As Mexico pushes ahead with reforms in its energy, telecommunications, and financial sectors, attorneys are moving laterally to take advantage of the opportunities the reforms present.

Mario Piana has joined Chadbourne & Parke’s Mexico City office from Lopez Velarde Heftye & Soria, where he spent nine years as a partner. He is an international partner in the firm’s corporate department.

In an interview with IFLR1000, Piana says he joined Chadbourne & Parke because of its international platform and reputable cross-border and Latin American practice, which allows him to better assist multinational and local clients interested in participating in new investment opportunities in Mexico.

“With structural legal reforms taking place in the Mexican energy, communications and transportation sectors, the country anticipates significant private and foreign investments,” he said. “Moving to a global firm, such as Chadbourne, allows a continued practice growth representing multinational clients investing in Mexico.”

Piana specializes in energy, infrastructure, antitrust, project finance, and M&A. Piana has represented a Danish energy technology company in the negotiation of turnkey agreements for the installation and start-up of waste-to-energy plants, as well as for automotive rubber parts recycling plants. He was also counsel to a U.S.-based private equity fund in the acquisition of two hotel resorts in Ixtapa and Huatulco, and represented the same company in the sale of those resorts to a major Spanish tourism corporation. 

Piana says that while Mexico’s energy market reform is still incipient, there have been significant advances.

“Some of the upstream oil and gas tenders are already in process,” he said. “Permitting proceedings for midstream activities are also in place. The new regulatory framework for the power industry, which will open the industry to competition, is [taking] steps ahead. There is a wide array of opportunities still to come.”

Piana added that the government has also been paying attention to the country’s infrastructure needs and has launched an ambitious infrastructure program with many attractive projects. He said the projects, through PPPs, are now being financed through private equity funds in addition to traditional sources such as banks.