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With offices in La Paz, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba and Tarija, Moreno Baldivieso Estudio De Abogados has impressive firepower and international recognition; the vast majority of its clients are foreign entities. The department’s capabilities are wide-ranging: Luis Moreno continued to assist Samsung Engineering with all aspects of its construction of the $1bn Bulo Bulo ammonia and urea plant in Cochabamba – one of the largest public projects in Bolivian history. Indeed, energy and natural resources are areas the practice is often seen in: Luis and Ramiro Moreno provide Exterran with ongoing corporate counsel, and advised STE Energy on all aspects of its 120MW hydroelectric plant project in Miscuni, Cochabamba. The firm is frequently active in the insurance sector: Ramiro and Andrés Moreno acted for AON on the closure of its operations in Bolivia, including liquidating assets worth around $10m. Large-scale, cross-border M&A is also a strength of the team, with Ramiro and Andrés Moreno advising Comcast on the Bolivian aspects of its subsidiary Fandango Media’s acquisition of Cinepapaya, one of South America’s largest online ticketing companies. Other clients include Siemens, Uber and Amaury Sport Organization. Also noted is the strong second line of senior associates including Daniel Arredondo, René Claure, René Cuellar and Teddy Mercado.

The full-service practice at Bufete Aguirre Soc. Civ., which is spread across La Paz and Santa Cruz, is headed by Ignacio Aguirre. It is active in a wide variety of sectors, though it has been particularly busy in energy, natural resources and telecoms: Milenka Saavedra advised thyssenkrupp Raw Materials and thyssenkrupp Materials on two separate $106m contracts for the purchase of Vinto smelter’s tin production exports, and assisted telecoms operators such as Telesat Canada and Intelsat International Systems with regulatory matters and permit procurement. Other clients of the practice, which counts corporate governance as a key strength, include Minera San Cristóbal, Accion International, GM Commodities and Tetra Pak. Fernando Aguirre and Carolina Aguirre are also noted members of the practice group.

Fernando Rojas heads C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados’ La Paz practice, while Diego Rojas is the key contact in Santa Cruz. M&A, corporate restructuring, and incorporations and dissolutions are all key areas of activity for the practice group: recent work saw Diego Rojas advise Japan Tobacco International (JTI) on its acquisition of Bis Bolivia; and Santa Cruz-based senior associate Mery Cuellar assist Química Suiza Industrial de Bolivia with an equity restructuring. Sandra Salinas and Ariel Morales (in La Paz) advised Volvo Construction Equipment on its $6.8m acquisition of heavy machinery and the associated financing. Other work included advising Indus Producciones, GMISA Ingenieros Consultores and Jeunesse Global Bolivia on their respective local incorporations, and Andean Courier Express, Flexicruz and Central Oil and Gas (Bolivia) on their dissolutions.

The ‘excellent’, wide-ranging corporate practice at Ferrere covers M&A, corporate governance, shareholder issues and regulatory matters, as well as assisting foreign companies with incorporations and dissolutions in Bolivia. Operating out of offices in La Paz, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, the team has strong cross-border capabilities: recent matters saw practice head Carlos Pinto act for Petrobras Argentina on the sale of assets to Pampa Energía, and advise Bodegas Don Luis on its purchase of a stake in Master Blends. Other clients in the energy space include TYPSA y Engecorps and Canadian Solar, which were advised by the team on public bids for the construction of a hydroelectric project and a photovoltaic project, respectively. Given the firm’s international standing, it often acts as local counsel on multi-jurisdictional transactions: Pinto also acted for DOW Agrosciences on the Bolivian aspects of its multibillion-dollar merger with Dupont. The insurance sector is an additional area of activity for the team: Pinto advised Inversiones ARGU on the sale of its stake in Alianza Seguros, and Gerardo Villagómez (who has a broad corporate, commercial and regulatory practice) advised the minority shareholders of Credinform on the sale of their stake in the company. Lindsay Sykes is also active on commercial and compliance matters, and Diego Bohrt brings strength in administrative and regulatory matters as well as on interaction with state enterprises. Senior associates Carolina Finfera and Mattias Garrón, who each have over a decade’s experience, are also noted.

Widely recognised for its corporate experience and firepower, Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C’s corporate group is led by Jorge Inchauste and Ramiro Guevara in La Paz; with Enrique Barrios the key contact in Santa Cruz. The practice’s clients are largely international investors, and accordingly, the team’s core strengths -aside from M&A- are establishing and handling complex business structures, including joint ventures. Barrios continued to advise YPF, Argentina’s state-owned oil-and-gas company, on day-to-day matters regarding three of its Bolivian investment vehicles. Guevara and José Bernal assisted FLSmidth with negotiating and executing a commercial agreement with Fábrica Nacional de Cemento regarding a large new cement plant. On the M&A side, Inchauste acted for Avantica Technologies on initiating its operations in Bolivia through the acquisition of a local company. The Santa Cruz-based Rodolfo Mercado was also busy in 2016, assisting Finilager with the execution of its largest commercial contract in Bolivia, and advising its board members on corporate governance issues, as well as acting for SK Rental and Makita on their local investments and day-to-day operations.

‘Classic cruceño firm’ Indacochea & Asociados is ‘increasingly institutionalised’ and has developed a significantly more diverse client roster, as it responds to market changes and the wholesale arrival of La Paz-based law firms. Its ‘responsive’, ‘multidisciplinary’ team provides ‘solid support’ and ‘strong technical knowledge’, and is noted for its ‘personalised, professional service’, ‘transparency’ and ‘work ethic’. Incorporations, corporate restructuring and M&A, particularly acting as local counsel on multi-jurisdictional M&A transactions are all key strengths. ‘Great strategist’ Ricardo Indacochea heads the practice; an ‘excellent problem-solver’, he assisted JPNOR Ingeniera with due diligence relating to its participation in three energy contract bids called by YPFB and ENDE Corporación, one of which was won by the client. The ‘business-focused’ Alonso Indacochea is ‘very proactive, committed and skilful’; together with Lorena Otero, he advised Chuanqing Drilling Engineering, China’s largest public oil-and-gas producer, on its incorporation of a Bolivian subsidiary. He also, together with senior associate Ana Carola Muñoz, assisted Savino del Bene, CPW Cereales and Sturia with their liquidations in Bolivia. Other clients of the practice include Riverfront Investments. Andere Indacochea made partner in June 2016; Mariana Pereira is also recommended.

Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa Soc. Civ.’s practice, based across offices in La Paz and Santa Cruz, is led by Eduardo Quintanilla and Santiago Nishizawa. Julio Quintanilla had a busy 2016, advising Panamerican SAFI on its transformation from a limited liability company to a corporation in order to issue preferred shares, and assisting the company with drafting a shareholders’ agreement. The team also acted for Empresa Minera Paititi on general corporate matters, including restructuring and corporate governance issues. On the commercial-contracts side, the team advised Alta Estética on a distribution agreement worth $10m. Other clients include Coca-Cola Company, General Electric, LATAM Airlines Group and Petrobras Bolivia. Sergio Antelo and senior associate Leonardo Azurduy are also noted.

All three name partners at Würth Bedoya Costa Du Rels Abogados play a significant role in the corporate practice. Fernando Bedoya leads on much of the firm’s transactional caseload, and also focuses on foreign investment-related matters; Karla Würth has strong experience in the energy and –particularly- infrastructure sectors; and Mauricio Costa du Rels is also an experienced transactional lawyer with extensive knowledge of the oil-and-gas sector. Recent matters saw Costa du Rels lead advice to Catering International Services on bids with YPFB and Samsung, and advise Grupo Corimon on a partnership agreement with Grupo Tuma. Other mandates involved transactional matters (including due diligence, data rooms, SPAs and associated negotiations), reorganizations and regulatory advice; the team is also adroit at helping foreign investors do business in Bolivia, assisting clients with corporate governance issues, and advising companies on a range of international commerce matters, including imports, exports and free trade zones. Associates Jorge Nelson and Olga Villarroel are recommended; and the team was expanded with the hire of associate Maria Pia Arce.

Working from offices in Santa Cruz and La Paz, the ‘efficient’ team at Becerra de la Roca Donoso & Asociados S.R.L. is ‘very communicative, prompt, and attentive to detail’. It handles M&A, due diligence, corporate regulatory matters and commercial contracts, as well as assisting clients with day-to-day corporate matters. It also has regulatory strength in energy, power and telecoms. ‘Accessible’ practice head Mauricio Becerra de la Roca has experience in numerous areas of law in a variety of industry sectors: he advised Ingenio Azucarero Guabirá on its sales of alcohol across Latin America and Europe; assisted Praxair Bolivia and Archer Daniels Midland SAO with various compliance matters; acted for Perfect Fit Industries on corporate governance, supply contracts and shareholder issues; and advised Structurys and HIPRA on incorporating companies in Bolivia. Former consultant Patricia Salinas joined as of counsel in January 2017; based in Miami, Florida, she is both US- and Bolivia-qualified, and will assist international clients with corporate matters. Departing senior associate Ibling Chavarria was replaced in July 2016 by senior associate José Antonio Callaú, who arrived from labour law boutique RZ Consultores.

Tufiño y Villegas’ practice has been increasingly busy and the firm opened a new office in Cochabamba in June 2017 which -complementing its La Paz and Santa Cruz offerings- focuses principally on corporate and tax work. Although best known for its tax capabilities, the firm has a significant corporate offering including incorporations, corporate structuring and commercial contracts. José Luis Tufiño and Gabriel Villegas are the key partners; recent matters saw Villegas act for JTI Holding on its acquisition of BIS Overseas Bolivia, and assisted Corporación CFC with creating a Bolivia-based holding company. He also advised Grupo Hausland on its incorporation in Bolivia. Other clients include Alfaparf Group, Empresa Minera Santa Lucía and, particularly on the regulatory side, Droguería INTI and Grupo Predial Desarrollo Inmobiliaro. Partner Ismael Franco has temporarily relocated to New York University to complete an LLM, but is due to return in 2018.

José Criales and finance specialist Javier Urcullo head Criales & Urcullo’s department, which advises local and international clients across a wide range of sectors, though it has a particularly strong track record in the energy sector. The team assists clients with incorporations, dissolutions, M&A and foreign investment, as well as handling complex due diligence work; it also has cross-border capabilities.

Mendieta Romero y Asociados’ La Paz-based team has a strong track-record in M&A, shareholder issues, service agreements and asset transactions. Gonzalo Mendieta and Daniela Murialdo head the department; Mendieta acted for Compañía de Inversiones Mercantiles on its $39m acquisition of a controlling stake in Sociedad Hotelera Los Tajibos. Other clients include Aon UK, Credifondo, Act Peru, Compañía de Alimentos and Empresa Tumi Contratistas Mineros. Associates Marcela Rada, Gabriela Loza, Percy Luza and Sandra Doria Medina are also noted.

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