,

Heavyweight firm Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner has a superb reputation for banking and finance work, and the team is regularly entrusted by a host of domestic and international financial institutions with some of the local market’s largest deals and transactions. The team is commended for the quality and depth of its expertise within the project finance area, where it has advised a primarily lender-side client base on projects, particularly in the mining and energy sectors. The firm fields several well-known practitioners, including team heads Marcelo Armas and Andrés Sanfuentes, who also display an exceptional track record in capital markets work. In recent highlights, the team acted as local counsel for the lenders on a $400m loan to leading Chilean telecommunications company, Entel, to finance its acquisition of Nextel del Perú; and as local counsel to the lenders on a $300m loan to Empresa Nacional del Petróleo, Chile’s largest hydrocarbon producer. The team also has substantial experience in debt work: Armas advised Citigroup Global Markets and JPMorgan Securities, as representatives of the initial purchasers, in a $600m offering by Banco de Crédito e Inversiones. He also assisted Banco Santander Chile with a $750m issuance of senior fixed-rate notes purchased by Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Santander Investment Securities. Also active in equity offerings and initial public offerings, the firm helped retailer Cencosud access the US market in 2012 with an IPO of American depositary shares.

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Within Competition and antitrust, Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner is a third tier firm,

Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner’s team works in close conjunction with the firm’s highly experienced corporate practice, regularly advising on merger control cases before the TDLC. Team head Ricardo Riesco successfully assisted TV station Canal 13 with a TDLC consultation procedure regarding the potential anti-competitive effect of its acquisition of radio stations Oasis and Horizonte, which was eventually approved. The firm also acts for clients in antitrust investigations and recently represented advertising companies Lowe Porta and Leche 2 in competition proceedings concerning an alleged cartel in three private-bidding processes. Other clients include Grupo Prisa, Cencosud and Banco Santander-Chile.

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Within Corporate and M&A, Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner is a first tier firm,

Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner’s corporate and M&A practice has a vast presence in the market and its 26-lawyer team and enjoys a superb reputation among clients and peers. The firm is regarded as first class for M&A transactions, corporate advisory and joint venture work and is regularly instructed by key Chilean and international players in a range of sectors including mining, energy, retail and pisciculture. In 2012, practice head Juan Francisco Gutiérrez led advice to Cencosud (Chile’s largest retail group and long-standing client), on its $2.5bn acquisition of Carrefour’s Colombian retail and real estate business. Federico Grebe (‘a lawyer full of character and wisdom’) and Marcelo Armas assisted Gutiérrez on the corporate side, and the firm deployed an additional team to handle the financing element. Gutiérrez and Armas had previously advised Cencosud on a $2bn capital increase and its IPO registration at the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Another highlight in the retail sector saw Gutiérrez and Andrés Sanfuentes advise Chilean beverage company Embotelladora Andina on its merger with Embotelladoras Coca-Cola Polar, creating one of the largest bottling groups in Latin America. In the investment banking area, Grebe, Gutiérrez and Guillermo Infante represented Brazilian bank BTG Pactual in its acquisition of Chilean investment bank Celfin Capital. The firm is also notable for its strength in the energy sector, with Alberto Pulido advising Mitsubishi on its joint venture with AES Gener for the construction and operation of the Cochrane coal-fired power project; and the team assisting liquefied gas company Lipigas with the sale of the 45% of its shares owned by Repsol Butano Chile to LV Expansión (it had advised Lipigas in 2000 on the original sale of the same stake to Repsol). Juan Pablo Wilhelmy is also recommended.

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Within Dispute resolution, Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner is a third tier firm,

Under the supervision of Enrique Alcalde, Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner’s 13-lawyer team represents a loyal client base of blue-chip clients in the banking, health, mining and energy industries. The firm has traditionally focused on litigation mandates on behalf of local companies but recently hired Cristián Conejero from Cuatrecasas’ Sao Paulo office to boost and lead its growing international arbitration and ADR practice. 2012 was a busy year for the practice and saw Alcalde representing Antofagasta Minerals’ subsidiary Minera Los Pelambres before the Appeal and Supreme courts, to challenge a fine imposed by the Chilean General Water Office concerning water rights. Also of note is his representation of electricity transmission company Transelec as creditor in Campanario Generación’s bankruptcy proceedings. The practice also handles a large corporate governance caseload and has had a role in a number of the country’s high-profile cases, most recently acting for five former chief officers at Enersis in a dispute against the state Treasury. Former regional public prosecutor Juan Pablo Kinast is developing the firm’s economic criminal disputes department.

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Within Environment, Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner is a first tier firm,

In line with its strength in the mining sector, Juan José Eyzaguirre’s team at Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner shines in mining and energy related environmental matters. The firm has a strong international orientation and receives a steady flow of instructions from major mining companies such as Kinross Gold on environmental issues. Unsurprisingly for a primarily corporate firm, the team also has a strong due diligence practice and regularly advises on the environmental side of corporate transactions. In a recent highlight, the team advised leading methanol supplier, Methanex, on the potential environmental liabilities involved in the dismantling and transportation of a methanol production unit to the US. On the contentious side, the firm continues to represent Geotérmica del Norte before the courts and the environmental authority following the 2009 well blow-out at its El Tatio geothermal project.

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Within Labour and employment, Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner is a first tier firm,

With 11 lawyers, including two partners, Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner has one the market’s largest labour law practices at a full-service firm. Team head Enrique Munita is a leading practitioner in the industry and his superb reputation makes him a port of call for industry chambers and trade associations, as well as governmental authorities seeking his opinion regarding amendments to the Chilean labour and employment legislation. In addition to strength in complex litigation, the firm is active across the full spectrum of advisory matters and is specifically adept at collective bargaining procedures, pension restructurings and benefits issues. Clients include major multinationals in a wide range of sectors including banking, IT, telecoms, retail and pharmaceutical, and over the past year the team has successfully advised employers on industrial relations, unfair termination claims, employment issues arising from mergers and acquisitions and collective bargaining processes. The firm is the sole Chilean member of global network Ius Laboris. Practice director Cristián Olavarría is also recommended.

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Within Projects and infrastructure, Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner is a second tier firm,

Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner has the strong role in project finance that could be expected from a banking stalwart of its kind, and is also relevant on the project development side, particularly in the mining sector. Juan Paulo Bambach is the name to note; he recently advised one of the shareholders in relation to the development of Sierra Gorda copper project. He was also instructed on the acquisition and all construction stages of Los Puquios copper mine project. On the financing side, banking and finance partner Marcelo Armas advised a syndicate of foreign banks including Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Crédit Agricole and Sumitomo Mitsui on the financing of the El Arrayán wind farm project developed by Pattern Energy.

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Within Real estate, Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner is a second tier firm,

Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner has a wealth of transactional real estate experience and advises on matters including sales and acquisitions, investments, construction and project financing. 2012 saw the team busy advising national and foreign investment funds on the sale and acquisition of office and residential buildings for lease purposes, a new commercial structure in the Chilean real estate market. In a recent highlight, the firm helped Prudential Real Estate Investors sell its ‘SCL Apoquindo 4501’ building to a local investment fund managed by Capital Advisors Equity Investment for approximately $100m. It was also counsel to investment fund manager Las Américas on its $13m purchase of the ‘Edificio 12’ office building from German fund Investec. José Tagle heads the team, and Federico Grebe is also recommended.

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Within Tax, Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner is a second tier firm,

Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner shines equally in both advisory and litigious tax work and derives a significant number of instructions acting in support of the firm’s leading corporate finance and its transactional activity. In addition, senior associate Patricio Silva-Riesco heads the tax litigation team, which handles a steady stream of tax controversies defending taxpayers before the tax authorities in substantial tax litigation cases. The ‘clever and judiciousMario Silva heads the nine-strong tax consultancy group that also includes highly regarded partner Guillermo Infante. In major transactional-side highlights during 2012, Infante advised Brazilian bank BTG Pactual on its $485m acquisition of Celfin Capital; and Canadian pension fund manager Alberta Investment on its acquisition of 50% of electricity distribution group Saesa. Silva assisted Quiñenco with the tax aspects of its acquisition of Terpel’s oil and gas distribution assets in Chile. Other clients include Ford Motor Company, Sumitomo Metal Mining and Scotia Bank.

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Chile: Energy and natural resources

Within Electricity/oil and gas, Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner is a second tier firm,

The team at full-service firm Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner specialises in transactional, financial and corporate matters under the leadership of Juan Paulo Bambach, and functions in close co-ordination with Juan José Eyzaguirre’s environmental practice. Past clients have included Spanish energy company Norvento, Genera4 and Patagonia Icefields.

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Within Mining, Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner is a first tier firm,

Juan Paulo Bambach leads the two-partner team at Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner, which enjoys close links with the firm’s environmental practice led by Juan José Eyzaguirre. The firm’s mining mandates have a strong corporate and finance aspect and the team draws on its broad knowledge of the industry and its regulatory framework to assist major local and foreign companies with acquisitions, project financing, due diligence processes, contractual issues, as well as day-to-day mining and environmental matters. In a recent highlight, Bambach led the team advising Australia’s South American Iron Steel on its iron-sand exploration project in southern Chile, which involved consolidation of the mining property, commercial agreements, an environmental assessment and a pre-feasibility process. He also advised Minería Imán on a number of exploration matters in relation to its iron ore project. On the financing side, the team successfully assisted PE-fund Fondo de Inversión Privado Lantánidos / Minería Activa with a bidding process in relation to CORFO’s Fenix project for the financing of exploration activities. Senior associate and mining specialist María Paz Pulgar recently joined from Baker & McKenzie.

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Latin America: International firms: International arbitration

Within Local practitioners of note,

In Francisco Orrego Vicuña, Chile can boast one of the arbitral community’s senior Latin American figures. A member of 20 Essex Street, he largely divides his time between academic activities and arbitral appointments, such as Rusoro Mining v Venezuela, OI European Group v Venezuela and DP World Callao et al v Peru – rather than acting as counsel. Appointed a member of the ICSID panel of arbitrators in 2012, Andrés Jana is a former counsel to the Chilean finance and economics ministries, and has also acted as legal adviser to the Chilean government on the negotiation of several free trade agreements. Broadly regarded as being ‘at the forefront of Chilean arbitration practice’, he is a name partner at Bofill Mir & Alvarez Jana Abogados. He and his team are currently counsel to Flughafen Zürich and Chilean company Gestión e Ingeniería in their ICSID case against Venezuela. Formerly the International Court of Arbitration’s director for the promotion of ICC arbitration in the Latin American region, Costa Rican national Dyalá Jiménez was a member of Jana’s team before establishing her own Santiago-based international arbitration consultancy DJ Arbitraje in 2011. She has acted as sole arbitrator and president of the tribunal in ICC cases; and, as counsel, represented clients in ICC and ICDR cases, as well as representing a Chilean investor in an ICSID case against Bolivia. An adjunct secretary on ALARB’s board of directors, she is regarded as ‘a true specialist’. (Since publication, Dyalá Jiménez has announced her return to Costa Rica to take up a role in the office of finance minister Edgar Ayales.) Having spent four years as a senior associate at the Paris and Madrid offices of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Claro y Cia’s Felipe Ossa is frequently mentioned as ‘one-to-watch’ and ‘a likely leader of the next generation’. He has acted as counsel in arbitrations under the aegis of ICC, ICSID, ICDR and UNCITRAL, as well as the Santiago Chamber of Commerce (CAM); and as arbitrator at both the ICC and CAM. He has also acted as an expert on issues of Chilean law in proceedings before international arbitral tribunals and English and North American courts. Barros Letelier & González’s Enrique Barros is acting as ICSID tribunal president in Valle Verde Sociedad Financiera vs Venezuela. Along with his colleague, name partner Francisco González, he is also acting as counsel, in conjunction with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, to Colbún in its $1bn case against Tecnimont. In a notable move, former Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira partner Cristian Conejero Roos has joined Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner as head of arbitration. Having spent three years as counsel at the ICC, the ‘experienced and capable’ Conejero is ‘very well known in the arbitration community’. The nascent Philippi team can also call on the ‘sophisticatedRicardo Riesco, (himself a former member of the international arbitration group at Clifford Chance’s New York office) who has been writing on international commercial arbitration for a decade; as well as senior counsel Jaime Irarrázabal, who has sat as arbitrator and/or ad hoc committee member in both ICSID and ICC cases.

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