Hunton & Williams LLP is proud to have an established and diverse Latin America practice. For over 30 years, the lawyers in our Latin America practice have been actively involved in international business transactions throughout the region. Our team of over 40 lawyers and consultants has extensive experience representing numerous types of clients, ranging from some of the world's largest financial institutions and multinational corporations, to local governments and agencies, and prominent Latin American families. Our Latin America practice has handled matters in every Latin American and major Caribbean country — from Monterrey to Tierra del Fuego — and has created a unique niche by serving as a bridge for the United States and Europe into the region.
The strength of our Latin America practice is based on the wealth of our human capital. The team's varied intellectual and cultural outlook, real life international experience and comprehensive first-hand knowledge of the region benefit our clients. Our lawyers and other professionals in the practice — most of whom are fluent in either Spanish or Portuguese — communicate in the relevant local languages and understand the intricacies of the local business culture and underlying legal framework. Our Latin America practice has exceptional, longstanding relationships with legal professionals, business leaders, economic groups and governments throughout the region. These friendships and relationships, which the seasoned professionals in our practice have cultivated throughout their careers, add a decisive advantage in almost any business transaction.
Our Latin America practice draws upon the worldwide resources of Hunton & Williams. With more than 750 lawyers and 19 offices around the world, supported by technology that seamlessly integrates our capabilities across offices and disciplines, Hunton & Williams provides clients with highly qualified legal and consulting services.
Our Latin America practice is led from the firm's Miami office, but draws from our other offices, including those in New York, London, Washington, and Dallas. As with our other practice areas, Hunton & Williams bases its approach to the Latin America practice on teamwork and our ability to rely on our extensive network of professionals throughout the world.
Our Miami office provides a strategic focal point from which to stage and coordinate our firmwide efforts in Latin America. The work of our Latin America practice in Miami focuses on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, a wide variety of joint ventures, privatizations, securities offerings, securitizations, project finance, telecommunications, international banking, intellectual property matters, and international arbitration and litigation. Clients have included major US and European corporations and financial institutions, foreign governments and/or their agencies and public international institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Central American Bank for Economic Integration and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). We also represent many of the large family economic groups in the region.
New York and London
Our New York and London lawyers have been active in the international capital markets arena for decades and have a long history of representing clients accessing the US and European capital markets. Our Latin America practice works closely with these offices to facilitate US public and private offerings of all types, listings, debt and equity offerings, lease and project financings, structured financings, Eurobond offerings, foreign denominated financings, securitizations, and ADR/GDR (American and Global Depositary Receipt) offerings.
Hunton & Williams' presence in our nation's capital is a key element of the firm's Latin America practice, providing valuable access to US government agencies, international lending institutions and political leaders. Our transaction lawyers in the Washington office have extensive experience in designing financial packages and strategies to obtain favorable terms for financing, developing, structuring and restructuring virtually every type of energy and infrastructure project. Our government relations practice not only devotes its efforts to governmental affairs in Washington but also in the capitals of most of the principal countries of Latin America. Our presence in Washington together with our extensive experience and relationships in the various Latin American countries, enable our lawyers to reach government decision makers for the purpose of facilitating our clients' business objectives.
Our Latin America practice draws on our Dallas lawyers' depth of experience in the energy industry. Our Dallas lawyers advise on a broad range of energy matters, including financing, regulatory and environmental issues, corporate transactions and financial restructuring. Through our Dallas office, Hunton & Williams represents one of the largest energy companies in the world. Our Dallas office also plays a pivotal role in advising our Latin American and Caribbean bank clients on corporate and regulatory issues when establishing a branch in the United States.
Selected Practice Areas
The following are among the varied practice areas in which our Latin America practice has particular experience:
Capital Markets and Structured Financings
We have significant experience in handling equity and debt financings for companies and financial institutions in Latin America, including cross-border and other lease financings of equipment and facilities. This practice involves the representation of issuers as well as underwriters or placement agents. Our Latin America practice lawyers also regularly represent borrowers as well as international banks and other lenders in syndicated credit transactions and structured financings. We are very familiar with the dynamics and requirements of working with financial advisors, investment banks and members of commercial bank syndicates in structuring complex multinational financings. We have been involved in a considerable number of large placements of equity and debt securities, including private placements, public offerings, Rule 144A offerings, Regulation S offerings, foreign currency denomination offerings and other capital market equity and debt financings.
Infrastructure and Development Projects
We have a long, established record in all facets of infrastructure development and finance, representing developers, equity investors and lenders in projects located throughout Latin America. Our project development and finance work has included (1) drafting and negotiation of all project related contracts, including sales agreements, engineering, procurement and construction contracts, operation and maintenance contracts and fuel contracts; and (2) government support agreements and guarantees. We have also been counsel in projects that utilized financing and other programs provided by the US Eximbank, OPIC, the World Bank, the IFC, the IDB and other governmental and multinational export credit, risk insurance and lending agencies, and have been involved in a number of transactions that include capital markets debt and multilateral or ECA financing tranches.
Market Penetration (M&A, Joint Ventures and Distributorships)
Lawyers in our Latin America practice regularly advise clients with respect to all forms of market penetration strategies. We assist clients in their evaluation of business strategies and opportunities and advise them on a broad range of issues relating to incorporation of subsidiaries under local law, establishment of local operations and formation of joint ventures with local partners. We have an active mergers and acquisitions practice, regularly representing US or European multinational corporations involved in business opportunities throughout Latin America. Our lawyers have conducted M&A transactions in every country in Central and South America and in the larger countries in the Caribbean. We also regularly assist with the negotiation and documentation of distributorship and sales representation agreements and advise on the risks associated with each. Typically in connection with the foregoing transactions, we handle trademark issues, document trademark licenses and advise on issues such as royalty characterization, remittance issues, license registration and trademark protection. We work with our clients to identify patentable inventions and other IP assets for which protection may be sought, and handle all kinds of patent litigation in all types of forums.
We have extensive experience conducting due diligence investigations in Latin America for US and European multinational corporations and financial institutions. We are prepared to staff diligence projects with teams of lawyers not only fluent in Spanish or Portuguese, as applicable, but also experienced in conducting diligence assignments in civil law jurisdictions. Hunton & Williams' TurnStone Investigative Group allows us to provide sophisticated investigative services in-house to perform internal investigations for clients to assess business practices, risks and strategies. Our clients that do business in Latin America have found this service invaluable. The TurnStone investigators are distinguished former federal, state and international investigative agents who have worked for the FBI, DEA, IRS and Secret Service, among other organizations.
We have experience representing private equity funds, institutional investors, public and private companies and portfolio companies focused on investments in Latin America. We work with clients on all types of private equity transactions, including fund formation, acquisitions, investments, platform establishment, joint ventures, financings, sales and other exit strategies.
Our Latin America practice regularly represents US and foreign banks in their commercial lending activities in Latin America and the Caribbean. We have extensive experience with all types of financings, including syndicated loans, trade financings, letters of credit, payable through accounts and correspondent banking arrangements. We also often advise Latin American and Caribbean banks in their activities in the United States, including their interactions with US regulators and international quasi-governmental organizations.
We have assisted both business enterprises and governments in connection with the privatization and capitalization of government assets, including those related to power generation, distribution and transmission, telecommunications systems and ports and transportation facilities. Our work in these areas has included: (1) due diligence review of licenses, permits, contracts, loan agreements and other relevant materials; (2) drafting and negotiation of relevant documentation, including purchase agreements, fuel supply agreements, operation and maintenance agreements, governmental support agreements, and financing and share purchase documentation; and (3) assisting financial advisors and clients in determining the correct capital and ownership structure for the capitalized properties or facilities. In addition, we have advised a number of governments and government-owned dependencies on structuring and implementing bid solicitation programs.
Several lawyers in our Latin America practice have extensive experience in the representation of telecommunications companies in the region. Our representation has varied from clients which are some of the largest and best known telecommunications companies doing business in Latin America, to industry start-ups that have benefited from the recent telecommunications expansion in the region. We have worked on projects ranging from privatizations and the acquisitions of telecommunications properties, to the handling of significant equity and debt financing, to the negotiation of interconnection agreements and the establishment of global undersea fiber optic networks around the Southern Hemisphere.
Hunton & Williams has represented energy sector clients since its founding in 1901. Our lawyers have been involved in hundreds of energy projects of all types in developing countries, representing governments, developers, contractors, investors and lenders. Projects range from large desalination and wastewater treatment plants, major coal- and gas-fired power plants, gas storage and LNG facilities, traditional oil and gas pipelines, to smaller renewable energy facilities using a wide variety of nonconventional fuels. Few law firms in the world have the breadth and depth of experience which Hunton & Williams has in such a varied range of energy projects.
A number of our lawyers focus their practice on internet companies expanding into the Latin American markets, representing some of the most successful Latin American internet businesses. We have taken many clients from their start-up phase through their growth stage, helping them develop into mature and successful businesses. In addition, we handle "cutting edge" legal issues involving internet and other technology based projects.
International Law, Arbitration & Dispute Resolution
We have advised and represented clients in many international commercial disputes before courts in the United States and abroad, as well as under the leading arbitral regimes and before international tribunals. Our International Dispute Resolution Practice helps clients successfully manage the process worldwide, representing and counseling corporate and governmental clients in commercial, trade, joint venture, investment, insurance, licensing, banking, intellectual property, construction and infrastructure disputes. We also assist clients with negotiating the termination of business relationships and resolving disputes arising out of those terminations.
Hunton & Williams has a vibrant international tax practice that assists clients in weighing complex and often competing legal, tax and financial accounting considerations so that clients can make an informed decision about whether to engage in a particular transaction. Our lawyers are involved in all aspects of transnational transactions, including new business operations, foreign energy project finance, cross-border leasing, international mergers and acquisitions, international joint ventures, foreign stock offerings, cross-border structured financings, and in-bound and out-bound investment funds. Our international tax practice also has extensive experience in Asia, Europe, Canada, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.
Insolvency and Reorganizations
We have completed several debt restructuring projects in Latin America either to assist with business planning objectives or in response to creditor rights or regulatory requirements. Lawyers in our Latin America practice have on several occasions represented either creditors or debtors in matters involving Latin American debt and insolvencies by issuers. We also have managed all aspects of corporate and intellectual property portfolio restructurings.
Lawyers and consultants in our Latin America practice have acted on behalf of multiple Latin American governments and their agencies, representing their interests before the US government and the private sector industry in the United States. In addition, we have represented multinational companies and multilateral organizations in their dealings with governments throughout the region.
Lawyers in the International Trade Practice have assisted international companies in maintaining their access to the US market in the face of antidumping, countervailing duty and US Customs investigations. Our clients export to the United States a broad range of agricultural, consumer and industrial products. We have handled proceedings before the US International Trade Commission, the US Department of Commerce, the US Trade Representative, the Court of International Trade, the Customs Service, the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. We have also represented international companies in trade cases in Europe, Indonesia, India and Canada.
Our Latin America practice constitutes one of the largest and most diverse Latin America practices among US law firms. Hunton & Williams is proud of the wide-ranging composition of our Latin America practice, whose broad experience extends across offices, disciplines and industries.