Lucas Saffon-López is a partner in Holland & Knight's Bogota office and is a member of the firm's International and Cross Border Transactions Group. His primary areas of focus are international mergers and acquisitions (M&A), project finance and real estate. With more than 15 year of experience, Mr. Saffon-López advises local and foreign entities in corporate and M&A transactions as well as financial institutions in project finance and structured finance deals. He is able to understand and service clients in a wide range of transactions in numerous jurisdictions.
Mr. Saffon-López has extensive experience in drafting, negotiating and reviewing contracts, including share purchase agreements, shareholder agreements and other corporate documents. In addition, he is involved in real estate transactions in Colombia such as real estate acquisitions, financings, long-term lease agreements, and shopping mall and megastore planning and construction. He also actively participates in the negotiation of hotel management agreements, franchise agreements and other agreements related to the hospitality sector.
Before joining Holland & Knight as an associate, Mr. Saffon-López practiced as international associate in the firm's Washington, D.C., office and, later, in one of Panama's leading law firms. Prior to this experience, he practiced law in Colombia for more than four years at which time he was involved in complex transactions and also advised national and foreign companies in corporate and business matters.
- Represented a United Kingdom-based private investment fund in the sale of healthcare clinics in Colombia to a Latin America investment company; the advice included different types of fiduciary structures, such as a real estate investment trust and two administration and payment trusts, for the purpose of guaranteeing payment obligations and escrow for indemnities; the transaction also has a security interest and a framework collaboration contract
- Advised a global investment manager focused on infrastructure and the real estate sector, on the purchase agreement to secure a 50 percent stake in the Ruta al Mar Concession, a 34-year concession for the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of a highway in Colombia; the remaining 50 percent of the capital is in the hands of the project's engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor; the project is a 491-kilometer (km) highway (approximately 305 miles) being developed as a fourth-generation (4G) private initiative project, within the 4G program of the Colombian government; the advice included the negotiation and drafting of the share purchase agreement and ancillary documents
- Represented a Panamanian consumer goods company in the acquisition of certain assets from an American multinational consumer goods company
- Advice to the buyer in the acquisition of a percentage of the Colombian beauty products brand Loto del Sur by the Spanish multinational company Puig S.L.
- Represented Dollarama in the purchase of a majority interest in Dollarcity; the deal gave Dollarama, which has 1,236 locations across Canada, a second growth platform to complement its existing Canadian growth strategy; Dollarcity operates more than 180 stores in El Salvador, Guatemala and Colombia, with a target of up to 600 stores by 2029
- Counseled Tribeca Asset Management and other minority stakeholders of Bogota Beer Co. (BBC) in the selling process of its assets to the multinational brewer Ambev
- Represented Empresa de Energia de Bogotá (EEB) on its US$880 million purchase of 31.92 percent of stock in Transportadora de Gas Internacional (TGI) from The Rohatyn Group (formerly Citi Venture Capital International)
- Advised Fondo Latinoamericano de Reservas (FLAR) in extending a loan to the government of Ecuador for more than US$500 million
- Represented EXL Services Holding in the negotiation and incorporation of a joint venture with Carvajal S.A.
- Advised InfraRed Capital Partners in the acquisition of a 50 percent stake in the project company of Ruta al Mar Project, which is part of Colombia's fourth generation (4G) road infrastructure plan
- Represented the sellers in the selling transaction of the biggest concert arena in Colombia
- Represented Operadora de Comercio S.A.S., owner of Centros Comerciales Unico, a chain of outlet shopping malls in Colombia, in the structuration of the sale of five shopping malls during the negotiation and sale of 80 percent of their assets to Patrimonio Estrategias Inmobiliarias (one of the major real estate investment vehicles in Colombia); the deal included a complex fiduciary structure, a trademark license agreement, and a property and facility management agreement
- Served as legal advisor for Corferias (the Bogota International Center for Business and Exhibitions) in the identification and design of the most appropriate legal figure to develop a hotel complex with international investors and a first-class operator, as part of their master plan of development; Holland & Knight attorneys are also in charge of drafting and negotiating the hotel management agreements and all related documents
- Represented InterContinental Hotels Group and Holiday Inn in the negotiation of three hotel management agreements, trusts deeds and other agreements related to the development of hotel projects in Armenia, Cartagena and Bogotá
- Advised InterContinental Hotels Group in the negotiation of two separate franchise agreements, each with a different local developer, to open two new hotels in Colombia's northeastern cities of Bucaramanga and Cúcuta under the Holiday Inn brand
- Advised the owners of Hotel Tequendama in Bogota as part of the negotiation of a possible sale transaction
- Acted as legal advisor under Colombian law for MUFG Bank Ltd. on its $163.5 million financing for the La Virginia-Nueva Esperanza transmission line project; MUFG, Japan's largest bank, acted as coordinating lead arranger, administrative agent, offshore collateral agent and hedge provider; the transaction represents the first project financing of a transmission line in Colombia involving foreign banks; the transmission line, which will be built and operated by Transmisora Colombiana de Energía (TCE), a subsidiary of Alupar Colombia, is 235 km (approximately 146 miles), runs at 500 kilovolts and includes the construction of two connection bays
- Represented Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and the China Development Bank (CDB) as lead arrangers in a US$650 million financing of Mar 2 project, which is part of the fourth generation (4G) road infrastructure plan from Colombia; the financing included two tranches, with the FDN providing COP$500,000 million and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and the CDB providing US$501.7 million; the Mar 2 project is a 254 km highway in Antioquia, Colombia, which includes the construction of 11 tunnels and 59 bridges
- Advised under Colombian law and under New York law to Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN) as a provider of liquidity facilities (credit enhancement) in the framework of the financing of the Pacifico 3 project, part of the fourth generation (4G) road infrastructure program in Colombia; this was the first 4G financing that was closed, the first transaction with liquidity line granted by FDN and one of the first international project bond issues in Colombia; the final structure, organized by Goldman Sachs & Co., comprised seven tranches of secured senior debt; LatinFinance named this transaction "Best Road Financing" and "Best Infrastructure Financing" for the Andes region in 2016 and recognized Holland & Knight for its work
- Represented Banco Santander S.A. in connection with the financing provided to Grupo Odinsa of Colombia for a portion of the purchase price for the acquisition of a 50 percent stake in Quiport, the concessionaire of Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, Ecuador
- Represented Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior, S.A. (Bladex) and a group of lenders on a US$90 million syndicated loan to Centelsa, a leading Colombian manufacturer of power and telecommunications cables, and some of its affiliates in Mexico, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia
- Universidad de los Andes, J.D.
- Universidad de los Andes, Specialization, Commercial Law
- Northwestern University, LL.M., in law and business certificate
- The Legal 500 Latin America, Next Generation Partner, Corporate M&A, 2021
- The Legal 500 Latin America, Corporate M&A, 2019
- Chambers Global – The World's Leading Lawyers for Business guide, Colombia: Corporate/M&A, Associates to Watch, 2016, 2018-2020
- Chambers Latin America – Latin America's Leading Lawyers for Business guide, Corporate/M&A, Associates to Watch, 2016-2020
- Best Road Financing, Project & Infrastructure Awards, LatinFinance, 2016, 2017
- Best Local Currency Finance, Project & Infrastructure Awards, LatinFinance, 2017
- Best Infrastructure Financing for the Andes Region, Project & Infrastructure Awards, LatinFinance, 2016
- Deal of the Year, Project Finance, Latin Lawyer, 2016