Deal flow for Latin America projects and energy transactions declined significantly in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Political and economic volatility also accounts for highs and lows in transaction activity, illustrated of late in Argentina and Mexico, where recent changes in the political and economic landscape have led to fewer opportunities for international legal advisers. Despite this, demand for legal advice remains, given that most jurisdictions see the value in boosting renewable energy sources and infrastructure as a means of boosting the economy. Moreover, the availability of finance from development finance institutions (DFIs) and multilateral agencies to help finance projects is another key source of engagements for firms.
Projects and energy in Latin America: International firms
Clifford Chance has been a dominant force in Latin America projects and energy for some years now, having leveraged its tight links to investment and commercial banks, development finance institutions (DFIs) and agency lenders, and a range of sponsors. The firm has particularly strong connections to the likes of IDB Invest and Goldman Sachs. It has also been at the forefront of project bonds and multi-source financings, though the recent departures of Gianluca Bacchiocchi and Guido Liniado represent a blow to this side of the practice. Despite this, it continues to receive engagements in private placement financings and refinancing. The firm has impressive deal flow in most of the major economies in Latin America, including Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, along with a tremendous record in smaller markets such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Fabricio Longhin is at the forefront of infrastructure financings and PPPs, most notably in Colombia, Peru, Paraguay and other jurisdictions, while remaining active in renewable energy financings in Chile and elsewhere. Lori Ann Bean is key to agency and DFI relationships, including IDB Invest and IFC. Catherine McCarthy is also key to connections with multilateral agencies and export credit agencies (ECAs), along with a number of commercial banks. New York’s Hugo Triaca is key for bond and private placement financings; while both Jessica Springsteen (who made partner in May 2021) and counsel Alberto Haito, continue to impress. However, New York-based Chris Willott, who focuses on Brazil project financings, left in August 2021. All named individuals are based in Washington DC unless stated otherwise.
- Advised Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Banco de Crédito del Perú, Banco Santander, Itaú Corpbanca, IDB Invest, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and ING Bank in connection with the senior secured financing to Autopista del Norte for refinancing the existing facility for developing the Red Vial No 4 toll road project in Peru and financing certain expansion works.
- Advised IDB Invest on a financing to Companhia de Saneamento Básico do Estado de São Paulo (Sabesp), the largest water and sanitation company in Latin America.
- Advised Reden Development Chile on the $81m portfolio financing provided by Natixis, for the construction and development of more than ten solar photovoltaic projects with a combined capacity of 100MW.
Milbank is a global leader in energy and infrastructure finance, this being particularly evident in Latin America where it dominates the market for top-tier engagements. The firm has particularly tight connections to bank lenders and DFIs. It also continues to make an impression in bank and bond financings, including hybrid transactions. It advised the initial purchasers and lenders in connection with a bank/bond fundraising by EnfraGen Energía Sur, Prime Energía, and EnfraGen Spain, consisting of a $710m 144A/Reg S project bond offering and a $1.05bn bank debt package. Daniel Bartfeld is global leader of the project, energy and infrastructure finance practice, and has a major focus on Latin America. Senior name Carolina Walther-Meade is another recognised Latin America specialist with an extensive record in infrastructure, oil and gas, and mining project financings. Jaime Ramirez is an outstanding emerging talent in power and renewables projects, including bank and bond financings, as is Roland Estevez, who is another prominent figure in Latin America renewables financings. Alec Borisoff is noted for mining sector financings, while Jonathan Green and Los Angeles’ Allan Marks provide additional senior-level gravitas. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Daniel Bartfeld; Marcelo Mottesi; Jonathan Green
Morgan Stanley/JP Morgan
China Construction Bank
Mainstream Renewable Power
- Advised the initial purchasers and lenders in connection with a $1.76bn bank/bond financing by subsidiaries of EnfraGen.
- Advised InterEnergy in a first-time issuer Rule 144A/Reg S. green project bond financing by its portfolio wind and solar power generation companies.
- Represented Morgan Stanley in the refinancing of the Cidade de Itajai FPSO (a joint venture between Ocyan and Altera Infrastructure) operating the Bauna field, offshore Brazil.
Shearman & Sterling LLP has a large senior bench of Latin America projects and energy specialists and continues to land many of the landmark engagements in the market, representing a range of lenders, investors and sponsors. The firm has led the market in growth segments such as green bonds; it has advised the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) on a series of ESG and green financings, including its $500m social bond. Alexandro Padrés has become the head of the Latin America practice group and is a prominent figure in renewable energy financings in Mexico and across Latin America, recently leading advice to Engie on the $840m project financing of six plant totalling some 721MW. Gregory Tan heads the global project development and finance practice and has manitains a substantial focus on Latin America; he led the team that advised the banking syndicate responsible for the $542m senior secured financing of the Huemul generation portfolio in Chile. Cynthia Urda Kassis is a leading name in mining and metals financings, and recently advised Bluestone Resources on a $30m bridge loan for the development and financing of the Cerro Blanco gold project in Guatemala; while Denise Grant is another senior project finance expert. The practice group's bench strength continues at counsel-level, where contracts-specialist Christian Rudloff and Houston-based energy transactions specialist Gabriel Salinas (a February 2021-hire from Avant Energy) are both key figures. Furthermore, July 2021 saw the finance-focused Augusto Ruiloba promoted to counsel as well as the hire of Sao Paulo-based finance specialist Jonathan Lewis (also as counsel) from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Senior associate Robert O’Leary is also noted. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Alexandro Padrés; Gregory Tan
Central American Bank for Economic Integration
China National Petroleum Company International/PetroChina
International Finance Corporation
The Bank of Nova Scotia
- Ongoing advice to Engie (and multiple affiliates) regarding the $840m limited-recourse project financing (and related interest-rate hedging) for four solar parks and two wind farms in Mexico, with a combined capacity of approximately 721MW.
- Advised DNB Bank (as administrative agent), CaixaBank, DNB Bank, KFW IPEX, MUFG Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (as mandated lead arrangers, lenders and issuing banks), along with Inter-American Investment Corporation, in its own capacity and in separate capacity as agent for Inter-American Development Bank, as mandated lead arrangers and lenders, on the $542m senior secured financing of three wind and two solar PV projects in Chile (the Huemul portfolio), with a total installed capacity of 641.1 MW.
- Advised Citigroup Global Markets, JP Morgan Securities, Scotia Capital (USA), Credit Suisse Securities (USA) and Banco General, as initial purchasers on a Rule 144A/Reg S offering of $1.38bn in senior secured notes (due 2030) by AES Panama Generation Holdings, a special purpose vehicle owned indirectly by the AES Corporation, and as arrangers on a related $105m term loan facility and a $50m liquidity facility, all secured pari passu by the same collateral.
White & Case LLP has one of the deepest teams of Latin America projects and energy specialists in the market. This allowed it to maintain strong activity levels in 2020, despite a significant slowdown in deals across the region. The Latin America group has a balanced client base of sponsors and lenders, including major regional and international commercial lenders and agencies/DFIs. The firm is at the top of the market in oil and gas, and power (including conventional and renewables), and it is building market share in infrastructure and mining. Fernando de la Hoz is a key figure in mining projects, while emerging talent and New York partner Thomas Pate is bolstering the firm's standing in infrastructure. Mexico and Brazil are its primary markets, given the firm's sizeable offices in both jurisdictions, with Colombia and Chile also providing a steady pipeline of renewables and oil and gas engagements. The firm's tight connections to agencies and DFIs also ensure that it has deal flow from smaller markets such as Paraguay, Uruguay and Ecuador. Carlos Viana leads the Latin America group and has an outstanding record in energy and infrastructure projects, as does senior name Sean Goldstein, who maintains strong links to Mexico and other key jurisdictions. Jeannine Acevedo and Anna Andreeva are also emerging talents, while New York associate Raffaele Turco is a key figure in project development and construction in the region. All named individuals are based in Miami unless stated otherwise.
Carlos Viana; Nandan Nelivigi; Mark Castillo-Bernaus
‘W&C attorneys are always available and also prepared for efficient and constructive calls. They are highly trained lawyers in the practice they represent, they are very well organised teams and they deliver on time and with great quality.‘
‘They have the required knowledge and experience. They are respectful and resolve your requests efficiently. They are fluent in the Spanish language.’
‘Compared to other firms, the projects and energy team of White & Case in Miami is above the majority of firms that provide legal advice under New York law.’
‘Carlos Viana and Anna Andreeva are very solid professionals with complete mastery of the subject.’
Inkia Energy and I-Squared
Atlas Renewable Energy
Banco Bradesco BBI
Banco do Brasil
- Advised Invenergy and EDP on the development and project financing of the 378MW LNG-to-power infrastructure project at the Port of Acajutla in El Salvador.
- Advised Atlas Renewable Energy on its $253m issuance of notes in the form of a private placement which will be used to develop and refinance two solar plant projects in Chile.
- Advised AMP Capital Investors on its joint venture partnership with Enel X, to invest some $145m in the business of the financial lease of mass electric transportation vehicles in Chile.
Allen & Overy LLP's longstanding focus on agency lenders and DFIs came to further prominence in 2020 as this segment of the market drove lending during the Covid crisis. The Latin America team's emphasis on renewable energy projects was given additional impetus by the recruitment of a leading US-based project finance and renewables team from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in March 2021. The core Latin America group continues to focus on hybrid financing structures, including those involving the capital markets and has experienced significant growth in digital infrastructure projects. With its strong presence in Sao Paulo through Bruno Soares, the head of the Latin America practice, the firm has excellent connections to Brazilian sponsors and lenders, many of which are frequently engaged in Latin America energy and infrastructure projects; Colombia and Chile have been particularly fertile grounds for the team. Washington DC partner Sami Mir co-heads the firm's US agency finance practice and has a strong focus on Latin America. New York partner Dorina Yessios is noted for power and renewables projects in Latin America, acting for both sponsors and lenders.
Ashmore Fund Colombia
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)
China Harbour Engineering Co
Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment
CSP – Companhia Siderúrgica do Pecém
Eksport Kredit Fonden (EKF)
Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest)
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
North American Development Bank (NADB)
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)
- Advised Elecnorte, a subsidiary of Ashmore Fund Colombia, in connection with a financing from IFC and Davivienda for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of a 138km regional transmission line to be located in La Guajira, Colombia.
- Advised the institutional investors on a private placement of notes issued by Javiera, the owner of an operating solar project, and Sol del Desierto, the owner of a greenfield solar project in Chile, which are subsidiaries of Atlas Chile.
- Advised IDB Invest, IFC, BNP Paribas and a syndicate of commercial bank lenders on the $1.14bn financing of LD Celulose to develop, construct and operate a dissolving wood pulp plant in Minas Gerias, Brazil.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton's connections to energy and natural resources players in the region bring it a wealth of engagements, including M&A, financing and project matters. Moreover, its strong links to governments and general profile across Latin America mean it is well positioned for landmark infrastructure projects. It continues to represent the Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority on the transformation of Puerto Rico’s electric system through a series of public-private partnerships (PPPs). The firm remains at the forefront of renewable energy projects in key jurisdictions such as Mexico, Chile and Argentina. Green bonds is another area of growth for the team. Chantal Kordula has made a significant impression in project financings in the renewables sector and in PPP engagements, most notably the transformation of Puerto Rico’s electric system. Richard Cooper and Adam Brenneman are noted for financings and restructurings in the energy segment; both also had a key role in the Puerto Rico electric power transmission and distribution PPP. Jeffrey Lewis is a leading name in energy and natural resources M&A and projects.
Jeffrey Lewis; Chantal Kordula
‘They have in-depth understanding of industry and local/jurisdictional/political/legal issues.‘
‘Cleary Gottlieb owns Latin America. They have been working in the region longer and are more familiar with the region than any other international firm. A very strong team.’
‘Richard Cooper is highly respected and experienced. His views are highly sought and trusted on the most difficult issues.’
‘Chantal Kordula is also highly respected and trusted. She has been a very good partner on complex and challenging issues and transactions.’
P3A – Transmission & Distribution (Stage 1)
P3A – Generation & Operation (Stage 2)
Constellation Oil Services Holding’s Secured Project Finance Lenders
Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex)
Republic of Chile
- Advised Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority in connection with the transformation of Puerto Rico’s electric system through PPPs.
- Advised Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnerships Authority in connection with the second stage of the transformation of Puerto Rico’s electric system, focused on addressing PREPA’s ageing generation fleet.
- Represented BlackRock in the refinancing of a project finance facility for the construction and development of its 130MW La Bufa wind farm in Zacatecas, Mexico.
Hogan Lovells US LLP has especially deep connections to Ecuador and Central America, notably in renewable energy projects. The firm is also active in infrastructure and mining, landing a series of big-ticket engagements in Colombia and Peru. The firm was engaged by ProInversión, the Peruvian government’s PPP agency, to standardise PPP contracts in line with World Bank recommendations. Jorge Diaz-Silveira is Americas head of infrastructure, energy, resources and projects and has a long history in Latin America renewable energy and conventional power projects, particularly in Central America; he recently advised Generadora San Andrés and Generadora San Mateo on the development, construction and financing of two hydroelectric projects in Guatemala, and represented Santos y Compañía in the development of photovoltaic solar projects in Honduras. José Valdivia is a key figure for Ecuador projects, as is up-and coming name Gaston Fernandez. Houston’s Bruno Ciuffetelli is noted for oil and gas and power projects in Ecuador and Venezuela. Former team member Miguel Zaldivar is now global CEO of the firm, based in Washington DC, providing additional weight to the status of the Latin America group. All named individuals are based in Miami unless stated otherwise. Since publication, the practice has been significantly strengthened with the hire of Richard Puttré, formerly global practice head at Jones Day, effective January 2022.
Juan Francisco Torres Landa; Jorge Diaz-Silveira
ProInversión (Peruvian Government investment agency)
Generadora San Andrés (GSA) and Generadora San Mateo (GSM)
Republic of Ecuador
Santos y Compañía
Playa Hotels and Resorts
- Advised ProInversión, the Peruvian government’s PPP agency, on standardising PPP contracts in line with World Bank recommendations.
- Advised IDB Invest on the Brazilian expansion of sewage treatment and pumping stations, increasing building connections, upgrading and expanding existing treatment facilities in 15 cities, and building 440km of sewage collection networks.
- Advised Republic of Ecuador on the issuance of the world’s first sovereign social bond.
Jones Day has an established presence in renewable energy and infrastructure projects across the region. It also stands out for its leading Mexico office, which lands many of the major engagements in the jurisdiction. The firm has advised on a range of headline projects across Latin America, from airport developments in Mexico, to toll roads in Colombia and telecoms infrastructure in Paraguay. It also represents a large number of European and Asian sponsors in Latin America renewable energy projects. Richard Puttre leads the Latin America projects practice and has an impressive record in renewable energy projects across the region; he also led the team that advised Sacyr Concesiones, as sponsor, and the concessionaire and borrower, on a $451m long-term project financing, consisting of US dollar and Colombia peso tranches to repay a bridge loan facility and fund the design, construction, operation and maintenance costs for the $525m Pamplona-Cucuta Highway. Fradyn Suárez is another experienced Latin America project finance specialist, while Alberto de la Parra has a giant reputation in Mexico for both transport infrastructure and energy projects. New York’s Robert da Silva Ashley and Sao Paulo partner Marcello Hallake are also key team members. Named individuals are based in Miami unless stated otherwise. Since publication, however, Puttré has left the firm – effective January 2022.
Alberto de la Parra
Banco Santander México
Banco Nacional de Obras y Servicios Públicos (Banobras)
Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior
Otras Producciones de Energía Photovoltaica
Parque Industrial Renovable
Iberdrola Generación Mexico
Iberdrola Renovables México
Vitol Electricidad de Mexico
Sinohydro Mexico (subsidiary of Powerchina International)
Itzoil (Invex Infraestructura 4)
- Advised Sacyr Concesiones, as sponsor, and the concessionaire and borrower, on a $451m long-term project financing, consisting of US dollar and Colombia peso tranches to repay a bridge loan facility and fund the design, construction, operation and maintenance costs for the $525m Pamplona-Cucuta Highway.
- Represented Otras Producciones de Energía Photovoltaica in the sale of 80% of its equity interests in two photovoltaic power plants, and associated electrical substations and interconnection lines, located in the Mexican states of Aguascalientes (34.2MW) and Coahuila (82.5MW) to Riverstone Holdings.
- Advised Banco Santander and Banco Inbursa as mandated lead arrangers on a $381m credit facility to Abent 3T, for the refinancing of a 220MW cogeneration plant in Tabasco, Mexico.
Latham & Watkins LLP significantly enhanced its Latin America projects and energy team with the hire of the highly rated Gianluca Bacchiocchi and Guido Liniado from Clifford Chance in the early part of 2021. Bacchiocchi, in particular, has been a standout figure in project bonds and hybrid financing structures over a number of years. They join a firm that is a global force in energy and infrastructure projects, including in Latin America. The firm has made a particular impression in oil and gas transactions in Mexico over the years, along with power and renewables, and infrastructure projects in Chile, Peru and elsewhere. Christopher Cross is a leader in Mexico oil and gas matters, including pipeline projects. Latin America group co-chair Antonio Del Pino is also noted for energy M&A, while San Diego’s Sony Ben-Moshe is recommended for energy sector (including renewables) financings in the region. David Penna re-joined the Washington DC office in November 2020 from the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Veronica Relea and Washington DC counsel Luis Torres are also key names, along with Washington DC associate Carlos Ardila. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Antonio Del Pino
The Inter-American Development Bank
Infraestructura Energética Nova (IEnova)
AMP Capital Investors
- Advised the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), as guarantor, on a $400m social bonds offering by the Republic of Ecuador, the first sovereign in the world to conduct a financing of this kind.
- Advised IEnova on a financing to develop and construct four solar power plants in Mexico totalling 426MW of aggregate nameplate capacity.
- Advised the lenders on the concurrent $1.1bn bank and bond transactions for Tierra Mojada, a newly constructed 874.5MW natural gas-fired combined-cycle power generation facility located in the Mexican state of Jalisco.
Mayer Brown is best known for project bonds and private placement-driven financings. It represents a range of project sponsors, special purpose vehicles, commercial lenders, multilateral agencies, contractors, operators and governments. It is particularly noted for its engagements from Latin America-based and international banks. The team operates in all key markets across Latin America, along with smaller economies such as El Salvador. Christopher Erckert leads the firm's project bonds and Latin America projects practice, notably advising a range of clients on infrastructure and renewable energy project financings around the region. Chicago partner Douglas Doetsch is head of the Latin America group and is also noted for bond-driven project financings and private placements. Gabriela Sakamoto is another key talent in Latin America project finance, while Houston and Mexico City partner Pablo Ferrante is noted for energy M&A.
Banco BTG Pactual
Banco Santander (Brasil)
Bank of China
- Represented Natixis on an $87m project financing for Sonnedix with the proceeds used for the construction of an up-to-100MW portfolio of small-scale solar assets located in Chile.
- Represented the Spanish solar developer and operator X-Elio in a $40m non-recourse financing for a 58MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project in Chile.
- Acted as Brazilian counsel for KPG, a Brazilian exploration and production (E&P) company controlled by Karoon Energy, in connection with a reserve based lending transaction entered into with ING Bank.
Norton Rose Fulbright has deep roots into Latin America, including project finance-focused practices in Sao Paulo and Mexico City, alongside teams in New York, Houston and Washington DC that have a strong emphasis on the region. Renewable energy, mining and resources, and transport infrastructure are core to the practice, which represents a range of bank lenders, agency lenders and DFIs, financial investors and sponsors. Mexico City and New York-based Raquel Bierzwinsky is a leading figure in Mexico renewable energy projects. Washington DC partners Sarah Devine and Jeremy Hushon are key to DFI and agency lender relationships, and advise on transactions across the region. Todd Alexander is another experienced name in Latin America renewable energy projects. Charles Johnson is a prominent project finance specialist in Sao Paulo, where Daniel Spencer is noted for project bonds experience. Hernán González and Leopoldo Olavarria are key names in Mexico City. Rachel Crouch impresses at associate level. Named individuals are based in New York unless stated otherwise.
Keith Martin; Ben Koenigsberg
Enel Green Power
DFC (formerly OPIC)
Itapoá Terminais Portuários
Banco Rabobank International Brasil
BRK Ambiental Participações
Banco Itaú BBA
Corporación Andina de Fomento
- Represented BNP Paribas Fortis and the US International Development Finance (DFC) on the $150m financing of the Cañadón León wind farm that YPF Energía Eléctrica is building in Argentina.
- Represented IFC in the financing of the 296MW dc Potrero Solar project being developed by Fotowatio Renewable Ventures; this is the first merchant solar farm in Mexico.
- Represented BayWa in the sale of the 100% equity interests in Parque Solar Los Cuervos to EDPR, the project company that is developing and constructing an approximately 200MW ac solar photovoltaic electric power generation facility in the Municipality of Aguascalientes, Mexico.
Paul Hastings LLP
Paul Hastings LLP is a major player in Latin America project finance, in large part thanks to the presence of seasoned leader Robert Kartheiser and the highly rated Elicia Ling. The Latin America team has an even balance of energy and infrastructure finance engagements, and has also impressed in the 4(a)(2) private placement segment. The group is frequently mandated on hybrid financings, involving bank facilities and bond tranches, with Cathleen McLaughlin providing extensive experience in capital markets elements. The group represents a huge number of major lenders and sponsors across the region. Thomas Sines impresses at associate level. All named individuals are based in New York.
‘Internal coordination and harmony is exceptional. Well experienced and in-depth knowledge of infrastructure finance in Latam. Easy to work with, while maintaining professional focus.’
Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP)
- Represented EnfraGen Energía, Prime Energía and EnfraGen Spain in their borrowing of $1.05bn in bank debt and $710m senior secured notes issuance.
- Advised the mezzanine lenders and the sponsors on the $1bn Ferrocarril Central Project in Uruguay, for the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of a 273km railway section between the cities of Montevideo and Paso de los Toros.
- Represented Lima Airport on the $1.8bn expansion of the Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima.
CMS has a prominent standing in oil and gas, renewables and other infrastructure projects. With offices in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Mexico it has extensive regional coverage. Leveraging the firm’s global presence in renewables and climate change, the Latin America team is at the forefront of new energy sources such as green hydrogen projects in Chile and Brazil; the Santiago office advised Porsche on a joint venture project to produce green hydrogen in the evaluation phase and contract negotiations for the pilot manufacturing site in Chile. In Peru, a team that includes Carlos Hamann and Augusto Astorga has a strong record in oil and gas projects and transactions. In Mexico, Enrique Lorente Ludlow and Derek Woodhouse are big names in power and infrastructure projects and regulation. Rio partner Ted Rhodes has an established background in oil and gas, along with renewables, often working alongside colleagues in Europe. Santiago’s Jorge Allende Zañartu and Daniel Rodríguez are also key names.
Ted Rhodes; Jorge Allende Zañartu; Daniel Rodríguez; Derek Woodhouse; Enrique Lorente Ludlow; Carlos Hamann; Augusto Astorga; Michelle Barclay; Giancarlo Villafranqui
The Blackstone Group
- Advised the Federal Government (FONATUR) in a consortium with Grupo Typsa on the public procurement procedures for the design, construction and maintenance of the platform and railroad of the seven sections that make up the Maya Train in Mexico.
- Advised Porsche in a joint venture project to produce green hydrogen at a pilot manufacturing site in Chile.
- Advised Pareto Securities on the structuring of an international bond issue for the Canadian petroleum company Petrotal Corp.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has an established record in traditional project finance, project bonds and private placement financings, exploiting its eminence in bank debt, capital markets transactions, and its longstanding presence in Sao Paulo. The Sao Paulo office has deep experience in oil and gas and transport infrastructure financings in Brazil, Chile, Mexico and elsewhere, though the departure of Stephen Hood leaves it without one of its most senior project finance specialists. James Vickers is now the key figure in Sao Paulo, having worked alongside Hood for many years and has an outstanding reputation in his own right. Head of the Latin America group Manuel Garciadiaz splits his time between New York and Sao Paulo, and is a leader in capital markets-driven financings, including project bonds. James Florack is global co-head of finance and leader of the Latin America finance group, having a solid record in project finance across the region.
DLA Piper LLP (US) significantly expanded its US-based Latin America team in 2020, notably with the arrivals of Los Angeles partner Dino Barajas from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and San Diego-based Raul Farias from Sempra Energy. The enlarged group has a particularly strong standing in conventional power and renewables, especially in Mexico, although the firm has an extensive record in Latin America-wide engagements, thanks in part to its strong local teams in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and elsewhere. Despite the slowing deal flow in Mexico, the Latin America group maintained strong activity levels with a series of wind, solar and thermal power projects along with oil and gas projects. A powerful team in Mexico City, including Edgar Romo and Marcelo Páramo Fernández, has provided a significant impetus to the firm’s ability to win big-ticket engagements in the jurisdiction. The firm is also building its presence in PPP (P3) infrastructure projects. Led by the its impressive Puerto Rico team, the firm advised Quanta Services and ATCO on their new joint venture, LUMA Energy, as winning bidder in the $1.6bn public-private partnership transaction to operate and maintain the transmission and distribution assets of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). Key agency lender and DFI specialists Gregory Smith and counsel Amala Nath left the firm in July 2021. Since publication, Barajas has left the firm to move to Baker Botts L.L.P., effective January 2022.
United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC, formerly Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC))
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM)
Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor No Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO)
Export Import Bank of the United States (US EXIM)
Diamond Generating Corporation
- Advised Quanta Services and ATCO on their new joint venture, LUMA Energy, as winning bidder in the $1.6bn public-private partnership transaction to operate and maintain the transmission and distribution assets of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA).
- Advised KEXIM, IFC and HSBC on their financing of the Recaudo Bogota mass transit project.
- Advised DFC on all aspects of its $165m financing of the GTS Majes and GTS Repartition solar power plants with a collective capacity of 44MW.
Herbert Smith Freehills
Herbert Smith Freehills has a leading presence in project development and construction in Latin America, particularly in Chile's mining sector. The firm also has a longstanding presence in Brazil oil and gas projects, including FPSOs, FSRUs and drill ships. Infrastructure projects in other jurisdictions are a growth area. The Latin America team benefits from the firm's global standing in mining and resources, and other more niche areas such as hydrogen power. Moreover, it represents a number of global clients such as Chinese SOEs, European infrastructure funds, Japanese trading houses and major international mining companies. New York partner Juan-José Zentner is a leading figure in mining and infrastructure projects, particularly in Chile. New York's Edward Dougherty is an experienced practitioner in Brazil oil and gas financings, along with Brazilian native Pedro Rufino Carvalho, who co-heads the Latin America practice from London.
Pedro Rufino Carvalho; Edward Dougherty; Juan-José Zentner
- Advised Codelco, the Chilean state-owned mining company, on the award of a BOOT (build-own-operate-transfer) contract for the development, construction and operation of a $1bn seawater desalination plant and related infrastructure to supply water to its Chuquicamata, Radomiro Tomic and Ministro Hales divisions in the northern Antofagasta region in Chile.
- Advised Mantos Copper, a private Chilean copper producer, on the construction-related aspects of the Mantos Blancos plant expansion, located in the Antofagasta region of Chile.
- Advised Trident Energy on a reserve based lending financing and acquisition of Brazilian oil and gas assets from Petrobras.
Holland & Knight LLP has remained active in oil and gas financings, including bond offerings, most notably in Mexico. It also continues to be a significant player in power, mining and infrastructure finance around Latin America. The fast-growing Latin America team is now able to deploy senior team members to a raft of headline projects and energy transactions. A team led by New York's Peter Baumgaertner advised Deutsche Bank and its subsidiaries in Brazil and the US as administrative agent in connection with the financial restructuring of Sete International offshore oil drill ships. New York and Miami partner Norberto Quintana is rated for power, mining and infrastructure project financings in numerous central and south American jurisdictions. Miami and New York-based Lara Rios is another emerging name in Latin America renewables and conventional power projects.
‘The H&K team not only has a lot of experience but also a practical vision, always trying to find efficient solutions. They are also accessible in the sense of not only being always available, but also having a clear way of explaining the various issues.‘
‘I see H&K combining in-depth sector-specific expertise with time-tested familiarity with the Latin American market. Few law firms in the US are as well positioned as H&K in this regard.’
‘Lara Ríos is super clear in her explanations, practical in approaching the issues and always available.‘
‘Norberto Quintana has extensive experience and also actively participated in the deals.’
‘Peter Baumgaertner stands out as one of the most dedicated, client-focused corporate lawyers that I have ever encountered.’
China Development Bank
City National Bank
Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN)
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp
- Advised City National Bank, Florida’s third largest bank, on its $15m loan to Sonnedix, a global independent solar power producer, to finance its solar photovoltaic (PV) plants in Puerto Rico.
- Advised Deutsche Bank and its subsidiaries in Brazil and the US as administrative agent in connection with the financial restructuring of Sete International offshore oil drill ships.
- Represented Mitsubishi Union Bank and the TMF Group Brazil in the $8.7bn financing of Engie’s acquisition of TAG, Brazil’s largest pipeline company.
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP continues to stand out thanks to its work in major infrastructure projects, including digital and subsea cable systems. It is also widely recognised for its representation of multilateral development banks, non-bank financial institutions and investment corporations such as IDB Invest, Corporación Andina de Fomento and International Finance Corporation (IFC). Among a number of impressive engagements, the team advised IDB Invest, as lender, on a $125m unsecured loan facility to Engie Energía Chile for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the 162MW Calama Wind Farm in Calama, Antofagasta, Chile. Fernando Margarit is a market leader in cable systems projects. Washington DC partner Vera Rechsteiner is a frequent adviser to development banks and multilateral lenders in Latin America energy and infrastructure financings. Fernando Alonso and Uriel Mendieta provide further senior level expertise, as does Houston's Doris Rodríguez.
Inter-American Investment Corporation
Banco de la Producción, Produbanco
Corporación Andina de Fomento
International Finance Corporation
- Advised the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest) on a $125m unsecured loan facility to Engie Energía Chile for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the 162MW Calama Wind Farm in Calama, Antofagasta, Chile.
- Advised the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest) on an unsecured $100m A/B loan facility to Banco Davivienda Salvadoreño to finance the development of green projects and to make sub-loans to small and medium-sized enterprises in El Salvador.
- Represented CIFI Latam in a $37m secured project financing facility by Fondo de Inversión Cerrado Libre para el Desarrollo de Infraestructuras Dominicanas I to Emerald Solar Energy to refinance certain existing debt and finance the operation of a 25MW photovoltaic power plant located in Barahona, Dominican Republic.
King & Spalding LLP is a longstanding leader in Latin America oil and gas projects, most notably LNG projects and transactions in Mexico and Brazil. Much of the Latin America practice currently centres on natural gas supply agreements, LNG export and import projects, upstream projects, and financing of oil rigs and FPSOs. The firm's global commitment to these areas has earned it an impressive international client base, which includes Japanese and other Asian sponsors. A team led by Tokyo partners John McClenahan and Mark Davies advised MODEC, Mitsui & Co, Mitsui OSK Lines and Marubeni Corporation as sponsors and Buzios5 MV32 as borrower, on the project finance facility for the development of a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel to be deployed in Brazil and time chartered to Petrobras. Singapore partners Kelly Malone and Anthony Patten are also active in Latin America projects. Houston's Scott Greer and Washington DC partner James Bowe are active in oil and gas and power projects in Mexico and other Latin American jurisdictions. Houston partner David Lang is also recommended for LNG projects.
‘Their impressive experience in LNG projects and deep understanding of related commercial and operational aspects.’
‘David Lang is an extraordinary lawyer, capable of providing the most effective, objective and commercially sound advice.’
MODEC, Mitsui & Co, Mitsui OSK Lines
Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA)
Joint venture of Grupo Gondi and WestRock Company
NIC Holding Corporation
Arroyo Energy Investment Partners
- Advised MODEC, Mitsui & Co, Mitsui OSK Lines and Marubeni Corporation as sponsors and Buzios5 MV32 as borrower, on the project finance facility for the development of a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel to be deployed in Brazil and time chartered to Petrobras.
- Advised PREPA on the further renewal, modernisation and transformation of Puerto Rico’s electric system through the restructuring of its LNG-to-power programme with Gas Natural Aprovisionamientos SDG of Spain (Naturgy) and EcoEléctrica.
- Advised IFC and other lenders on the successful Porto de Acu LNG to power project developed by BP and Siemens in Brazil.
Linklaters LLP has a broad mix of energy and infrastructure engagements, including renewables, oil and gas, and telecoms infrastructure projects. The firm represents a range of energy sector businesses in M&A and bond offerings; a team led by Sao Paulo and New York partner Matthew Poulter advised PetroRio, the Brazil-based oil and gas company, on its inaugural senior secured notes issuance. Andrew Compton is part of the energy and infrastructure group, and has a strong emphasis on Latin America, including renewables, power and infrastructure projects in multiple jurisdictions in the region; he led the team that advised Lenzing and Duratex on the $1.1bn financing of an energy-efficient dissolving wood pulp plant in Brazil. Vijaya Palaniswamy is another experienced figure in Latin America renewable energy and infrastructure projects.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP's Latin America team is largely located in Houston, providing it with deep energy credentials. The group's strengths lie in energy M&A and project development, including M&A-driven project development. It has seen notable growth in LNG, gas to power and hydrogen projects and it remains a force in renewables, including wind and solar. In Washington DC partner Ulises Pin it has a market leader in Latin America cable and information highway projects. John Crespo co-heads the Latin America group and has a solid record in energy M&A, including renewables. Humberto Padilla Gonzalez is noted for Mexico energy transactions and Felipe Alice is at the forefront of Brazil deals.
Thomas Mellor; John Crespo
Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR)
- Represented Enel in its proposed purchase of certain distribution and generation companies in Chile and Peru.
- Represented the AES Corporation in its acquisition of UEP Penonomé I, a Panamanian company operating a windfarm producing 55MW of power, from Goldwing International.
- Advised Patriotic Energies and Technologies on its acquisition and financing of Petrotrin, Trinidad and Tobago’s petroleum company.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is principally focused on financings and fund raising for energy and infrastructure businesses in Latin America. This includes a multitude of equity and debt offerings, such as representing the placement agents in the follow-on offering by Petro Rio and the placement agents in 3R Petroleum Óleo e Gás's IPO. New York and Sao Paulo partner Todd Crider leads the Latin America practice and is supported by a number of experienced Latin America specialists, including Sao Paulo office head Grenfel Calheiros and New York partner Juan Francisco Méndez. Founder of the Latin America team David Williams has retired from the partnership.
Todd Crider; Jamie Mercado; Juan Francisco Méndez; Grenfel Calheiros; Juan Naveira
Administradora de Electromovilidad
Celulosa Arauco Y Constitucion
Compañía de Petróleos de Chile Copec
CPFL Energias Renováveis
Intercorp Financial Services
JP Morgan Securities
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith
Pan American Energy
Sudamericana, Agencias Aéreas y Marítimas
Transportadora de Gas del Norte
Volcan Compañía Minera
- Represented the placement agents in the follow-on offering by Petro Rio.
- Represented the placement agents in 3R Petroleum Óleo e Gás’s IPO.
- Advised the underwriters in the global offering by BNDES Participações.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is a major player in M&A, project development and project finance in power, oil and gas, and other infrastructure segments. The firm is also active in capital markets fund raisings for energy and infrastructure-related businesses. A team in Sao Paulo led by Mathias von Bernuth advised a syndicate of underwriters on a $500m Rule 144A/Regulation S high-yield offering by Nexa Resources, a subsidiary of Votorantim Participações (Brazil). New York's Alejandro González Lazzeri is an experienced Latin America project finance specialist. Washington DC partner Lance Brasher is global head of energy and infrastructure projects, and has a strong record in Latin America for the likes of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
The AES Corporation
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has a history of prestigious project finance engagements, most notably in the mining and resources sector. The firm is also a leader in energy and mining M&A. In addition, the firm recently advised Antofagasta, the parent company of a Chile-based copper mining group, on its inaugural $500m senior unsecured notes offering. Sergio Galvis has an excellent reputation in mining project financings, while Christopher Mann leads the global infrastructure practice and has a fine record in Latin America energy and natural resources-related project financings.
Vinson & Elkins LLP's Latin America practice has energy project development and finance at its core, with a principal focus on Mexico and Brazil. The arrival of Gabriel Silva from Linklaters LLP in January 2021 has given the Latin America team much greater credibility in the Brazil market, including in the digital infrastructure segment. The wider team represents a range of energy giants along with sector-focused private equity players. Eamon Nolan is a prominent figure in Mexico power and renewables transactions. Houston's Alan Alexander and Mark Brasher also have deep Latin America energy experience; the latter advised New Fortress Energy on a series of headline deals in Mexico. Boyd Carano has retired.
Eamon Nolan; Gabriel Silva
Highline do Brasil
Scala Data Centers
Vantage Data Centers
Exxon Mobil Corporation
Pattern Energy Group Holdings
Equinor (formerly Statoil)
Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets
New Fortress Energy
California Resources Corporation
Hygo Energy Transition
- Represented NFEnergía, a New Fortress Energy company, in the negotiation of agreements to convert the Units 5 and 6 at the San Juan Power Plant from fuel oil to natural gas burning turbines and to develop and construct modular LNG import and regasification facilities in San Juan Harbor.
- Represented New Fortress Energy in the negotiation and a successful execution of an agreement for the development of a new gas-fired power plant and associated LNG import facilities in Puerto Sandino, Nicaragua.
- Advised New Fortress Energy on the development of floating LNG import and regasification facilities, and associated pipelines, power plant and transmission facilities in Baja, Mexico.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's extensive presence in Houston brings it deep connections into Latin America, particularly in oil and gas, power and renewables. The firm represents a broad range of energy and commodity trading businesses with interests in the region. Matt Kapinos impresses in energy M&A and project development. Gabriel Procaccini is an experienced figure in midstream oil and gas, and LNG exports. Both are based in Houston.
Gail USA LNG
Energy Capital Vietnam
Barrick Gold Corporation
SK E&S Americas
Enterprise Products Partners
Primus Green Energy
The holdco facility lenders to Salt Creek Midstream
- Represented Apache Corporation in its joint venture agreement with an affiliate of Total in connection with a project to explore and develop Block 58 offshore Suriname.
- Represented Vitol in its acquisition from GTI Statia of a bunker fuel supply business in Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten.
- Advised NextEnergy Capital on the acquisition of a Mexican SPV that owns a solar energy project in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Baker Botts L.L.P. has a broad-based Latin America practice, ranging from renewable energy to LNG and upstream oil and gas transactions. The firm has made a particular impression in renewable energy and LNG projects in Mexico and other Latin American jurisdictions and has also experienced growth in digital infrastructure projects. Houston partner Carlos Solé is a genuine Latin America specialist with a focus on LNG and renewable energy projects and transactions. Washington DC’s Mark Spivak is also recognised for power and renewables, electric transmission, oil and gas, LNG, transportation and infrastructure. Since publication, the firm has considerably strengthened the practice with the hire of Los Angeles-based Dino Barajas from DLA Piper LLP (US) - effective January 2022.
Sempra LNG / Sempra Gas & Midstream
- Represented Riverstone Holdings, a leading energy and power private equity firm, on the acquisition of an 80% stake in two solar photovoltaic plants in Mexico, from Otras Producciones de Energia Fotovoltaica.
- Represented The AES Corporation in a ten-year strategic alliance with Google to accelerate the growth and adoption of clean energy by leveraging Google Cloud technology to pioneer innovation in the sector.
- Advised Sempra on the development and marketing of a brownfield liquefaction project in Mexico; the Energía Costa Azul midscale liquefaction facility will be a first-of-its kind LNG export facility in Mexico.
Baker McKenzie LLP
Baker McKenzie LLP is at the forefront of China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI)-related projects and transactions, leveraging its international status and strong presence in Asia. It has distinguished itself in representing parties involved in a range of Chinese sponsored or financed projects in Latin America. It advised the Brazilian subsidiary of China’s State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) on its agreement with Siemens, British BP and Prumo to buy a share in their joint Brazilian thermal power project. The firm represents a further array of international sponsors and lenders, including those based in other Asian nations, Europe and Latin America itself. Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru are its primary jurisdictions for big-ticket engagements. Renewable energy and transport infrastructure are also key strengths of the Latin America-wide team, which includes a number of US-based specialists. José Roberto Martins chairs the Latin America projects practice from Sao Paulo. Santiago partner Antonio Ortúzar is a key figure in mining M&A and projects, while Juan Carlos de los Heros -in Lima- has an extensive record in project finance, including infrastructure projects.
José Roberto Martins
State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC)
Orica Mining Services Peru (Project Espresso)
Autopista del Norte
Siemens Financial Services
Brookfield Asset Management
Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC)
Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Americas
- Advised Autopista del Norte, as borrower, on the $350m senior secured loan to refinance existing debt and in relation to the project financing of the Contrato de Concesión de los Tramos Viales de la Red Vial and for the construction of the Via de Evitamiento Chimbote.
- Advised the Brazilian subsidiary of China’s State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) on an agreement with German conglomerate Siemens, British oil giant BP and Brazilian logistics company Prumo to buy a share in their joint Brazilian thermal power project.
- Advised ISA Peru on the acquisition of Orazul Energy Group from Inkia Energy.
Bracewell LLP is noted for energy M&A and project finance, particularly in Mexico, along with renewable energy and infrastructure projects across Latin America. New York partner Fernando Rodriguez Marin is an experienced figure in project finance and PPPs in multiple Latin American jurisdictions, including Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. Houston's Manuel Vera is licensed to practise in Mexico and has an extensive record in oil and gas transactions and projects in Mexico, Argentina and elsewhere.
Cuatrecasas has combined its traditional strength in project finance and energy back in Spain with its ever-growing presence in Latin America itself. Having opened an office in Lima in 2019, it launched teams in Bogota and Santiago in 2020; it retains a longer-established presence in Mexico City. Renewables, power, oil and gas, and transport infrastructure are key parts of the practice. Among a number of headline renewable energy projects, it advised OPDEnergy Chile on the financing of a wind project and a solar project in Chile. León López is an experienced projects specialist in Mexico City, Lima's Aldo Reggiardo is recognised for infrastructure and renewables projects and Bogota partner Manuel Quinche has made an impression in Colombia infrastructure projects, including toll roads, rail and airport developments.
Fotowatio Renewables Ventures
Banco BTG Pactual
Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional
- Advised on the financing of a series of wind and solar energy projects in Chile and Mexico.
- Advised on the financing to modernise the Salaverry Port (Trujillo, Peru).
- Advised on the financing to Elecnor to build a high voltage line and several substations in the Mexican states of Baja California and Guanajuato.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a recognised force in power, renewables, and transport and telecoms infrastructure projects in Latin America. Much of this is led by New York partner Melissa Raciti-Knapp, who is co-head of the Latin America group and head of the US energy and infrastructure team. She and the Latin America group represent a number of commercial banks and multilateral agencies such as KfW IPEX-Bank and OPIC (now DFC).
OPIC (Now DFC)
Greenberg Traurig LLP's longstanding commitment to Latin America comes in large part through its Miami office, where Robert Downing is constantly engaged in a range of renewables and hydrocarbon projects, FPSO contracts, energy trading matters and petrochemicals developments. The firm's sizeable Mexico City office is also well placed in the market to land big-ticket mandates, including power, renewables and oil and gas projects. It advised BP on the first midstream system in Mexico composed of two storage terminals (Veracruz and Hidalgo) linked by an oil products transportation pipeline. Erick Hernández Gallego and Fernando Orrantia Dworak are key names in Mexico City. Los Angeles' Jeffrey Chester, global co-head of energy project finance, has a lengthy history of advising on renewable energy projects in Mexico.
Iskender Catto; William Garner; Kenneth Minesinger
BP Estaciones y Servicios Energéticos
KST Electric Power Company
CEIBO – Hudson Sustainable Group
- Advised BP on the first midstream system in Mexico composed of two storage terminals (Veracruz and Hidalgo) linked by an oil products transportation pipeline.
- Represented KST Electric Power Company in the refinancing for the operation of a 433MW strategic power generation project in Chihuahua, Mexico.
- Advised Hudson Sustainable Group on its inaugural green bond linked to a portfolio of six operating solar PV facilities in Uruguay.
Sidley Austin LLP
Sidley Austin LLP's Houston office has a strong link to Latin America with a notable record in upstream oil and gas M&A and projects in Mexico, Brazil and other major jurisdictions. LNG liquefaction project and LNG supply agreements are another forte, along with power plant developments and project financings. Houston partner Brian Bradshaw is an experienced Latin America specialist.
Squire Patton Boggs has a background in Latin America oil and gas projects and transactions, including major pipeline developments, along with power and renewables matters. Mexico features strongly for the US-based firm, followed by Brazil and other jurisdictions. The Latin America team has genuine project development and project finance expertise. Washington DC partners Paul O’Hop and Alvaro Mestre are the key figures in the group, particularly in relation to Mexico.