Hogan Lovells and Davis Polk lead on $3bn Venezuelan bond issuance

Hogan Lovells has scooped a role as both US and Venezuelan counsel to Venezuelan state-owned oil company PDVSA on its $3bn (£1.9bn) bond issuance.

The US team was led by Miami-based partner José Valdivia and New York-based partners Sina Hekmat and Evan Koster, alongside associates Oscar Stephens, David Tyler, Christy Gressman and Christiana Stevenson. On the Venezuelan side, partners Bruno Ciuffetelli and Gonzalo Rodríguez-Matos and associate Marianna Boza advised from Hogan Lovells’ office in Caracas.

Davis Polk & Wardwell acted as US counsel to deal managers Citigroup Global Markets and Russia bank Evrofinance Mosnarbank. The team consisted of partners Maurice Blanco and Sam Dimon, associates Katia Brener, Jeanine McGuinness and Eric Song and foreign associate Eduardo Postlethwaite. Caracas-based D’Empaire Reyna Abogados acted as Venezuelan counsel to the deal managers, which included partner Carlos Omaña and associate Amanda Arcaya.

The three firms all performed identical roles on PDVSA’s $2.39bn (£1.52bn) bond issuance in November last year.

Total bond issuances in Venezuela in 2011 beat the rest of Latin America combined and according to a report in the Financial Times, this latest offering brings total issuances in Venezuela this year to $15.2bn, which includes $7.2bn from the state and $8bn from PDVSA.

The issuance comes as the country prepares for presidential elections in October 2012 and is expected to kickstart further borrowing to help incumbent President Hugo Chávez boost public spending in the run-up to the elections.

Hogan Lovells legacy firm Hogan & Hartson launched its Caracas office in 2005. It has a track record of working on some of the country’s most high-profile finance deals, having acted as counsel to PDVSA and Bandes (the Venezuelan Social and Economic Development Bank) on two loan facilities with a combined value of $20bn from the China Development Bank in August 2010 (6 August 2010).

In February it announced its plans  to open an office in Rio de Janeiro later this year, pending approval from the Brazilian Bar Association (27 February 2012).

Most foreign law firms have opened offices in the country’s financial centre São Paulo, but the firm’s decision to launch in Rio is believed to have been promoted by the influx of project finance and other related work taking place in the city as it gears up to host the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics in 2016.