Banking and finance in Spain
Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy 'can be trusted for difficult and challenging tasks' and is 'strongly committed to meeting tight deadlines'. It advised Banco Santander, BBVA and CaixaBank on the financing granted to Forestalia Renovables for the construction and development of nine wind farms; the €310m financing was the largest bankable power purchase agreement in the market. Ignacio Ruiz-Cámara, who has 'excellent negotiation skills', led the advice on the matter, while Juan Hormaechea acted for the financing entities on the financing granted to Blackstone for the takeover bid for Hispania. The five-partner team also includes Jimena Urretavizcaya, Charles Poole-Warren and Salvador Ruiz Bachs. Senior associate Vanessa Cuellas is recommended, while former senior associate Álvaro Pereda left to join Banco de España.
Clifford Chance's banking and finance lawyers are 'honest and clear in their opinions', 'available' and 'efficient'. The group acts mostly for domestic and international commercial lenders, but also for borrowers and project sponsors. A recent highlight was assisting HSBC and BNP Paribas with the €1.6bn refinancing of Prisa’s debt. In other work, the team advised Banco Santander as agent; BNP Paribas, Banco Santander and Société Générale as bookrunners, underwriters and mandated lead arrangers; and a syndicate of lenders on the €386m senior financing granted to MásMóvil for the acquisition of mobile network operators Pepephone and Yoigo. José Guardo, Carlos Hernández-Canut and Epifanio Pérez, who has 'great negotiation skills', are recommended. Eugenio Fernández-Rico, Felipe Font and María Sabau are senior associates to keep in mind.
Cuatrecasas is experienced in handling refinancings and corporate finance matters. It recently handled numerous instructions regarding the refinancing of debt, for example when assisting the syndicated banks, with Banco Santander as agent, with the €500m refinancing of Elecnor’s corporate debt. On the borrower side, it advised airport operator Aena on obtaining €1.25bn in financing through implementing bilateral loans with eight financial institutions. Héctor Bros is the name to note in Barcelona, while Rafael Mínguez and Fernando Bernad are recommended in the Madrid office. Here, Miguel Cruz made partner in April 2018.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
With Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as adviser, a client can expect 'no surprises', as the team is 'fully reliable' and always 'in control of the whole process'. It advised a syndicate of banks, including Bankia, CaixaBank and Banco Sabadell, on a €1.4bn refinancing, which included a combination of a syndicated committed bond line, a reverse factoring line and a revolving credit facility. Another highlight was acting for the bookrunners, mandated lead arrangers and original lenders (which included Banco Santander and Société Générale) on the €2bn facilities agreement to finance the acquisition of a 20% stake in Gas Natural Fenosa. Ana López has a 'practical approach to difficult issues' and is 'very dedicated to clients'. Iñaki Gabilondo leads the team, which also includes senior associate Cristina Esteve.
In addition to financings, J&A Garrigues SLP handles regulatory work, with particular expertise in fintech matters. Other work included advising Fluidra on the refinancing of debt in connection with its merger with the Zodiac group, which included the granting of a revolving credit facility and an asset-based loan. The group also assisted Farmafactoring España with the granting of a European Investment Bank (EIB) guarantee line to cover the credit risk in a supply chain finance programme to facilitate financings granted to Spanish SMEs. The eight-partner team includes Luis de la Peña, Gonzalo Rivera, José Miguel Pinillos and Gaspar Atienza. Senior associates Jon Goirigolzarri and Xabier Valle are standout lawyers of the next generation.
Linklaters recently advised several private equity houses, including BC Partners and CVC, on the (debt) financing of acquisitions. Other work included assisting a consortium of institutional investors with the financing of the acquisition of Naturgas Energía Distribución from EDP. The client portfolio also includes banks such as Banco Santander, Société Générale and Deutsche Bank. Alejandro Ortiz, Pedro De Rojas and Juan Barona are partners to note. Patricia Álvarez was promoted to counsel in May 2018 and is recommended along with managing associates Begoña Martínez and Francisco Sáinz-Trápaga.
Uría Menéndez offers 'tailor-made advice' and 'very strong knowledge of banking regulations'. It assisted a syndicate of lenders led by BBVA with the refinancing of Celsa Group's financial debt, and advised Abanca on the sale of a portfolio of unsecured non-performing loans (NPLs) with an aggregate outstanding balance of €477m to debt collection specialist EOS. Sebastián Sáenz de Santa María, Carlos de Cárdenas Smith, and Isabel Aguilar and Carolina Albuerne (both counsel) are also recommended. Ángel Pérez 'puts the client's needs above anything else'.
Several of Ashurst LLP's clients highlight its banking and finance team's 'client-focused approach'. It advised Barclays on the acquisition of credits worth €717m, and assisted Morzal Properties Iberia with borrowing €489m under a facility agreement for the partial purchase of real estate assets. Manuel López is 'very practical and quick', and provides 'thorough and well-founded advice'. The 'always helpful and available' Fernando Navarro leads the team together with José Christian Bertram. Senior associate Alfonso García has a 'proactive attitude, a hands-on approach' and 'remarkable project management skills'. Counsel Josefina García Pedroviejo, an expert in financial regulation, joined from Uría Menéndez in April 2018.
The 'practical and results-oriented' team at Baker McKenzie 'always pushes for the best interests of its clients'. It acted for Crédit Agricole CIB on the refinancing of a facility agreement granted to Grupo Villar Mir in order to increase the principal amount by €150m. Financing work included assisting Gransolar with securing the financing of a solar power plant. Francisco Bauzá is 'dedicated' and Rossanna D’Onza 'offers practical solutions'. Ana García, who leads the financial services regulation practice, completes the three-partner practice. Carlos Gutierrez left to join BROSETA Abogados in January 2018. Marcel Enrich left the firm.
DLA Piper LLP's client portfolio includes numerous banks, such as BBVA, CaixaBank and Société Générale. It advised a syndicate of banks led by Banco Santander on the financing of Técnicas Reunidas' new working capital. On the borrower side, it assisted Neinor Homes with a bridge facility agreement granted by JP Morgan; as it is governed by English law, Madrid-based Spain and UK qualified lawyers cooperated on this matter. Practice head Jesús Zapata, Ricardo Plasencia and César Herrero are recommended.
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo's banking and finance team is 'easy to work with' and 'very helpful'. In a major highlight, it advised a syndicate of lenders on the €1.2bn refinancing of debt held by Abengoa to avoid the public company's insolvency. Borrower-side assistance included acting for Fuerza y Energía Limpia de Tizimin, the sponsor, on the financing of a 75MW wind farm in Mexico. Key names are Miguel Lamo de Espinosa, Rafael Aguilera and Fernando Igartua, while Fernando Herrero is recommended at senior associate level.
The 'responsive and proactive' BROSETA Abogados offers 'top-level advice at a reasonable cost'. It advised funds managed by Oaktree Capital on the acquisition of a secured NPL portfolio from Banco Sabadell with an outstanding balance in excess of €1bn. The 'smart, proactive and experienced' Antonio Navarro leads the team. Now head of the banking and finance practice in Madrid, Carlos Gutiérrez joined from Baker McKenzie in January 2018.
For mid-market banking and finance transactions, CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo is a strong choice. Two of the larger financing transactions handled recently were advising Banco Popular on the negotiation with JP Morgan of a €572m term loan facility agreement, and assisting Gamut Capital Management with a $215m financing granted to IAC Group. Abraham Nájera leads the team. Curra Munuera left in May 2018 to work in house at Banco Caminos, while counsel Ignacio Ramos joined from Clifford Chance in July 2018.
Dentons provides 'solid expertise' and 'excellent availability'. Recently, it assisted Global Bankers Capital with a €65m financing to media group Grupo Secuoya. It also handled a €42.5m leveraged buyout financing when advising Banco Santander and Bankia, as lenders, on the acquisition of Unión Martín. Jesús Mardomingo and Jabier Badiola lead the banking and finance team and Jesús Varela advises on real estate financing. Senior associate Luis Máiz is 'very diligent' and 'good at putting the client in contact with relevant stakeholders across Europe'.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP handles plenty of cross-border structured finance transactions. It frequently advises lenders such as Société Générale, Bankinter, BBVA and Deutsche Bank. In addition, Banco Santander and a syndicate of financial institutions retained the group to advise on the financing granted to Ence Energía y Celulosa for the refinancing of existing debt and for additional financing for acquisitions and a new biomass project. Gonzalo Martín de Nicolás joined EY Abogados in 2019.
Pérez-Llorca has a strong client portfolio including Bankia, CaixaBank, Citibank and BNP Paribas. Recent work includes assisting the DE Shaw group with the acquisition of a €550m NPL portfolio, and advising a pool of banks on refinancing the indebtedness of Zodiac Pool Solutions and Fluidra. Fausto Romero-Miura and practice head Ander Valverde are recommended. Pedro Marques da Gama made partner in January 2018 and Ildefonso Arenas joined from DLA Piper LLP in September 2018. Marcel Enrich, who is based in the Barcelona office, was a new arrival in 2020.
Clients appreciate Ramón y Cajal Abogados' 'personal treatment', 'efficiency' and 'accurate documentation'. Javier Menchén assisted BBVA with the sale of a €660m portfolio of credits and loans secured by real estate collaterals while Amado Giménez Bono advised Banco Sabadell on the financing granted to Iberia Explotaciones Solares for the acquisition of eight photovoltaic plants. The firm also has a strong financial regulation practice.
Araoz & Rueda offers the 'direct engagement of senior lawyers', with Rafael Bazán the name to note for banking and finance. Notable instructions include advising renewable energy companies Alten and Grupo Ortiz on the refinancing of two photovoltaic projects, and assisting Norwegian debt management company Axactor with the acquisition of two NPL portfolios from Bankinter.
Hogan Lovells International LLP acts for Spanish (Banco Santander and BBVA) and international banks (BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank) as well as private equity houses. An acquisition finance highlight was assisting CaixaBank and a syndicate of lenders with the financing for the acquisition of a majority stake in language school Kids&Us. Alfredo Barona and José Luis Vázquez lead the practice.
Jones Day's banking and finance team 'always delivers': it is 'responsive, to the point and well coordinated'. Work highlights included assisting Finacity and ING Bank with a trade receivables securitisation facility for Ferroglobe, and advising Bankia, Banco Santander and CaixaBank on a term loan granted to Isolux Corsán. Javier López Antón has an 'acute business sense' and is 'highly dedicated', and Fernando Lillo 'goes out of his way to find a solution'. 'Hard-working' senior associate Sergio Cires shows 'excellent efficiency and commitment'. Andrés Lorrio and of counsel Vanessa Armas are also recommended.
King & Wood Mallesons
King & Wood Mallesons' banking and finance team is led by Joaquín Sales. A main client is the EIB, which retained the team to advise on the granting of mortgages as security for a facility financing the construction of affordable social housing, and to assist with the financing of the construction and operation of nine wind plants. BBVA, Banco Santander and private equity houses such as Portobello Capital and MCH Private Equity are also clients.
ONTIER advised digital learning platform developer Netex on the refinancing of a bilateral agreement with a syndicate of four banks and handled various refinancings of debt. Oscar Murillo and Ramon Ruiz de la Torre are noted. The highly recommended Alberto Manzanares joined from Clifford Chance in June 2018.
Latham & Watkins LLP advised Morgan Stanley as lead lender on a term loan and revolving credit facility for Altran Technologies’ acquisition of design and engineering company Aricent. In another matter, it assisted the lenders, including Banco Santander, with the ongoing refinancing of the existing facilities agreement of real estate company Altamira. Counsel Fernando Colomina and senior associate Joaquín Fabré are the names to note.
Roca Junyent's 'innovative' team has 'strong technical capabilities', and 'shows care and adds value'. It has a strong client portfolio including numerous foreign banks such as Haitong Bank, Kreditech and UniCredit. A highlight was advising medical equipment and devices manufacturer Werfenlife on the €356m financing granted by CaixaBank for the acquisition of Accriva Diagnostics. The 'superb' Pablo Rodríguez's 'ability to negotiate under pressure and tight timings makes him outstanding in high-profile and complex transactions' and Xavier Foz Giralt is also recommended.
The 'approachable and proactive' team at Simmons & Simmons has valuable international expertise. Together with the real estate department, the banking and finance group advised Redevco Iberian Ventures on the acquisition (€160m) and financing (€90m) of around 70% of the gross leasable area in the Parque Corredor shopping centre. Álvaro Muñoz is recommended.
White & Case LLP handled several refinancings of existing debt. A highlight with a strong international component was advising the Bank of China and a syndicate of Chinese banks on a €6.8bn multi-currency syndicated financing to China Investment Corporation for the acquisition of Logicor from Blackstone. Yoko Takagi is the name to note.
Bird & Bird has niche expertise in aviation and sport finance. For example, it advised Macquarie Bank on two separate loan facilities granted to Atlético Madrid. The group, which is led by José Luis Lorente, added payment industry expertise with Adrián Calvo joining as senior associate in April 2018 from an in-house position at Visa.
Deloitte Legal's banking and finance team is 'always available and polite'. It handles transactional due diligence and financing work, and has a particular focus on regulatory matters. For example, it advised multiple financial entities, such as Bankia, Ibercaja, Liberbank and Banco Santander, on the new MiFID II and European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). Francisco Javier Ramírez is 'able to manage difficult situations as well as find solutions to day-to-day issues', and his negotiation capabilities are 'remarkable'.
The 'excellent' KPMG Abogados is particularly strong on the regulatory side. Other work included assisting Banco Santander with the financing structure for the €540m acquisition by a Spanish company of six Airbus aircraft, and advising Bankia, as agent of a syndicate of financial entities, on a financing structure for the restructuring and refinancing of a company. Francisco Uría heads the team, which in May 2018 saw the addition of Alfonso González Espejo, who joined from an in-house position at Bankia.
Osborne Clarke is 'efficient in negotiations' thanks to 'knowing and understanding the client's needs'; Barcelona-based practice head Eduard Arruga 'knows all relevant contract clauses very well'. A highlight instruction was assisting Grifols with its €6.3bn restructuring of indebtedness and with negotiating an €85m facility agreement with the EIB.
Ventura Garcés & López-Ibor
At Cases&Lacambra, Miguel Cases and Toni Barios advise on a broad range of banking and finance matters. Recent work includes handling the acquisition of NPLs and, in a separate matter, assisting a US-based investment fund with securing a €15m real estate project financing for the refurbishment of buildings.
EY Abogados offers 'negotiation soft skills' coupled with 'in-depth knowledge of legal matters regarding financings'. It recently advised Metalcaucho, as borrower, on the €55m refinancing of existing debt. Senior manager José Millán provides 'very helpful guidance on picking the right battles'. Gonzalo Martín de Nicolás was a new arrival in 2019 from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. Jesús Estévez is now with Fieldfisher JAUSAS.