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, and the majority has postgraduate studies and working experience in reputable law firms abroad.

Areas of practice

Banking and Finance: the firm represents international and Mexican banks and other financial intermediaries in secured and unsecured, bilateral and syndicated lending transactions of different levels of complexity. the firm has also participated in the incorporation of most of the financial affiliates (banking and broker dealers) and representative offices of foreign financial institutions currently established in Mexico and provides advice in respect of diverse regulatory issues.

Capital Markets: the firm represents international and local broker dealers and investment banks, as well as issuers, in respect of private and public offerings, both domestic and international.

M&A: the firm advises purchasers and sellers (including local and international private equity firms) on mergers and acquisitions involving publicly traded and private companies in Mexico.

Energy and infrastructure Projects: the firm focuses on advising sponsors and consortiums in all stages of the implementation of their projects in Mexico.

Real Estate: the firm represents developers, lenders and private equity investors in connection with real estate projects involving all asset classes.

Restructurings & Insolvency: the 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. The firm has successfully reorganized businesses in the fields of aviation, satellite communications, housing and real estate development, industrial production and telecommunications.

Aviation: the firm has developed significant experience and expertise in all aspects of aviation law, representing clients in the development of Mexican airport infrastructure and in the financing of aircraft objects and space assets.

Arbitration and Mediation: the firm has built a solid reputation in the field of institutional and ad hoc mediation and arbitration. Several partners are members of the Mexican Mediation Institute. Partners have chaired international panels under the ICC Court of Arbitration in Paris.

Competition and Antitrust: the firm has experience representing Mexican and international clients in connection with a variety of Mexican antitrust issues, specifically in the field of merger control and unfair competition cases.

Environmental and Social impact: the environmental and social impact group is fully integrated with all other practice areas. Services are focused on environmental, regulatory and sociocultural aspects of energy, industrial, infrastructure and real estate projects

Tax: the firm has a multidisciplinary tax practice that provides targeted tax advice in transactions within all other practice areas. The team of tax professionals is active in structuring and implementing projects, seeking tax-efficient solutions within the confines of regulatory compliance and in line with recent Mexican court precedents.

Compliance, Anti-Corruption and investigations: Our firm has advised Mexican and international clients in connection to their corporate practices relating to their Mexican operations. It has a strong practice through which the firm advices companies and their shareholders to develop and implement compliance programs and corporate governance mechanisms seeking to effectively mitigate legal and regulatory risks in Mexico.


Department Name Email Telephone
Aviation Octavio Olivo Villa
Aviation Federico Santacruz González
Arbitration and Mediation Thomas S Heather
Banking and Finance Jean Paul Farah Chajín
Banking and Finance Eduardo Triulzi Garciadiego
Banking and Finance Pablo Perezalonso Eguía
Banking and Finance Ricardo Calderón
Capital Markets Luis A Nicolau Gutiérrez
Capital Markets Gabriel del Valle Mendiola
Capital Markets Carlos Obregón
Capital Markets José Berrueta Ochoa
M&A Luis A Nicolau Gutiérrez
M&A Carlos Obregón Rojo
Compliance, Anti-Corruption and Investigations Luis Dantón Martínez
Compliance, Anti-Corruption and Investigations Thomas S Heather
Energy and Infrastructure Projects Thomas Mueller Gastell
Energy and Infrastructure Projects Jorge Oria y Anaya
Energy and Infrastructure Projects Federico Santacruz González
Energy and Infrastructure Projects Gabriel del Valle
Energy and Infrastructure Projects Asaf Jiménez Adorno
Energy and Infrastructure Projects Octavio Olivo Villa
Environmental and Social Impact Hector A Garza Cervera
Real Estate Rodrigo Conesa Labastida
Real Estate Javier Domínguez Torrado
Real Estate Ricardo Calderón
Restructuring and Insolvency Thomas S Heather
Tax Oscar A. López Velarde
Tax Santiago Llano Zapatero
Competition and Antitrust Octavio Olivo Villa
Competition and Antitrust James E. Ritch
Partners : 20
Counsel : 1
Other fee earners : 84