White & Case Deals Win Infrastructure Deal of the Quarter Century, Two 2013 Infrastructure Finance Deal Awards from LatinFinance
White & Case advised on the deal that won Infrastructure Deal of the Quarter Century from business publication LatinFinance and on two deals that won LatinFinance's Infrastructure Finance Awards 2013—one for Best Renewable Energy Financing and the other for Best Mining Financing. In addition, White & Case won LatinFinance's Infrastructure Finance Awards 2013--Best Infrastructure Law Firm.
LatinFinance awarded the Infrastructure Deal of the Quarter Century to the 2010 Norbe VIII and IX drillship bond financing. White & Case represented Santander Investment Securities Inc., HSBC Securities (USA) Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and BB Securities Limited, as initial purchasers, in the US$1.5 billion notes offering by Odebrecht Drilling Norbe VIII/IX Ltd., a Cayman Islands subsidiary of Odebrecht Óleo e Gás S.A. (OOG), the oil and gas division of the Odebrecht Group.
In bestowing the award, LatinFinance commented that "Project bonds have long been seen as a tool that could revolutionize infrastructure finance in Latin America, opening funding possibilities on a scale not possible through bank lending. And as oil production in Brazil's pre-salt fields transforms the scale of that industry, drill ships will become a major component of the region's infrastructure build-out." It continued, "As the first large issue from a Latin borrower for a drilling rig…the $1.5 billion deal…wins infrastructure deal of the quarter century for paving the way in the bond market for more such deals. Others, for floating service vessels, wind farms and toll roads, have followed in recent years, piggybacking on the broadening of access for LatAm's corporate issuers."
The financing of two wind farm projects in southern Mexico—the Oaxaca II and IV wind farm projects—won LatinFinance's Infrastructure Finance Awards 2013—Best Renewable Energy Financing. White & Case represented BBVA, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Santander and Société Générale as lead managers of bond offerings for the two projects. According to LatinFinance, "the deal stands out for attracting bond investors to a new type of risk" and "as the first of its kind, the deal has shown that the Latin renewable energy projects can be financed through the bond market." The deal also received Project Finance magazine's 2012 Latin American Project Bond Deal of the Year award.
Largo Resources' Maracás project financing in Bahia, Brazil won LatinFinance's Infrastructure Finance Awards 2013—Best Mining Financing. White & Case advised three Brazilian banks—Banco Itaú BBA, Banco Bradesco and Banco Votorantim—in connection with a US$169 million eight-year loan facility provided to Vanádio de Maracás Ltda., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Largo Resources Ltd., the Canadian mineral resource exploration and development company, for the development of its Maracas Vanadium Project in the State of Bahia. This asset, due to come into production in late 2013, is set to become one of the world’s biggest suppliers of vanadium, a metal used to strengthen steel. The Maracás financing was led and financed entirely by the Brazilian banks and is the first greenfield mining project ever to be fully financed by Brazilian banks.
The financing was, according to LatinFinance, "notable for having introduced a guaranteed, non-recourse loan structure to the marketplace” and “helps pave the way for further non-recourse transactions" in Brazil. The deal also received Project Finance magazine’s Latin American Mining and Metals Deal of the Year Award 2012.