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Standing out across the entire array of banking and finance-related work, the sizeable practice at Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee handles regulatory issues, project finance, and credit and loan agreements, among other matters. The firm is regularly involved in high-profile domestic and cross-border transactions, such as the recent purchase of the Soho mall by a Mexican joint venture, in which the team advised the lender banks, including Banistmo, Banesco and Bladex, in connection with the $276m financing provided to the JV. In other work, a team led by the highly regarded Eloy Alfaro acted as Panamanian counsel to Credit Suisse (as lender) on its $85m loan agreement with a group of borrowers, including AGP America; and practice head Arturo Gerbaud, who is noted for his ‘deep knowledge’, led advice to Citibank on a $50m loan agreement in favour of GTM Holding and GTM Do Brasil Comercio de Productos Quimicos, and to Multibank in connection with its first international debt offering of $300m. Among other team members, ‘brilliant’ senior associate Rita de la Guardia ‘handles heavy parts of the work, is easy-going and always available’. The team’s client roster also includes Banco General, The Bank of Nova Scotia and Julius Bär.

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega’s banking and finance practice covers the full range of sector-related matters, including loan agreements, credit facilities, financing, capital markets and regulatory law, often with cross-border elements. The team is led by ‘quiet geniusRicardo Arango and also includes the impressive trio of Andrés Rubinoff, Rodrigo Cardoze and Estif Aparicio. Aparicio led the team that recently acted as local counsel to Sparc (as issuer) and UBS (as initial purchaser), on Metro de Panamá’s $618.7m sale of secured notes (to fund the construction of the capital’s second underground line); while Cardoze, assisted by associate Fernando Arias F, acted as Panamanian counsel to McDermott International in a series of transactions including a $4.65bn financing from Crédit Agricole and Barclays Bank, and twin senior unsecured notes issues totalling $1.5bn under Rule 144A/Reg S. Other highlights include advising Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior (Bladex) as joint lead arranger on a $100m senior term loan granted to Dos Pinos subsidiaries, Productos Nevada and Corporación Industrial Americana. The client base includes well-known local and international financial institutions.

Well-established domestic powerhouse Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez fields a banking and insurance department, that is jointly led by Alfredo Ramírez and Luis López Alfaro and which advises on day-to-day banking matters, loan agreements, project finance, securities and regulatory law. Roberto Harrington is another key figure in a department that saw associate María Cargiulo, who is particularly experienced in matters related to securities and public offerings, promoted to partnership as of January 2018.

The ‘professional and efficient’ banking and finance department at Galindo, Arias & Lópezconsistently produces work of the highest quality and has a particularly strong team in the aviation and energy sectors’. Also highlighted as being ‘proactive, business-oriented and practical’, the team is co-led by Roberto de Araujo and of counsel Salomón Behar, and regularly handles matters related to project finance, syndicated loans, credit facilities and regulatory law. Recent highlights include advising longstanding client Copa Holding on the $240m financing, lease and registration of four Boeing aircrafts, as part of the client’s $2.6bn, 32-plane project. In other work, aviation expert Cristina Lewis acted as Panamanian counsel to several international borrower banks in connection with a $36m credit facility for the refinancing of an aircraft fleet. Lewis also continues to advise Copa Airlines on all Panamanian legal matters pertaining to the paying-off of several loans and associated regulatory issues. BAC Bank, Banco Industrial and Banco de Crédito del Perú are also part of the firm’s client roster. Diego Herrera is another key figure in the department.

The banking and finance team at Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán advises domestic and international banks, investors, government agencies, insurance companies, funds and trusts on contentious and non-contentious matters related to the finance sector, including regulatory matters such as the obtaining of banking licenses, the structuring and issuance of securities, contracts and compliance issues. Michelle de la Guardia, Luis Chalhoub and Domingo Díaz constitute the core team.

Morgan & Morgan’s seven-strong banking and finance practice is led by Inocencio Galindo and regularly receives instructions from domestic, regional and international companies and financial institutions in relation to credit facilities, regulatory matters, banking licenses and project finance matters, particularly in relation to the energy industry. Recent highlights include advising Banco General and Banistmo, as joint arrangers and underwriters, on the structuring of a $320m corporate bonds issue undertaken by Altenergy. In another headline mandate, Francisco Arias led advice to Banco Inbursa in connection with the purchase of credit rights in Consorcio Línea 2 de Metro de Panama, amounting to $415m. Practice head Galindo recently assisted Multibank subsidiary MB Creditos with the financing of a $17m credit facility granted by a syndicate of local banks including BBP Bank, Banco del Pacifico and Bicsa. Ramón Varela is also active in the department.

Tatiana Abadía heads the banking and finance and capital markets departments at Fabrega Molino, which advise local and international banks, trust companies and other financial institutions acting as lenders, agents and arrangers, as well as corporate borrowers, on a wide array of sector-related services, such as transactions, the obtaining of banking licenses and regulatory matters. Abadía’s practice further covers project finance, real estate finance, syndicated loan agreements, corporate finance, as well as trust and securities-related matters. Juan Pablo Fabrega is another key figure in the practice; Ana Lucrecia Tovar departed to Dentons Muñoz in March 2017.

Patton, Moreno & Asvat’s banking and finance practice distinguishes itself through its niche expertise in the aviation and shipping industries, where it advises on vessel financing and loan facilities. The team is equally adept in project finance and regulatory law and counts local and international financial institutions, such as The Bank of Nova Scotia, BBVA and Bladex, on its client roster. Ebrahim Asvat and María de Lourdes Marengo are the key contacts; Ivette Martínez departed to establish her own boutique, IMS Legal, in August 2017.

Sucre, Briceño & Co. advises corporations, insurers and banking groups on a wide array of banking and finance-related services, such as regulatory law, financing, bond issuances, structured finance and litigious matters. Led by managing partner Fernando Sucre Miguez, the team continues to advise Hipotecaria Metrocredit on a $45m mortgage bond issuance and the obtaining of regulatory permits and approval by the regulator. In other work, Franklin Briceño Salazar assisted FCC Construcción with the negotiation and structuring of the purchase of construction payment obligation certificates (CDNOs) issued by Metro de Panamá, in connection with the construction of Line 2 of the Panamanian metro. Contentious sector-related work includes advising Canal Bank on the coordination of all litigious matters concerning a credit portfolio acquired as a result of the merger process with Banco Universal.

After Lisa Domínguez’ departure in 2017 (she is currently a sole practitioner), Yuri Moreno is the key contact at the banking and finance practice at Arias. The ‘excellent’ team fields ‘highly qualified professionals’ and advises on bond issuances, credit and loan agreements, project finance and regulatory matters. Benefitting from its strong regional network, the firm often receives instructions from domestic and international companies in connection with cross-border transactions. ‘Diligent and competent’ associate Maria Fábrega is another name to note.

Arosemena Noriega & Contreras’ banking and finance team advises on share transfers, project finance, syndicated loans and credit agreements. Julio Contreras and José Miguel Navarrete are the key figures in the department, and regularly act as Panamanian counsel to financial institutions and international law firms in relation to cross-border transactions, renewals of credit agreements and debt offerings.

Dentons Muñoz’ banking and finance practice is jointly headed by office managing partner Gisela Porras and Ana Lucrecia Tovar, who joined the firm from Fabrega Molino in March 2017. The team is particularly active on the lender side and advises on credit agreements, syndicated loans and financing, as well as capital markets and regulatory matters.

Led by Elizabeth Heurtematte, the banking and finance department at Latamlex / Lopez, Villanueva & Heurtematte predominantly advises funds on credit facilities, syndicated loans and regulatory matters. Recent work includes advising Microfinanzas Latinoamerica I (Milac I), as lenders, on a credit facility in favour of Asociación Para el Desarrollo De Las Cajas Rurales (Procaja), which in turn provides microloans to farmers and ranchers. Another key figure in the department is associate Ana Carolina Ureña.

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