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Who Represents Who

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Arias’ ‘excellent’ corporate team ‘always has accurate answers’ and ‘knows the industry and its client’s needs’. Covering the entire spectrum of corporate and M&A advice, including corporate litigation, due diligence and antitrust matters, the group has a particularly good reputation for its expertise in real estate and energy transactions: here Armando Arias recently led advise to Real Infrastructure Capital Partners on the acquisition of PVGEN, Grupo Roca, Renovables El Salvador Uno and Alpha Solar as well as on a corporate restructuring involving the merger of six local companies. Demonstrating the team’s cross-border strength, Roberta Gallardo advised Panamanian insurance company Grupo ASSA on the El Salvadoran leg of its acquisition of American Insurance Group’s operations in Central America; and Zygmunt Brett coordinated Grupo Unicomer’s acquisition of the assets of electronics-store Omni in Curacio, St. Maarten and Bonaire. Unaffected by both an increasingly difficult economic situation in El Salvador and the late 2016 dissolution of Arias & Munoz, the ‘very committed’ practice continued to grow and recently expanded the team with six new associates; additionally, Luisa Rivas and Carolina Lazo were promoted to the partnership. Lilian Arias heads the team and Ana Mercedes Lopez is the key contact for energy transactions.

Corporate and M&A advice is the central pillar of Consortium Legal’s sophisticated full-service offering: with four ‘excellent and efficient’ partners dedicated to M&A transactions, restructurings, international trade, distribution matters and company incorporations, the group continues to be involved in the market’s most prominent mandates. Recent highlights include advising microfinance institution FINCA on its sale of 90% of shares to Optima El Salvador, assisting AIG with its multimillion-dollar acquisition by Grupo ASSA, and advising Mexican airline Volaris on the establishment of its operations in El Salvador. In other 2016 work, practice co-heads Diego Martin and Maria Alejandra Tulipano, who is ‘very well-connected and diplomatic’, assisted its high-profile client base with antitrust, compliance and corporate governance issues. Oscar Samour is also highly regarded.

García & Bodán’s Salvadoran office is deeply embedded in the firm’s regional network and receives an impressive number of cross-border instructions pertaining to commercial and corporate issues, M&A matters, restructurings and company incorporations. The practice is led by senior associate Oscar Torres and recently assisted Texas-based First Cash Financial Services with its $7m acquisition of Maxi Prenda; advised International Business and Trade on a public bid for the $65m construction of San Miguel Regional Hospital; and assisted Panasonic Centro America with labour and corporate restructurings. The team is also known for its expertise in aviation matters and provides ongoing advice to Aeroméxico; recent work includes assisting the client with the registration of 60 aircrafts before the Salvadoran Civil Aviation Authority. The client roster also includes Marcopolo and Black & Decker.

A well-known player in the corporate and M&A arena, Guandique Segovia Quintanilla – LatamLex provides expertise on the full spectrum of joint ventures, corporate day-to-day advice, foreign direct investment and divestments, as well as domestic and cross-border M&A transactions, where it can rely on six LatamLex partner offices across the region. Managing partner Carlos Quintanilla has additional experience in competition matters and commercial crisis management, while Carlos Guzmán is the key contact for complex M&A transactions and antitrust issues.

Despite decreasing investment activity in El Salvador, Lexincorp’s traditionally strong reputation in corporate and M&A matters and its considerable clout in the energy sector ensure a frequent flow of instructions from both domestic and international clients such as Sony, AT&T and Grupo Monge. Practice head Enrique Escobar recently advised Comisión Ejecutiva Hidroeléctrica del Rio Lempa on all contractual and compliance matters related to the $300m El Chaparral project; and assisted MSEF, a private equity fund which finances energy efficiency projects, with the opening of its operations in El Salvador. In other work, Antonio Guirola successfully represented Puma Energy before the Salvadoran tax authorities to obtain ‘tax free warehouse’-status for its port of Acajutla facilities. Competition expert Celina Escolan, who previously worked at El Salvador’s competition authority, the Superintendencia de la Competencia, joined the team in 2016; she too has longstanding experience in the energy sector.

Gaining prominence and an increasingly strong reputation across the region, Aguilar Castillo Love’s Salvadoran office receives a steady stream of cross-border M&A work from its well-established Costa Rican branch, and also advises its international client base on corporate restructurings, commercial and regulatory issues and foreign company incorporations, as well as on corporate day-to-day matters. Led by Carlos Alfaro, the team recently advised ADT Security Services on the opening of its operations in the country, including contractual matters with third-party subcontractors and local clients; assisted Nokia Solutions and Networks with the closure of its operations in El Salvador; and advised Dos Pinos on the acquisition of a prominent global brand. The client roster also includes Tyco International, GE Healthcare and Johnson & Johnson.

While Espino Nieto & Asociados is predominantly known for its strong IP expertise, the firm also fields a two-partner strong commercial and corporate practice that spans antitrust, labour and regulatory advice as well as assistance with distribution agreements, corporate day-to-day issues and tax matters. Key clients include France Telecom, Duke Energy International and Colgate-Palmolive. Rafael Mendoza heads the team.

Romero Pineda & Asociados’ corporate and M&A department has a particularly impressive track record in advising domestic and international players in the aviation sector on joint ventures, commercial contracts, M&A, competition and labour matters; nevertheless, it is also experienced in acting for clients in the energy, technology and entertainment industries. 2016 highlights included advising movie theatre chain Cinemark on corporate matters related to its membership cards; assisting aviation clients such as Spirit Airlines and Amerijet International with license renewals; and advising University Research Company (URC) on the establishment of its operations in El Salvador. Francisco Martinez is the key contact for tax and compliance issues. Freddy Zometa joined LatinAlliance El Salvador in January 2017.

Sáenz & Asociados is particularly well-regarded for its strong dispute resolution capabilities, but also attracts high-profile instructions in the corporate area from clients such as Procter & Gamble, SBA Communication and Apotex. While Mario Antonio Sáenz’ expertise spans joint ventures, M&A, contractual matters and corporate restructurings, Humberto Sáenz Marinero is the key contact for corporate and regulatory issues in the telecoms and electricity sector.

With four offices across Central America, LatinAlliance El Salvador is highly experienced in assisting domestic and regional clients with cross-border M&A, joint ventures and restructurings. The two-partner practice, including the recommended José Adolfo Torres, was recently particularly active in corporate and transactional matters in the real estate sector, where it advised Desarrollos Hoteleros de El Salvador on the $11m acquisition of the Centro Corporativo Cascadas building, leasing agreements, and the establishment of a $55m condominium regime for the acquired property. Other key clients include GlaxoSmithKline and Cargill. Former regional director Roberto Hernández left the firm at the end of 2016, but his departure was off-set by the arrival of aviation and corporate expert Freddy Zometa from Romero Pineda & Asociados; he now heads the practice together with associate Mario Costa.

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