Banking & Finance: Spain
THE FIRM Sources consider this magic circle firm to be a leader in the practice area, and it has a stellar team of finance lawyers. It has acted on some of the most prestigious recent banking deals in the market, including advising Citibank on an EUR8 billion financing for Telefónica in connection with the acquisition of Vivo.
Sources say: “One of the finest banking and finance teams in Spain.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Rave reviews for partner Alberto Manzanares confirm his status as the firm's “banking godfather.” Peers admire his strong international client portfolio and expert corporate knowledge, and clients highlight his gas and telecoms expertise and helpful connections in finance. Carlos Hernández-Canut has valuable expertise in the real estate sector and a comprehensive understanding of restructuring issues. Clients describe Epifanio Pérez as “an excellent legal adviser who is always attentive to clients' needs.” Rodrigo Uría is lauded for his high levels of dedication and commitment to clients when working on a deal. José Manuel Cuenca brings his capital markets expertise to banking deals and his practice also includes PPP projects. Peers also comment on his strong derivatives knowledge. José Guardo is revered by interviewees as a splendid project finance lawyer and counts many big-name banks in his client list. His “creative, energetic style and intelligent approach are bolstered by his strong international connections,” sources report, and he also receives warm praise for his team-leading skills.
THE FIRM Thanks to its fantastic reputation, this domestic powerhouse draws in top-notch clients from various different sectors. The team's lawyers are distributed over the finance, banking, insurance and financial institutions groups. Key specialisations include corporate and acquisition finance, restructuring and refinancing, and regulatory work. The client portfolio includes major banks, infrastructure giants and big names from the leisure sector. Recent work highlights include providing ongoing banking regulatory advice to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Sources say: “These professionals offer a seamless service when advising on the laws of different jurisdictions, and even when we use several departments on a complex deal, there are never any glitches.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Rafael Mínguez Prieto is a highly acclaimed regulatory expert who “inspires confidence in clients, given his involvement on a deal from day one and continuous solution-driven advice.” Finance partner Fernando Bernad specialises in direct acquisitions, acquisitions through management buyouts, management buy-ins and leveraged buyouts for venture capital entities. Clients hail Fernando Navarro as “an exceptional lawyer who balances a healthy level of pragmatism with a sound academic perspective.” Jesús Mardomingo comes recommended for his regulatory prowess, while Jorge Canta Díaz de Guereñu specialises in investment vehicles and financial products, with particular expertise in alternative assets, including hedge funds. Peers recommend his “constant availability, connections with foreign banks and comprehensive regulatory knowledge.”
THE FIRM Freshfields' team is one of the most visible banking groups in Spain, and has been active of late on real estate restructuring for clients such as Metrovacesa and Reyal Urbis. The team assisted the former on a EUR6 billion debt restructuring and the latter on a EUR5.2 billion restructuring project. In banking, the group assisted CVC and ACS with the EUR1.5 billion financing for the joint acquisition of 25.83% stake in Abertis.
Sources say: "We have been struck by the team's expert approach on this complex operation, and the confidence with which it advised us.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Interviewees describe group head and Spain managing partner Iñaki Gabilondo as “well deserving of his strong reputation on the market – his superb legal skills are a welcome contribution to the deal.” Ana López is lauded as “a diligent lawyer with an admirable knowledge of the banking sector.” She has been particularly active of late on capital markets mandates. Counsel Fernando Bautista acts as a consultant to the firm's finance department.
THE FIRM The banking and finance practice at Linklaters remains a force to be reckoned with, and interviewees comment on its lengthy experience, stellar mandates and international capability. The 12-strong team is particularly active on corporate financing, acquisition financing, project finance, restructuring and refinancing. It recently advised Morgan Stanley in connection with the conversion into a loan of the hedge agreement entered into with Reyal Urbis, a deal valued at EUR3.2 billion.
Sources say: “This is the go-to team in Madrid for leveraged finance work."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Pedro de Rojas recently led the team advising on the Reyal Urbis project mentioned above, and is acclaimed by peers and clients alike for his first-class banking skills and high visibility. He is described as “a commercially oriented, solution-driven expert who is a pleasure to work with." Iñigo Berricano focuses on capital markets and financial regulation. His clients include corporates and investment banks, and he impresses interviewees with his deep sector expertise. Corporate partner Sebastián Albella is a former state lawyer whose experience with the Spanish stock market regulator is a tremendous asset for clients. Managing associate Paloma Fierro is acclaimed by peers for her sound derivatives knowledge. She advises on banking reorganisations, hedge funds and complex derivatives transactions. Cosme Colmenero has emerged as a key member of the team working on some of the year's most prolific mandates, including the Morgan Stanley deal mentioned above.
THE FIRM This domestic heavyweight is firmly established in the top tier, boasting sophisticated departments in related practice areas such as corporate and M&A. The banking team acts as a reference point for key players in the market, and interviewees highlight its top-quality mandates, technical prowess and outstanding reputation across the Iberian peninsula. The firm recently advised a syndicate of over 70 domestic and international banks, including BBVA and Barclays, on the EUR2.8 billion debt refinancing of steel production company Celsa Group.
Sources say: “For local banking work, this team is at the top of its game; we choose it whenever we need to instruct lawyers on a complex Spanish banking matter.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Carlos de Cárdenas Smith has a formidable reputation in this area, and clients comment on his strong connections with banking operators and regulatory authorities. His rigorous yet conciliatory style in negotiations “ensures that the deal always gets done.” Sebastián Sáenz de Santa María commands great respect from major banks, and feedback confirms his lofty position. Clients highlight his strong expertise in the renewable energy sector and his confidence in project finance matters, as well as his "ability to oversee complex projects with great ease." Rafael Sebastián is managing partner at the Madrid office and heads the firm’s corporate group. He has a broad practice in corporate matters, and recognised prowess in structured finance. Ángel Pérez López recently acted as a key partner on the team advising Cemex España and the Cemex group in connection with the issue and exchange of offers of senior secured notes. Clients choose Emilio Díaz Ruiz for his impressive knowledge of banking issues and vast experience in this area.
THE FIRM The Spanish office of this international firm is a natural choice for cross-border operations and deals requiring UK expertise. The four-partner team has been active of late on restructuring but also on syndicated lending, acquisition and project finance, assisting clients from the retail, property and infrastructure sectors. Recent key mandates have seen the team advising on a string of high-profile deals, including assisting banks with the financing for the sale by Amadeus of the 100% stake in Opodo, a deal valued at EUR450 million.
Sources say: “We keep coming back to this team because its technical knowledge is marvellous.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Juan Barona's strong corporate background makes him an obvious choice for large banking deals, such as his advice to the bank syndicate on the EUR491 million refinancing of the existing debt of Autopista del Sol Concesionaria Espanola. Sources remark that Ignacio Ruiz-Cámara is a solid banking expert who does his best to move negotiations on. Positive feedback relates to his “energetic, technically strong approach, which will see him go very far,” and clients appreciate his private equity experience. Iñigo Gómez-Jordana recently led the team advising the syndicate of banks on the financing for the acquisition by two Goldman Sachs entities of Endesa Gas. Sources describe Vanessa Cuellas as “a superb lawyer with remarkably strong project management skills.” Commentators highlight Jimena Urretavizcaya as “an amazingly well-prepared professional whom clients can really trust.” Salvador Ruiz Bachs is a new arrival to Allen & Overy's finance team and sources are keen to see how he contributes to its regulatory expertise. He excels in structured finance and banking regulatory matters.
Since publication, Juan Barona has joined Linklaters
Since publication, Juan Barona has joined Linklaters
THE FIRM This international player has been active of late on debt restructuring and leveraged finance mandates, advising names such as Banco Sabadell, Banco Santander, Caixanova and RBS. Recent key highlights for the 18-strong team include advising IT company TELVENT Group on a EUR225 million refinancing and increase in bank debt.
Sources say: “This is our team of choice for large infrastructure projects, and its ability to move the deal on is really appreciated.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Javier López Antón's project finance background is viewed as a great asset to his banking practice, and clients observe that he is "at the top of his game and thoroughly deserving of his top-tier ranking.” Practice head Jesús Zapata receives positive comments from interviewees, who highlight his commercial awareness and note that his banking background “brings added value to complex finance projects.” César Herrero's “approachable, hands-on, solution-driven advice” is a hit with clients, who admire his in-depth knowledge of this area and ability to anticipate issues well before they arise.
THE FIRM The banking and finance team at this firm forms part of the corporate group, as well as supporting the M&A, private equity and insurance practices. The lawyers have a growing profile in renewable energy, as reflected in their work on wind farms and solar projects. Clients appreciate the team's solid project finance and leveraged finance expertise, as well as its valuable restructuring know-how. Key work highlights include advising on the restructuring of syndicated and bilateral financing transactions for Vallehermoso, a transaction valued at EUR1.5 billion.
Sources say: “This is a team of wonderful banking lawyers whom we instruct because of their strong reputation for complex project finance deals.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources single out Rafael González-Gallarza for his proactivity and efficiency, as well as his comprehensive understanding of the latest trends in the Spanish finance sector. Pablo San Gil is praised for his “fantastic technical skills” and deep knowledge of international markets. Banking clients appreciate his creative legal approach and ability to prioritise clients' interests. Luis de la Peña offers deep expertise in banking regulatory matters. Senior associate Juan Ignacio González was recently a key member of the team advising BBVA Group on the conversion of a Spanish real estate mutual fund into a regulated company.
THE FIRM This Madrid team comprises three partners and 12 associates, and covers a broad range of finance-related work, encompassing leveraged, structured and project finance, securitisation, listings and public takeovers. The team has bolstered its debt restructuring expertise in response to the financial climate across Europe. Key clients include Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. On the asset finance front, the team advised Nomura on the funding and structuring of an acquisition of a portfolio of mortgage-secured loans, totalling approximately EUR500 million.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Head of the international finance department and former state lawyer Gonzalo Jiménez-Blanco commands huge respect from peers, who describe him as “a remarkably prestigious banking lawyer.” Clients recommend his regulatory practice, highlighting his “proven connections with the main banking operators.” International finance partner Juan Hormaechea has a great track record in derivatives and structured finance. He led the team advising Optimal Management on structured equity derivatives transactions with several banking counterparties.
THE FIRM This Spanish giant has offices in six Spanish cities and in Brussels, Lisbon and London. It is the go-to firm for many financial institutions, including numerous savings banks. The team houses 23 lawyers who are particularly prominent on large domestic operations. Clients include Cajasur, Banesto, BBVA and Caja Madrid.
Sources say: “This team really knows how banks operate.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Ángel Varela Varas is lauded for his well-rounded understanding of savings banks and high visibility on the Spanish banking scene. Fernando Igartua receives unanimous peer and client feedback confirming him as a talented practitioner with a strong grasp of the workings of the banking industry, with sources adding that he brings gravitas to deals. Peers comment that Carlos Rueda is “a delight to work with,” and he receives positive reviews for his technical brilliance and “marvellous legal skills.”
THE FIRM This US giant's office in Madrid is now firmly established. The banking and finance team boasts six lawyers, recent highlights for which include several refinancings in the energy sector, as well as other corporate finance transactions. The team regularly acts for key players in banking, recently providing legal advice to Banco Popular regarding financial agreements with Banco Santander and the granting of pledges over credit rights in relation to the Gemasolar project.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Luis Muñoz receives positive feedback for his in-depth energy expertise. Recent mandates have seen him lead the team advising Solaria Energia y Medio Ambiente in connection with the construction and operation of a photovoltaic plant. He regularly collaborates with colleagues across the Jones Day network and is an active member of the Latin America practice. Of counsel Fernando Lillo is an active transactional lawyer and recently led the team working on the closing of the EUR45.4 million refinancing of the La Mancha highway project.
THE FIRM This five-lawyer banking and finance team continues to make a name for itself in the Spanish market, acting for hedge funds, financial institutions, private banks and global investment firms.
Sources say: “We appreciate the team's responsiveness, high levels of availability and keen language skills.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS International arbitration expert Clifford Hendel brings his vast global expertise to the team's offering, drawing on his US, English, French and Spanish qualifications. He is a well-known adviser on international finance deals and joint ventures, recently advising IFC on financing issues for Turkish port operator TCE Ege Konteyner Terminal Isletmeleri.
THE FIRM The Madrid branch of this global player houses five partners and sources remark on its burgeoning regulatory practice. Recent mandates have seen the team acting for foreign banks, Spanish savings banks and corporates. The firm advised JC Flowers in connection with a proposed cash injection into a recently merged group of Spanish savings banks.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Accolades for María Gracia Rubio centre on her regulatory expertise. She receives unanimously positive feedback due to her long-standing experience and helpful connections with regulatory authorities. She is described as “a star on the banking regulatory scene who commands well-deserved respect from all.”
THE FIRM This team's strong connection with banks is reflected in its client portfolio, which includes Deutsche Bank, Banco Santander, Banesto and Caja Madrid. A recent mandate saw the team advise La Caixa on financing worth EUR14 million for Immo Stef España in relation to the construction of a distribution plant. Client feedback highlights the team's expertise in syndicated loans and strong understanding of the objectives of banks.
Sources say: “We keep coming back to these lawyers because of their evident capability when it comes to acting for banks and financial institutions.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients value partner Abraham Nájera's proactive approach to deals and his solid commercial understanding. He is described as “a reliable adviser who knows how to structure banking deals and has hands-on involvement throughout.”
THE FIRM This team's cross-border capabilities come to the fore in banking and finance, with international clients including Barclays and Banco Santander. It often works on deals in conjunction with international counterparts within the firm's network, particularly the London and Paris offices. It recently advised on the financing granted by HSH Nordbank, Banco Santander and WestLB in connection with the purchase of Dragados Servicios Portuarios y Logisticos.
KEY INDIVIDUALS José Luis Vázquez is the key contact for the practice.
THE FIRM This team forms part of the firm's corporate group and is primarily made up of transactional lawyers who draw on finance, M&A and capital markets expertise. The team has recently focused on refinancing matters, and also includes litigation experts. Recent mandates have included notable instructions in the energy sector, acting on new technology projects including the financing of a Spanish biomass plant and a thermosolar plant.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Fernando Quicios heads the team and is its key contact.
THE FIRM This firm has offices in Madrid and Barcelona, and benefits from its strong connections with Mayer Brown. The team has two partners, and active clients include Deutsche Bank, Citibank and Scotiabank. The lawyers receive strong feedback for their acquisition finance and leveraged finance skills. Recent highlights include advising Azkoyen on the EUR30 million debt restructuring involving six credit institutions.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Francisco Palá is recommended by clients for his broad knowledge of the banking sector. Rafael Bazán López receives sparkling feedback across the board from clients, who hail him as “a magnificent lawyer who is a pleasure to work with, and is able to offer clients broad-based legal knowledge.” Department head Francisco Bauzá Moré is recognised by interviewees as benefiting from broad experience within the banking sector, and clients describe him as “a commercially savvy, hands-on lawyer who always offers solution-based advice.”
Gloria Hernández Aler
of Deloitte Abogados y Asesores Tributarios is praised by clients for her strong regulatory expertise and is described as “a real reference point in the Spanish market for banking regulatory matters.” Joaquín Sales
of Watson, Farley & Williams is recognised by clients as a practical, creative lawyer who displays superior project management skills. Andrés Lorrio Gil
heads Bird & Bird's banking and finance department and advises private equity houses, insurance companies and banks. Miguel Linares Polaino
of Linares Abogados enters the rankings following resoundingly strong client feedback for his regulatory expertise. Sources highlight his "commendable connections with regulatory bodies, formidable communication skills and meticulous approach to client service."
Since publication, Joaquín Sales has joined SJ Berwin LLP
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