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


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Considered the ‘go-to firm in Guatemala’ by many, Arias, formerly Arias & Muñoz, has a top-flight trajectory in the Central American market and longstanding expertise in the corporate and M&A arena. With no losses in the Guatemalan office following the spin-off of Muñoz Global in Costa Rica, the team gives ‘highly appropriate advice’ on both local and international transactions; its wide range of services includes the structuring and restructuring of companies, the establishment and operation of branches and subsidiaries, mergers and share transfers, joint ventures, corporate governance matters and due diligence. Recent matters saw Sika Guatemala seek the firm’s advice regarding a land acquisition deal for the construction of its Guatemalan production facilities; and the team advised Autobytel in connection with its entry in Guatemala via the acquisition of AutoWeb. The team consists of practice head Jorge Luis Arenales, who, in addition to a decade at the firm also has both public sector and in-house experience; senior partner Jorge Luis Arenales who has over 20 years’ experience in the sector; and five senior associates each with more than 10 years’ experience. Clients include Fyffes, Walmart, Bayer, Chevron and Assicurazioni Generali.

Great firmConsortium Legal’s highly regarded corporate and M&A practice continues to advise domestic and international corporations across various industries, including the pharmaceutical, real estate and energy sectors, as well as financial institutions, on local, regional and international transactions. Together with other regional offices and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP as US counsel, the firm assisted AIG with ASSA’s acquisition of AIG Seguros in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Panama. It also advised Southern Cross Group on the acquisition of software company Intellego Caricam, and Grupo Carvajal in connection with the sale of its Carvajal Educación business to Grupo Editorial Santillana. The 11-strong team revolves around office founding partners Álvaro Castellanos and Alfredo Rodríguez (who is noted for his transactional tax expertise); and third key practitioner Rafael Alvarado Riedel.

Excellent firmMayora & Mayora, S.C. delivers ‘very good work in the corporate arena’ both on M&A transactions and day-to-day corporate matters, predominantly for international clients with business in Guatemala, such as Santander Sugar, Isagen, Marriot International and the IFC. With its full service offering, the team, led by co-heads Claudia Pereira and Sandra Castillo, can also draw on the firm’s tax, administrative and regulatory practices, among others. Recent matters include advising Grupo AP de Ramirez on the merger of two steel companies; and Productos Roche and Coguma are among clients who receive ongoing corporate advice from the firm. Senior partner and ‘fine lawyerEduardo A Mayora also assists the national securities exchange Bolsa de Valores Nacional de Guatemala with corporate and securities matters on an ongoing basis. Other current work includes advice on a vehicle financing joint venture, corporate restructurings, telecoms contracts and aircraft acquisition.

The ‘excellentQIL+4 Abogados, S.A.’s ‘top-tier’ advice ranges from corporate governance, due diligence, shareholders’ agreements and conflicts, to corporate structures (including tax optimisation), M&As and the dissolution of corporations, for companies in both the regulated and unregulated sectors, and financial institutions. The team has particular expertise in assisting regional investment banks with their M&A activity and also advises several funds investing in the country. The broad client portfolio also includes prominent names such as TELUS International, Daimler, British American Tobacco, Enel Green Power, Bancolombia and Abbott Laboratories. Recent matters saw María Isabel Luján advise social enterprise Kiej de los Bosques (which creates opportunities for chain development involving rural communities and craftswomen in Guatemala), on matters concerning capital investments from third parties. She co-leads the practice together with the ‘highly capable, hands-on’ Marcos Ibargüen.

Under the leadership of the ‘recognisedJuan Carlos Castillo-Chacón - Aguilar Castillo Love provides advice that reaches across Central America and handles select high-profile and complex corporate and M&A matters for prominent clients such as Tyco International, Nokia, Google, AstraZeneca and Jaguar Energy; the office also has strong complimentary expertise in energy and finance. The firm often handles the local aspects of international and regional M&A, such as advising Hewlett Packard locally on the split of its PC and printers business from its enterprise products and services business; Hewlett Packard Enterprise on its acquisition of Computer Sciences Corporation; and Dos Pinos on its acquisition of the Gallito confectionary subsidiary from Mondelēz International. Other clients include Whirlpool Corporation in connection with corporate and regulatory services (including the coordination of these services across the region); Industrial de Alimentos E y L regarding the restructuring of its corporate ownership; and Bioworks concerning a multi-jurisdictional joint venture.

The Costa Rica-based, regional powerhouse BLP opened its doors in Guatemala in October 2016, having absorbed much of the ‘good and experienced’ team that was formerly at (the now defunct) Arenales & Skinner-Klée. It continues to advise regional and global companies on corporate matters in its new formulation and in the M&A arena recently assisted Promérica Financial with the acquisition of Citibank’s operations in Guatemala, among multiple other transactions. The team also advises multinational companies, such as Abbott Laboratories’ subsidiary Lafrancol, and SGS, on their day-to-day operations; and has been particularly active handling product liability matters. For example, key partner Luis Ruiz advised Samsung Electronics Latin America regarding the suspension of sales of its Galaxy Note 7 product and potential acts of unfair competition from a competitor exploiting the incident. Also noted are María Inés Arenales who focuses on corporate and commercial, financing and insurance matters; senior counsel Alejandro Arenales Farner, and associate Jorge Luis Molina. Other clients include Hasbro and new client UBER, regarding its potential entrance into the Guatemalan market.

Carrillo y Asociadosprovides an intimate, familial level of service but at the same time rivals the depth and quality of larger firms’; the firm’s corporate practice has been particularly busy with the review and revision of the corporate structures of regional operations, and stands out for its expertise in international estate planning and advice to high-net-worth individuals. It also frequently advises on asset acquisitions, such as acting as local counsel for I Squared Capital regarding its acquisition of Duke Energy’s assets in Latin America under the coordination of the former Chadbourne & Parke LLP. Other matters include acting for Ziemann Holyrieka in relation to corporate, tax and labour matters. Consisting of ‘highly prepared professionals’ the team ‘gives prompt responses to legal issues’ and ‘always looks for a solution’; Rodolfo Alegría and Rodrigo Callejas are the key figures.

Central Law Guatemala advises on a full spectrum of corporate matters and demonstrates expertise in foreign investments, transactional matters, and commercial and business strategies and operations in Guatemala and the Central American region. Recent work includes assisting Mabe Guatemala with a capital increase via the issue of new shares; Baxter Guatemala with the corporate restructuring of legal representatives and agents currently registered in Guatemala; and Diss, a medical and hospital equipment company, with the expansion of its commercial operations via the constitution of a Guatemalan subsidiary. The firm is currently also assisting longstanding client Editorial Santillana with its name change to Activa Educa, and provides continued corporate advice to BT LatAm and Arcadis Guatemala. Key contact and head of foreign investment, M&A specialist Juan Pablo Carrasco has particular industry knowledge in the mining and natural resources sectors. Mario Búcaro, who also has a litigious aspect to his practice, and Verónica González, associate director of the firm’s international department, are also noted.

Comte & Font – Legalsa’s ‘excellent’ corporate practice is comprised of a ‘very knowledgeable and experienced group of professionals with the necessary depth of team’. In addition to corporate law matters and transactions it also handles estate planning, government procurement, shareholder disputes, real estate and contractual matters, and advice to foreign investors regarding business ventures in Guatemala. One recent mandate involved assisting local digital and interactive advertising company Tedi Media regarding its merger with a former competitor. The team also advised Brazilian engineering company Intertechne with all aspects of the feasibility study for the construction of the 400MW, $800m Xalalá hydroelectric generation project. Other clients include Bell Helicopters, Repimex–Guatemar and new client Central America Bottling Corporation (CBC). Practice head David Font is highlighted for his ‘strength in dispute resolution and corporate matters’. Associate Johann Hartleben is also noted.

MultiLaw member firm Lexincorp advises international corporations, local entities, family groups and medium-sized businesses on operations such as leasing, insurance, and factoring and franchise agreements; it also has a growing workload in wealth management matters. Another focus lies in assisting real estate development companies with their corporate structures and the structuring of their projects; José Andres Fuxet is the expert for such work and clients include developers Grupo Terrum, Grupo Cívica and Grupo Apolo. In other work, Edvin Montoya continues to act for Palmas Del Ixcán after its transformation from LLC to corporation, most recently regarding complex capital-increase and trust matters. Julio Aparicio assisted HR Overseas with the sale of the Hard Rock Café Guatemala franchise to a group of private investors, as well as advising IUSA Mexico with its entry into Guatemala as a first step toward expanding throughout Central America. Another client is Sony Interamerican, which the team advises regarding its corporate needs in Guatemala and the region.

Novales Abogados provides corporate services for growing family-owned and closely held national business groups, advises on international corporate structures aimed at the regional expansion of businesses throughout Central America and assists foreign investors looking to start operations in Guatemala. The multidisciplinary team, which also includes accountants, is co-led by Cristián Novales and Javier Novales and works in close conjunction with the energy and growing construction and infrastructure practices. It also has expertise in aviation law. Recent clients include a Guatemalan entrepreneur with investments in retail electronics, regarding the acquisition of 50% of the stock in a top Guatemalan distributor of Claro Telecommunications; and a Mexico-based international infrastructure construction company in its bid for a planned PPP which will repair and rebuild the Escuintla–Puerto Quetzal highway. Clients include TRECSA, EEB Ingeniería y Servicios, Copa Airlines and Guatemala’s stock exchange, the Bolsa de Valores Nacional.

Pacheco Coto is considered a ‘good solid firm’ for day-to-day multinational corporate matters and also has expertise in local and cross-border transactions, joint ventures, corporate restructuring and foreign investment matters. The team regularly provides general corporate advice and is particularly active on corporate and distribution contracts and regarding shareholder meetings for clients such as Anixter, Office Depot, Kimberly Clark and Chep. It is currently handling a merger in Guatemala for Central American Produce, and is also assisting Kaeser Compressors with the restructuring of its operations in Central America. ‘Sharp, capable and attuned’, Ruby Asturias is the main contact. Fitch Ratings is another longstanding client. In October 2017 the firm announced its integration with EY Law Central America as of January 2018, which should not only broaden its offering in Central America but also on a global scale.

Palomo & Porras Abogados is particularly noted by peers for its IP practice, but also advises on corporate, insurance and maritime matters. Clients range from the insurance sector (Aseguradora General, Seguros G&T and Seguros Mapfre) to the technology (DEK International), pharmaceutical and food and beverage (Nutresa) industries. Founding partner Federico Palomo is the main contact.

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