Law firm of the year: Latham & Watkins

Channels: ESG

Companies: Thai Kasikornbank, MidAmerican Energy Company, Mann+Hummel Group, Latham & Watkins, World Bank, GEF

People: Gianfranco Bertozzi

US law firm Latham & Watkins advised on a number of significant global deals last year, including the first ever sovereign 'blue bond'.

The Republic of Seychelles raised $15 million from international investors in an innovative issue designed to support the development of sustainable marine and fisheries projects.

It is hoped the transaction will help catalyse a market for 'blue bonds' and the protection of the oceans.

The issue benefited from $5 million from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank) providing a repayment guarantee for a third of the principal, while the UN's Global Environment Facility (GEF) agreed a $5 million concessional loan to the country to help cover the coupon payments.

Latham & Watkins advised the World Bank on its role in the issue. The support from the World Bank helped reduce the coupon by about two percentage points.

Other examples of deals involving the law firm include a $100 million sustainability bond issued by Thai Kasikornbank, which was the first sustainability bond in the ASEAN region, and a $700 million green mortgage bond issued by MidAmerican Energy Company. In both cases it advised the managers.

It also advised the Tianjin Rail Transit Group in respect of its €400 million guaranteed green bonds.

The firm says that it has guided the market through US securities law concerns and has helped anticipate the impact of draft EU regulations. It also regularly pens thought leadership articles.

Latham is an observer to the Green Bond Principles, a member of the City of London Green Finance Initiative Legal Sub-Working Group, and has been working with China's European Chamber of Commerce to identify opportunities in the sustainable finance market in Asia.