Deals of the Year 2021 Latin America: The winners podium
There is nothing new about using bonds to finance Latin American projects. But 2021 was the first year of bond dominance over bank debt across the major project sectors in the region.
It probably doesn’t make sense to call 2021 the year of a capital markets breakthrough in Latin America. Bonds are now an extremely established tool for both greenfield and brownfield project finance. Over the last 25 years they have featured in all of the major jurisdictions - and even several of the smaller ones.
But 2021 was the year that bonds established a dominant position across the sectors represented in Latin America. They are not quite the default in all markets, but the circumstances in which bank debt always makes the most sense are getting more and more rare.
Some of this speaks to the continued efforts of Latin American governments to maintain a strong fiscal position - and to create project structures that attract competitive debt financing. Some of it speaks to consistent struggles of local and international banks to reach useful tenors on both local currency- and dollar-denominated infrastructure deals.
And some of it speaks to sponsors and arrangers that have become adept at finding pockets of liquidity - and even creating some when markets wobble. The standout transactions in 2021 had an easier time than their counterparts from 2020, but they still comprised a blend of effort and excellence.
Presentations of Proximo’s Latin America Awards took place in Miami on the evening of 9 March. The winners were as follows:
Awards to firms:
Latin America Law Firm of the Year 2021
A repeat winner, as well as the winner in North America. Milbank won the support of Proximo’s judging panel with a strong geographical and sector spread, as well as its work product.
Latin America Financial Adviser of the Year 2021
A mixture of large and challenging engagements for Astris, including highlight deals in Colombia and Chile.
Latin America Bank of the Year 2021
In a year of widespread bond dominance, Goldman rose to the top, with a mixture of dollar and local currency deals, for a variety of assets.
North America Sponsor of the Year 2021
Several high-profile telecoms investments, as well as the blockbuster Sempra Infrastructure Partners acquisition.
Deals of the Year:
Latin America P3
First-of-its-kind 144A repack issue for a street lighting/smart city PPP in Rio de Janeiro.
Latin America Roads
The deal exploited multiple debt distribution channels, in both pesos and dollars.
Latin America Rail
A second financing for this concession - and the first ECA-backed securitisation of Peruvian PPP receivables.
Latin America Social Infrastructure
A strong start to Colombia’s hospital PPP programme, with an all local commercial bank debt package.
Latin America Digital Infrastructure
Benchmark bond refinancing of a multi-jurisdictional mobile towers portfolio.
Latin America Mining
A reopening of the Latin Mining project with this debut in-house development from mining fund Appian.
Latin America Project Bond
Mubadala funds its acquisition of a refinery complex in Brazil with the country’s largest ever project bond.
Latin America Solar
Matrix Renewables cracks the Colombian renewables puzzle with a senior-junior local currency debt package.
Latin America Portfolio
The energy transition in practice. EDF and AME fund the conversion of GM Holdings’ fleet into cleaner operations.
Latin America Power and Overall Latin America
Long-dated and keenly-priced. This large 144A offering sets a benchmark for regional and global transmission issuers.