BANKING & FINANCE
The Firm: Clients are highly impressed with the “first-class service” provided by a firm they consider the “crème de la crème of Uruguayan legal professionals.” “Real hand-holders from the word ‘go’, this outfit could hold its own against any US or UK competitor,” according to sources. An enviable client list is one of the firm’s best assets, studded with such top names as HSBC and Banco Itaú. “Unrivalled in Uruguay when it comes to a global outlook,” the team has handled a number of complex loan transactions, including acting on behalf of a number of international banks in a syndicated loan of USD80 million to Uruguayan electricity company UTE. The group represented a number of financial institutions, including Merrill Lynch, Pierce and Fenner & Smith, who were acting as underwriters in the headline-grabbing issuance of sovereign bonds worth USD500 million, the first of its kind since the change of government in 2004.
The Lawyers: Nicolás Herrera is highly recommended by clients for his “immense levels of professionalism and attention to detail.” “Always focusing on the client’s final goal,” he has been involved in some of the country’s most pioneering deals, such as the first venture capital fund focused on Uruguay. Nicolás Piaggio moves up the tables on the basis of overwhelming market feedback. “Exceptionally quick to catch on at all times,” he is appreciated by clients for his “availability, broad experience and astuteness.” He played a key role in the issuance of sovereign bonds mentioned above and counts BBVA as one of his clients. Álvaro Tarabal is best known for his corporate practice but has been participating in the banking sector lately. “He’s the best for the most complex of matters,” say sources. His network of contacts and “old school attitude” make him the first port of call for a number of significant entities such as BankBoston and Bank of America.
Clients/Work INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATIONS: Merrill Lynch; Pierce; Fenner & Smith; Morgan Stanley; Southern Financial Partners; DEG (Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft); IIC, an agency of the Inter-American Development Bank; HSBC Uruguay and Banco Itaú.
CORPORATE / COMMERCIAL
The Firm: Commended as “one of the top two firms in the country,” this “traditional and well-established outfit” boasts an elite clientele, aided by its dazzling reputation across Latin America. Peers “would be only too happy to recommend the group,” while clients “feel sure that every aspect of our case is in good hands.” “It’s always our first choice,” said one. The “country’s best-known group,” according to some, the firm advised Investor Office Group of Argentina on the establishment of a Uruguayan investment fund management company and on the country’s first offshore Uruguayan investment fund.
The Lawyers: Nicolás Herrera is widely recognised as one of the country’s top players, boasting “youth and dynamism” combined with an “intelligent and down-to-earth approach.” He acted for Repsol YPF in a due diligence operation on Shell as well as advising on a number of other complex corporate and banking transactions. The “precise and focused” Álvaro Tarabal impresses clients with “a totally complete vision of the issue at hand.” “Well connected and knowledgeable for regulatory matters, with a personable and direct attitude,” he enjoys a number of long-standing client relationships. He advised Rias on its merger with Redbanc and its conversion into a corporation.
Clients/Work INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATIONS: Notable INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATIONS of the year include representing Repsol YPF in the due diligence on Shell in the sale of its operations in Uruguay. The team also acted on behalf of BankBoston and Bank of America in the implementation of the merger of these two banks in Uruguay. A broad-based clientele includes Petrobras; Ontur International (an affiliate of Botnia); Investor Office Group; Gol Airlines; Service Corporation International and Tsakos.