US law firm White & Case LLP has been rated as the number one legal adviser in Latin America and the Caribbean for matters relating to project finance. The table, published by Dealogic on July 13, is based on the first half of 2004.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the international body responsible for safeguarding the global financial system against money laundering and terrorist financing, has removed Guatemala from its list of non-cooperative countries and territories (NCCTs). FATF announced the decision on July 2.
US satellite television company DirecTV Latin America LLC (DTVLA) has emerged from Chapter 11 proceedings after almost a year since it first filed for bankruptcy protection. The proceedings closed on February 24.
Costa Rica has announced that it will be joining the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Last year the US signed the agreement with four other Central American countries: El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. The announcement was made on January 25.
Project finance research company Dealogic ProjectWare has released its analysis of Latin American project finance in 2003. The report rates Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP “the top legal adviser in the Latin American & Caribbean project finance market for a fifth consecutive year with eight deals worth US$1.44 billion”. The report was published on January 19.
Central American bank holding companies Corporación UBC Internacional SA and the Panaholding Group SA have agreed to merge. They executed an agreement on November 26 in Panama City, which will create the largest financial group of the Central American region, holding over US$4 billion in assets.
English banking group Lloyds TSB is to sell its Guatemalan, Honduran and Panamanian banking operations to affiliates of El Salvador’s Banco Cuscatlán, for approximately US$82 million. A purchase agreement and transitional services agreement were signed on December 1, and the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2004, following regulatory approvals.
The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) has opened a US$150 million US commercial paper programme, backed by a letter of credit. The programme documentation became effective on November 18.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has founded a group dedicated to the exchange of information and discussion of the most important problems surrounding arbitration in Latin America. Founding members of the Grupo Latinoamericano CCI de Arbitraje (ICC Latin American Arbitration Group) were invited to join on September 3, and first meeting will be held in Paris on August 25, 2004.
As negotiations for the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) continue, some of the more difficult issues have started to come up for discussion. The eighth round occurred in Costa Rica on October 20, and followed a visit to the country from US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick on October 1.