Capital markets in Latin America: International firms
As a region that has dealt with its fair share of economic and fiscal volatility in recent years, coupled with pockets of civil unrest and frequent corruption scandals, it has been especially hard for firms to sustain flourishing capital markets practices. While many firms had targeted Argentina after its attempts to open the economy to foreign investment, its more recent economic woes have led to a stasis in capital markets activity. Brazi, however, appears increasingly to be emerging -at least economically- from a tough few years, although much remains dependant upon the Bolsonaro administration's ability to succesfully steer the country's pension reform package through congress -a prerequisite that now looks increasingly probable. Many firms have reported an uptick in engagements from Latin America's largest economy. At the same time project bonds and private placements linked to project financings have remained a significant source of business. Many firms are now actively involved in hybrid financings involving both bank and bond debt.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is widely regarded as having the benchmark capital markets practice in Latin America. Its geographical coverage is unparalleled and it has an outstanding record in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and all key markets. The practice also covers the full range of clients, from sovereign and quasi-sovereign issuers to private sector corporates and underwriters. With a high volume of engagements in all major product areas, from straight equity and debt, to infrastructure bonds, debt restructuring and liability management, it has advised on over $400bn in capital markets offerings by Latin American issuers since 2006. Clients include the Republic of Chile, Republic of Uruguay, Federative Republic of Brazil, Mercado Libre, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation, the United Mexican States, Petróleo Brasileiro (Petrobras), Vale and Suzano Papel e Celulose. The group advised Suzano Papel e Celulose, the world’s largest wood pulp producer, on its headline Rule 144A/Reg S issuance of $1bn senior notes due 2029; the proceeds were to be used for general purposes, including the financing of its merger with Fibria, which the firm also advised on. It also advised Pemex, on a series of debt offerings (including liability management transactions), and the Republic of Uruguay, on capital markets issuances totalling some $3bn. The firm 'has a deep bench of extremely intelligent and experienced lawyers, and covers the Latin America space like no other US firm does'. It is 'very professional and reliable', is 'always trying to provide different solutions to any doubt or matter presented', 'is always available, friendly, cooperative and delivers the best quality on every opinion and document'. One client says: 'The experience, expertise and kindness of each one of the team members makes us feel comfortable and that generates confidence'. Nicolas Grabar 'is the most brilliant US lawyer', feted for his immense record in Mexico and Brazil. Francesca Odell is 'a pleasure to work with, sharp and sympathetic', and has 'deep knowledge of securities laws and of cross border Brazil issues'. Sao Paulo partner Juan Giráldez is 'straightforward and thoughtful'. Also in Sao Paulo, Francisco Cestero 'excels in complex cross-border debt capital markets work'. Head of the Buenos Aires office Andrés De La Cruz is praised for his 'high dedication' and has an outstanding record in Argentina and the Southern Cone, including in sovereign deals. Jorge Juantorena is another big name in Latin America capital markets issuances, most notably in Mexico. Adam Brenneman is a key member of the Latin America group, as is senior attorney Carlos von der Heyde, associate Manuel Silva and Buenos Aires counsel Emilio Minvielle. Associate Alejandro Canales Fernandez 'is a very talented and attentive lawyer who contributes to a successful outcome', he 'is always available and makes sure to meet the deadlines'. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is widely noted for its global standing in capital markets and is frequently praised for its expertise in Latin America transactions. At the time of writing, it had advised on 17 out of 28 SEC-registered IPOs by Latin American issuers since 2007, five of the eight largest IPOs in Brazil's history and all three of the US-listed IPOs by Brazilian issuers in 2018. The firm is 'active throughout the region but probably strongest in Brazil', according to one market participant. Before Argentina descended again into economic troubles, the firm was also at the forefront of capital markets issuances in the jurisdiction. Elsewhere, it is prominent in Mexico, Chile and Colombia. The relatively lean Latin America team is 'very good at mobilising the firm's global expertise and that is really valuable'. It has 'a commitment to excellence and a quality of approach with a focus on getting things done right'. Clients include Arcos Dorados, Banco de Bogotá, BR Properties, Cosan, GeoPark, StoneCo and Telefônica Brasil. The group advised StoneCo on its $1.4bn SEC-registered IPO and Nasdaq listing, and Banco Santander Chile on the establishment of its $5bn US commercial paper programme, among other matters. Sau Paulo partner Manuel Garciadiaz is 'a terrific lawyer' with peers 'always happy when he is involved in anything'. Maurice Blanco is an 'excellent individual' with an 'excellent temperament', 'he really knows the territory as a securities lawyer', is 'technically very good and very measured', 'good at managing multiple underwriters', 'works towards collaborative solutions', is 'very focused and gets the job done'. Nicholas Kronfeld is another pivotal member of the team, as is counsel Katia Brener.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is a big name in Latin America capital markets issuances, most notably in Brazil and Argentina where it has focused much of its attentions, but also in Chile, Peru and Colombia. Mexico is also a growing part of its practice. The Latin America team, which is based in New York and Sao Paulo, is equally adept in debt and equity deals, including high yield debt and hybrid transactions. Tech-sector issuances continue to be a particular forte of the group, which is also looking to leverage the energy expertise of the Houston office. Clients include Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI (Aerodom), Avianca Holdings, Banco BTG Pactual, Banco de Crédito e Inversiones, Bradesco BBI, Braskem, BRF, Embraer, Republic of Guatemala, Marfrig, Morgan Stanley, Netshoes, Republic of Peru and Santander. It advised JP Morgan Securities, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith and Morgan Stanley as underwriters on the $370m New York IPO of Central Puerto, the largest private sector power generation company in Argentina. It also advised Hapvida Participações e Investimentos and PPAR Pinheiro Participações on the $872m IPO of Hapvida on the São Paulo Stock Exchange. Othe matters include representing HSBC Bank (Taiwan) and E. SUN Commercial Bank as managers, in the $727m notes offering by Meixco's Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE). Founder and co-head of the Latin America practice David Williams is 'very good in all financing issues, including SEC issues for non-US companies'; he 'is by far the best American lawyer I have ever met' says one client. Head of the Sao Paulo office Grenfel Calheiros is one of few prominent Brazil native partners among the international firms; he is 'a Brazilian who is bicultural and really good to work with'. Splitting his time between New York and Sao Paulo Jaime Mercado is 'creative', 'easy to work with' and 'has a good personality'. Juan Francisco Méndez is 'very solid' and a pivotal member of the team. Co-head of the Latin America practice, Todd Crider is highly rated and divides his time between Sao Paulo and New York. Juan Naveira has been promoted to partner. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Clifford Chance impresses with its breadth of geographic and product coverage. Brazil, Mexico and Argentina have been especially good markets for the capital markets group, which is also active in Colombia, Peru, Central America (including Guatemala), and Paraguay; the firm's substantial Sao Paulo office has helped to cement its standing in Brazil capital markets transactions. The team operates across the debt and equity spheres, notably in transactions involving sovereign, quasi-sovereign and corporate issuers. Historically, the practice centred on Brazil, but it has broadened out successfully in recent years, making particular progress in project and infrastructure bonds, private placements and structured derivatives. It has been at the forefront of infrastructure finance through the capital markets, most notably in Colombia's 4G toll road programme, and in Argentina, Peru and Paraguay; in this instance the team works especially closely with the firm's market leading project finance practice. Gianluca Bacchiocchi is widely regarded as one of the market leading forces in project bond financings. Clients include AES Gener, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Corporación Andina de Fomento, Credit Suisse, Electrobras, Evercore, FibraHotel, HSBC Securities, Klabin Finance and Multibank. The firm has held a prominent position in the Fibra sector in Mexico over many years and in 2018 advised Goldman Sachs and Evercore on the pioneering $890m IPO of Mexican energy and infrastructure investment trust CFE FIBRA E. In the sovereign and quasi-sovereign space, the firm advised Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan, as joint lead managers, on the $2.5bn and $3bn notes offerings by the Republic of Ecuador. Additionally, it advised the underwriters on the $864m IPO of Hapvida, the Brazilian healthcare services company. The Latin America capital markets group provides 'extraordinary services and commitment', 'knows the market and makes things easier'. It is made up of 'modest lawyers despite their enormous experience' who 'just want to close deals'. Hugo Triaca is another key member of the team, operating across the capital markets segment, including in investment grade, high yield and hybrid securities. Co-head of the Americas capital markets practice Jonathan Zonis is a prolific adviser on Latin America capital markets issuances, including project bonds, sovereign bonds and high yield debt. Sao Paulo managing partner Anthony Oldfield is also key figure on Brazil company issuances and Jake Farquharson is an increasingly pivotal member of the team, notably in the Mexican Fibra segment; he is 'a great securities lawyer with a lot of knowledge to handle very sophisticated work, his attention to detail is fantastic and he can work endless hours'. Anand Saha is equally impressive, including in Brazil equity deals. Sao Paulo counsel Anja Pfleger Andrade is recommended for structured capital markets and derivatives and fellow Sao Paulo counsel Patrick Jackson continues to impress in capital markets and liability management transactions. Alejandro Camacho has retired from the partnership and is now senior counsel in the team.
Milbank held a strong position in Argentina's growing capital markets activity before the economy took a turn for the worse. It nevertheless remains a prominent player throughout the region, including in Brazil where Sao Paulo-office founding partner Tobias Stirnberg has deep connections to Brazilian corporates and banks. Leveraging the firm's market leading presence in project finance, the practice gorup has achieved considerable profile in energy and infrastructure bonds. It is also noted for investment grade bonds and high yield debt. Clients include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Cencosud, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Grupo Energía Bogotá, Cometa Energía, Morgan Stanley, Gol Airlines and JP Morgan. Recent work included advising Parque Eólico Marcona and Parque Eólico Tres Hermanas, two Peruvian wind power generation companies, as co-issuers on a $250m US private placement; and Transportadora de Gas Internacional on its $750m senior notes offering. The practice also represented the initial purchaser in the $650m reopening and $225m offerings of senior secured notes issued by Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumen, the Panamanian government-owned operator of the country’s main airport in Panama City. Marcelo Mottesi 'is very knowledgeable, practical and keeps things in perspective'; he leads the global capital markets group and is co-head of the Latin America practice. Carlos Albarracin is also highly reputed for deals in Mexico, Colombia and Argentina, particularly in the oil-and-gas, power and infrastructure sectors; he is 'smart, does a lot of homework, has real intellectual capability and is quick to get to a practical solution'. Fabiana Sakai is an emerging name in Sao Paulo.
Paul Hastings LLP remains a dominant force in Mexico, but is spreading its geographic coverage. Brazil has become a more pivotal market for the firm, while Colombia, Peru and Argentina are also providing a growing number of engagements. It is an increasing presence in project bonds, most notably those connected to toll-road infrastructure programmes. Clients include Grupo Industrial Alfa, Sigma Alimentos, Nemak, Axtel, Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais (CEMIG), Grupo Kaltex, Concesión Ruta al Mar, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan. In a landmark deal, it advised the initial purchasers on the $1.64bn Fibra-E offering by Grupo Aeroportuario de la Ciudad de Mexico (GACM) on the Mexican stock exchange; this was the largest IPO in Mexico since 2013. Showcasing its greater prominence in Brazil, it advised the Brazilian power company CEMIG on a $500m bond offering, having advised on its subsidiary CEMIG GT's inaugural bond offering in 2017. The Latin America team is 'very experienced across the board', provides 'superb attention to detail', 'deep involvement from senior partners' and is 'top tier in Mexico'. The core capital markets team 'have been together for a long time and it shows', with clients indicating that it is 'highly coordinated and engaged', 'always gives good and timely advice', 'very proactive', 'really experienced' and 'always looking for a good and balanced solution'. Michael Fitzgerald is the doyen of the Mexican capital markets and is supported ably by Arturo Carrillo and Joy Gallup. Sao Paulo partner Steven Sandretto is building the firm's presence in Brazil and Cathleen McLaughlin is the primary name on project bonds and hybrid structures. Counsel Pedro Reyes is another senior individual in the team.
Shearman & Sterling LLP's commitment to the region continues to bear fruit with it maintaining prominence in major economies such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, along with smaller jurisdictions in Central America and elsewhere. The firm has strong connections to key investment banks and regional issuers with a fine team in New York supported by a reputable group in Sao Paulo. The practice is widely noted for its expertise in SEC registered and 144A/Reg S transactions for clients such as Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumen, AES, Azul, Citigroup Global Markets, Empresa Nacional del Petróleo, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Intercorp, JP Morgan, PagSeguro Digital and Plaza. Among recent headline deals, the team advised Brazilian financial technology solutions business, PagSeguro Digital, on its $2.6bn SEC-registered IPO and NYSE listing; and Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumen, the Panamanian government-owned operator of the country’s principal international airport, on its $650m bond offering. Additionally, it advised the initial purchasers on Banco Santander (Mexico)’s $1.3bn billion Tier 2 subordinated notes offering. Antonia Stolper is Americas managing partner and head of the Latin America group: a 'terrific and wonderful lawyer', she has developed 'high loyalty in the region' among investment banks and issuers, and is also praised for her calm and collaborative demeanour. Stuart Fleischmann is hugely experienced and highly-regarded amongst investment banks, particularly in relation to Mexico and Brazil transactions; he is 'one of the smartest lawyers', has 'deep knowledge of the law and of clients' and 'takes a collaborative approach which is good for getting deals done'. Houston partner Manuel Orillac is another prolific adviser on Latin America capital markets issuances. Young partner Grissel Mercado is making an impression in Mexico capital markets work, as well as transactions in Chile and Colombia. In Sao Paulo, capital markets specialist David Flechner was hired from Allen & Overy LLP in 2018, while fellow partner Jonathan Kellner continues to earn accolades in M&A and capital markets. Brazil counsel Roberta Cherman is also a key name -indeed, since publication she has been raised to the partnership (effective January 2020); while senior Sao Paulo figure Robert Ellison retired in December 2018. Individuals are New York-based unless stated otherwise.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP continues to cement its prominent standing in Latin America capital markets transactions. Offering broad product and geographic coverage, the practice has impressed most notably in high yield debt offerings and private placements. The firm is also a leader in public M&A. Recent mandates include advising Transportadora de Gas del Sur, Argentina's largest natural gas extractor, on its $500m Rule 144A/Reg S high-yield senior notesoffering; and Mexican bakery giant, Grupo Bimbo, on its $500m Reg S high-yield offering of perpetual subordinated notes listed on Euronext, Dublin. Alejandro González Lazzeri has a prolific record in debt offerings by Latin American issuers. The firm's strong Sao Paulo office is also impressive in Brazilian equity and debt offerings, where it is best known for underwriter engagements. Sao Paulo office head Mathias von Bernuth and Sao Paulo partner Filipe Areno are highly rated.
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP runs a more concentrated Latin America capital markets practice than many of its competitors, but it remains at the forefront of many headline and highly complex transactions. The practice continues to be noted for SEC-registered offerings, project bonds, sovereign issuances (primarily advising underwriters) and other innovative or market-first products. The team is regular underwriters' counsel for many sovereign issuances and advised the joint lead underwriters on the Republic of Colombia's $2bn SEC-registered debt offering and liability management transaction in 2018 as well as the underwriters on the Federative Republic of Brazil's SEC-registered offering of $1.5bn global bonds. It also advised International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) on five classes of earthquake catastrophe bonds, under its global debt issuance facility, with two classes for Mexico, and one class each for Chile, Colombia and Peru. Christopher Mann leads the firm's global infrastructure practice and sovereign finance practice with much of his attention centred on Latin America. Washington DC partner Robert Risoleo is noted for sovereign issuances and project bond offerings, while Washington DC of counsel Dennis Sullivan is another senior figure with considerable Latin America expertise. Head of the Latin America group Sergio Galvis is 'exceptional'. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise
White & Case LLP has a large and prominent Latin America team that has an especially strong record in Brazil thanks to its highly reputable Sao Paulo office. Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile are also key jurisdictions. Operating across equity and debt issuances, the capital markets team has demonstrated an adeptness at collaborating with colleagues, including those in the project finance field. Clients include Banco Mercantil del Norte, Citigroup, Comisión Federal de Electricidad, Goldman Sachs, JBS, Pesquera Exalmar, Oi and Trabajos Maritimos. It advised Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), as Mexican and New York counsel, on its $862m Rule 144A/Reg S IPO and Mexican Stock Exchange listing; and also represented the underwriters and bookrunners in the $1.4bn IPO of StoneCo - the second Nasdaq IPO of a Brazilian company and the first such deal in the fintech space. The team shows 'absolute commitment to the deal and the client', 'is always available', has 'an unparalleled level of resources' and 'there is always a partner that has worked on that specific transaction type'. Moreover it is 'capable of adapting to Latin America's ever changing environment and proposing innovative solutions to situations as they occur'; it is 'technical, hands on, and always knows the main concerns and the battles worth fighting for'. In sum, the team is 'always very aware of the needs of the client and is concerned about knowing the client's business in order to understand what is sought in the transaction', says one client. Donald Baker founded the Sao Paulo office way back in 1997 and as a US attorney has unrivalled connections to Brazilian issuers and banks; he is 'technically incredible', has 'the best judgement' and 'if he commits to something, he will keep his word'. He is 'extremely knowledgeable about Latin American culture, knows the market and how to deal with clients accordingly, particulatly in Brazil'. Americas capital markets regional head John Vetterli is 'one of the sharpest lawyers', 'has the ability to connect with clients and counterparts alike, generating a positive environment in which the transaction can thrive' and 'has the highest ethical standards and will never compromise the quality of his work'. Taisa Markus is 'a super star', a 'lucky addition to the team' having joined from Paul Hastings LLP in 2018 and is 'very big in Mexico', helping the practice to gain considerable traction there. Miami partner Mark Bagnall is closely associated with Latin America, including headline clients such as Oi. Bibiana Jaimes and Sao Paulo partner John Guzman are emerging names.
Arnold & Porter continues to be at the forefront of sovereign issuances for a number of Latin American states, quasi-sovereign entities and municipalities. The firm is also noted for securitisation and structured finance transactions, including diversified payment rights transactions. Longstanding clients include the Republics of Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Panama, Federative Republic of Brazil, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Empresa de Transmisión Eléctrica, Camposol Holdings and Grupo de Energía de Bogotá. The practice group advised the Republic of Panama on its $1.2bn global bonds issuance and advised the Republic of Colombia on its 2018 global bond offering and tender offer. Outside the sovereign segment, it advised Camposol on its $500m SEC registered IPO and concurrent listing on NYSE. Whitney Debevoise has a longstanding record in Latin America and has extensive connections to Latin American sovereigns such as Brazil, Panama and El Salvador. Neil Goodman is similarly well plugged-in to the region with a history of engagements from the Republic of Colombia, the Republic of Costa Rica and the Republic of El Salvador. Gregory Harrington has an extensive record in Brazil and Peru, in particular, for clients such as Camposol; while Panamanian native Raul Herrera, Arturo Caraballo and counsel Carlos Pelaez are also key members of the team. All named individuals are based in Washington DC.
Hogan Lovells US LLP has successfully targeted the growth in derivatives and structured finance transactions coming out of Latin America. Clients include Banco do Brasil, Petróleos de Venezuela, Bradesco BBI, Plural Brazil and Banorte. The firm has advised the Republic of Ecuador on its capital markets offerings for many years and in 2018 advised on its $3bn notes offering. The team also advised Banco do Brasil on its $750m senior unsecured notes offering under its EMTN programme, and BB Securities and BNP Paribas Securities on the structuring and issuance of the $600m Rule 144A/Reg S notes issued by the Rio Oil Finance Trust, secured by present and future oil revenues and related rights connected to the transaction sponsor, the pension fund of the State of Rio de Janeiro. Emil Arca is head of international debt capital markets for the Americas and is widely recognised for his experience in diversified payment rights securitisation programmes and the wider structured finance sphere. Evan Koster is another experienced figure in derivatives and other complex financial products; he has advised on a series of sovereign issuances and energy-sector transactions. Sao Paulo partner Isabel Costa Carvalho is helping the firm to achieve market share in Brazil's burgeoning capital markets segment. New York-based Oscar Stephens left for Greenberg Traurig, LLP in August 2019.
Latham & Watkins LLP is best known for transactions by Mexican issuers and is developing its standing in hybrid deals involving both bank lending and securities issuances. Moreover, it has developed a niche in Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) issuances. Clients include Promecap Acquisition Company, Fermaca Pipeline El Encino, AES Corporation and Eletrans. The team advised Promecap Acquisition Company on its $300m global IPO, with the company being the first ever Mexico-focused SPAC to be listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange. In another headline deal, it advised Fermaca Pipeline El Encino, the Mexican subsidiary of Canada's Fermaca Global, on the $815m hybrid refinancing of its 420km gas pipeline in Chihuahua and Durango, Mexico; the refinancing involved the first Mexican project bonds to be listed in Singapore. In Chile, the team advised Eletrans on a private placement of senior secured notes connected to the construction and operation of dual 220KV high voltage electricity transmission lines. The 'team has true market experience and does not hesitate to show it', 'has deep knowledge but with real sensitivity to client needs', 'partners dominate the subject and participate practically in all calls and decisions during the deal' and 'follow up closely on the development of matters'. Mexico City native Roderick Branch splits his time between Chicago and New York and has an established record in Mexican issuances. Washington DC's Alexander Cohen provides additional SEC securities expertise as co-chair of the firm's SEC National Office. Washington DC colleague Paul Dudek was promoted to partner in March 2019, providing further senior level SEC experience for foreign issuers, including those in Latin America.
Linklaters LLP's primary focus is on Brazil and Argentina, though it has a more than credible record in Chile, Colombia and Peru. The practice is best recognised for debt transactions, but is making concerted efforts to build market share on the equity side. With a resurgent capital markets segment in Brazil, the team has achieved notable success in bond offerings for the likes of Marfrig Global Foods, the Brazilian headquartered global protein giant, which it advised on a new $969m liability management transaction involving a tender offer and a simultaneous new bond issue. Prior to Argentina's latest economic troubles, the practice had carved out a significant market share of high-value transactions by Argentinian issuers, thanks largely to the presence of co-head of Latin America Conrado Tenaglia, an Argentine national who is 'always outstanding', 'bright, articulate and totally dedicated to his clients' and 'a delight to work with'. He led the team that advised Oppenheimer & Co, as lead manager and bookrunner, on the $485.7m NYSE IPO of Corporación América Airports; the airport operator is primarily focused on Latin America. He also represented HSBC Securities, as initial purchaser, in the City of Buenos Aires’ issuance of floating-rate public debt notes under its domestic market financing programme. The firm has also impressed clients in Chile. It is praised for its 'very professional' approach and 'permanent availability' and having a 'bilingual team which focuses solely on the region' . Brazil specialist Matthew Poulter is 'an excellent lawyer who has a high acknowledgement on capital markets', particularly debt deals, and is 'a creative, charismatic and determined lawyer'. Brazil native Gabriel Silva has been elevated to partner and splits his time between New York and Sao Paulo.
Mayer Brown remains best known for structured products, infrastructure and project bonds, and high yield debt. It is well plugged-in to the region through its dedicated Mexico City office and its presence in Brazil through Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown. Clients include Banco General, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Celeo Redes, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Global Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Sanepar. In Uruguay, the practice advised the note purchasers on a $114m senior private placement (and a subordinated private placement of a B-bond), to refinance the El Naranjal and Del Litoral solar power plants, as well as advising the investors on the $65m investment grade-rated project bond issued in the private placement market to finance Invenergy’s La Jacinta Solar project in the country's Salto department. Other work included advising the underwriters on the $184m IPO by Brazilian financial institution Banco Inter. Chicago partner Douglas Doetsch leads the Latin America and Caribbean practice and has an excellent record in structured finance, securitisation and diversified payment rights transactions. Also Chicago-based, James Patti is another strong player in structured finance, securitisation and infrastructure bonds. David Bakst specialises in capital markets transactions by non-US issuers, including a number of Latin American businesses. Leader of the Latin America projects practice Christopher Erckert and Washington DC partner Gabriela Sakamoto are experienced names in project bonds and hybrid financings products. Latin America debt and equity capital markets specialist George Baptista joined Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP in mid-2018.
Winston & Strawn LLP's core Latin America team has a deep and impressive history in the region, most notably in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Beyond its core specialisation, the group has broad geographic and industry coverage. Extensive SEC-registration expertise ensures it is frequently engaged to advise on deals that require a combination of M&A and capital markets knowledge, and it continues to impress in both debt and equity for both private company and quasi-sovereign issuers. Clients include TV Azteca, Enel Américas, Enel Chile, Enel Generación Chile, Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile and Pampa Energía. The team advised Enel Chile on its major reorganisation involving a $2.7bn dual-jurisdiction SEC-registered exchange offer and simultaneous Chilean tender offer, an SEC-registered cross-border preemptive rights offering and a $1.1 billion merger of Enel Green Power Latin América with Enel Chile. It also advised Enel Chile on its $1bn notes offering. 'The level of service is outstanding' and 'the team is really impressive in terms of availability, responsiveness, depth of knowledge and practical advice'; moreover, it is 'very deal oriented', 'the partners are completely involved and are always the main contact in all the transactions', and 'it understands extremely well the Latin American market and the complexities that may arise in capital markets transactions'. Co-head of the Latin America practice Talbert Navia is a versatile practitioner with an especially strong record in the Southern Cone region, including in Argentina. Fellow co-head of the practice Allen Miller is a seasoned Latin America capital markets specialist who is 'an extremely capable lawyer', 'really cares about his clients and gets deeply involved in every transaction'; he 'is thorough but very pragmatic and has a unique business understanding', 'is always available and is very creative to solve problems' - as a result, he 'is respected not only by his clients but also by his counterparties'. Sey-Hyo Lee 'is an extraordinary advisor', 'never misses the important details', 'has a lot of patience and makes sure that everyone understands the issues and solutions'; furthermore, he 'is extremely collaborative, works very hard and succeeds in achieving the results sought by its clients'. Claude Serfilippi is recommended for high yield bonds and project bonds.
Baker McKenzie LLP's ubiquitous presence across Latin America has enabled it to develop connections to a range of corporate issuers and regional underwriters. Clients include Cencosud, Fondo Mi Vivienda, Credicorp Capital Servicios Financieros, LafargeHolcim, Petrobras, Viña Concha y Toro, BTG Pactual, Votorantim and Banco Internacional del Perú (Interbank). The 'excellent' and 'efficient' team advised Citigroup, Scotia Capital and SMBC Nikko Securities as joint lead managers and bookrunners on Fenix Power Perú's debut $340m international debt offering. Pablo Berckholtz is managing partner of Lima associate firm Estudio Echecopar member firm of Baker McKenzie International and chairs Baker McKenzie LLP's Latin America capital markets practice; he has an extensive record in derivatives transactions.
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP does not play the volume game in Latin America, but deserves credit for its engagements in a series of headline deals over the years. This includes IPOs, secondary offerings, high-yield and investment-grade bond offerings. It has advised on transactions involving issuers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela and other Latin American jurisdictions; clients include Banco Santander, BBVA, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan. Having spent many years in London, David Mercado is now based in New York; he has a strong focus on Latin America and has advised on numerous big-ticket deals in the region over recent years. He led the team that advised the underwriters on the $1bn registered notes offering of Enel Chile, the Chilean electricity utility company; the notes were listed on NYSE. The firm, a global leader in high-yield debt offerings, regularly advises on deals involving issuers that have considerable interests or assets in Latin America. Craig Arcella, another experienced figure in Latin America capital markets issuances, led the team that advised Credit Suisse as the initial purchaser on the $1bn 144A/Reg S high-yield first lien and second lien pay-in-kind (PIK) notes offering of international offshore drilling contractor, Pacific Drilling; the notes were issued as part of a reorganisation plan by the company.
Dechert LLP is primarily focused on Brazil, Chile and Mexico. The firm maintains a steady flow of capital markets offerings and bond restructuring engagements on behalf of clients including BTG Pactual, Compañía Perforadora de México (PEMSA), Grupo Cinemex, Itaú Unibanco, OAS, OI and PagSeguro. The practice advised Inversiones SMU Matriz, the holding company of one of Chile's largest food retailers, on its $40m private placement of notes; and acted for the international bondholder committee on the restructuring of Oi, the largest telecommunications company in Brazil. Howard Kleinman is a recognised Latin America specialist with a versatile practice covering banking, capital markets and M&A. Bernardo Piereck is an emerging talent in the capital markets and M&A segments. Allan Brilliant is a leading figure in bondholder restructurings.
DLA Piper LLP (US)'s commitment to Latin America through multiple offices in the US, Spain and in Latin America itself, brings it an impressive flow of capital markets engagements. The firm's 2018 arrival in Argentina through its merger with Cabanellas Etchebarne Kelly led to a number of key deals for the new Buenos Aires office as well as the New York-based team. Clients include Stoneway Capital, Globant and Canacol Energy. The practice group provided international and local counsel to Argentine state-run water utility Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos (AySA) on its $500m inaugural bond offering; and also advised Grupo Posadas, Mexico’s largest hotel operator and hospitality services company, as US counsel on a 144A/Reg S debt offering. Christopher Paci is a key name in New York, along with William Candelaria, while Marcelo Etchebarne is a prominent figure in Buenos Aires.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is primarily known for structured products, project and infrastructure bonds, hybrid financings, private placements and straight debt and equity offerings. Clients include BNP Paribas, JP Morgan, Ruta del Maipo Sociedad Concesionaria, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Autopistas Metropolitanas de Puerto Rico, Gran Tierra Energy and Grupo Financiero Galicia. The team advised Chilean toll road operator Ruta del Maipo Sociedad Concesionaria on the refinancing of its debt through an exchange offer and additional debt. Kevin Kelley has extensive experience in Latin American debt and equity offerings for both underwriters and issuers; he has advised the banks on a series of capital markets transactions including tender offers by Brazilian mining giant Vale. Tomer Pinkusiewicz is an infrastructure financing specialist with a fine record in project bonds and private placements. Moreover, in September 2019 the firm further strengthened the practice with the hire of Boris Dolgonos from Jones Day.
Greenberg Traurig LLP is exploiting its longterm commitment to Latin America, including in straight equity and debt offerings, project and infrastructure bonds and other capital markets products. While much of the firm's Latin America practice sits in Miami and Mexico City, New York's Marc Rossell is a recognised Latin America capital markets specialist who led the team that advised Corporación América Airports on its $485m IPO on NYSE in 2018; the issuer is a private sector airport concession operator with much of its operations in Latin America. As of June 2019 Rossell is also co-head of the firm's Latin America practice. Former long-standing Miami shareholder Randy Bullard moved to Morrison & Foerster LLP; the firm has subsequently moved to reinforce its capabilities with the hire of New York-based Oscar Stephens from Hogan Lovells US LLP.
Holland & Knight LLP
Holland & Knight LLP's ever growing emphasis on the Latin American region is paying considerable dividends. It has achieved impressive market share of capital markets offerings in major jurisdictions such as Argentina, Mexico and Colombia; and has also worked on a series of sovereign issuances by Argentine provinces and developed a solid record in project bonds. In Mexico, the firm has a fine record in offerings by Fibra issuer; 2018 saw the team advise Fibra UNO on its successful $500m debt issuance. Stephen Double is a big name in Latin America, noted for his expertise in bank lending, capital markets and hybrid products. Miami and New York partner Norberto Quintana is similarly highly regarded. Peter Baumgaertner joined from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP in February 2019, reinforcing the firm's standing in bond offerings, project bonds and bondholder restructurings. The firm also has strong capital markets credentials in its Mexico City and Bogota offices, with Mexico City's Guillermo Uribe having an especailly outstanding reputation.
Jones Day has deep connections to the region with notably strong capital markets records in Mexico and Brazil; it has offices in both jurisdictions. The firm has an impressive reputation in straight equity and debt offerings, along with more niche areas such as private placements, Fibra issuances (in Mexico), and other hybrid-style financings; indeed, the practice group has built an especially fine client base of Mexican issuers and international underwriters. Key mandates saw the team advise the investment banks on the $1bn bond offering by Brazil's Marfrig Global Foods in 2018. In Mexico City, Alberto de la Parra has an excellent reputation in infrastructure-related capital markets issuances. However, key New York-based partner Boris Dolgonos moved to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in September 2019.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP continues to impress in debt private placements, particularly for insurance companies and other institutional investors, along with sovereign bond offerings and equity offerings by Latin American issuers. The firm is also a prominent player in bondholder-driven restructurings; its clients include HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Prudential and Voya. The practice advised the Republic of Suriname on its $47m, 2018 notes offering; and assisted a group of institutional investors with a $200m private placement financing of senior notes for Peruvian port-operations business Trabajos Maritimos. Other highlights included advising an institutional investor group on an $800m private placement financing for the US subsidiary of AC Bebidas (Coke Mexico). Clients highlight the firm's extensive contacts in the region giving it the ability to help international banks to 'directly or indirectly advocate positions for their clients'. London partner Carter Brod has extensive experience in Latin America capital markets issuances and Hartford partner Daniel Papermaster is a leading figure in debt private placements. New York's Timothy DeSieno continues to be at the forefront of bondholder restructurings and along with finance partner Thomas Mellor, who is 'exceptional', 'takes highly complex situations and looks at the various aspects for resolution, plainly explaining the options for creditors to implement'; both 'are exceptionally hard workers', are 'available for their clients at short notice' and 'have significant relationships within Latin America and are not afraid to leverage those relationships to assist in resolution'.
Proskauer Rose LLP's highly developed Latin America practice sits primarily in its New York and Sao Paulo offices, the latter having an especially prominent name in the market for all-round financing expertise. Much of the firm's capital markets activity centres on Brazilian issuers, including first time issuers. Beyond Brazil, it advised long-term client Frontera Energy on its $350m senior unsecured notes issuance in 2018; Frontera Energy is headquartered in Canada but most of its oil-and-gas operations are located in Colombia and Peru. New York-based head of the Latin America practice, Carlos Martinez, is an experienced and versatile practitioner who operates across the capital markets, M&A and finance spheres. In Sao Paulo, office head Antonio Piccirillo, along with Fábio Yamada and David Fenwick, provide further capital markets and finance expertise.
Sidley Austin LLP
Sidley Austin LLP has a long history with Latin America and continues to be at the forefront of asset-based lending and securitisation, including development certificate (CKD) issuances on the Mexico Stock Exchange. Carlos Rodriguez is noted for securitisations of residential and commercial mortgage loans, credit card receivables and trade receivables. Alyssa Grikscheit is also recommended for receiveables financings and securitisation; much of her work is with alternative investment funds.