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Who Represents Who

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Advising on a full range of corporate and finance matters, the cost-effective’, 18-strong practice group at Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernández is ‘capable, dynamic and responsive’, and is commended for its ‘diverse industry knowledge’. Jaime Senior (who ‘unites both common and civil law knowledge’) and the ‘impressive’ and ‘very knowledgeable’ Mary Fernández are the key contacts on the finance side, while Roberto Rizik and Sarah de Léon co-lead the corporate department; Rizik is singled out for his ‘strength in M&A and corporate structuring’. On the finance side, although best known for advising lenders, the team advised on several impressive sponsor-side matters during 2016: Senior and Fernández advised Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI on a $533m capital increase, comprising a $317m note offering and a $216m loan from a three-bank syndicate, to refinance the debt incurred by a 2012 bond issuance. On the corporate side, Senior advised Isla Dominicana de Petroleo on the $145m sale of 50% of its stock to Grupo Corripio. Other clients include VINCI Airports, Mercasid, Third Point and Discovery Land. Eileen Jiménez and Annalisa Jáquez made partner in January 2017.

Especially strong in M&A, fund structuring, bond issuances and project finance, OMG’s team is co-led by ‘innovative’ founding partner Leonel Melo, in conjunction with Esperanza Cabral (who oversees the coordination of legal strategy) and banking expert Rebeca García. International practice director Juan Alcalde and finance specialist Manuel Troncoso are also highly active in the sector. Melo and Cabral advised Finerty Properties on its $127m sale of 70% of the shares in V Energy to a French subsidiary of Total Group. In the funds sub-sector, the pair acted for IBS Gestión de Inversiones on the restructuring of its $200m Ascend Fund. Demonstrating the team’s capital markets expertise, Melo and Troncoso advised International Finance Corporation (IFC) on an $87m bond issuance to finance its investment projects in the country. San Pedro Bio-Energy, Altice Caribbean and First Caribbean International Bank are other representative clients. Also noted are associates Johanna Soto, Laura Piantini, Anya Rodríguez and Yulianna Ramón, practice directors in the corporate, commercial, legal planning and regulatory departments, respectively.

The ‘outstanding’, 18-strong team at Pellerano & Herrera had a stellar year, advising sellers, buyers and/or finance agencies on acquisitions with an aggregate value of $4bn; lenders, borrowers and facility agents in financings worth $8bn; underwriters for bonds and securities on a further $8bn, and investors, bidders and/or finance agencies in the start-up of major new businesses and ventures, with aggregate investments of $2bn. Core team members include the ‘astute, versatile, and technically sharp’, Luis Rafael Pellerano, who is the key contact for M&A and foreign investment; Mariángela Pellerano, who focuses on finance and capital markets work, and is ‘calm under fire’; and ‘veteran figureRicardo Pellerano, who heads the ‘impressive’ banking and insurance practice. Recent matters saw Luis Rafael act for Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI on its $800m sale to VINCI Airports (the largest deal in the history of the country’s aviation sector), as well as advise Dutch development agency FMO on an $80m loan to General Energy Solutions for the development of Monte Plata Solar, the largest solar project in the Caribbean. On the borrower side, Ricardo Pellerano advised Amhsa Marina Hotels & Resorts on the $80m financing of the expansion and renovation of a soon-to-be five-star hotel in Samaná. Experienced senior associates Joanna Bonnelly, Caroina León and Alessandra Di Carlo are all noted for their involvement in the corporate sector. Other clients include JP Morgan Securities, ICU Medical and Scotiabank.

Squire Patton Boggs’ key strengths are M&A and a range of finance work, especially asset-based lending, project finance and private Rule 144A/Reg.S offerings. Managing partner Alejandro Peña-Prieto heads the ‘prompt, supportive, problem-solving’ practice, with support from Pedro Gamundi, who is strong on commercial, financial and restructuring matters; M&A expert Awilda Alcántara-Bourdier; and Rhina Martinez Brea, who specialises in corporate, lending and real estate matters. Gamundi and Martinez Brea advised a syndicate of lender banks, led by Banco Popular Dominicano, on the refinancing of Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI’s debt via a $533m bond issuance. Indeed, civil aviation is a particular strength of the firm: other corporate and finance clients in this industry include Advent Airports, Latin America Airport Holdings and Cessna Finance. The team also has experience in the energy sector. Other clients of the department include Implementos y Maquinarias, Banesco Banco Múltiple, Diageo Latin America and Japan Tobacco International (JTI).

Edward Piña is the partner to contact at Biaggi Abogados, where Gustavo Biaggi is also frequently active in corporate and finance matters. Tourism and energy are sectors of particular activity for the practice: Piña advised construction company Emmedue on various corporate spin-offs and restructurings, as well as assisting the client with regulatory matters, export contracts and obtaining tax exemptions. He also acted for Inveravante (Grupo Eolico Dominicano), as sponsor, on the $65m financing of a 50MW wind farm in Matafongo Bani. Biaggi assisted Promotora Puerto Bonito with the debt-and-equity restructuring of one of the largest tourism projects in the northeast of the country, and on the M&A side, advised Corporación de Crédito Nordestana de Préstamos and Corporación de Crédito Préstamos a las Ordenes on their $20m merger. In other work, Edward Veras-Vargas advised Star Bus on its acquisition of $6m-worth of equity in a tourism transportation company. Senior associate Rosa Mena is also active in the sector, handling foreign investment, project finance and commercial agreements, along with capital markets matters.

When it comes to corporate work, the full-service practice at Castillo y Castillo is particularly active in structuring and restructuring, shareholder matters and M&A transactions, while syndicated loans, project finance and capital markets are key strengths of the finance team. Recent mandates saw practice head Práxedes Castillo advise Banco Popular Dominicano (BPD) on an $8m secured loan to Tropigas/Sunix, and Sebastián Jiménez assist Popular Bank with a $36m loan to finance the expansion of a hotel business. On the capital markets side, Castillo assisted BPD with all aspects of its DOP10bn bond issue; and advised Altice Group International on its €2.75bn issuance of bonds in the Luxembourg Stock Exchange’s Euro MTF market. The practice also has a strong reputation for finance-side compliance matters and has a number of lawyers on in-house secondment at financial institutions on a rolling basis. Other clients include Fiduciaria Popular, Centro Cuesta Nacional, Sky México and Cole.

An active player in the financing sector, especially for banks and funds, Jiménez Cruz Peña is also strong on corporate restructuring, corporate governance, debt restructuring and cross-border M&A. Name partner Luis Jiménez advised Banco Activo Universal de Venezuela on its $8m acquisition of an asset belonging to a Dominican bank, as well as helping it obtain a licence for the client to operate in the Dominican Republic as a commercial bank. Also on the M&A side, Rosa Díaz acted for Accor on its $6m sale of the operations of Hostal Nicolás de Ovando, Hotel Mercur and Hotel Francés. Demonstrating the practice’s capability in the funds subsector, Katherine Rosa assisted Advanced Asset Management with structuring the public offering of a $65m social development investment fund named ‘Fondo Cerrado de Desarrollo de Sociedades Advanced Oportunidades de Inversión’. José Cruz and Marcos Peña are also noted; both are ‘very capable’.

Marielle Garrigó heads the practice at Medina Garrigó Abogados, with key support from senior associates Laura Bobea and Chery Zacarías. Corporate finance, project finance and acquisitions are key pillars of the department, which also often acts as local counsel when US buyers acquire Dominican companies. On the transactional front, Garrigó and Bobea advised Knowles on its $4m purchase of Johanson Manufacturing, a New Jersey-based company with assets in the Dominican Republic; while on the finance side, where the practice acts primarily for lenders and investors, the pair assisted Citigroup Global Markets and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) on their initial purchase of $370m-worth of bonds issued by AES Andres, Dominican Power Partners and Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Itabo. Garrigó and Bobea also advised Intesa Sanpaolo, Mediobanca and UniCredit, as lead arrangers, on their structuring of a complex loan for a real estate development in La Romana’s free trade zone. The department also provides regulatory advice to high-profile clients such as Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse and Santander.

The ‘quick, trustworthy’ and ‘highly professional’ team at Pereyra & Asociados is 12-strong and offers a ‘very good level of service’ and ‘impeccable advice’ on a wide range of matters; ‘its effectiveness is pretty much guaranteed’ notes one client. Luis Miguel Pereyra is the key contact for corporate and finance matters, with Emma Mejía also very active in the sector; both assist with joint ventures, incorporations, M&A and restructuring on the corporate side, and when it comes to finance, both are noted for advising lenders and borrowers on project finance. Clients of the department include Bank of Nova Scotia, Esso República Dominicana, Archer Daniels Midland and Mondeléz International. Key second-line support comes from senior associate Aseret Roque.

With nearly 50 years in the market, local Meritas-alliance member Russin, Vecchi & Heredia Bonetti’s corporate/finance practice focuses particularly on government procurement, project and acquisition finance, and M&A. It also handles banking and securities, and frequently assists foreign companies with incorporating branches and subsidiaries in the Dominican Republic. Recent mandates saw aviation specialist María Esther Fernández act for Aéromexico on a range of matters including contracts with local entities; corporate, labour and tax matters; and obtaining aviation permits. Fernández is also the current Chair of the AmCham-DR’s Legal Committee. On the M&A side, managing partner Georges Santoni continues to assist GlaxoSmithKline with the local, post-transactional aspects of its acquisition of Novartis’ vaccines business; and José Maldonado has been active assisting BAS Project Corporation with due diligence regarding a 50MW solar power project, along with related transactional structuring, tax-impact and finance matters. In addition to the foregoing, Luis Heredia and Román Medina are also key practice members, as are senior associates Mónica Villafaña and Laura Fernández-Peix. Clients include Nike, BUPA, Universal Weather and Aviation, and Pfizer. Notably, the firm has also established a Cuba desk under the direction of finance and investment specialist Luis Lucas Rodríguez, a Cuban lawyer resident in the Dominican Republic.

Andrés Emilio Bobadilla and María Del Mar Rodríguez lead the corporate/finance practice at Bobadilla Abogados. Based in Santo Domingo, the group advises domestic and international clients on a range of corporate, commercial, banking and securities law, and has a strong line in cross-border M&A, restructuring and distribution agreements; it is also particularly noted for its niche experience with private ports and in handling electricity-related matters. Recent mandates saw the team act for the company that owns a rapidly growing retail mall on corporate and tax matters and a $90m debt refinancing; as well as assisting clients with $10m-worth of private equity acquisitions, including the purchase of a large document-storage service provider, and advising a syndicate of private equity investors with the structuring of a $20m investment in a real estate investment trust (REIT) that is expected to operate one of the nation’s premier office buildings. Senior associate Ernesto Bournigal is noted for banking matters.

Celebrating its 25th year in the market DMK Abogados | Central Law has long been renowned for its strength in real estate matters but is nevertheless a full-service firm. Moreover, in addition to its offices in Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana and Samaná, its membership of the Central Law alliance gives it unmatched relations throughout Central America. The office’s corporate and finance practice focuses primarily on inbound foreign investment work and is well regarded for corporate, commercial and contracts work, and M&A, particularly in the real estate, mining, energy, telecom and aviation sectors. The team’s recent caseload saw group head Enrique de Marchena assist Diamonds International with the establishment of two duty-free stores in Puerto Plata, a mandate including advice on corporate governance, tax, customs and labour matters; and Llilda Solano act for Vitis Life on various insurance-related regulatory issues, as well as continuing to advise Mabe Appliances on M&A, corporate governance, restructuring and contracts. Junior partner Patricia Read assisted Alcatel-Lucent with corporate, tax, labour and immigration matters. However, Claudia Serra-Nova left to establish her own firm, nova cAdet. Clients include Grupo Piñeyro, Promotora Sampiñé and Punta Cana Group.

Founded in 2012 by former Pellerano & Herrera partners, small firm DR&R Abogados y Consultores Fiscales has established solid credentials for its corporate and finance capabilities and also has strong ability in key associated areas including litigation, tax and labour. With an office in Punta Cana as well as in Santo Domingo, it is also active in the real estate and hospitality sectors. ‘Highly regarded’ corporate, commercial and labour specialist Norman de Castro has extensive experience in key local industry sectors including real estate, foreign investment, international trade, and sports and entertainment. Key support comes from younger partner Laura Feliz, who is ‘sharply focused on corporate finance’, where she has ‘a growing reputation’. An impressive client roster includes Vinci Construction, Cartier Latin America & Caribbean, Ducati, Richemont TRICOM, Tabacalera de García (Imperial Tobacco), Viamar and Subway International.

A spin-off from Squire Patton Boggs, Dejarden Valenzuela Molina & Salcedo was founded in mid-2014 and has moved fast to position itself, not least becoming a founding member of the Central America law-firm alliance, Expertis. ‘Experienced’ name partners Gabriel Dejarden and Polibio Valenzuela head the firm’s ‘professional, reliable and responsive’ practice, which welcomed transactional expert Paolo Checo as senior counsel from Squire Patton Boggs in March 2017. The team is active across banking, capital markets and corporate and M&A work in various industry sectors, and has a particular niche in sports law. Providing ‘agile and impeccable’ service, the team acted for Pfizer Central America & Caribbean as local counsel on its sale of Hospira Infusion Systems to ICU Medical; and on the financing side, advised Global Climate Partnership Fund on a $9m loan to Banco Multiple Promérica (DR) to finance various clean energy initiatives. Clients to which the department provides all-round corporate and commercial advice include Deutsche Post DHL, the St Louis Cardinals, the Atlanta Braves and Findasense República Dominicana.

Guzmán Ariza covers the full range of corporate and finance matters and benefits from being able to call on an in-house group of over a dozen accountants who assist with the structuring of credit facilities and the tax-efficiency aspects of transactional matters. Fabio Guzmán Ariza leads the ‘dynamic, sophisticated’ practice, with strong support from Fabio Guzmán Saladín and Alberto Reyes in the Santo Domingo office, and Alfredo Guzmán in Punta Cana and La Romana. The practice group’s experience in contract law is worth noting; in 2016 it acted for logistics company Mammoet Caribbean on its contractor agreements with subcontractors, and on its service agreement with the Dominican government, regarding the company’s $100m participation in a $2bn coal power plant project. The team also advised US energy company Phillips 66 on compliance with DR-CAFTA regulations; and assisted Fastenal and Wolverine Worldwide with all their corporate, labour and tax requirements. Other clients include Francisco Martínez Group, Tecnove Group and Credit Suisse International.

The ‘responsive’, ‘professional’ department at Proxies Leyes y Negocios has ‘deep knowledge of corporate law’, and ‘coordinates well’ with clients. It counts syndicated loans, infrastructure agreements and M&A as core strengths, and is especially active in the energy, cement and heavy industry sectors; it also handles corporate governance and restructuring. ‘Able to work with multiple jurisdictions’, ‘knowledgeable’ practice head Thania Gómez undertakes ‘high-quality work’ and is ‘always available for discussion’; her recent workload includes acting for Estrella Group and Linda Group on their $1.2bn acquisition of 20% of shares in AES Dominicana, and advising Consorcio Minero Dominicano on a $70m loan to finance the second and third stages of its PANAM cement plant. The practice is active on the finance side too, where clients include Banco de Reservas de la República Dominicana. Julio César Muñoz and Paulo Alves are also active in the sector. Other clients of the department include Sociedad Fiduciaria Global, Inclam and Cibao FC.

The key partners at Troncoso y Cáceres are corporate law expert Jesús María Troncoso and Ana Isabel Cáceres, who focuses on banking, finance and corporate restructuring. Also noted is senior counsel Ramon Cáceres, who has particular knowledge of administrative, mining and banking law. The team handles M&A, and advises on incorporations, dissolutions and the liquidation of companies, as well as with corporate restructuring, and assists with multi-jurisdictional commercial contracts. It is regularly involved in the financing of real estate and infrastructure projects, and also provides supplementary regulatory advice.

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