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Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Criales & Urcullo’s practice is especially strong in capital markets, investment funds and regulatory financial services work. Group head Javier Urcullo is an expert in all these areas: he acted for Panamerican on the participation of one of its funds, Fondo de Inversión Cerrado (FIBRA FIC), in the financing of the Marriott Hotel in Santa Cruz, and advised the same client on structuring the financing for several other Santa Cruz construction projects. He also advised Grupo Fortaleza on financial regulatory compliance matters and a manufacturer with a $10m debt restructuring and capitalisation. On the capital markets side, Mercantil Santa Cruz Agencia de Bolsa mandated Urcullo on structuring a $20m bond issuance by Nibol. Luis Valda and associate Andrea Urcullo are also recommended. Hidroelectrica Boliviana is another client.

Noted for its multi-jurisdictional capabilities, Ferrere’s finance department is split into transactional and regulatory practices, led by the ‘experiencedCarlos Pinto and ‘sharp’ structured finance expert Lindsay Sykes, respectively. Often capital markets-related, the team’s transactional activity is largely for international lenders: Pinto and senior associate Mattias Garrón advised JP Morgan Chase, as arranger, on a $125m international bond offering by Grupo Lafuente, while Pinto and Sykes acted for Credit Suisse and KfW Development Bank on a syndicated $500m loan to the Bolivian state for the construction of the Cochabamba urban railway. Clients on the regulatory side include Banco Santander, GE Capital and Inter-American Development Bank.

The team at Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C has been increasingly active in large-scale restructuring activities in the banking and finance sector: Ramiro Guevara assisted Grupo Financiero Bisa with the $300m reorganisation of all its companies. As well as continuing to provide regulatory advice to global financial institutions – such as Standard Chartered and Citibank – which have interests in Bolivia but are not domiciled in the country, the team continues to act for locally active international lenders such as International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Project finance and structured finance are other areas of particular strength. Guevara co-heads the practice with Jorge Inchauste in La Paz; while Enrique Barrios is the key contact in Santa Cruz. La Paz-based associates José Bernal and Alejandra Guevara are frequently active on high-value matters.

Ramiro Moreno and Miguel Ángel Jemio head the team at Moreno Baldivieso Estudio De Abogados, which counts numerous international financial institutions among its clients. Ramiro and Andrés Moreno acted for regional development bank CAF on several large transactions, including the restructuring of a $456m loan agreement between the lender and the Bolivian state. Jemio and Daniel Arredondo advised Credit Suisse on $8m-worth of separate security-repurchase transactions with Banco Unión, Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz and Banco Nacional de Bolivia. René Claure is noted for his insurance and reinsurance expertise; his clients include Sogaz Insurance Group and BUPA Insurance.

October 2018 saw the merger of Bufete Aguirre and Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa into Bufete Aguirre, Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa. While the functioning of this new firm will take longer to assess, it is clear that both legacy firms lend strength to the new entity as regards banking and finance work. The Aguirre team has long been particularly active on the lender and investor side, has strong experience in cross-border transactions and often advises clients on the financing of public entities. The practice group from the former QSN is, in turn, hailed as ‘efficient, effective’ and ‘experienced’, has particular expertise acting for financial institutions and is noted for recommending the most appropriate solutions’. Recent headline matters saw Ignacio Aguirre act as local counsel to initial purchasers Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith and JP Morgan Securities on a $1bn bond issuance by the Bolivian state. Eduardo Quintanilla and Santiago Nishizawa also have ‘great experience and knowledge’; Nishizawa recently advised Inter-American Investment on the provision of various working-capital loans to small enterprises, while Quintanilla assisted Locfund II with structuring various financings through promissory note issuances. Fernando Aguirre is a leading practitioner in the sector, while Julio Quintanilla and senior associate Leonardo Azurduy are ‘fully dedicated and always available to provide personalised service'.

La Paz-based banking and finance boutique Bolsa, Banca y Comercio advises local and international clients on a wide range of matters, including securities transactions and investment banking issues. It is active on both the regulatory and transactional sides of the practice. Sergio Pantoja Navajas is the key contact.

Excellent, timely’ and with ‘extensive knowledge’, the practice at Indacochea & Asociados is led by Mariana Pereira, who has particular expertise in the issuance of bonds and promissory notes. ‘Eloquent, distinguished, responsible’ project and property finance expert Alonso Indacochea is ‘a good manager’; he and senior associate Ana Carola Muñoz are especially strong in debt restructuring and loan agreements. Indacochea acted for CV Luxco on a multi-jurisdictional corporate-finance restructuring; and assisted an Anglo-Argentine real estate group with obtaining a $700,000 loan to build a shopping centre in Santa Cruz. Indacochea also advised Inversiones Inmobiliarias Grupo Fe on a loan agreement with a Chinese real estate fund. ‘Committed, honest and serious-minded’ associate Candys Dorado has ‘considerable accounting knowledge’. JLT Corredores de Reaseguros is a client in the insurance space.

Noted for its international outlook and finance litigation capabilities, Becerra de la Roca Donoso & Asociados S.R.L.’s team counts regulatory work and structuring finance for international lenders as key strengths. The practice is especially active in energy, mining and agribusiness: practice head Mauricio Becerra de la Roca continued to advise Root Capital on financing various agribusiness projects for companies including Jacha Inti Industrial, Asociación de Caficultores de Taipiplaya and Ecologic Coffee. He also represented the client in litigation against debtor company Kemabol Import-Export. Other clients in the finance litigation space include ADM SAO and YPFB Refinación. New clients for the department include Praxair Bolivia and Coface. Associate José Antonio Velásquez is also recommended.

The key La Paz-based partners at C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados are María del Carmen Ballivián and Sandra Salinas; while in Santa Cruz, Diego Rojas, Elizabeth Landivar and José Manuel Canelas are the key contacts. Power and infrastructure are sector strengths for the department, which often handles cross-border deals involving Chile: it acted for Cat Financial as investor on its $11m financing of the acquisition of machinery for road construction. John Deere Financial Chile instructed the team on $3m-worth of acquisition finance loans to local companies. The firm’s La Paz office counts aircraft finance as a key strength.

Annona Sustainable Investments, BTG Pactual Chile, Banco Nacional de Bolivia and Penta Las Américas are among the key clients of Würth Bedoya Costa Du Rels Abogados’ practice, which is especially active in the hydrocarbons sector and is noted for its loan-agreement work and project-related, asset-purchase financing expertise. The team also handles debt structuring. Karla Würth has considerable expertise in project finance and capital markets, while Fernando Bedoya is a banking expert. Senior associate María Pía Arce is also noted for her strength in corporate finance and capital markets.

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