Lara M. Rios is senior counsel in Holland & Knight's Miami and New York offices and a member of the Financial Services Team. She represents financial institutions, investment banks, and public and private companies in connection with structuring complex finance and capital markets transactions, both domestic and cross border, with a particular focus on the energy/infrastructure industry and Latin America.
Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Rios was deputy general counsel at a growing, privately owned international power generation company with traditional and renewable energy projects representing 3,700 megawatts (MW) across 17 countries. She was responsible for overseeing corporate and project-level transactions and supporting all phases of development, acquisition, construction, operations, and project and corporate financings. Ms. Rios led the in-house team in connection with the first green bond issuance by a Latin American issuer, the proceeds of which helped to finance the construction of a 114MW wind farm in Peru as part of the country's Renewable Energy Resources (RER) program. The financing was recognized by IJGlobal as Latin American Wind Deal of the Year 2015 and by Environmental Finance as Environmental Bond of the Year 2015.
Ms. Rios also previously practiced with two international law firms focusing on a wide variety of syndicated lending, mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt securities, and corporate advisory matters. During law school, Ms. Rios interned in the chambers of the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Ms. Rios also maintains an active pro bono practice having represented U.S. veterans, small business owners and nonprofit organizations.
Her recent representative engagements include:
- advised Fibra UNO, Mexico's largest real estate investment trust, in connection with a $1 billion dual tranche (U.S. dollars and Mexican pesos), five-year sustainable revolving credit agreement; the unsecured revolving credit facility incorporates a sustainability-linked pricing grid that reduces the borrowing spread if certain benchmarks are achieved each year; the syndicated facility complies with the Loan Syndications and Trading Association's (LSTA) Sustainability Linked Loan Principles and is the first of its kind for a Mexican borrower such as Fibra UNO
- advised Fibra UNO in its international offering of $1 billion in senior notes; the offering was divided into two tranches: $400 million at a rate of 4.869 percent maturing in 2030 and $600 million at a rate of 6.39 percent maturing in 2050; both were issued in accordance with Rule 144A and Regulation S under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933; this was the first 30-year tenor bond issued by a Mexican issuer
- advised Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional S.A. (FDN) in Colombia in connection with a $590 million financing to Concesionaria Ruta del Cacao to develop the Bucaramanga – Barrancabermeja – Yondó corridor; the corridor, also known as "Ruta del Cacao," is part of a fourth-generation (4G) group of concessions being spearheaded by the Colombia government via its National Infrastructure Agency (Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura, or ANI); the project, which covers a total area of 190.6 kilometers, is primarily located in the department of Santander, with a portion in the department of Antioquia
- represented a lender in connection with the financing of the dredging of a large scale commercial port in Central America
- representing the borrower and sponsor in connection with the project financing for a 100MW renewable wind project in Argentina under the new RENOVAR program; the park will be located in the Province of La Rioja, which has aggressive renewable energy targets; the financing will be provided by the Inter-American Investment Corporation and Santander
- advised consortium of five liberal arts colleges in the Northeast in its purchase of renewable energy certificates and environmental attributes produced by a 75MW solar electric energy generating project located in Farmington, Maine
- represented MUFG Bank Ltd. as lead arranger in connection with a $175 million syndicated loan facility to Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior S.A. (Bladex)
- advised Banco Santander Chile in connection with the VAT credit facility provided in connection with the financing of the design, construction and operation of five new backup power generation plants in Chile by Prime Energía Quickstart SpA, a subsidiary of Glenfarne Group LLC
- represented an energy sponsor operating in Argentina, as issuer in connection with its $500 million Rule 144A/Reg. S project bond offering; the first greenfield power generation project bond issued out of Argentina in more than 25 years; the transaction also included a related $115 million secured loan from Siemens Financial Services to finance equity in the structure, as well as an additional equity investment by energy developer SoEnergy International
- counseled energy companies in connection with cross-border project financings and investments (including sovereign guarantees) by multi-lateral financial institutions
- represented Peruvian wind farm project in connection with obtaining bridge financing from Corporación Financiera de Desarrollo S.A. (COFIDE), the development bank in Peru and refinancing through a $204 million Rule 144A/Reg. S project bond (the first green bond issuance in Latin America/Peru); recognized by IJGlobal as Latin American Wind Deal of the Year 2015 and by Environmental Finance as Environmental Bond of the Year 2015
- represented JPMorgan Chase and a group of 14 lenders on a $200 million syndicated senior unsecured loan to Promigas S.A. of Colombia and its Peruvian subsidiary, Gases del Pacífico S.A.C.
- represented Bancolombia Panama, Banco Agricola and Banco Davivienda Salvadoreño in $190 million acquisition financing for Aeroman, which allowed a Central American transportation support services provider to expand its operations in the United States
- represented Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior S.A. (Bladex) as sole lead arranger, bookrunner and administrative agent on a $120 million, three-year senior unsecured syndicated loan to GMG Holding S.A. and its subsidiaries (Grupo Monge)
- represented numerous lead arrangers and administrative agents in multiple senior secured financings, including acquisition (LBO) financings and refinancings
- represented arrangers and underwriters in connection with numerous registered and unregistered debt and equity offerings
- represented numerous corporate board of directors in connection with U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) investigations and internal investigations