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Dominican Republic > Corporate and finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Who Represents Who

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Noted for its impressive strength in depth, Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández’s ‘outstanding, truly reliable’ department has ‘real expertise and deep business understanding’. It handles the full range of corporate work, and is also very active on the finance side, especially for lenders, although it also often handles large mandates for borrowers such as Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI. The ‘practical, widely respected’ Mary Fernández has ‘a wealth of experience’ and ‘grasps the core issues’; she co-leads the finance team with Jaime Senior, who acted for Bank of Nova Scotia on loans with an aggregate value of $138m to Phoenix Tower International for the expansion of its wireless infrastructure. Eileen Jiménez is ‘a deeply knowledgeable commercial distribution expert’ who also handles M&A and financing; she and Fernández advised three development banks on their $60m financing of Montecristi Solar’s 57MW power plant. Business organisation specialist Sarah De Léon and M&A and project finance expert Roberto Rizik co-head the corporate practice.

OMG is active across all kinds of finance work, particularly for lenders and investors, and counts several private equity firms and international banks among its clients. Debt capital markets is a notable strength with recent work seeing Leonel Melo and Manuel Troncoso assist Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) with the registration of a $204m domestic bond programme. The pair also advised Citibank and Bank of Nova Scotia on their $150m refinancing of DP World Caucedo. On the corporate side, the practice handles market-leading transactional work: Melo and Esperanza Cabral, who co-lead the practice, advised Orange Dominicana on its merger with Tricom to create the $258m company Altice Dominicana. Together with international practice director Juan Alcalde, both partners advised Gerdau Metaldom on its $165m purchase of a 50% stake in Diaco. Banking and project finance expert Rebeca García and Punta Cana-based financial regulatory specialist Mónika Melo are also recommended.

Praised for its ‘vast experience, great professionalism and ethical strength’, Pellerano & Herrera’s department ‘always gives timely advice’; it is also noted for its ‘technological innovation’. The team is jointly led by M&A expert Luis Pellerano, finance specialist Mariángela Pellerano and banking expert Ricardo Pellerano, who specialise in foreign investment, capital markets and insurance respectively. Mariángela Pellerano and senior associate Carolina Léon, who is a TMT specialist, assisted Intel with its restructuring, which involved the establishment of McAfee – previously a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel – in its own right in the Dominican Republic. Luis Pellerano and senior associate Joanna Bonnelly, who is an energy and telecoms expert, advised Uber on the launch of its UberMOTO service in the country, and also acted for Netherlands Development Finance (FMO) on its $80m loan to General Energy Solutions for the development of Monte Plata Solar, the country’s largest solar power plant. Debt capital markets clients include Citigroup Global Markets and J.P. Morgan Securities, which jointly instructed the practice on two offerings including a $1bn-bond issuance. ‘Committed, efficient and highly competent’ senior associate Alessandra Di Carlo is ‘always reliable’; she is especially strong in banking, finance and capital markets but also handles M&A and other corporate work.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Squire Patton Boggs’ Dominican office is commended for its ‘extensive knowledge of handling large transactions’. Though large-scale M&A and regulatory compliance are undoubtedly strengths, the practice also excels in finance, especially asset-based financing, project finance and debt capital markets, while energy and civil aviation are particular industry strengths. Recent matters saw Alejandro Peña-Prieto and Awilda Alcántara-Bourdier act for E Léon Jimenes on its sale of a 30% stake in Tenedora CND to Ambev. ‘Tough negotiator’ Rhina Martinez Brea ‘doesn’t lose control or the other party’s respect’, and is ‘an outstanding asset, with deep knowledge of the national and international legal environment’; she and Pedro Gamundi continued to advise a bank syndicate (including Banco Popular Dominicano and Bank of Nova Scotia) on its refinancing of Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI’s debt via a $533m bond issuance. Associate Miguel Cano is also noted for his capital markets expertise.

Biaggi Abogados’ department is especially strong in project finance, although it also handles a range of financial mandates, including debt restructuring, and is active in M&A, corporate reorganisations, regulatory compliance and contracts. In the energy sector, Edward Piña advised Bow Power on the due diligence for its potential $60m acquisition of a 50MW solar plant, as well as counselling Soventix on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Canadian company Potentia Renewables for the construction of the $40m, 25MW Canoa solar park in Barahona. Name partner Gustavo Biaggi’s recent mandates include assisting Puerto Plata Electricidad with a $2.5m debt-and-equity restructuring and advising Grupo Rodelsa on a $24m debt restructuring involving several banks. Rosa María Mena and Brenda Morales are also active in this sector.

Especially active in financing, M&A and debt capital markets, Castillo y Castillo’s team counts banking, retail, telecoms, shipping and aviation as particular sector strengths. The team has also been increasingly busy in regulatory and compliance work. Group head Práxedes Castillo Báez continued to act for Banco Popular Dominicano on its DOP10bn bond issuance, as well as acting as local counsel to Altice on the amendment of a €4.5bn credit agreement. Banco Popular Dominicano also instructed senior associate Sebastián Jiménez on a $14m working capital loan to Fideicomiso de Cartera Grupo Viamar. Práxedes Castillo Pérez is an all-rounder in corporate and finance work; senior associate Luis Pimentel is a banking contracts expert. Banco de Reservas de la República Dominicana (Banreservas) is another lender client.

Noted for its excellent strength in depth, Jiménez Cruz Peña fields several partners who between them handle cross-border M&A, corporate and financial restructuring, governance and compliance matters, and financing mandates – particularly on the lender side. Recnet mandates saw Luis Jiménez and Vilma Veras assist CCS Holding Group obtaining a $3m concession for a food-and-beverages company to operate in a cruise harbour in Puerto Plata. The team is also active in fund structuring: Katherine Rosa acted for Advanced Asset Management on the structuring and implementation of its first investment fund, worth DOP2.5bn. Marcos Peña is also noted, especially for real estate M&A and project finance. Other clients include Celuisma and General Energy Solutions.

Corporate finance, M&A and project finance – especially on the lender side – are the key strengths of Medina Garrigó Abogados’ department, which frequently acts as local counsel to US companies acquiring local entities. The team is also strong in providing regulatory advice to foreign clients, such as Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan, as well as domestic institutions such as Banco Popular Dominicano. Recent matters saw Laura Bobea, who made partner in January 2018, working in conjunction with name partner Marielle Garrigó act for Ambev on its $927m purchase of a 30% stake in Cervecería Nacional Dominicana, and on the restructuring of its joint venture with E Léon Jimenes. The pair also advised Banco Sabadell on a $5m loan to Dominican Developments DDP for the construction of a new Hampton by Hilton hotel in Boca Chica.

Led jointly by Andrés Emilio Bobadilla and María Del Mar Rodríguez, the team at Bobadilla Abogados has particular expertise in multi-jurisdictional M&A, restructuring and distribution agreements; it handles a wide range of corporate, commercial, banking and debt capital markets work. The team often acts for private equity companies acquiring companies and assets in the Republic. Private ports and electricity-related mandates are particular niche strengths. Senior associate Ernesto Bournigal is noted for finance work.

Counting multi-jurisdictional M&A as a key capability, Pereyra & Asociados’ team is especially active in contractual and day-to-day corporate work; tourism, energy, telecoms and manufacturing are all active sectors for the practice, which also handles financing. Group head Luis Miguel Pereyra (who is especially strong in financing, tax, regulatory and complex large-scale matters) advised US apparel company VF on all aspects of the expansion of its operations in the Dominican Republic. Pereyra also advised McDonald’s on its franchise agreements in the country, and along with Emma Mejía, assisted TransUnion with the corporate reorganisation of its domestic operations. Senior associates Aseret Roque and Julissa Vásquez handle day-to-day corporate and banking matters; Vasquez is particularly noted for her strength in transactions and contractual work.

Especially active in the energy, cement and heavy-industry sectors, Proxies Leyes y Negocios counts infrastructure agreements, syndicated loans and M&A as particular fortes; it also has experience in matters that combine family law, corporate governance and restructuring. Recent work saw group head Thania Gómez advise Banreservas on a $585m loan involving the participation of 19 Dominican banks and one international bank; she also acted for Linda Group on its purchase of a further 5% stake in AES Dominicana. On the capital markets side, Gómez assisted Consorcio Minero Dominicano with its $120m bond issuance. Julio César Muñoz and Paulo Alves are also active in this sector.

Approaching its 50th anniversary, Russin, Vecchi & Heredia Bonetti fields an experienced team of lawyers with expertise in multi-jurisdictional corporate and finance mandates. Georges Santoni acted for Encina Business Credit on structuring a $25m asset-based loan to Encore Repair Services. José Maldonado assisted Italian company Peyrani with its incorporation of a branch in the Dominican Republic, and also advised Ingenieros Y Constructores Asociados on the structuring and administration of a $14m real estate trust. Other key team members include ‘strategic planner’ Román Medina. At associate level, Ana María Frías pays ‘attention to detail’, while Monica Villafaña has ‘deep business knowledge’, ‘looks after clients’ interests with a full understanding of risk’, ‘always adds value’ and also provides ‘impressively fast follow-ups on every topic’. María Esther Fernández2 left to join Raful Sicard & Polanco in March 2018.

With offices in Santo Domingo, Punta Cana, Puerto Plata and Samaná, and probably best known for its real estate capabilities, DMK Abogados | Central Law is a one-stop shop with strong experience in a range of cross-border corporate, finance and foreign investment matters. Recent work saw manging partner Enrique de Marchena and Patricia Read, who co-lead the department, advise Interspace Airport Advertising on corporate governance, contractual, compliance, labour-related and tax-related matters. On the finance side, the pair also acted as local counsel to Deutsche Bank on a $400m loan guaranteed to Playa Hotels & Resorts. Other clients include Nokia and Diamonds International.

DR&R Abogados y Consultores Fiscales’ department has made a name for itself in recent years as a small, agile practice with strengths in a range of areas, including labour and tax. Its Santo Domingo headquarters is complemented by a Punta Cana office that gives it an added potency in real estate and tourism. Managing partner Norman de Castro, who has experience in foreign investment, real estate, international trade and sports and entertainment, is the key contact; corporate finance and structuring expert Laura Feliz and tax specialist Milcíades Rodríguez are other names to note. Cynthia Morales, Fernando Herrera and Miguelina Rodríguez are recommended associates. Clients include Vinci Construction, Ducati, Richemont Tricom, Viamar and Subway International.

With notable strength in international M&A, financing and trust law (and associated structuring), Dejarden Valenzuela Molina & Salcedo is also active in both debt capital markets and the country’s nascent equity capital markets scene. Corporate expert Gabriel Dejarden and financing specialist Polibio Valenzuela jointly head the practice and recently acted as local counsel to KKR on its acquisition of the Dominican operations of Unilever subsidiary, Flora Food Group. Christian Molina assisted Propagas/Coastal Petroleum Dominicana with the execution of a private trust to repair or replace liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanks. Other clients include Pfizer Central American & Caribbean, Deutsche Post DHL and several baseball clubs.

With seven offices across the Dominican Republic, including in Santo Domingo, Punta Cana, Puerto Plata and La Romana, Guzmán Ariza advises clients from a wide range of sectors on corporate and finance matters. The practice is led by founding partner Fabio Guzmán Ariza, counts contract law and property finance as particular strengths, and prides itself on its inter-departmental approach. Fabio Guzmán Saladín and senior associate Leandro Corral have been advising German company 12Tree Finance on corporate and other aspects of several potential cacao projects, a coconut farm development and a hydroelectric project. Guzmán Saladín also teamed up with Alfredo Guzmán4 to advise Elof Hansson on renegotiating an agreement with its largest Dominican buyer of rebar steel products. Reckitt Benckiser is another client on the contracts side.

Cáceres Torres’ ‘versatile’ department is noted for its ‘integrity, efficiency, quick work and personalised client service’. Managing partner Juan Manuel Cáceres is a ‘charismatic, empathetic and agile negotiator’ and an ‘intelligent and efficient’ corporate practitioner; he and Rafael Cáceres acted for Glencore Canada on the sale of its stake in Glencore Dominicana. Juan Manuel Cáceres also advised Anholt Services (USA) on establishing a trust fund in the Republic for the operation of a cocoa project, as well as assisting Grupo Industrial Alimenticio with a range of corporate and regulatory matters. The ‘calm, agile’ Gelda María Cáceres has ‘an excellent memory and extraordinary banking and finance knowledge’; Bank of Nova Scotia instructs her on millions of dollars’ worth of financings per year. Other clients include Banco Popular Dominicana.

Counting securities, project finance, corporate real estate, labour law and industrial free zone-related matters as key areas of expertise, Raful Sicard & Polanco’s department has been going from strength to strength. Well-known figure María Esther Fernández joined from Russin, Vecchi & Heredia Bonetti in March 2018; she has been advising the Dominican Couriers’ Association on various customs-related regulatory issues. She also advised Avion Express on the $2.5m sale of its stake in Dominican Wings. Sara Sicard and Hilda Polanco are highly active in corporate and finance matters; director Sabrina Angulo is also noted. Other clients include Nutrifarma, which the team advises mostly on distribution agreements.

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