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28 February 2024

Latin America Deals of the Year 2023: Earning liquidity

Bank appetite responded eagerly to the best structured financings, for the best assets. While supply was patchy in 2023, market innovation continued apace.

The gloom regarding opportunities for private infrastructure financing in Latin America was palpable in 2023. Mexico remained officially closed off – while at the same time hosting some fairly chunky refinancings of power and gas assets. In Brazil, the return of Lula was initially perceived as better news for BNDES than private lenders, although crowding out by BNDES is now looking less likely. And in markets like Colombia and Peru, the supply of infrastructure and renewables assets continued to lag the demand from both local and international lenders. Across sectors, Chile continued to do a lot of the heavy lifting in producing respectable financing volumes.

But the transactional record does not really bear this picture out. Proximo’s 2023 full year project finance data, due out any day now, shows an increase in regional activity from $33 billion to $46 billion. This wasn’t a case of big-ticket refinancings carrying the market; deal count increased from 147 to 222.

In some key sectors including renewables, water, and digital infrastructure deals remained bankable, and banks continued to respond with gusto. This bankability, despite the economic headwinds, shows that Latin America has retained the lessons of earlier crises – it is possible to maintain lender interest if governments work to keep deals well structured and supported.

The deals listed below – and the developers, banks and lawyers who made them happen – all share strong structures, a keen eye for where enhancement is needed, and a creative approach to making sure that assets crucial to the energy transition are well-supported in debt markets.

The deals were all recognised at a ceremony at the Proximo Latin America 2024: Energy, Infrastructure & Development Finance event in Miami on 27 February 2024.

Latin America Deals of the Year 2024

Latin America TransportCondor 2

This is a second financing for the acquisition of an electric bus fleet in Santiago, Chile. It furthers the rapid electrification of the city's transit network, and highlights how important private sector capital is to the region’s energy transition. 

Latin America PPPPamplona-Cucuta 4G Road refinancing

Pamplona-Cucuta closed in unsettled capital markets, but still managed to comprise a complex multi-tranche structure and hedges of both interest rate and FX risk.

Latin America Digital InfrastructureAligned’s acquisition of ODATA 

This acquisition allowed Aligned – majority-owned by funds managed by Macquarie Asset Management – to create the region’s leading data centre operator. It spanned multiple jurisdictions and both brownfield and greenfield assets.

Latin America WaterAguas Horizonte’s Codelco Water Supply Project

This $1.8 billion project will supply mining company Codelco with fresh water and reduce pressure on existing water resources. The deal, sponsored by Marubeni and Transelec, features a robust capacity-based payment structure and a strong sustainable mission. 

Latin America WindFeijao 1 & 2 

Brazilian renewables developers have made huge strides in using corporate PPAs to access long-dated offshore debt. But Feijao is the first project to feature uncovered commercial bank debt, and one of the largest financings for a wind project with a corporate PPA. 

Latin America SolarSolek Group’s Chilean PMGD Portfolio

Solek’s Chilean PMGD deal combines bank construction, bank mezzanine, and bank LC facilities with a US private placement. This puts a highly optimised capital structure at the service of a growing solar portfolio

Latin America RenewablesAES Dominicana Renewable Energy

AES has pioneered the use of construction portfolio financings in the developed US market. With this deal it applies some of these concepts to a much tougher market. In the process it produced the largest syndicated loan ever in the Dominican Republic – with 22 lenders participating – and the largest renewables deal ever in the Caribbean

Latin America RefinancingTransportadora Associada de Gás

TAG was the largest non-recourse deal to close in the region in 2023, but it was also an extremely complex deal, involving multiple currencies and lender consents and was structured to incorporate some asset-level financial flexibility.

Awards to firms and individuals

Latin America Bank of the Year Santander

Santander and MUFG ended on level pegging with a score that combines banks’ positions in Proximo’s industry survey, their involvement in winning deals in the region and regional league table position by volume. But Santander worked on slightly more deals overall, giving it the top spot.

Latin America Law Firm of the Year – Milbank

Milbank – a repeat winner, ended up comfortably ahead of second-placed White & Case. Only one of the top five firms in the region, Allen & Overy, was UK-headquartered.

Latin America Dealmaker – Diego Rausei

Solek Group’s CFO & Chief Investment Officer LATAM brought to market a series of ever more ambitious and well-supported deals.

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