Firm Profile > Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. > Mexico City, Mexico

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

Banking and finance Tier 1

For one source, Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. is the ‘gold standard’ for banking and finance work in Mexico. The lawyers are ‘reliable and available’, display an international outlook, and have a ‘particularly unique and effective ability to convey Mexican civil law legal standards and concepts in a manner which is familiar and comforting to banking clients in Canada, the USA and Europe’. The 39-strong team works for national and international banks and underwriters, issuers, private equity firms and multilaterals on matters ranging from Mexico portfolio development to complex structures related to all types of financing transactions. Recent activity having focused on the energy and real estate sectors: the team assisted Reforma 509, for example, as borrower in a $41m Senior Credit from BBVA Bancomer for the financing of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Mexico City. The mandate was led by ‘always available, highly experienced, knowledgeable and pragmatic’ practice head Jean Paul Farah Chajín who is valued for his ‘superb manner with business people and lawyers alike’. Luis Nicolau acted for the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Citigroup Global Markets, HSBC Bank USA, and JPMorgan Chase Bank in connection to a credit agreement of $710m granted to Alpek. Less active but still a reference in the market (‘one of the best finance lawyers’ according to a peer), Thomas Heather represented PNC Financial Services Group and PNC Bancorp, as the major shareholders of BlackRock, in the acquisition of Citibanamex's investment management business. In other work, Pablo Perezalonso represented HSBC in connection with a second placement of $100m subordinated obligations. Key support comes from senior associate Gabriel Robles Beistegui: ‘a knowledgeable and eminently pragmatic and effective lawyer, who has flawless English and whose acute awareness of North American and European service standards shines through in his everyday communications and advice’. Other names to note include Eduardo Triulzi Garciadiego, Jorge Oria y Anaya, Gabriel del Valle Mendiola, Octavio Olivo Villa, Federico Santacruz González, Ricardo Calderón Mendoza, Jose Berrueta Ochoa, senior associates Santiago Carrillo Cattori and Ana Casasús, and associates Mariana Padilla and Mariana Campos Clasing. Clients include Obrascón Huarte Laín Desarrollos, SabCapital, Banorte, Santander, Morgan Stanley, Banco Inbursa, Terrafin, and Banco del Bajío.

Bankruptcy and restructuring Tier 1

Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. acts on national and cross-border restructurings and insolvencies and has been active in the aviation, satellite communications, housing and real estate development, and telecoms sectors, recently. The team’s lawyers have acted as insolvency administrators, foreign representatives and liquidators in recent bankruptcy proceedings, with practice head Thomas Heather being one of two Mexican lawyers (along with SOLCARGO’s Fernando Pérez-Correa Camarena) who acts as comptroller, receiver or conciliator (insolvency trustee) in mandates. Indeed, recent highlights saw Heather take on the role of conciliator in the $3.5bn restructuring of Empresas ICA and its subsidiaries, the largest insolvency proceeding in Mexico and Latin America. In other work, the group is assisting Corporación Geo in the additional restructuring of Geo Hogares Ideales, involving indebtedness of over $400m; represented JP Morgan, as a creditor, in the final restructuring of Altos Hornos and subsidiaries, valued at over $1bn; and Scotiabank Inverlat, also as creditor, in the commercial bankruptcy proceeding of Isolux Mexico. Heather, who was appointed a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy in 2019, heads1 the 22-strong practice group; associate Adriana Padilla is also very active in this area. Other clients include MG Polimeros, International Finance Corporation, Sears and Gerald Metals Mexico.

Capital markets Tier 1

According to one client  Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. ‘has the most solid team across all levels compared to its peers’; the lawyers’ ‘level of detail and their business sense is unparalleled’. Eight partners and 16 associates handle capital markets matters, namely advising issuers and underwriters on both equity and debt offerings, at both a national and an international level, as well as on structured products, including novel financial instruents such as CKDs. In recent work, the practice represented Citigroup Global Markets, HSBC Securities and JP Morgan Securities, as dealer managers and solicitation agents, in the $1.8bn buyback offer launched by issuer Mexico City Airport Trust (MEXCAT),  to the holders of the $6bn of MEXCAT’s international notes; acted as special Mexican counsel to HSBC Securities, JP Morgan Securities, Scotia Capital and UBS Securities on Pemex's rule 144A/Reg S $2bn debt offering;and advised Mexico Infrastructure Partners América Latina (EXI América Latina) on the establishment of a private equity fund, through a CERPI issuace of up to MXP$3bn of Series A certificates (and up to MXP$7.5bn of optional co-investment Series B Certificates), for investment in energy and infrastructure projects in Peru, Mexico, Chile and Colombia. Other headline mandates included acting as special Mexican counsel to Barclays Capital, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley et al, as underwriters on the United Mexican States $2bn global notes isssue, due 2029. The practice is co-lead by ‘capital markets guruLuis A Nicolau Gutiérrez and Gabriel del Valle Mendiola. Nicolau ‘is the most qualified to provide legal advice in highly complex transactions’; ‘his knowledge of the law and how markets work is beyond comparison’. Del Valle Mendiola has a ‘wide understanding of transactions under the Mexican capital markets regulation’; the very active Carlos Obregón Rojo is also recommended; other notable team members include Pablo Perezalonso, Eduardo Triulzi Garciadiego, José Berrueta, and associates Joshua Párraga Saggiante, Gabriel Robles Beistegui, Javier Barrera, and Roberto Rosas.

Corporate and M&A Tier 1

Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. has a first class practice that is often selected to advise on the country's largest corporate deals. Lately the firm has been involved in several major transactions in the financial services sector, such as advising Banorte on its US$3bn-plus merger with Interacciones, the largest such merger in the Mexican financial services market. The firm also advised UBS on its sale of Grupo Financiero UBS to Afirmo Grupo Financiero. The team is also active in private equity and represented Linzor Capital on its acquisition of the online Mexican university, UTEL. Carlos Obregón Rojo leads the 24-strong practice group, including seven partners. Luis Nicolau and Rodrigo Conesa (who also has a strong niche advising real estate investment funds), Jean Paul Farah and Eduardo Triulzi are all high profile practitioners.

Energy and natural resources Tier 1

Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. has  an excellent track-record advising sponsors, lenders and developers on energy infrastructure projects, financings and acquisitions. The seven-partner team is jointly led by Federico Santacruz González and Jorge Oria y Anaya, who is praised for his 'broad sector-knowledge coupled with an invaluable commercial approach'. The practice group has a deep bench of experienced partners and associates, including the 'truly outstanding' Thomas Mueller-Gastell and Gabriel del Valle Mendiola. Recent mandates include advising EVM Energia on the $161m financing for the development of two combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plants in the state of Mexico. The firm also advised NordLB and DBTCA on the $814m refinancing, including a $450m bond issue, of the Fermaca El Encino gas pipeline.

Projects and infrastructure Tier 1

Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. is 'a perennial leader in this sector', especially for hydrocarbons and power-related projects where the firm represents a mix of lenders, sponsors and other investors. Thomas Mueller-Gastell leads the seven-partner team that has deep bench of highly-rated partners, such as Federico Santacruz, who is 'a leading light of the Mexican energy bar'. Other key individuals include Gabriel del Valle Mendiola, Jorge Oria y Anaya and Asaf Jimenez Adorno. On the lender-side, the firm advised NordLB and DBTCA on the $814m refinancing of the Fermaca El Encino gas pipeline. The team also represented Recurrent Energy Mexico Development, a subsidiary of Canada's Solar International, on the $45m financing for the development and operation of a photovoltaic power plant.

Real estate Tier 1

'Without doubt one of the leading firms for real estate' matters in Mexico, Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. handles prmarily high-end domestic transactions. The group represented Fibra MTY, for example, as purchaser and landlord in the $135m sale-and-lease-back of Whirlpool’s corporate and industrial campus in Monterrey, comprising offices, manufacturing facilities and distribution buildings in an area of 384,451m². Other noteable mandates include advising a joint venture between Walton Street and Copri on land acquisitions and the development of a MXP$2bn high-end housing complex in the area known as Parque la Mexicana; Thor Urbana in connection with the MXP$537m acquisition of Artha Capital’s interest in the development of a mixed-use project in Tijuana; and Thor Urbana Capital on its $75m acquisition of a shopping centre in Cancun. It also advised MREIT, a real estate private equity fund sponsored by Credit Suisse in Mexico, on a $53m loan secured by real estate assets in favour of Grupo Jomer; and Walton Street Capital on its  $183m acquisition of the JW Marriot hotel in Mexico City. Rodrigo Conesa leads the 19-strong team; he is ‘superb’ and ‘definitely a star player’; Javier Domínguez Torrado is the other key name to note; senior associates Gabriel Torres, Santiago Carrillo Cattori  and Héctor Cárdenas Ortega provide 'steady support'. Other clients include CCLA (a joint venture between CIM and Compass), Ivanhoe Cambridge, DD3 Capital and Reichmann International.

Tax Tier 2

According to one source Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. fields a ‘very talented team of tax professionals with practical experience who go above and beyond from a client service perspective’. Like in the other large full-service corporate firms, the 15-strong team of lawyers and accountants is known especially for its transaction-related work (particluarly its strong sectoral focus in energy), although it does also handle day-to-day matters, contentious work and tax planning. Recent mandates saw the practice group advise Equinor (formerly Statoil) on the tax aspects of its investment structure in Mexico as part of its participation in the National Hydrocarbons Commission concession bidding rounds, including on its consortium with BP Exploration Mexico and Total E&P Mexico; and it represented the EVM Energía group in structuring its joint venture with General Electric to develop an 850MW greenfield combined-cycle power plant, involving private placements and loans amounting to $740m. In real estate, another sector in which the practice has been active, it advised Thor Urbana on the acquisition of the Marina Town Center, a 45,000m² marina complex, and the incorporation of a long-term holding structure for the investment that will allow for a tax-efficient divestment in the future; and CCLA, a $300m CIM Gp / Compass Gp joint venture on the structuring and implementation process of investment in Mexico to develop and operate purpose-built, multi-family, rental-residence buildings across Mexico’s largest cities in partnership with GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. At the helm of the practice is Oscar López Velarde, ‘a trusted and competent tax advisor who, given his past experience, adds a practical approach to resolutions and planning matters’; working alongside him Santiago Llano Zapatero is also recommended; key support comes from senior associates Juan José Paullada Eguirao and Santiago Díaz Rivera, and associates Alonso Miranda Barceló and Diego Hernández Barrios. Other clients include Glencore, EXI/MIP, Grupo Diavaz, Acciona, Hines HRM Investor, G500 and Amundi Asset Mangement.

Competition and antitrust Tier 3

Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. is commended for its '24/7 availability'; when it comes to the clients interests, the 'ownership mentality they have is unparalleled'. Senior counsel James Ritch and partner Octavio Olivo Villa ('always there to help') lead a practice group which handles a healthy mix of merger-clearance work as well as cases before COFECE and the Federal Institute of Telecommunications. The team has recently been representing a major client in the regulator's investigation into alleged monopolistic practices in the trading of government debt.

Environment Tier 3

Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. has a strong, multi-disciplinary environmental and social impact practice that provides good support to its energy, infrastructure, real estate and corporate teams. The team -which comprises practice head Hector Garza along with a five-strong team of experienced associates (notably seniors Estuardo Anaya and Christian Rosales)- has a particularly strong track-record advising on negotiations with indigenous communities and undertaking social impact assessments. A recent highlight was advising Zuma Energia on social impact matters linked to its development of two photovoltaic projects in Chihuahua and a wind farm in Tamaulipas.

Dispute resolution

Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C. is especially recommended for international arbitration where its lawyers are 'truly world class in their knowledge of procedure, substance, and handling the proceedings'. Thomas Heather and Jorge Oria are both highly experienced in this area, while senior associate Adriana Padilla is considered 'an excellent arbitration lawyer' and 'very effective in cross-examination'.

Ritch Mueller is a top tier firm that strives to achieve results that exceed expectations. We are committed to provide sophisticated legal advice and add value to our clients by delivering high quality legal products and services. We represent domestic and international clients in respect to their business transactions in Mexico, working hand in hand with them in structuring and implementing solutions that meet each of their needs, and measuring our success based on their satisfaction. Our professional team has studied in the most recognized universities in Mexico, United States and Europe,  and the majority has postgraduate studies and working experience in reputable law firms abroad.

Areas of practice

Arbitration and dispute resolution:  Our fiirm has developed a solid reputation in the field of institutional and ad-hoc mediation and arbitration. We have extensive experience in disputes related to in­frastructure and energy project finance, as well as in other sectors such as real estate, financial, commercial, M&A, retail and corporate matters. Our lawyers are active members of the most prestigious national and international institutions and associations related to arbitration. The name partner who heads this practice is a member and co-founder of the Mexican Mediation Institute, and has acted as arbitration, presiding over international panels.

Aviation: Our firm has significant experience and proven exper­tise in all aspects of aviation law. We advise clients in the development of Mexican airport infrastructure and in the pursuit of corporate strategies in this sector and deliver advice for the financing of aircraft objects and space assets. We represent airport developers and operators, aircraft and helicopter manufacturers, engine companies, airlines, satellite launch companies and satellite operator, as well as aircraft lessors, export credit agencies and financial institutions.

Banking and finance:  Our firm represents Mexican, international and multilateral banks, as well as other financial intermediaries in secured and un­secured, non-recourse (asset-backed), bilateral and syndicated lending transactions of different levels of complexity involving Mexican obligors or assets. Our steady presence in the market has allowed us to participate in all phases of the credit cycle, including origination in bull markets as well as restructuring in the context of regional or global crises. We have advised the majority of foreign financial institutions that have established subsidiaries in Mexico, in their authorization processes. Our bank­ing and finance team also advises international and domestic banks, as well as industry organisations such as ISDA and the Mexican Banking Association in their derivatives work in Mexico.

Capital markets: Our firm constantly represents international and local broker dealers and investment banks as well as issuers in private and public offerings of debt and equity secu­rities by Mexican issuers in the international markets. Our domestic expertise covers equity, debt and structured securities offerings, including asset-backed securities, CKDs, CERPIs, FIBRAS-E (MLPs), real es­tate FIBRAS (REITs) and bank capitalisation notes. We also specialise in the establishment and operation of investment funds, as well as in the registration of non-Mexican issuers in the Mexican market and have advised non-Mexican issuers in respect of the offering of non-Mexican securities in Mexico.

Compliance, anti-corruption and investigations: Our firm advises Mexican and multinational clients with respect to sensitive and relevant issues, participat­ing in the development of their Compliance Programs to assist in mitigating risks effectively, as well as in criti­cal crisis response issues, including high stake inves­tigations and the representation of ourclients before enforcement agencies and courts.

Competition and antitrust: Our firm provides advice on the concepts, regulations and procedures associated with merger clearance and merger control issues (such as gun jumping cases and investigations for illegal concentrations) and investiga­tions for abuse of dominance, cartels (including ap­plications to leniency programs), barriers to entry and essential inputs. We also advise clients on the de­sign and implementation of antitrust and competition due diligence and compliance programs. We are particularly active in all aspects of the merger clearance procedure of complex transactions.

Energy and infrastructure projects:  Our firm represents national and international lenders, investors, developers and contractors in connection with the financing, development and implementation of energy and infrastructure projects, including, among others, power (renewables and conventional), oil and gas (upstream, midstream and downstream), roads, water treatment, airports and ports. Our repre­sentation includes all stages of the projects, including project financing, bidding processes, project develop­ment, equity investment and divestiture, due diligence, regulatory matters, permitting, land and rights of way, offtake agreements, engineering, procurement, con­struction, operation, maintenance and other related agreements.

Environmental and social impact:  Our environmental and social impact group is fully integrated with all other practice areas. Our services are fo­cused on environmental, regulatory and sociocultural aspects of energy, industrial, infrastructure and real estate projects, including administrative filings with federal, state, and municipal authorities, environmental impact, environmental due diligence, rulemaking, sociocultural impact assessment, prior consultation, wastes, national waters, emissions to the atmosphere, interpretation of environmental zoning and urban development zoning plans, federal maritime zone, climate change, management of filings to obtain authorizations, permits, and registrations for energy projects, pollution of water, soil, and air.

Mergers and acquisitions: Our firm advises purchasers and sellers (including lo­cal and international private equity firms) in mergers and acquisitions involving publicly traded and private companies in Mexico as well as in respect of sales of cash flow generating assets located in Mexico. We have structured and implemented transactions of vary­ing degrees of complexity (including public tender of­fers, corporate reorganisations and combinations and leveraged acquisitions) involving companies engaged in a wide variety of activities as well as different types of infrastructure assets located throughout Mexico.

Real estate: Our firm represents developers, lenders and private equity investors in connection with real estate projects involving all asset classes. We have vast experi­ence representing real estate investment trusts in their equity and debt investments in Mexico and is familiar with the various tax and regulatory issues that arise in connection with such investments. We are actively involved in the formation of private and public real es­tate funds in Mexico.

Restructurings and insolvency: Our firm has been a leader in major corporate restruc­turings, having participated in some of the largest and most complex national and cross-border restructurings and insolvencies that have arisen in Mexico. We have successfully reorganised businesses in the fields of aviation, satellite communications, housing and real es­tate development, industrial production and telecom­munications, dealing with complex antitrust, deriva­tives and complex financial structures. The partner who heads this practice has participated as conciliator (conciliador), bankruptcy trustee (síndico) and government appointed commissioner in over twenty of the largest bankruptcy proceedings in Mexico, successfully reaching agreements with the majority of the creditors, achieving the preservation of the relevant business. 

 Tax: Our firm has a multidisciplinary tax practice that pro­vides targeted advice in transactions within all other practice areas. We are active in projects seeking tax efficient solutions within the confines of regula­tory compliance and in line with recent Mexican court precedents. We also participate in tax diligence in the context of mergers and acquisitions, transfer pricing analysis, and the review of taw implications of financial models, as well as in audit procedures and tax litigation.


Department Name Email Telephone
Arbitration and Mediation Thomas S. Heather +52 (55) 9178 7054
Aviation Federico Santacruz González +52 (55) 9178 7052
Aviation Octavio Olivo Villa +52 (55) 9178 7040
Banking and Finance Jean Paul Farah Chajín +52 (55) 9178 7033
Banking and Finance Pablo Perezalonso Eguía +52 (55) 9178 7050
Banking and Finance José Berrueta Ochoa +52 (55) 9178 7017
Banking and Finance Gabriel Robles Beistegui +52 (55) 9178 7089
Capital Markets Luis A. Nicolau +52 (55) 9178 7027
Capital Markets Gabriel del Valle Mendiola +52 (55) 9178 7097
Capital Markets Carlos F. Obregón Rojo +52 (55) 9178 7042
Capital Markets José Berrueta Ochoa +52 (55) 9178 7017
Capital Markets Gabriel Robles Beistegui +52 (55) 9178 7089
Compliance, Anti-Corruption and Investigations Thomas S. Heather +52 (55) 9178 7054
Competition and Antitrust Octavio Olivo Villa +52 (55) 9178 7040
Competition and Antitrust James E. Ritch +52 (55) 9178 7057
Energy and Infrastructure Projects Federico Santacruz González +52 (55) 9178 7052
Energy and Infrastructure Projects Jorge Oria y Anaya +52 (55) 9178 7079
Energy and Infrastructure Projects Thomas Mueller-Gastell +52 (55) 9178 7045
Energy and Infrastructure Projects Gabriel del Valle Mendiola +52 (55) 9178 7097
Energy and Infrastructure Projects Asaf Jiménez Adorno +52 (55) 9178 7081
Energy and Infrastructure Projects Alejandra Echeverría González +52 (55) 9178 7051
Environmental and Social Impact Héctor A. Garza Cervera +52 (55) 9178 7065
M&A Carlos F. Obregón Rojo +52 (55) 9178 7042
M&A Luis A. Nicolau +52 (55) 9178 7027
M&A Ricardo Calderón Mendoza +52 (55) 9178 7049
M&A Eduardo Triulzi Garciadiego +52 (55) 9178 7064
Real Estate Rodrigo Conesa Labastida +52 (55) 9178 7029
Real Estate Javier Domínguez Torrado +52 (55) 9178 7039
Real Estate Ricardo Calderón Mendoza +52 (55) 9178 7049
Restructurings and Insolvency Thomas S. Heather +52 (55) 9178 7054
Tax Oscar A. López Velarde +52 (55) 9178 7030
Tax Santiago Llano Zapatero +52 (55) 9178 7009
Photo Name Position Profile
 Gabriel Robles Beistegui photo Gabriel Robles Beistegui Parnter
Mr Jose Berrueta Ochoa  photo Mr Jose Berrueta Ochoa Partner
Mr Ricardo Calderón Mendoza  photo Mr Ricardo Calderón Mendoza Partner
Mr Rodrigo Conesa Labastida  photo Mr Rodrigo Conesa Labastida Partner
Mr Javier Domínguez Torrado  photo Mr Javier Domínguez Torrado Partner.
Miss Alejandra Echeverría González   photo Miss Alejandra Echeverría González  Partner
Mr Jean Paul Farah Chajín  photo Mr Jean Paul Farah Chajín Partner
Mr Hector A. Garza Cervera  photo Mr Hector A. Garza Cervera Partner
Mr Thomas Heather  photo Mr Thomas Heather Partner
Mr Asaf Jimenez Adorno  photo Mr Asaf Jimenez Adorno Partner
Mr Santiago Llano Zapatero  photo Mr Santiago Llano Zapatero Partner
Mr Oscar A. Lopez Velarde  photo Mr Oscar A. Lopez Velarde Partner
Mr Thomas Mueller-Gastell  photo Mr Thomas Mueller-Gastell Partner.
Mr Luis A Nicolau Gutiérrez  photo Mr Luis A Nicolau Gutiérrez Partner.
Mr Carlos Obregón Rojo  photo Mr Carlos Obregón Rojo Partner.
Mr Octavio Olivo Villa  photo Mr Octavio Olivo Villa Partner.
Mr Jorge Oria y Anaya  photo Mr Jorge Oria y Anaya Partner
Mr Pablo Perezalonso photo Mr Pablo Perezalonso Partner
Mr Federico Santacruz González  photo Mr Federico Santacruz González Partner
Mr Eduardo Triulzi Garciadiego  photo Mr Eduardo Triulzi Garciadiego Partner
Mr Gabriel del Valle Mendiola  photo Mr Gabriel del Valle Mendiola Managing Partner
Partners : 21
Counsel : 1
Other fee earners : 86