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Clifford Chance

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Catherine McCarthy

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Clifford Chance

Work Department

Banking & finance, Restructuring & insolvency, Banks, Energy & resources, Telecommunications, media & technology


Catherine McCarthy is a partner in the Americas Energy & Infrastructure Group.  She has extensive experience in power, mining, energy, telecoms, transportation and other infrastructure projects acting for clients including IFC, IDB, Citibank, Natixis, HSBC SMBC, Credit Agricole, CAF, , FMO, Proparco, DEG, BNP Paribas.

Kate is one of firm's main relationship partners in the US for both agency lenders such as IFC, IDB and IIC and commercial banks such as Citibank, HSBC and SMBC. She has significant expertise in ECA financing, having acted for lenders in deals backed by COFACE, SACE, Hermes, US Exim, K-Sure, EKF, EKN, GIEK and CESCE. She also has expertise in multilateral guarantee and insurance products including the World Bank partial risk guarantee and the MIGA sovereign non-honoring and PRI policies.  

Latin America: International firms

Banking and finance

Within: Banking and finance

Clifford Chance has deep experience in a range of jurisdictions and financing products, and the practice has developed a strong roster of agency lender, commercial bank and sponsor/borrower clients. Moreover, with deep expertise in project finance, acquisition finance, asset finance for corporates, trade finance and capital markets-linked transactions, the firm is consistently at the forefront of growth sectors. It has achieved real prominence in Argentina, where it helped the government to shape the tender process for its PPP programme, and is now advising a range of bidders for upcoming PPP initiatives. This follows the firm’s key success in Colombia where it has been at the forefront of the government’s fourth generation (4G) toll road programme and in a number of private sector financings. In Peru, it has impressed in energy, toll road and other infrastructure projects, and in Chile it has undertaken various roles in headline renewables project financings. Brazil is also a market where the firm has had a significant presence for many years, with the practice working on a series of major restructurings and refinancings during the nation’s recent period of economic and political difficulties; it is now seeing a solid pipeline of new money financings. The established São Paulo team recently advised a syndicate of five Brazilian lenders on a $235m debt restructuring of leading Latin American petrochemical and plastics company, Unigel Group; the restructuring involved a novel approach involving a corporate reorganisation and an acquisition financing to deleverage the group, with the financing comprised of four syndicated export prepayment facilities and six bilateral loans. In another key deal, the firm advised Bancolombia and Banco Agromercantil de Guatemala (as arrangers and lenders) on a $340m syndicated secured loan to Renace to repay an existing $300m bridge loan to finance the development of the Renace II and Renace III hydroelectric power plants in Guatemala. Other key clients include Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Goldman Sachs, Citibank, SMBC, JP Morgan Chase, IFC, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas, OPIC and Mizuho. Jay Gavigan has an excellent record in Latin America, especially in acquisition finance and syndicated credit along with project finance and restructurings. ‘Very nice guy to deal with’, Chris Willott, is recommended by clients for restructuring expertise – especially in Brazil where he was based for many years, although he is equally adept in new money financings. Gianluca Bacchiocchi has a tremendous profile in project finance, especially in capital markets-linked financings in Peru and Colombia. In Washington DC, Fabricio Longhin takes much of the credit for the firm’s strong connection to IDB and its recent success in Colombia and Argentina. Also in Washington DC, Catherine McCarthy and Lori Ann Bean are noted for their agency-lender and commercial bank relationships; both are frequently involved in Latin America deals. Restructuring partner Jennifer DeMarco has become an experienced figure in the Latin America market and, at the associate level, senior associate Guido Liniado is impressing the market. All named individuals are based in New York unless stated. Charles Adams has transferred to Milan.

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Projects and energy

Within: Projects and energy

Clifford Chance further cemented its formidable position in project bonds and capital markets-driven financings with the hire of New York partner and Argentine native Hugo Triaca from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. The firm, which has ‘great lawyers’, continues to impress with its connections to key investment and commercial banks such as Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, HSBC and BNP Paribas, and also maintains a leading multilateral agency (MLA) practice in Washington DC. The firm has a wealth of Latin American natives working at senior, mid- and junior level, and covers the product range from classic project finance to capital markets fund raisings. It advised Argentina’s Ministry of Finance on the design and implementation of its PPP programme and subsequently represented a number of investors, developers and prospective lenders on projects to be developed under the programme. The firm is also involved in multiple renewable energy projects in Argentina. It continues to be the dominant force in Colombia, where it was engaged on the refinancing of El Dorado airport and seven on-going fourth generation (4G) toll-road financings. Peru is another key market, where it has worked on the headline Lima Metro, Red Dorsal and Longitudinal de la Sierra projects. It is a market leader in Uruguay and Paraguay projects, including renewables and PPP projects, and has a strong presence in other key markets such as Mexico, Brazil and Chile. The firm has advised key parties in a series of Colombia’s 4G road projects, including advising key client Goldman Sachs on the multi-source financing for the Ruta al Mar private-initiative toll road, featuring both bonds and loans. It also advised Altán Redes, a consortium backed by Morgan Stanley and the World Bank, on the 20-year PPP contract to build an open-access wholesale wireless network that will cover more than 92% of the country’s population; it is the first PPP agreement to be executed in the Mexican telecoms industry. In another headline deal, the firm advised the lenders on the $380m financing of the expansion of Line 1 subway in Lima, Peru. Washington DC partner and Argentine native Fabricio Longhin is dedicated to Latin America, with an especially strong record in Argentina and Colombia, including in Colombia’s 4G road programme and Argentina’s RenovAr renewable energy initiative; he is ‘a skilled lawyer’, ‘very business oriented’, ‘lenders like him’ and ‘he has cornered the Argentine market’. New York partner Gianluca Bacchiocchi, who is a ‘smart guy’, ‘incredibly responsive’, ‘one of the best lawyers on the street’ and ‘more knowledgeable and thoughtful than anyone’ according to one client, is a leading name in project bonds, hybrid and multi-source financings, particularly those involving securitisation-type structures; he has an especially strong record in Colombia and Peru. Madrid partner José Guardo is also a key member of the team, having pivotal roles in projects ranging from Mexico down to Argentina. Washington DC partners Catherine McCarthy and Lori Ann Bean are frequent advisers to MLAs and commercial banks on Latin America projects. Former São Paulo partner Chris Willott, who is now in New York, continues to focus on Brazil and the Southern Cone jurisdictions. Senior associate Guido Liniado, who is highly acclaimed by clients, is recognised for Colombia and Argentina projects, while Washington DC senior associates Alberto Haito and Jessica Springsteen are also recommended. Christopher McIsaac, the former co-head of the Americas energy-and-infrastructure group, has retired.

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United States: Finance

Project finance

Within: Project finance

Clifford Chance stands out for its expertise in Latin American project finance mandates, acting for both lenders and sponsors. Fabricio Longhin and Gianluca Bacchiocchi, who is based in New York, advised the Government of Argentina on the structuring and documentation of its public-private partnerships program, launched in 2017 through the Undersecretariat of Public-Private Partnerships (UPPP). Bacchiocchi and New York-based Jonathan Zonis also advised Goldman Sachs and a group of Colombian lenders on the $708m multi-source and multi-currency financing for the 491km Ruta al Mar toll road project in Colombia. Elsewhere, senior counsel David Evans and New York-based David Brinton advised KEPCO and COPA in the acquisition of 235MW of solar generating assets in California; Lori Ann Bean is advising OPIC in connection with a $200m loan to be provided to Kipeto Energy to finance the development and construction of a 100MW wind power generation project in Kajiado, Kenya; and Catherine McCarthy, who is experienced in transport sector deals, advised the IDB Group, Proparco and DEG in relation to the financing of the Port of Posorja in Ecuador, sponsored by DP World. Guido Liniado in New York was promoted to partner in 2019, and senior associates Alberto Haito and Jessica Springsteen are also recommended. Named individuals are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

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