News Column

Gonzalez Law Firm Gets Traction With Toyota

February 15, 2013

Staff -- HispanicBusiness

Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan

The Milwaukee law firm of Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan LLP represented Toyota Motor Credit Corp. in what it described as one of the largest public offerings of debt securities ever handled by a minority-owned law firm.

GSH acted as co-issuer's counsel in the $300 million Diversity & Inclusion medium term note transaction, according to a news release. TMCC was the only issuer, a GSH spokesman told HispanicBusiness, with diversity and minority investment banking firms serving as lead underwriters.

The transaction, developed in collaboration with Lebenthal Capital Markets and Citi, closed on Jan. 23. Underwriters included Ramirez & Co. Inc., a full services securities firm in New York City.

"(Toyota Financial Service's) inaugural D&I bond elevated the role of diversity and minority-owned firms to lead positions, allowing these firms to offer their clients a unique opportunity to invest in TFS bonds," said Karen Papazian, national manager, capital markets at TFS, who was key in developing and executing the offering. TMCC operates under the TFS service mark.

Toyota describes the Diversity & Inclusion bond as a "new type of bond syndication (that) will become a component of the company's comprehensive funding program." The company said the bond will allow TMCC "to capture a more diverse investor base" and give its investors better access to TMCC bonds "and the opportunity to participate in higher-profile deals."

The "offering is an unsecured corporate debt obligation of Toyota Motor Credit Corp.," a Toyota spokesman said, "the proceeds of which will be used for general corporate purposes (and) is part of TMCC's broader diversity and inclusion efforts."

The underwriters included firms owned by U.S. Hispanics, African-Americans, women and service-disabled veterans, he added.

"We are proud to have partnered with TMCC on this historic transaction, which reflects Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan's and TMCC's shared commitment to diversity and inclusion," Ferdinand J. Alvaro, partner in GSH's Boston office, said in a statement.

Alvaro led the effort and issued the validity opinion regarding the notes.

"We appreciated the opportunity to work with Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan on this groundbreaking transaction, as it aligned with our department-wide initiative to engage diversity law firms," Katherine Adkins, TMCC's general counsel, said in a statement.

GSH is an MBE-certified firm representing Fortune 1000 corporations, government entities and individuals in corporate and transaction concerns, public finance, and employment, among other matters.

TMCC, based in Torrance, Calif., was founded in 1983 and rebranded under its present name in 1999. The company employs 3,300 associates and has managed assets of $81 billion.

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