PANAMA CITY, Panama, March 12, 2010 – LATINLAWYER Magazine honored the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and its Expansion Program yesterday as “2009 Project Finance Deal of the Year” in recognition of the successful negotiation and secured financing for the waterway’s expansion.

Held in Sáo Paulo, Brazil, the annual LATINLAWYER “Deal of the Year” Awards recognize the best business deals in Latin America among five different categories: project finance, disputes, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and restructuring.

LATINLAWYER presented the award to the ACP and its advisors Shearman & Sterling and Arias & Lopez for successfully negotiating the US$2.3 billion package. The Canal expansion deal includes financing from five multilateral and development agencies: the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Panama Canal Expansion is 2009 Project Finance Deal of the YearGeneral Counsel Vice President Alvaro Cabal, in-house counsel for the transaction, accepted the award for the ACP.

“It is an honor to receive this recognition on behalf of the ACP and the magnificent team that engaged in demonstrating the strength, well-founded legal framework, stability and transparency of the organization,” said Mr. Cabal. “Securing the Canal expansion financing in the midst of a volatile global economy is testament to the commitment of everyone involved and the confidence in well-established legal framework and the solid management of the waterway and this project. We are indeed making history with this precedent.”

Submissions for the “Deal of the Year” were accepted from any law firm or company wishing to nominate a transaction, with shortlists of up to six transactions per category. The LATINLAWYER editorial team, along with a group of lawyers not working on the transactions, judged the deals based on a variety of criteria including value, timeframe, complexity, legal creativity shown, political and regulatory sensitivity, number of jurisdictions to which the deal relates, among others.

Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks. The project will double Canal capacity and allow more traffic and the passage of longer and wider ships. Overall, expansion is estimated at US$5.25 billion, with an anticipated completion of 2014.

About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
The ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP’s Web site: http://www.pancanal.com/. You can also follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/thepanamacanal.