Chris Willott advises sponsors, borrowers, banks and multi-lateral institutions with respect to the development, construction and financing of projects across the energy and infrastructure sectors, with a focus on Latin America.
- BTG Pactual, operating out of its Caymans branch, on a US$250 million secured bridge financing made available to a subsidiary of Africa Oil Corp to purchase all of Petrobras' shares in Petrobras Oil & Gas B.V. – a Dutch entity which has oil interests in Nigeria
- Klabin on a five-year, US$1.1 billion syndicated loan, split between a US$600 million prepayment export facility and a US$500 million revolving credit facility; Citi, HSBC, Mizuho, Santander and SMBC were bookrunners, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Commerzbank, Export Development Canada (EDC) and Scotiabank as mandated lead arrangers
- Klabin as borrower in relation to a combined US$800 million loan provided by IDB Invest, IDB and IFC, Santander, Rabobank, HSBC, SMBC, CACIB, BNPP, SMBC and KEB Hana, used to expand Klabin's existing pulp and paper facility, increase its cogeneration capacity and install certain waste and water treatment and gasification plants. We also advised Klabin as borrower in relation to a US$245 million credit agreement provided by the Finnish ECA Finnvera to fund the construction of a new kraftliner paper machine
- the international and Brazilian lenders to Paranapanema Group with respect to the restructuring of Paranapanema's New York law governed export prepayment agreements, among other agreements, in the amount of approx. US$600 million. Paranapanema is the largest exporter of refined copper in Brazil
- Latin America Power, as sponsor, on the financing for the 188MW San Juan wind power project in northern Chile, the largest wind power project in the country upon completion and the first to be financed on the basis of the new PPAs with Chilean distribution companies awarded in Chile's recent energy auction. The financing was provided by ECAs and both international and Chilean commercial banks and included a VAT facility provided by two Chilean commercial banks
- the banks on an acquisition financing in the total amount of US$9.2 billion, comprising a bridge loan facility and an export prepayment facility, provided to Suzano Papel e Celulose for the US$11 billion acquisition of Fibria; Trade Financing of the Year, Latin Finance Deals of the Year Awards 2018
- Brasil Warrant Gestao de Investimentos (BWGI) on their EUR277 million margin loan
- Commerzbank AG, New York Branch in connection with the tax equity bridge financing of the 250MW Amadeus wind farm project in Kent, Fisher and Stonewall counties in the US state of Texas
- Technip and OOG with respect to the US$600 million ECA and commercial bank financing of two ultra-deepwater pipe laying vessels, for charter to Petrobras for use in Brazil’s “pre-salt” offshore fields (Project Finance Deal of the Year, Marine Money)
- Sumitomo Mitsui Banking in connection with the financing of the BTG Pactual's US$758 million acquisition of Globenet's undersea telecom cable system from Oi
News and client work
Career and qualifications
- Carleton College (Bachelor of Arts) 1992
- Georgetown University Law Center (JD) 2000
- Georgetown's Walsh School of Foreign Service (MSFS) 2000
- Admitted as an Attorney-at-Law in New York and the District of Columbia 2001
Awards and citations
- "Chris Willott is at the forefront of a resurgent project financing market in Brazil"
Legal 500 Latin America 2020, Projects and Energy– International Firms
"Clifford Chance operates a wide-ranging practice covering acquisition finance, project finance, trade finance and corporate lending. It is especially noted for big-ticket Brazilian deals, thanks in part to the presence of a substantial banking and finance team in Sao Paulo and top Brazil-specialist Chris Willott in New York"
Legal 500 Latin America 2020, Banking and Finance – International Firms
- Leading Individual
Legal 500 Latin America 2020, Banking and Finance – International Firms
LACCA Approved by the Latin America Corporate Counsel Association
Who's Who Legal: Banking and Finance 2020
- Ranked as a Leading Individual. Chris Willott is a giant of the Brazil financing market.
Legal 500 Latin America 2019, Banking and Finance – International Firms
- Christopher Willott is adept at handling a range of Latin American finance matters, earning praise from commentators for his "great knowledge of the Latin American market." They go on to say: "He is very experienced in banking and finance, and it's always good to have him on a deal."
Chambers Latin America 2020, Banking & Finance – Latin America-wide
- Christopher Willott is held in high regard by market commentators, with one claiming: "He's a great international lawyer for financing work in Brazil." He advises on a wide range of financing mandates, with a focus on transactions in the energy and natural resources sector."
Chambers Latin America 2020, Banking & Finance: International – Brazil
- Full of praise for Christopher Willott's skills, one observer attests: "He's really very good - he speaks the language and is a very good negotiator; I like working with him a lot." Willott focuses his practice on the financing of energy and infrastructure projects in Brazil.
Chambers Latin America 2019, Banking & Finance: International – Brazil
- Christopher Willott is a respected figure in the Latin American banking and finance market, with one peer describing him as an "excellent lawyer." He has noted capabilities in project and corporate finance, as well as offering expertise in restructuring mandates. He regularly acts for banks and developers as lenders and borrowers respectively.
Chambers Latin America 2019, Banking & Finance – Latin America-wide
- Christopher Willott has been ranked in Chambers Latin America - Banking & Finance (Latin America-wide). Christopher Willott is noted by peers for his project finance work in the energy and natural resources sector. He frequently represents major lenders such as commercial banks, ECAs and multilateral organisations.
Chambers Latin America 2017 - Banking & Finance
- Christopher Willott has been ranked in Chambers Latin America - Projects (Latin America-wide). Brazil-based partner Christopher Willott has worked across the region on a notable range of infrastructure projects, including vessel finance and road networks. He recently advised the sponsors, lenders and project company on the development and financing of a wind farm in Chile which required consideration of New York and Chilean law.
Chambers Latin America 2017 - Projects
- Christopher Willott has been ranked in Chambers Latin America - Banking & Finance: International (Brazil). Based in São Paulo, Christopher Willott is noted for his "good commercial background" and for his project finance work, particularly in the energy sector. Clients enthuse: "He goes very deep into issues and is able to identify problems that are not clear from the outset."
Chambers Latin America 2017 - Banking & Finance: International
- Chambers as a leading lawyer for:
- Projects: Latin America Wide
- Banking and Finance: Latin America Wide
- Brazil, Banking and Finance: International