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Due to its strong corporate and finance expertise, domestic firm Alvarado y Asociados easily keeps up with its regional competitors and is thereby ‘certainly among the best’. The three-partner practice advises on an impressive range of high-profile corporate, M&A and financing work, including due diligence, project finance, reorganisations and restructurings as well as loan agreements on both the borrower and lender side. In recent highlights, the team assisted an international client with regulatory, corporate and financing matters related to a photovoltaic project, advised on several high-profile M&A transactions in the pharma, telecoms, aviation, and energy sectors; and as part of global network Lex Mundi, advised on the Nicaraguan leg of a multijurisdictional implementation of a whistle-blower hotline. In addition to its extensive cross-border experience, the team also exhibits deep expertise in compliance, tax and environmental issues, as well as contentious and non-contentious labour and immigration matters. Highly recommended practice head Gloria María de Alvarado is the key contact for foreign investment advice. Key clients include CEMEX, Grupo Bimbo, Delta Airlines and Convergys.

Always on top of things’, Arias’ ‘very responsive’ corporate and finance department is one of the first destinations for domestic and international high-profile clients seeking ‘excellent’ advice on cross-border M&A matters, loan agreements, bonds issuances, project finance, reorganisations and restructurings. In 2016, the four-partner practice advised SBA Torres Nicaragua on the merger and reorganisation process of three of their Nicaraguan companies; assisted FMO and DEG with a $30m loan to Banco de America Central to increase the bank’s credit portfolio for small and medium-sized companies; and advised Lowell Acquisition on the multimillion-dollar acquisition of regional clothing manufacturer New Holland Apparel. Other multijurisdictional matters included assisting AJE Group obtain an $88m syndicated loan from Citibank (and other lenders), for the payment of existing debt; and advising FirstCaribbean International Bank as lead arranger on Productive Business Solutions’ private bond placement and financing. In addition to its strong corporate and finance expertise, especially in the real estate, banking, energy and consumer goods sector, the team also increasingly assists with tax structuring and compliance. Róger Pérez ‘handles client’s needs perfectly’, Gustavo-Adolfo Vargas provides ‘excellent work’ and both Ana Teresa Rizo and Bertha Argüello, who head the corporate and banking and finance departments, respectively, are also highly recommended.

Corporate and finance advice clearly is the central pillar of Consortium Legal’s sophisticated and ‘prestigious’ practice: with three experienced partners dedicated to M&A, financings, capital markets and restructurings, the group is frequently involved in the market’s most prominent transactions. 2016 saw the team particularly excel in advising on an impressive number of cross-border financing transactions: among other matters, highly regarded practice co-head Rodrigo Taboada assisted Citibank with an $88m syndicated loan to AJE Group and its affiliates; advised Cerberus on a $90m syndicated loan to Lowell Acquisition to finance the acquisition of several New Holland Apparel subsidiaries in Central America; and assisted Banco Ficohsa with the refinancing of a $9m loan granted by Panama-based Prival Bank. Other recent work includes a big-ticket M&A transaction in the tobacco sector, corporate restructurings, distribution agreements, assisting multinationals with bond issuances and regulatory advice to local banks. The strongly recommended Martha Lorena Icaza is particularly known for her corporate and finance activity in the energy sector, and practice co-head Olga Barreto has extensive experience in domestic and cross-border financings. Alfonso Sandino Granera joined Latamlex Nicauragua.

As a ‘one stop shop’ in four Central American jurisdictions, García & Bodán’s ‘extremely good team’ has longstanding experience in complex, cross-border corporate and finance matters including M&A, project finance, trust structuring, shareholder agreements and regulatory advice to financial institutions. With particular clout in the real estate sector (as evidenced recently by the opening of a second office in Rivas that is fully dedicated to real estate transactions), the team advised Hilton Princess Centro America, Hospiteum and Princess Hotels & Resorts as borrowers on the Nicaraguan leg of its debt restructuring through a loan by Scotiabank El Salvador. The team is equally active in the energy, telecoms and aviation sectors and recently assisted United Airlines with the approval and registration of its codeshare agreement with Air New Zealand to facilitate the booking of flights for the latter’s customers through United Airlines. Other key clients include América Móvil, Grupo Lala and Banco Davivienda. Founding partner Terencio García ‘makes things happen’ in both corporate and finance matters; Federico Gurdián heads the regional corporate, commercial and transactional practice; and Carlos Téllez is the key contact for finance issues.

Aguilar Castillo Love’s personnel expansion in Nicaragua since 2015, including the recent hire of banking and compliance expert Violeta Núñez, has evidently borne fruit as an increasing number of international high-profile clients such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Banco Ficohsa and General Electric seek the team’s advice on complex cross-border M&A and financing transactions, distribution agreements, and corporate day-to-day and labour matters. Recent highlight work includes advising Dos Pinos on contentious and non-contentious trade matters related to the milk war between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, as well as on its acquisition of the Gallito brand from Mondeléz; assisting Nokia Siemens Networks with the liquidation of its operations in Nicaragua; and advising Johnson & Johnson on import requirements for medical devices. Corporate and finance all-rounder Thelma Carrión heads the practice, and Pol Thielen is the key contact for contentious and transactional corporate matters.

Corporate and finance advice is the mainstay of BLP’s increasingly well-reputed practice, which has expertise in matters ranging from project finance, loan agreements and M&A, to corporate litigation and tax issues. Led by Ernesto Rizo, the four-strong department handles a notable amount of cross-border work and has established a particularly strong reputation among clients in the mining, agribusiness and financial services industries. In recent highlight work, the team advised Philippines-based SPi Global on the Nicaraguan leg of the sale of its customer relationship management unit to Japanese BPO-company Relia, and assisted Banco International de Costa Rica (BICSA) with the structuring of a $250,000 credit line to hardware store RETECSA. It also advised Calibre Mining on several joint venture agreements with Centerra Gold and I Am Gold related to the exploration of its mining concessions. Other key clients include NORFUND, Colgate-Palmolive and Pfizer.

With a broad regional presence Lexincorp undertakes the entire spectrum of corporate and finance advice in Nicaragua, ranging from M&A, corporate restructurings and financings to antitrust and consumer rights advice as well as tender procedures. While the four-strong department offers comprehensive advice to both domestic and international clients, it has steadily increased its activity for foreign investors. In noteworthy 2016 highlights, Claudia Vivas-Sacasa advised Nokia Sweden on the Nicaraguan aspects of a corporate restructuring following its world-wide acquisition of Alcatel Lucent; practice head Fernando Midence-Mantilla assisted Sony with consumer rights, antitrust matters and custom regulations regarding the import, distribution and commercialisation of its products. On the finance-side, the group also advised several regional banks with due diligence on potential borrowers. Key clients include Cargill, Grupo Atlas and BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund.

Paying ‘great attention to its clients’, Central Law Nicaragua provides ‘excellent service’ to domestic and regional corporations and foreign investors on the full array of corporate and commercial matters, but is also highly experienced in assisting with the implications of the free trade zone regime, tax issues and labour matters. Practice head Yalí Molina recently advised Honduran company AVINICSA on all corporate matters related to its construction of a broiler chicken plant in the Tipitapa municipality, and assisted Droguería Universal with the opening of its operations in Nicaragua. The client roster also includes Next Level Apparel, Caravela Coffee and Inmobiliaria Cobirsa. Álvaro Molina is another name to note.

As one of six regional offices across Central America, Latamlex’s Nicaraguan practice attracts praise for its broad expertise across the range of corporate matters including M&A, incorporations and joint ventures, and has particular strength in cross-border work. 2016, however, saw the practice thriving in the banking and finance arena, where peers observed ‘impressive activity’ in both domestic and multijurisdictional transactions. This development was likely supported by the hire of corporate and finance expert Alfonso Sandino Granera from Consortium Legal, whose experience in real estate financings and M&A adds to the group’s traditionally strong standing in the real estate, agro-industrial and financial services sectors. Recent highlight work includes advising Scotiabank, as lender, on a loan agreement to Hilton Princess Centro America, Hospiteum and Princess Hotels & Resorts in order to facilitate a debt restructuring; and the team also regularly acts for high-profile clients such as Banco Internacional de Costa Rica, Grupo Movisa and Banpro. Álvaro Caldera and Ana Patricia Carrión co-lead the practice.

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