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Guatemala > Corporate/M&A > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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Who Represents Who

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The members of Arias’ ‘very experienced and capable’ corporate team are praised by clients for their ‘excellent response times’ and ‘industry-specific knowledge’. Led by senior partner Jorge Luis Arenales, a ‘very analytical lawyer’ who ‘thinks strategically’, the team regularly handles multi-jurisdictional matters for clients from the energy, infrastructure, telecoms and banking sectors, among others. Recent highlights include advising Italian insurance company Assicurazioni Generali on the sale of its Guatemalan subsidiary Aseguradora General; assisting EZCorp with the $53.4m acquisition of a major pawn store and consumer loans chain in Central America; and providing ongoing advice to Sika Guatemala on the development of the company’s production plant. Luis Pedro del Valle led the advice to International Nickel Supply on the acquisition of shares worth $13m in mining exploration company Mayaniquel; and senior associates Cynthia Soto, who is increasingly involved in assisting clients with cross-border acquisitions, and Vivian Morales, who is experienced at advising on corporate governance, securities and other regulatory matters, are also noted.

Advising local and multinational clients, the team at Carrillo & Asociados handles M&A transactions in the retail, agroindustry, telecoms and banking sectors, among others, as well as assisting with matters such as due diligence, incorporations, restructuring, joint ventures and shareholders’ agreements. In a recent highlight, the team acted as local counsel to I Squared Capital on the Guatemalan aspects of its $1.2bn acquisition of Duke Energy’s electricity generation assets in Latin America, including conducting due diligence, risk assessments and an analysis of the necessary regulatory approvals. It is also providing corporate and regulatory advice to a client in the media sector on its operations in Guatemala. The team is led by Rodolfo Alegría, who is experienced at advising on complex M&A matters, particularly in the energy and oil industries. Senior associate Mélida Pineda is also noted; she regularly assists with the drafting of share purchase and shareholders’ agreements and asset acquisitions.

Founding partners Alfredo Rodríguez (who is ‘very accessible and always in touch with the client’) and Álvaro Castellanos lead Consortium Legal’s corporate practice alongside Rafael Alvarado Riedel. The team continues to assist American International Group (AIG) with the post-closing process following its sale of AIG Seguros operations in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras; and in another highlight, is also handling a post-due diligence process for Sumitomo following its acquisition of fruit distributor Fyffes’ worldwide subsidiaries, including farming operations in Guatemala. Servicios de Altura, which the team advised on a capital increase and the creation of new classes of shares worth approximately $13m, and Evertec are also key clients.

Mayora & Mayora, S.C. advises on complex domestic and international corporate mergers, acquisitions and restructurings, as well as business entity formation and day-to-day operations. The Guatemalan stock exchange, Bolsa de Valores Nacional de Guatemala, is a key client; founding partner Eduardo A Mayora continues to assist it with corporate and securities matters. The team also provides ongoing advice to such clients as GBM (an IBM Alliance company), Productos Roche, construction company Obrascón Huarte Lain (OHL) and call centre 24/7 Guatemala on corporate governance, shareholder meetings, powers of attorney and contracts, among other matters. The practice is led jointly by Claudia Pereira, who acted as counsel to Unión Fenosa in the privatisation process of Guatemalan energy distribution companies DEOCSA and DEORSA, and Sandra Castillo.

QIL+4 Abogados, S.A.’s full-service offering allows it to advise on the corporate, tax, labour, administrative and environmental aspects of M&A transactions. Founding partners Marcos Ibargüen, who has been particularly active recently advising clients on compliance with the expected new competition law, and María Isabel Luján, who specialises in cross-border matters, co-head the growing team of highly experienced associates, many of whom have international qualifications. The team counts a number of local, regional and international investment banks among its clients, and has recently handled acquisitions in the telecoms, hydrochemical and electricity sectors. Highlights included advising Formularios Standard, a leading manufacturer of security documents, on the acquisition of a $5m majority holding in a group of companies operating in Central America and Panama. Andrés Lowenthal is also noted.

Aguilar Castillo Love handles select, complex M&A matters as well as providing general corporate services to a range of regional and international clients. The team is led by Juan Carlos Castillo and includes associates Natalia Callejas, Luis Manuel Contreras and Iván Quintana. It assists Whirlpool Corporation with corporate and regulatory issues across Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama, and is also currently acting for the local brand of advertising-software platform Katch on corporate issues and matters relating to service contracts. Advising companies in the energy sector is a particular focus, and the firm counts one of Guatemala’s largest electricity distributors among its clients. Other key clients include the Hewlett-Packard Company, General Electric, Nokia, Jaguar Energy, AstraZeneca, Tyco International and The Nature Conservancy.

BLP’s ‘responsible and very talented’ team, which is praised for providing a ‘quality service’ to clients, has had an active year, handling a number of complex M&A and due diligence matters and taking on new clients including Kraft Heinz, Mission Produce, The Results Companies and Donovan Werke. It also continues to assist Facebook and Uber with their operations in Guatemala. Recent highlights include advising Promerica Financial Corporation on the implementation of the post-closing process of its acquisition of Citibank’s Guatemalan assets, valued at $600m; and advising the minority shareholders of Aseguradora General on the acquisition of a majority stake sold by Italian insurance company Generali Group. The ‘trustworthy and responsible’ Luis Ruiz and María Inés Arenales, ‘a balanced lawyer, with knowledge and firmness, but reasonable and conciliatory’, co-lead the practice; and ‘very solid and reliable’ senior counsel Alejandro Arenales is recommended as ‘a leader and a mentor for the people around him’. Associate Alcy Martínez is also noted.

Central Law Guatemala’s corporate practice is led by Juan Pablo Carrasco, who heads the foreign investment division, and includes associates Carla Ramirez, the director of the corporate division, and Verónica González. Recent highlights include advising Canadian mining development and exploration company Bluestone Resources on its $200m acquisition of two major mining projects in Guatemala from Goldcorp; and assisting Anfield Gold Corp with its foreclosure on $13m-worth of shares in Guatemalan mining company Mayaniquel and their transferral to International Nickel Supply. Hard Rock Café International, Gaspro Guatemala and port-and-terminal operator APM Terminals are also key clients; the team advised the latter on its contract with Puerto Quetzal.

Bonilla, Montano, Toriello & Barrios advises local and international clients, particularly from the electrical and mining sectors, on corporate matters. Senior partner Jorge Barrios, a former president of the Guatemalan Bar Association, leads the team; Lorena Barrios, who is qualified in Guatemala and New York, focuses on advising international clients. Highlights included representing longstanding client Duke Energy in the sale of its Latin American businesses to I Squared Capital and conducting due diligence for another long-term client, Banco Industrial, regarding the construction of an expressway outside Guatemala City. In other work the team advised Cervecería Centro Americana on the acquisition of a soft drinks company. The firm also acts for several clients in the real estate sector, including advising Europlaza World Business Center on the construction of the largest office complex in Guatemala City.

Comte & Font – Legalsa advises clients on direct foreign investment, government procurement, shareholder disputes, structuring issues and general day-to-day operations, including anti-corruption procedures. Key clients include fruit-and-vegetable export company Unispice, commercial park Grupo Majadas, Fridays Guatemala (which the team advises on its operations in the country), and Bell Helicopters Guatemala (which the team advises on financial issues). The firm also acts for clients in the technology and fintech sectors; Glovo App, an on-demand food delivery service based in Spain, is a new client. Partner David Font leads the team, while associate Johann Hartleben is noted for his work on international transactions and the corporate and tax structuring of large real estate projects.

The corporate team of the now-defunct Pacheco Coto remains intact at EY Law Central America following the merger of the two firms in January 2018. Ruby Asturias heads the corporate and transactional department and regularly advises international clients in the health care, energy and manufacturing industries; and manager Martín Barillas is known for his work in complex cross-border M&A transactions. Recent highlights include advising Bain Capital on the $3m acquisition of chemical-and-hygiene business Diversey from Sealed Air; and assisting Prosegur with its ongoing $15m acquisition of Grupo Almo, a Guatemalan private security company with a presence throughout Central America and Colombia. Senior associates Margaret Garza and Ginny Castillo are also noted.

Alfredo Skinner-Klée leads the corporate team at LatamLex | Skinner-Klée & Asociados, which was formed after the dissolution of Arenales & Skinner-Klée – LatamLex in March 2016 with the departure of a number of partners to BLP. In a recent highlight, Skinner-Klée and Andrés Calderón advised Jardines de la Asunción on a $1.3m joint venture to build a cemetery, which involved the complex negotiation of land rights in perpetuity and the obtaining of the necessary legal authorisations from the government. Gabriela Coronado is also active in the corporate team; she provides advice on regulatory and administrative matters, as well as on company formation, to both local businesses and international companies with operations in Guatemala. The firm acts mainly for regional businesses in Central America; however, Skinner-Klée also serves as legal counsel to several international companies, including Philip Morris, Del Monte Fresh Produce and Neumann Gruppe.

Lexincorp’s corporate practice is led by Julio Aparicio, who handles clients including the Hard Rock Café and IHOP franchises and longstanding client Sony Interamerican, and also includes acquisitions expert Edvin Montoya and José Andrés Fuxet, who specialises in real estate-related matters. Many of the practice’s key clients are family-owned corporations, including companies from the sugar, palm oil and energy industries. In a recent highlight, the team advised Agricola El Caspirol (another long-term client) on its proposed acquisition of a $30m interest in Fersa, an energy distribution company which won the concession to build energy transmission lines in Guatemala. In conjunction with the firm’s Costa Rican office, the team also assisted Pro Intel Seguros with the drafting and signing of shareholders’ agreements for its corporations in Guatemala and Costa Rica.

Novales Abogados specialises in advising clients from the construction and infrastructure, energy and aviation sectors. Transportadora de Energía de Centroamérica (TRECSA) is a key client; the team continues to assist it with the execution and performance of its contract for the construction, installation and operation of power lines across Guatemala. Other highlights included advising EEB Ingeniería y Servicios (EEBIS) on the proposed development of a network of electric transmission lines and assisting Peru-based infrastructure construction company JJC Contratistas Generales with a bid for a planned PPP to repair and rebuild a highway. The team is led by Cristián Novales, who specialises in construction matters, and energy expert Javier Novales; founding partner Alfonso Novales is well known for his expertise in aviation law.

Palomo & Porras Abogados is particularly known for advising clients in the insurance and maritime sectors on corporate matters. The team recently advised on insurance issues that arose during the construction of two major hydroelectric plants, as well as assisting domestic and international insurance companies with three collision cases involving Guatemala’s main ports. Other key clients include US food and beverage company Rudolph Foods, insurance company Aseguradora General, and food processing company Grupo Nutresa. Federico Palomo, Héctor Palomo and Mónica Rodríguez are all noted members of the team.

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