BEST EQUITY HOUSE

While 2008 saw a dramatic reduction in the number of LatAm IPOs and follow-on offerings compared to 2007, the past year brought a handful of unusual and notable deals that mark an advance for the region as a whole.

BEST SOVEREIGN ISSUER/LIABILITY MANAGEMENT

Don’t be fooled by size. Uruguay has consistently punched above its weight as a debt issuer and risk manager this decade. The issuer topped off a successful streak of liability management by steering investors to long-dated global and domestic bonds through November 2007 and June 2008 tenders.

BEST SOVEREIGN BOND

As LatAm issuers plan their funding strategies this year, they may look back fondly on a time when sovereigns could get new issue spreads of 170 basis points on 30-year paper.

BEST SUB-SOVEREIGN FINANCING

Capitalizing on upgrades and market opportunity, State of Mexico declined to use any major investment banks for its 25 billion peso refinance which extended duration and slashed the price on most liabilities.

BEST SYNDICATED LOAN/CORPORATE BOND ISSUE

Braskem’s March 2007 bid to acquire Ipiranga and Copesul unleashed a series of financings that kept the Brazilian petrochemicals giant in constant discussions with its bankers, lenders and investors through the subsequent 18-month period.

BEST QUASI-SOVEREIGN BOND/FINANCIAL INSTITUTION BOND

BNDES has not been a frequent issuer in the dollar bond markets this decade. When the time came to refinance notes issued in 1998, however, the Brazilian development bank brought a well priced new 10-year bond that preserved the 0% withholding tax structure featured in the original issue.

BEST CORPORATE LIABILITY MANAGEMENT

By the second quarter of 2008, the Dominican Republic’s capital markets, spurred on by three years of GDP growth rates topping 9%, had gradually become ripe for sizeable corporate issuance.

BEST PRIMARY EQUITY ISSUE

Despite highly volatile market conditions, the initial public offering of Brazil’s OGX Petroleos in June was a smash hit. The company raised a total of $6.7 billion, making it the largest IPO ever in Brazil.

BEST PRIVATE EQUITY DEAL

Every year LatAm’s fledgling private equity industry witnesses something new like LBOs or the establishment of regionally-focused platform companies, such as Arcos Dorados.

BEST CROSS-BORDER M&A

The $1.3 billion acquisition of Chilean electricity distributor Grupo Saesa by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure (MSI) and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) from New Jersey-based PSEG shows that financial investors can beat strategics when it comes to buying infrastructure-related companies.

DEALS OF THE YEAR RESULTS

Closing a transaction was enough to call it a success in 2008 as markets disintegrated. The LatinFinance Deals of the Year celebrate triumph over adversity.

BEST DOMESTIC M&A

Last March, the third largest exchange in the world was formed in Brazil via the merger of Bolsa de Mercadorias & Futuros, the fourth largest commodities and futures exchange, and Bovespa, the fifth biggest public exchange globally.

BEST INVESTMENT BANK/M&A HOUSE

Extending three years of robust gains, Credit Suisse continues to monopolize the LatAm fee pool thanks to a senior team that appears to be burning the candle at both ends. In the full year 2008, it amassed $247 million in revenue from core investment banking – M&A, ECM and DCM – or 21% of the…

BEST PROJECT FINANCE DEAL

AES’s sizable pipeline of projects in LatAm gives it an enviable position when it comes to bargaining with lenders. Chilean unit AES Gener succeeded in closing in October 27 a $989 million project financing with a 17.5-year tenor.

BEST BOND HOUSE

This is far from the most dynamic market in the history of LatAm DCM, but one shop has fought its way to the top, building on five years’ hard work. For the first time ever, HSBC is our Bond House of the Year, and its global reach and heavy balance sheet leave it in a…

BEST FINANCING INNOVATION

Afores have in recent years been flush with cash to spend on long-term investments. Restrictions on where they can put it, however, have limited their options and often diverted funds from projects.

BEST LOAN HOUSE

The 12 months through October 2008 marked a turning point for LatAm syndicated loans. The period is characterized by extreme turbulence that rattled its participants, upended deals, and shifted the rankings of leading institutions.

Corporate Bond

High YieldComeback King In a year chock full of corporate biggests and bests, one high yield deal stood out as the trailblazer. Mexican glassmaker Vitro’s $1 billion dual tranche issue of January 2007 – briefly the biggest non-government EM and largest sub-investment grade offer in more than a decade – turned the company around and…

Corporate Issuer

Mixing it Up Long one of the region’s most sophisticated corporate issuers, Cemex again set the standard in 2007, raising more than $14 billion in funds in the 12 month period we consider. A series of perpetual bonds, an aggressive takeover of one of its leading peers and the first extinguishable swap in the emerging…

Corporate Liability Management

Revamping the Profile Transportadora de Gas del Sur (TGS), Argentina’s largest natural gas operator, used a piece of US high yield technology – a tender for callable securities – to clean up its balance sheet. The deft terming out and cost cutting earns TGS the LatinFinance award for Best Corporate Liability Management. The transaction, a…

Financial Institution Bond

Balancing Growth In May 2007, Bancolombia issued the first international subordinated bond to date from a Colombian financial institution. The transaction helped fund a Central American acquisition, and highlights the growth and stability Colombia and its banks have achieved in the last three years. The fact that it may open the doors for other issuers…

Loan House

Alone at the Top In the secretive world of syndicated loans, bankers always want to know what their competitors are up to. More often than not in LatAm, Citi is the subject of those inquiries, regularly providing fellow lenders with reasons to admire, envy and occasionally enjoy an evil chuckle about LatinFinance’s Best Loan House.…

Local Currency Deal

Tenor Extender The standout transaction for América Móvil, one of the most savvy corporate issuers in the region, was its tenor extending 30-year Europeso issue. The deal almost slipped through the cracks, since it was issued in December 2006, when most borrowers and investors were winding down for year-end. But it was unsurpassed in the…

Local Currency Financing

Getting Reais The IFC broke new ground for the Brazilian corporate debt market in October with a debut issue, actually in reais. Unlike previous local trades from multilaterals, the 200 million reais 3-year fixed-rate bond was not placed in the Euromarkets in dollars or euros and merely linked to the local currency. Besides following the…

M&A House

Focus Pays JPMorgan has long been an important regional M&A player, even as its capital markets businesses ebbed and flowed. But in 2007, the highest volume year for consolidation activity in recent memory, the shop came into its own with a string of high profile transactions, not least Gerdau’s $4.22 billion acquisition of Chaparral Steel…

Primary Equity Issue

Great Exchange Expectations It was not just the biggest equity deal of 2007 from LatAm, the fifth largest IPO globally and the most substantial to date from any exchange. The Bovespa’s $3.68 billion IPO was also an exercise in brand creation and public relations that demanded flawless execution from beginning to end. Particular skill was…

Private Equity Deal

Refocusing Pride GP Investment’s $1 billion acquisition of a collection of LatAm assets from Pride International has vaulted the Brazilian private equity firm into a new league. It is now among a handful of dominant equity-only players that seek out investments across the region, competing against the likes of Gávea Investimentos, Eton Park, and Advent…

Quasi-Sovereign Bond

City Financing Just before credit markets dried up in July 2007, the District of Bogotá priced an innovative and tightly priced $300 million TES-denominated 144A offering due 2028. What the city claims is the first international local-currency issue for a LatAm municipality may open doors for other cities to issue in a similar format. Despite…

Sovereign Bond

Keeping it Local Last year saw several significant and innovative transactions from sovereign issuers and many examples of creative liability management. But Peru’s $1.5 billion sol-denominated 2037 issue pushed the envelope for smaller nations, taking it ahead of even Brazil in terms of domestic currency duration. Peru’s biggest local currency offering in the international capital…

Sovereign issuer

UMS Goes Strategic Long considered the region’s most sophisticated issuer, Mexico pushed the envelope in 2007 with several transactions that showcase its continued leadership of the debt markets. The sovereign overcame external markets challenges to continue bolstering local markets while maintaining a presence in dollars. In a year where several issuers have instituted successful liability…

Structured Bond

Building Consensus Every country in Latin America faces the same problem of how to finance looming infrastructure needs. Solutions range from grand schemes still in theoretical stages to functional but not entirely satisfactory revenue models. There are also the outright PPP disasters plagued by bureaucracy and political meddling. From this bucket of coals waiting to…

Best Investment Bank

Staying Ahead Credit Suisse started last year in a very strong position and built on it, even as operating conditions turned nasty in the second half. A focus on high margin business like Brazilian equity paid off, for clients on both the issuer and investor side. And while competitors tried to portray the house as…