White & Case Named Best Infrastructure Law Firm in Latin America by LatinFinance, Firm Transactions Win Five LatinFinance Infrastructure Finance Awards
White & Case was named the "Best Infrastructure Law Firm in Latin America" by LatinFinance, a leading Latin American financial publication. In addition, the Firm advised on four transactions that won five LatinFinance Infrastructure Finance Awards.
"The sheer volume and variety of transactions that White & Case has executed in Latin American infrastructure in the past year demonstrates their presence and penetration in the region," says LatinFinance. "The firm has represented Latin America's largest sponsors and lenders on projects that are providing solid footing for domestic growth and development."
White & Case infrastructure work noted by LatinFinance spans the width and breadth of Latin America. Highlights include the Panama Canal expansion, financing supporting the Kelar power plant and Metro de Santiago projects in Chile, the Matarani port project and the US$7 billion Las Bambas copper mine acquisition in Peru, and the Los Ramones II Sur and Norte acquisition in Mexico, as well as offshore drilling projects in Brazil and road and sanitation projects in Panama.
The winning transactions were:
Best Mining Financing and Best Infrastructure Financing Brazil—CSP Financing Packaging for a New Steel Plant
We represented BNDES in connection with a US$3.1 billion loan to Companhia Siderugica do Pecem (CSP). CSP is building a steel mill in the northeastern Brazilian State of Ceará and once operational will produce three million tons of steel products. CSP is owned by Vale (50 percent), Dongkuk Steel (30 percent) and Posco (20 percent). BNDES is providing US$1 billion in funding and KEXIM, K-Sure and certain commercial lenders have agreed to provide $2.1 billion in funding.
According to LatinFinance, "This $3.1 billion term loan package attracted a variety of funding sources and closed amid a tough market. Moreover, it has further opened the door for Korean funding for infrastructure—in a country that is scaling back its domestic development bank as it rolls out billions of dollars in concessions."
Best Transport Financing—Metro de Santiago Expansion Financing
We represented Empresa de Transporte (Metro), the owner and sole operator of the subway system in Santiago, Chile, in connection with the US$800 million multisource financing of equipment and systems, including rolling stock, for two new subway lines and upgrades to the existing subway lines. The financing is being extended by Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, KfW IPEX GmbH, ING Bank, Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Santander Bank, N.A. and Société Génerale S.A. under a CESCE and COFACE covered facility and a separate uncovered facility.
White & Case also represented Metro earlier in 2014 in its inaugural offering in the international capital markets of US$500 million notes, through a Rule 144A/Regulation S issuance.
Metro "set new records for itself and raised the bar for project financing in Chile with this financing," noted LatinFinance. The US$1.3 billion package "is Chile's largest infrastructure deal outside of the mining sector" and also contains Metro's "largest single commercial bank loan and its first international bond in its 45-year existence."
Best Port Financing—Tisur Project Financing in Peru
We represented Terminal Internacional del Sur S.A. (Tisur), as borrower, and Santa Sofia Puertos S.A., as sponsor, in the US$280 million non-recourse project financing of the expansion of the Matarani Port in the Islay district of Arequipa, Peru, which is being provided by a group of top-tier international commercial banks. The expansion project is expected to more than double the port's handling capacity through the development, construction and operation of dedicated mining concentrate storage, handling and shipping facilities supported by ship-or-pay agreements with major mining companies in Peru. The borrower and the sponsor are members of the Romero Group, the largest industrial and financial group in Peru, and the Matarani Port, after the expansion is completed, will be the second-largest port in Peru.
"The leaders on the financing backing this Peruvian port demonstrated incredible reserves of flexibility and dedication," commented LatinFinance. "From negotiating underlying supply contracts and government concessions to revamping the deal to accommodate an acquisition, this US$380 million loan is emblematic of how experienced project financiers with regional expertise combined with committed sponsors can overcome significant hurdles."
Best Power Financing—Kelar IPP Project in Chile
We represented KEXIM and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Natixis, New York Branch, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, as mandated lead arrangers and lenders, in the design, engineering, procurement, construction, financing, ownership, operation and maintenance of Kelar S.A., an up to 517 MW combined-cycle gas power plant located in the province of Antofagasta, Chile.
LatinFinance commented, "The Kelar combined-cycle gas-fired power plant in Chile has brought together some of the strongest international sponsors and commercial lenders with sovereign debt. The diverse package, signed in October 2014, included a $196 million direct loan from the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim), $249 million in commercial bank debt, a short term $40 million VAT facility and $32 million in letters of credit."