Team helps fund $427 million wind power project

Dealmakers:Pedro alvarez, aracely alicea, Lauren Hunt, Colleen Grady and Brian Canida

The Deal: The lawyers at alvarez arrieta & Diaz- Silveira in miami represented InterEnergy Holdings LP, a private equity fund that invests in energy assets in the Caribbean and Latin america, in the financing of a $427 million wind power project in Panama. The project is expected to be the largest wind power project in Central america.

Details: Cayman Islands-based InterEnergy Holdings contacted the Alvarez lawyers in January about working on its largest deal to date—the wind power project in Penonme, Panama. It will produce 215 megawatts of power, is expect- ed to eliminate more than 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and save nearly 900,000 barrels of oil per year. The Alvarez Arrieta lawyers assisted InterEnergy in buying the project from the developer, Panama-based Union Eolica Panamena S.A., on April 23. Then the legal team negotiated with Goldwind International Holdings Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer of windmills, to procure 86 turbines for about $200 million. The lawyers also negotiated the logistics contracts involving moving the turbines to the project site, road construction and electrical connections.

Alvarez’s team also arranged the first phase of financing, a $100 million construction loan, through a bridge credit facility provided by Banco Espirito Santo de Investimento S.A. The team should have no trouble obtaining the remaining financing, due to the strong interest and government mandate for energy infrastructure improvements in Latin America and Third World countries, Alvarez said. The investment is part of a commitment made by InterEnergy at the Clinton Global Initiative Latin america meeting last December in Rio de Janeiro.

The lawyers faced a number of obstacles in trying to complete the project within the required time frame. For one thing, they had to finish before the rainy season started in Panama, which would have delayed the start of construction. Additionally, work was interrupted by a number of bank holidays, Alvarez said.

Working with four other law firms representing the various parties, the Alvarez firm ended its final conference call at 5 a.m. April 23, the day the deal closed. The other law firms included morgan Lewis & Bockius and Clifford Chance.

This was Alvarez Arrieta & Diaz-Silveira’s largest deal to date. The firm was founded in 2012 by a group of former White & Case lawyers.

Construction has started and is expected to be completed in April 2015.

Quote: “For us, this was a very exciting deal because we had worked for some of the portfolio companies earlier, and we had just finished doing a solar project for them,” Alvarez said. “This is reflective of the fact that a small Miami firm like ours can handle a big deal just as well as any international law firm.”

Background: Pedro “Tony” Alvarez, a partner and co-founder of the firm, oversaw the deal. Alicea, a partner, worked on the project development side. Hunt, a partner, managed the financing. Grady, an associate, assisted with the securities related to the collateral on the loan. Canida, another associate, managed due diligence issues.

Julie Kay