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Apart from a name change, Arias’ El Salvadoran practice emerged unscathed by the November 2016 break-up of the former Arias & Munoz, and it remains a leading player in the banking and finance arena. Led by the highly regarded Armando Arias and the ‘always reliableZygmunt Brett, the practice group assists multilaterals and financial institutions with bonds issuances and multijurisdictional financing matters, and SMEs with loans and credit lines. Recent highlight work includes advising Banco Latinamericano de Comercio Exterior, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank on a $223m five-year senior secured loan to Panama-based Promerica Financial to fund the borrower’s acquisition of Citibank’s Guatemalan operations; assisting UBS with the structuring of a $30m loan; and advising AerCap on the repossession of an aircraft previously leased to VECA Airlines. The team is also well-versed in advising on offshore-products and green energy financing. Key clients include Goldman Sachs and Banco La Hipotecaria.

Led by the highly regarded Oscar Samour, Consortium Legal’s ‘excellent’ banking and finance practice has longstanding experience in advising domestic and international banks and financial institutions on project finance, asset securitisation, derivatives, loan structuring and complex cross-border transactions. Recently, the group’s diverse caseload included assisting Credit Suisse with a $50m loan to Banco Cuscatlán de El Salvador, for the acquisition of shares in Citibank in three Central American jurisdictions; and advising Cerberus Business Finance on a $90m syndicated loan to Lowell Acquisitions. In other work, the team advised both Banco Promerica, as borrower, and Symbiotics, as lender, on a $15.7m loan to finance funding operations for local clients. A high-profile client roster also includes Scotiabank and Cartonesa.

Guandique Segovia Quintanilla – LatamLex has a tremendous reputation for its banking and finance expertise and is highly adept in advising banks (such as Scotiabank), financial institutions, and multilateral corporations on syndicated and traditional loans, bond issuances and securitisations, as well as undertaking financial services litigation. In addition to its strong domestic practice, the group cooperates intensively with the LatamLex offices in Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala, thereby generating a significant flow of high-profile cross-border work. Ana Reyes, who has previously assisted the Republic of El Salvador with numerous bond issuances, and Carlos Quintanilla, are the key contacts.

Highly regarded by financial institutions and corporations alike, Lexincorp is a popular address for lenders and borrowers seeking advice on project finance, traditional and syndicated loans and other credit agreements. In recent years the team has particularly consolidated its standing in the energy sector: led by the renowned Enrique Escobar, the group recently assisted Puma El Salvador with the restructuring and expansion of a credit line (from $10m to $20m); and also advised electric power transmission company ETESAL on a $27m loan granted by Banco Agricola to fund the improvement of its transmission network. On the lender side, the team advised El Salvadoran development bank BANDESAL on more than 70 medium and long term loans in 2016, as well as assisting Banco General with a $25m commercial credit to Grupo Unicomer. Antonio Guirola is also noted.

Romero Pineda & Asociados’ banking, finance and insurance division packs a particular punch advising banks and financial institutions on regulatory issues before the El Salvadoran Authorities, but is equally adept in assisting with asset securitisation, project finance, syndicated loans and the incorporation of foreign banks. Senior associate Daisy Martinez, who heads the department, recently advised Lafise Valores on two multimillion-dollar asset securitisations; experienced associate Alejandra Sanchez assisted French renewable-energy company Neoen with a $120m loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to finance the expansion of El Salvador’s energy park, and also advised private equity company Norfund on a $10m loan to cooperative bank Fedecredito.

Three years after opening its offices in El Salvador, BLP has established a solid reputation in the banking-and-finance sector and advises numerous domestic and international banks and financial institutions on loan and trust agreements, debt securities and asset securitisation, among other matters. The three-strong team is led by the widely recognised Ricardo Cevallos and predominantly acts on the lender side: in 2016, the group assisted an international development bank with a multimillion-dollar credit facility to an El Salvadoran bank; and advised a multinational bank on the due diligence of companies, loan documentation and the filing of guarantees pertaining to a loan granted to an international telecommunications company with operations in El Salvador. Key clients include Wells Fargo, Scotiabank and Sunset Financial.

Part of a consolidated regional alliance with offices in all seven DR-CAFTA jurisdictions, Central Law El Salvador has longstanding experience in advising on the entire array of cross-border and domestic banking-and-finance matters. The two-partner team frequently assists regional and international banks and investment funds –such as BBP Bank, Banco Agricola and Banco Internacional de Costa Rica– with loan agreements, debt restructurings and project finance in the infrastructure sector. In a notable 2016 highlight, practice co-heads Manuel Alfaro and associate Piero Bolaños advised Towerbank International, as lender, on the granting of loans with an aggregate value of $10m.

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