Latin Lawyer debt capital markets league table: January-June

Latin Lawyer debt capital markets league table: January-June Credit: iStock.com/MicroStockHub

Some 107 Latin American and international law firms have helped companies in the region raise nearly US$90 billion through 367 debt capital markets deals between January and June of this year, according to Latin Lawyer's data.

Brazilian companies made the most issuances in Latin America between January to June. Latin Lawyer recorded 236 transactions worth a combined US$49 billion. Brazilian outfits Stocche Forbes Advogados; Pinheiro Neto Advogados and Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados top the league table in Brazil and were the busiest Latin American outfits regionwide. They reported 56, 44 and 38 deals respectively.

While it did not land the most deals, Pinheiro Neto's combined deal value of US$14 billion was the highest among all Latin American firms. Stocche Forbes followed with total transactions worth some US$10 billion.

In Spanish-speaking Latin America, companies raised US$40.6 billion across 131 transactions over the six-month period. Argentina's Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal was the busiest firm outside of Brazil, driving through 16 issuances. Barros & Errázuriz Abogados of Chile came next with 13 transactions. Miranda & Amado Abogados in Peru and Tanoira Cassagne Abogados in Argentina also did well. Each reported 11 transactions.

Two Chilean outfits racked up the highest combined deal values. Morales & Besa was involved in issuances worth US$6 billion in total, while Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría (Chile) was not far behind with US$5.9 billion. Outside of Chile, Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC of Mexico made a good showing. Despite only working on two deals, its combined transactional value was US$4.8 billion.

Among international firms, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and Shearman & Sterling LLP worked on the most deals. Cleary landed a place on 18 transactions that raised US$27 billion (the highest combined value of any firm advising clients in the region). Shearman came next, steering 12 deals worth US$15.4 billion in total.

In the corporate world, Engie and Canadian pension fund manager CDPQ-owned Aliança Transportadora de Gás made the largest offering, raising US$3.7 billion for the  purchase of Brazil’s largest gas pipeline company from Petrobras. This was one of the largest debenture issuances ever made under the country’s modern securities regulations. In size, this was closely followed by a US$3 billion debt tap by Petrobras in April.

The sovereigns were also busy. Chile became the first Latin America country to issue green bonds in a transaction worth US$2.4 billion. This followed a separate US$1.9 billion sovereign issuance in May, which was made in local currency. Elsewhere in the region, Mexico tapped the debt markets for US$4.8 billion in two different issuances; Peru offered sovereign bonds worth a combined US$2.5 billion and Uruguay raised US$1.25 billion in a single issuance.

Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Panama were also active in the sovereign debt markets. Combined, they raised a total US$7.15 billion.

Among Brazilian issuers, the power sector was the busiest source of debt taps over the six-month period, with 50 issuances. In Spanish-speaking Latin America, banking and financial services accounted for the most offerings: 57 in total.

Links to round-ups detailing the individual deals can be found here for January-February; March-April and May-June for Brazil, and here for January-February; March-April and May-June for Spanish-speaking Latin America.

Our report is based on deals of any value submitted to Latin Lawyer that were completed between 1 January and 30 June 2019. Firms linked to reported deals were invited to submit other transactions which occurred during this period. We include any transactions conducted under debt capital markets rules set by a relevant securities regulator, including securities, notes, debentures, bonds, debt tender offers. The tables do not include equity transactions, such as IPOs, share placements, Fibras, CKD or tender offers. 

The January-February debt capital markets reports, which were published earlier this year, have not been updated to include deals that were submitted after publication, but these transactions have been factored into the league table results below.

Capital markets deals


Besides Cleary and Shearman, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP were also high performers. They both worked on 11 deals each, raising a combined US$15.8 billion in the first half of 2019. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP was another market leader. Although it only worked on four deals, these transactions were worth US$7.3 billion in total.

Contributing to Cleary and Shearman's standing was a place on multiple big-ticket deals. Petrobras’ US$3 billion debt tap drew counsel from both firms. So did Chile’s sovereign issuance of bonds worth 1.3 trillion pesos (US$1.9 billion).


In Argentina, Tanoira Cassagne had the highest combined deal value of US$906 million, which came from 11 transactions. A significant chunk of this came from YPF’s US$500 million issuance in late June, which also drew counsel from international firms Milbank, Linklaters and Argentine player Estudio O'Farrell Abogados.

Estudio O'Farrell helped firms raise a combined US$665 million. Marval worked on the most deals, which totalled US$288 million.


Brazilian outfits Stocche Forbes; Pinheiro Neto and Mattos Filho top the league table, but Lobo de Rizzo Advogados; Machado Meyer Advogados and Pinheiro Guimarães all performed well, working on 31, 30 and 27 deals respectively. Their deals raised US$18.3 billion in total.


Barros & Errázuriz Abogados closed the most capital markets transactions in Chile, steering 13 in total. It also had the highest deal volume of any local law firm outside Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Other star performers were Morales & Besa, which worked on six, while Carey, Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría (Chile) and Prieto all worked on three each.

Morales & Besa’s transactions had the highest combined deal value, totalling US$6 billion. Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría (Chile) came next with US$5.9 billion. The two firms’ high deal value can be attributed to their work on Chile’s historic US$2.4 billion green bond issue in June, as well as a separate US$1.9 billion sovereign issuance in May.


Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría (Colombia) worked on two deals and registered the highest combined value of US$451 million. The firm worked across from Gómez-Pinzón to help energy distributor TermoCandelaria Power issue debt worth US$410 million, adding significantly to its tally. Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas were also active.


Kuri Breña Sánchez Ugarte y Aznar won the most work in Mexico, landing a role in six deals. Bufete Robles Miaja, S.C.; Galicia Abogados; Greenberg Traurig SC; Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, SC and White & Case (Mexico) all represented clients on two deals each.

Ritch, Mueller helped its clients in issuances totalling US$4.8 billion, which was the largest combined sum reported by any Mexican firm. Robles Miaja and Greenberg Traurig both worked on two deals worth US3.3 billion in total. These involved Mexican telecoms company América Móvil. It made a dual-tranche debt offering worth US$2.25 billion in April, followed by another US$1.1 billion debt tap in June.

Deals in Mexico amounted to US$10.8 billion for the six-month period. These included the regions’ highest value offering outside of Brazil – Mexico’s US$2.8 billion sovereign issuance


In Peru, Miranda & Amado Abogados occupies the top spot, with 11 deals over six months. Its total deal value of US$1.9 billion was also the highest of any Peruvian firm. Estudio Echecopar member firm of Baker McKenzie International follows, with 4 transactions worth a combined US$1.1 billion. Garrigues (Peru) also performed well. Its three reported deals raised a similar amount.

Other markets

Panama saw seven deals in the six-month window, with a combined value of US$2.74 billion. Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee and Morgan & Morgan both won spots on three deals each. The largest issuance was the Panamanian Republic’s US$1 billion debt tap under local law in April – the first-time sovereign bonds have been issued using local law and listed on Panama’s stock exchange. Sullivan & Cromwell advised Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Valores Banistmo as initial purchasers. Latin Lawyer was unable to confirm if other counsel was involved.

Across the Caribbean sea, Pellerano Nadal won a place on the Dominican Republic’s historic US$2.5 billion issue that was completed in June. US$1.5 billion of the issuance was made in US dollars, while the remainder was made in Dominican pesos. This was the only major issuance reported to Latin Lawyer involving a Dominican firm.

Guatemala was also busy in the sovereign debt market; it issued a total of US$1.9 billion in two separate issuances, drawing counsel from Consortium Legal (Guatemala) and QIL+4 Abogados on both occasions. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Hogan Lovells LLP also worked on the two transactions.

One major deal was reported in both Paraguay and Uruguay. Ferrere (Paraguay) and Guyer & Regules worked respectively on each issuance. Cleary and Shearman were also involved in Uruguay’s offering.

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