Financial Advisor of the Year-Latin America: Santander

In another challenging year for project finance in Latin America, Santander showed its geographic reach as a financial advisor on deals across the region and topped the 2018 league tables, when measured by deal values.

“For us, 2018 was a year when we were finally able to close several transactions that we had been working on for months or years,” says Benoît Felix, the global head of structured finance at Santander CIB.

“Given the context in Latin America, we are seeing that projects take more time to close and we’re seeing more volatility in the pipeline,” he adds.

In Peru, Santander advised the Sacyr-led concessionaire Vial Sierra Norte on the $322 million refinancing of the second phase of the Longitudinal de la Sierra 2 toll road. While in Colombia, it helped Sacyr’s Vial Unión del Sur find financing for the Rumichaca-Pasto toll road, part of the fourth generation (4G) of highway concessions.

Looking ahead, Felix sees increasing activity in Brazil and he also expects growth in energy and transportation projects in Chile, while some opportunities might appear in Panama.

“We’ve been very busy in Brazil,” he says. “We are seeing the emergence of infrastructure debentures. This market has literally exploded. There is very good momentum in Brazil.”

Deal flow in Colombia could also pick up next year, while a “decent” pipeline for renewable energy projects is developing in Mexico, Felix says.