Law Firm of the Year: Mexico: Creel
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While changes in tax and securities regulations often come from the top down, undercurrents of demand in the market can also drive bottom up reform. That certainly was the case for Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enriquez which lobbied for regulatory changes in Mexico. “We had to lobby for regulatory changes to meet market demands,” says Carlos Aiza, a partner at Creel.
The list of reforms led to unique investment vehicles, many designed for infrastructure project financing. “We worked on the first-ever SPAC in Mexico and Latin America, the CFE and GACM Fibra E and multiple CerPIs with international investors,” says Aiza. “All of these new investment instruments were common law imports into a civil law system.”
In addition to helping to pioneer such innovations, the firm also worked on more traditional deals. Creel represented GE Capital in its acquisition of a significant interest in EVM Energía del Valle de México II. In addition, the law firm advised GE Capital on its project financing for the construction of EVM II’s 850 MW greenfield natural gas-fired power plant outside of Mexico City. The financing included a private placement, a term loan and a line of credit.
Creel also helped advise of the Pacific Alliance’s catastrophe bonds.
Creel expects a healthy deal flow in the Mexican market. “Just in November and December, we closed nine transactions, with another nine expected to close in the first quarter of 2019,” Aiza says. “International PE funds will continue to be active players in 2019, when the rest of the market is still hesitant about the new administration. There is still liquidity despite the increase in interest rates.”
And the firm continues to grow with the activity. It just added its 29th partner to the practice in January. “Our strategic plan is to continue strengthening our core practices with a focus on tax, fintech, investigations and compliance, administrative litigation and arbitration,” Aiza says.