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Who Represents Who

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Consortium Legal’s ‘very strong’ team advises local banks, branches of foreign banks and other financial institutions on regulatory issues, the structuring of complex local and international financial transactions, project finance and asset securitisation, and factoring, leasing and derivatives. Clients note ‘the partners’ legal knowledge’ and that their advice is ‘always precise and punctual’. Indeed with ‘expertise and pertinent advice on all aspectsÁlvaro Castellanos and senior associate Diego Alejos ‘provide excellent support both on day-to-day activities and complex cross-border transactions’. One recent highlight was acting as local counsel to sole lead manager and book-runner, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, on a $700m sovereign notes issue by the Republic of Guatemala on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Other matters include assisting OPIC and Banco de América Central with the cancellation process of more than 200 sub-mortgages that were granted on behalf of a loan agreement; acting as special Guatemalan counsel to IIC regarding a loan for the financing of the construction of two hydroelectric power plants in Huehuetenango; and advising Banco General on the IPO undertaken by Bicapital Corporation. Other clients include Citibank, Credit Suisse and Wells Fargo.

Top-notch’ firm, Mayora & Mayora, S.C., has longstanding experience advising on a wide range of banking and finance matters from syndicated loans and project finance to secured transactions and structured finance, both at a local and international level. Its client portfolio includes Banco Agromercantil, Banco Compartamos, Banco Azteca, Citibank and the IFC. In two cross-border matters with the US, the firm handled the receipt of a $100m loan for working capital on behalf of Banco Industrial, and structured the granting by Sucden America of multiple promissory notes (with a total value of $60m) to various sugar mills in Guatemala. The team also regularly advises on the borrowers’ side regarding financing transactions with local and international banks and has longstanding experience in assisting local clients with the issuance of bonds in the international markets. Amongst the practice’s ‘outstanding lawyers’ the widely recognised Claudia Pereira has expertise in loan agreements, secured transactions and project financing; and Sandra Castillo in structured securities issues, including advising on security trusts and local securities for foreign loans. Senior partner Eduardo A Mayora continues to advise the Guatemalan stock exchange. After opening an office in Honduras in April 2016, the firm also recently expanded into El Salvador with the integration of Telles & Asociados, a boutique firm with particular expertise in banking and finance.

Considered by many the ‘best firm in Guatemala in the finance area’, QIL+4 Abogados, S.A. provides a ‘very high service’ in project and corporate finance transactions and capital market deals. It also advises on regulatory compliance, the M&A of banks and financial institutions, securitisations and stressed credit restructuring and collection. Recent highlights include acting as local counsel to Citibank and JP Morgan Chase, as underwriters and initial purchasers, on the $500m 5.75% debt international notes offering by The Central America Bottling Corporation (CBC); advising Generadora San Mateo and Generadora San Andrés on a syndicated loan project financing under New York-law (and involving a complex security structure); and assisting Grupo Bancolombia with the amendment and restatement of a syndicated loan to DEOCSA and DEORSA owned by IC Power. The team also advised Panama’s Banco General on two corporate financing matters for CBC and Grupo Empresarial La Mariposa (GEMCORP). Peers and clients alike note the expertise of José Quiñones and Alejandro Cofiño, who has ‘excellent business acumen and an in-depth knowledge of the finance market in Guatemala’, and ‘works well across different cultures, including with clients from the US’. Also highly active, Andrés Lowenthal was recently promoted to partner. The team’s client-roster also includes Macquarie Bank, Banco Agromercantil, CIFI and NORFUND.

Aguilar Castillo Loveprovides an excellent service with superb response times’ and is widely known for expertise in project finance transactions for the energy and electricity sectors and handling complex banking and security transactions, including derivatives and cross-border financings. Noted for its ‘availability and understanding of clients’, the team provides ‘unique local insights that help put legal matters in Guatemala into context’. Its recent caseload includes: acting as local counsel to an international bank and an oil company regarding loan facilities; advising the borrower in the negotiation of a credit line for an infrastructure project; and representing a multinational financial services company as local counsel in a $300m bond financing operation. Name-partner Juan Carlos Castillo-Chacón is ‘highly recognised’; clients note that ‘although he is a senior partner of the firm, he is very personally involved in the advice’ and is considered ‘one of the few lawyers in Guatemala with vast knowledge in securities law, which together with his experience in the energy sector gives him a unique view’; moreover he ‘has the expertise for complex cross-border transactions’.

Following the spin-off of Muñoz Global in Costa Rica, Arias & Muñoz now operates regionally as Arias. In Guatemala, with the departure of renowned figure José Augusto Toledo in March 2017 (to pursue ventures not linked to legal services), Jorge Luis Arenales has assumed leadership of the banking and finance practice; as a result he will have a greater role advising the firm’s portfolio of multilateral financial institutions in addition to his significant practice in private and investment banking. The team has been further strengthened with the hire of José Pivaral –a former president of both Guatemala’s Chamber of Finance and its Banking Association– as partner in April 2017. Clients note ‘top quality service with profound business acumen and thorough knowledge of the market’ and appreciate that ‘the Guatemalan office coordinates very well with other offices of the firm to provide timely responses across Central America’. Recent matters include advising Bladex, as administrative and collateral agent, in connection with a syndicated credit-facility granted to Promerica Financial for the acquisition of the capital stock in Citibank’s local operations and the associated acquisition of commercial loans to certain Guatemalan banking clients of Citibank. Other clients include IDB, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Scotiabank.

Since Arenales & Skinner-Klée – LatamLex ceased operations in October 2016, the bulk of the team has moved to BLP, where it continues to advise local and international banks on a broad spectrum of financial matters, including project finance, bond issuances and regulatory matters. The group has particular expertise in financing transactions subject to US, Canadian and European law, and can also draw on substantial experience advising on the financial aspects of M&A transactions and the incorporation of banks. Recent work includes assisting Promérica Financial with the acquisition and financing for the purchase of Citibank’s operations in Guatemala, and advising Scotiabank on a syndicated loan for a Canadian national telecoms company that provides products and services in Guatemala. Other clients include Banco Promérica, Aseguradora General, Banco Santander and BAC Florida Bank. María Inés Arenales and of counsel Alejandro Arenales Farner are the main contacts.

Carrillo y Asociados’ strength lies in its restructuring and insolvency practice, where it provides a ‘very high level of service which compares to any of the large multinational law firms’. The team is considered ‘among the foremost experts in international insolvency, asset-tracing and recovery in Latin America’ and ‘provides in-depth knowledge and strategic advice in a range of situations’. Recent banking and finance work also includes advice to an international bank regarding a notes programme, financial advice in connection with a merger, aircraft financings and insurance matters. Rodolfo Alegría co-heads the practice together with the ‘distinguished’ Rodrigo Callejas, a ‘stand-out lawyer’ with an ‘excellent global network’ who is ‘able to bring deep local knowledge and expertise as well as broader international insight based on his experience of cross-border matters’. With over thirty years’ experience Alfonso Carrillo M is considered a ‘pillar of strength at the firm’ and someone who ‘sees the big picture’. Clients also appreciate ‘the international network of contacts through the firms’ membership of ICC FraudNet’.

Lexincorp continues to advise on syndicated loans and credit operations, and has expertise in debt restructuring and the establishment of international warranties and trusts. The firm advised Eolico San Antonio El Sitio, as debtor, on the refinancing of a loan with CABEI and CIFI; and also assisted the client in securing a syndicated loan with Banco GYT Continental, Banco Agromercantil, Mercom Bank and Banistmo for a wind-power project. Other matters include advising Repimex on the negotiation and execution of a syndicated credit agreement from Banco Agromercantil, Mercom Bank and Banco Reformador for the expansion of terminal facilities at Puerto Quetzal. Julio Aparicio and Edvin Montoya co-lead the practice, which also includes Luis Pedro Fuxet, who is known for his longstanding advice to the board of Banco Industrial subsidiary, Westrust Bank.

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