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Guatemala > Energy and natural resources > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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With a standing frequently considered ‘above other law firms in Guatemala’, Mayora & Mayora, S.C.’s ‘excellent’ practice is ‘very involved in the renewable energy business’ and provides ‘good services overall’. Under the leadership of the ‘very responsible’ Rafael Briz (a ‘strong partner who has a lot of experience dealing with Guatemalan law’), the team advises on energy generation projects and energy transportation and distribution matters, often combining industry expertise with strength in banking and finance. Acting for energy companies and distributors alike, its client portfolio includes Grupo Gran Solar, Energuate’s energy distributor Deocsa-Deorsa, ISAGEN and IC Power. The team is currently handling all legal aspects of the construction of two hydroelectric generation plants for Grupo Cobra and Obrascón Huarte Lain (OHL) respectively. Clients are ‘satisfied on a personal and professional level’ and deem the firm’s service ‘better, because the partners are involved and the firm puts in all needed resources’.

QIL+4 Abogados, S.A. maintains a ‘big presence, particularly in hydroelectric projects’ but also other areas of renewable and conventional energy. The 13-strong team, led by Gabriela Roca, advises on energy projects from greenfield to operational stages – particularly financing, corporate and regulatory issues; of late it has been especially active recently on compliance matters and social aspects. Recent mandates, for example, include acting for the National Association of Renewable Generators of Guatemala to produce a document that would allow the ILO 169 Agreement to be applicable in the country and give developers certainty that consultation rights are being respected by the state. The team conducted due diligence on one of the largest energy-generating sugar refinery entities in Guatemala on behalf of Banco Industrial and in connection with the granting of a syndicated corporate loan; advice also included the assessment of a PPA and negotiation with the energy transportation entity to enable the transmission contracts to be assigned as a guarantee of the loan. Other clients include Enel Green Power, Corporación Multi Inversiones’ energy division, Hidroeléctrica Secacao, and Minera San Rafael.

Aguilar Castillo Love is well reputed for its ‘longstanding expertise’ in the energy sector where -currently- it primarily advises on contentious and financial matters. The team is representing Comercializadora Eléctrica de Guatemala in arbitration proceedings concerning the termination of a PPA related to the construction of a 100MW coal plant by the counterparty. ‘Standout figure’ Juan Carlos Castillo-Chacón is widely recognised for his ‘in-depth knowledge’, particularly in project finance transactions for the energy and electricity sectors. Clients include Jaguar Energy, Puma Energy, EMP Latin America and Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala.

Formerly at Arenales & Skinner-Klée – LatamLex, which ceased operations in October 2016, the energy practice led by Rodolfo Salazar at BLP has experience in energy generation, transportation and distribution projects as well as regulatory expertise not only in the energy sector but also concerning infrastructure and environmental matters. The team acts for private companies and investors but also for the Guatemalan state. It also frequently handles energy-related disputes, such as successfully representing Hidroelectrica Río Hondo in a lawsuit against the National Electrification Institute (INDE) in order to formally obtain the usufruct for the Hidroeléctrica Río Hondo I project. Another client is FERSA, the Guatemalan company awarded the concession for the expansion of Guatemala’s National Electricity Transportation System (PETNAC 2). Also noteworthy is the firm’s involvement in the TECO vs Guatemala ICSID arbitration, in which the firm achieved almost complete adjournment of the country’s obligation to pay a $28.6 million award issued to the energy company in a dispute over electricity tariffs.

Carrillo y Asociados continues to be recognised for its ‘great experience’ in the energy sector and shows particular strength in contentious energy matters in conjunction with its strong litigation practice. The team is currently representing a local power generator in an international arbitration and is also handling a power plant construction dispute and environmental law criminal proceedings. On the corporate side, current work includes advising I Squared Capital on the acquisition of Duke Energy assets in Latin America, including regulatory advice. The ‘very experienced’ Rodolfo Alegría is the main contact.

Comte & Font – Legalsa’s energy practice draws on the firm’s strengths in dispute resolution and its corporate and public procurement practices. The team is currently providing comprehensive legal advise to Impulso Inversionista de Guatemala regarding all the required authorizations, environmental licenses, regulatory registrations and operational permits for four separate hydroelectric generation projects. Other key work includes advising Grupo Repimex-Guatemar on the structuring and development of a dry bulk terminal (and associated 25-year usufruct agreement) for mineral supplies to Guatemala's largest electricity power generators. Practice head Ronny Aguilar joined the firm in 2016 and has 15 years’ experience advising regulators, operators, major consumers, distributors and transporters in the electricity sector. Clients include Administración del Mercado Mayorista (AMM), Multinergía Servicios Generales and the Asociación de Comercializadores de Energía Eléctrica (ASCEE).

The team at Lexincorp advises energy companies on matters ranging from permits to corporate structures, but also -in conjunction with the firm’s strong banking and finance practice- on credit and finance operations. It has handled several administrative litigation cases to defend private party rights against illegal and unfair administrative decisions from the Ministry of Energy and Mining; a recent client was Solaris. The team is currently advising Mexican energy conglomerate Grupo Kin’s subsidiary Tuncaj, regarding a 6MW solar park project in Guatemala. Other recent work includes advising hydroelectric plant Xolhuitz on various matters, including reviewing the equipment purchase contracts, operational permits and the structuring of the loans-and-warranties scheme for the project. Practice head and associate Leslie Henry has ten years’ experience and was a member of the legal department of the energy commission in Guatemala for several years; in addition she has particular country expertise in El Salvador.

Novales Abogados is known for its expertise in electricity transmission as a result of assisting client TRECSA with the construction of the country’s largest transmission network. The firm also advises on EPC contracts for power generation and transmission projects (and other infrastructure), and handles cross-border energy transactions and litigation cases. Its representation of TRECSA, for example, was the first time in Guatemala that a request for an amparo injunction pursuant to claims under ILO Convention 169 was denied. The firm’s legal support for the formation and constitution of Asociación de Transportistas de Electricidad de Guatemala, the country’s first national association of electric power transmission companies, is also noteworthy. Javier Novales heads the practice with strong support from associate Roselyn Villatoro who leads the infrastructure practice. Clients include Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana, EEB Ingeniería y Servicios (a local subsidiary of Colombia’s Empresa de Energía de Bogotá), and Enel Green Power.

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