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With its seven-partner corporate and M&A department, Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee fields one of the largest and most established practices in the country. The team’s broad service offering includes advice on domestic and cross-border mergers, acquisitions and sales, contractual and regulatory matters, and corporate restructuring. Led by the highly-regarded Eloy Alfaro, the team recently advised Banca de Inversión Bancolombia (BIB) on the $350m sale of the Soho Project, which includes two office towers, a hotel and a luxury shopping centre. Alejandro Ferrer and Arturo Gerbaud co-lead the department, which counts Citibank, Petroamerica Terminal and Cable & Wireless Panama to its client roster.

Well-established domestic powerhouse Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega’s corporate and M&A department handles the full range of corporate matters and transactional activity across a multitude of industries, including banking, insurance, retail and telecom. Securities expert Ricardo Arango heads the M&A and joint ventures practices, while senior partner Fernando Arias A specializes in corporate advisory services. Headline mandates saw Rodrigo Cardoze and Andrés Rubinoff lead the team acting as local Panamanian counsel to McDermott International on its $6bn merger with Chicago Bridge & Iron, with significant support from associates Fernando Arias F and David Polo. Other notable highlights include advising car dealership chain Inchcape on the $284m acquisition of Grupo Rudelman, and on the seller side, assisting Assicurazioni Generali with the sale of its Panamanian operations to Assa Compañía de Seguros, as well as related regulatory matters. Estif Aparicio is also a key member of the team.

The sizeable corporate and M&A department at Galindo, Arias & López provides ‘excellent service and a truly professional approach’ and is frequently instructed on merge and acquisition mandates with a cross-border aspect. The team is co-led by Diego Herrera and Ramón Arias and is noted for its ‘depth and responsiveness’. Recent headline mandates include Herrera’s representation of Corporación BCT in the acquisition of Balboa Bank & Trust and its subsidiaries; the team’s advice to One Equity Partners on the $100m acquisition of One Link Holdings; and Arias’ representation of Colombian investment funds Mercantil Copatria and Alta Investments in a secured loan and convertible stock acquisition transaction with Reve Group, the holding company of retail chain Justo & Bueno. The practice has extensive experience in the aviation sector, as evidenced by its recent advice to Copa Airlines on the negotiation of the second amended and restated alliance agreement with United Airlines. Of counsel Salomón Behar and aviation expert Cristina Lewis are also active in the department.

Morgan & Morgan’s six-partner corporate and M&A team has a strong track record assisting local and multinational companies and financial institutions with cross-border transactions, joint ventures and the establishment of corporate structures in Panama. Recent highlights include advising Panama Ports Company (PPC) and HSBC on the acquisition and sale of port cranes owned by FEPC Leasing Trust and leased by PPC. In other work, Inocencio Galindo acted as counsel to Grupo Cordere in connection with the obtaining of a license for the administration and operation of a casino in Panama City; and also led advice to Hyatt International on the acquisition of a minority interest in Oasis Luxury Rentals. Seller-side work saw department head Francisco Arias advise the shareholders of The Metropolitan School of Panama on its sale to Nord Anglia Education. Other key clients include Banistmo, Constructora Urbana, Grupo Verde Azul and Televisora Nacional.

Demonstrating real prowess in both corporate work and transactional matters, Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez’s corporate department provides a genuinely broad service offering, including advice on joint ventures, asset acquisition, mergers, the formation and organisation of companies, shareholders agreements and day-to-day corporate matters. Luis López Alfaro heads the practice group in which Alfredo Ramírez and Rodrigo Moreno are also highly active. Alejandro Alemán and Roberto Harrington are other key figures in the department.

The department at Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán has ‘a full-service approach’ and offers comprehensive corporate law advice on matters related to partnerships, trusts and contracts, as well as multijurisdictional mergers, acquisitions and project finance, sector-related contentious matters and environmental work. While the firm is particularly well-known for representing public and state entities, the client base also includes domestic and international companies from a variety of sectors, such as construction, life sciences and finance. Alexis Herrera, Michelle De La Guardia and Luis Chalhoub constitute the core team.

María de Lourdes Marengo and Ebrahim Asvat are the key contacts at Patton, Moreno & Asvat’s corporate and M&A department following the August 2017 departure of former practice co-head Ivette Martínez to found her own boutique, IMS Legal. In addition to mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, the team also advises on reorganisations, due diligence and regulatory matters. The practice is particularly well-known for its expertise in the maritime and finance sectors and acts on both the seller and purchaser side. Recommended corporate law and litigation expert Khatiya Asvat was promoted to the partnership in February 2018.

The ‘excellentArias advises on due diligence, cross-border M&A deals and regional transactions facilitated by the firm’s presence throughout Central America. Following the departure of former practice head Lisa Domínguez in 2017 Yuri Moreno leads the four-strong department. The team’s advice is noted for being ‘succinct, easy to digest and relevant’, with recent matters including due diligence on potential M&A targets (including corporate, assets, labour, litigation, insurance, IP and regulatory matters), the preparation of shareholders agreements and sales structures, and compliance issues. Recommended associate Mayrolis Parnther is another name to note.

Fabrega Molino significantly strengthened its corporate and M&A department through its merger with Kuzniecky & Co and the associated incorporation of Dani Kuzniecky, who is particularly active in the corporate governance area. The practice group is co-led by Juan Pablo Fabrega and José Augustín Preciado and advises on corporate and commercial law, M&A and investments. Ana Lorena Morales is another key figure; she handles matters related to government contracts, along with administrative law and regulatory work – that latter being an additional mainstay of the practice.

Elizabeth Heurtematte heads the corporate and administrative law practice at Latamlex / Lopez, Villanueva & Heurtematte, which advises companies from a number of sectors including construction, infrastructure, real estate and hospitality. Key clients include Financiera Autocash, Isthmian Investment and Transporte Internationales Tical. Cristina López is also active in the sector; however co-founding partner Patricia Villanueva left the firm in September 2017 to establish legal project management company Inlex Pro.

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