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 20 February 2008 - Three major projects for which attorneys of Mayer Brown's Infrastructure, Latin America and Projects Groups provided legal counsel are recognized as 2007 "Deals of the Year" for their innovation and ingenuity by Project Finance Magazine in its February issue. The projects cited by the magazine include:
  • Latin American Renewables Deal of the Year - Hidro Xacbal Hydroelectric Project in Guatemala, the largest privately owned hydroelectric facility in Guatemala and the largest privately financed greenfield project in Central America [in 2007]. The Mayer Brown team represented lead financing arranger RBTT Merchant Bank in securing a $171 million, 15-year term loan that was essential to completing financing of the $226.7 million project. Negotiations were conducted with a diverse mix of local, international, multilateral and commercial banks from Europe, Central America and the Caribbean.
  • Latin American Project Bond Deal of the Year -- Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima, Peru. Mayer Brown represented Merrill Lynch, the project underwriters, in the $164.9 million refinancing and securitization of revenue flows from the airport. Project Finance Magazine noted that a coveted investment grade rating was achieved as a result of this deal. The magazine also specifically praised "the ability to persuade the agencies and investors that the revenues available to Latin airport investors have been undervalued by debt markets."
  • North American Transport Deal of the Year -- Northwest Parkway near Denver, Colorado. Mayer Brown was legal advisor to the Northwest Parkway Public Highway Authority in a $603 million concession and lease agreement. Under the agreement, day-to-day management of the nine-mile toll road, which is part of the Denver metropolitan beltway, has been leased for 99 years by a subsidiary of Portuguese-based Brisa Auto-estradas de Portugal, S.A. and Brazilian-based Companhia de Concessões Rodoviarias. The transaction enabled the Authority to retire all of its outstanding debt.
Barry Machlin, Co-Chair of Mayer Brown's Global Projects Group, said of the projects in Latin America, "Both of these deals presented our team with numerous challenges in order to accommodate the priorities of all the parties involved. We take pride in the fact that our efforts contributed not only to the realization of our clients' objectives but also to the welfare and the local economies of these two countries."

John Schmidt, who leads Mayer Brown's Infrastructure Practice, said that the Northwest Parkway illustrates the benefits of innovative public-private partnerships. "This is a pathbreaking transaction that brought the benefits of a toll road privatization to a local highway authority for the first time in America. It required innovative, imaginative and intensive work by legal and financial advisors to get to a great result."

For more information, contact:

Gary Gerard
Assistant Director of Public Relations
Mayer Brown/New York