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Who Represents Who

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Baker McKenzie SC is appreciated for its ability to provide both ‘local and international services’, and has an excellent reputation for handling the life cycle of transactions for international clients, working closely with the firm’s tax and finance teams. Maria Eugenia Reyes, who takes ‘a very strategic’ approach, advised RR Donnelley Holdings Venezuela on a business transfer from a foreign investor to its local subsidiary, namely Moore Canada Corporation’s sale of shares in the company to Moore de Venezuela. Other highlights included acting as local counsel to Emerson Electric on a global restructuring and the spin-off of its Network Power business, in a deal led by the firm’s London office. Carlos Delgado is highly regarded, and Jesús Dávila is also noted. Luis Miguel Vicentini has retired. Since research concluded, Delgado has moved to InterJuris Abogados.

D’Empaire Reyna Abogados is one of the major corporate players in the Venezuelan market, and attracts a flow of referral work from UK and US law firms. It handles an impressive variety of buy- and sell-side transactions, despite the relative paucity of deals in the market, and remains very active in transactions in the insurance sector. Fulvio Italiani led a team acting as Venezuelan counsel to Fairfax on the acquisition of AIG’s Venezuelan subsidiary, which included handling a due diligence exercise; the group is currently assisting the client in obtaining regulatory approval for the transaction. Other highlights included handling the Corimon Group’s purchase of Bridgestone Firestone Venezolana, a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas; and assisting Liberty Mutual in divesting Seguros Caracas de Liberty Mutual, its Venezuelan subsidiary. Alongside its transactional expertise, the team regularly advises on corporate governance matters. Arnoldo Troconis is advising Level 3 Communications in relation to Venezuela’s telecoms operations, and is also assisting Pirelli regarding its general operations in the country. Inés Parra, Roberto Mas and senior associate Paula Serra are also noted.

Leĝa Abogados is ‘one of the best law firms in Venezuela, with a lot of connections internationally’, and fields an ‘excellent’ team. It has developed notable expertise advising Chinese and Korean companies on incorporating local branches and subsidiaries and, in a rarity for the Venezuelan market, also has experience in acting for private equity clients. Its recent work for international clients includes advising Colombian dairy, food and beverage company Alpina Productos Alimenticios in relation to its operations in Venezuela, and advising Magna Motors, an automobile and motorbike manufacturer and distributor, on its potential entry into Venezuela. Department head Luis Eduardo López Durán, who is ‘very knowledgeable’, also leads the firm’s highly regarded life sciences practice. Fernando Peláez-Pier, Francisco Castillo-García, Jorge Acedo-Prato, Laura Silva Aparicio and José Alberto Ramírez-León are other names to note. Dubraska Zapiain-Perdomo joined in 2016 from a consultancy firm. Note: the firm changed its name to Lega Abogados with effect from March 8th 2018.

Norton Rose Fulbright has the capacity to handle high-profile cross-border M&A transactions, as well as advising on joint ventures, contractual matters and compliance. Ramón Ignacio Andrade Monagas, who heads the firm’s Latin American technology and innovation practice, is handling various matters for Fox Channels, including assisting with product placement issues and advising on advertising content transmitted through the client’s signals. Energy specialist Natalija Vojvodic regularly advises Shell Oil Company in relation to its Venezuelan operations. Sergio Casinelli has a superlative reputation for transactions in sectors including energy, construction, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing. Rubén Eduardo Luján, who is based in Toronto, and Daniela Jaimes are the other names to note.

Araquereyna’s team is ‘always accessible’, and ‘goes further than expected’. The team has a strong track record acting for clients in the TMT sector in a broad range of mandates, advising Nokia Networks and Telefónica Venezuela among others. Pedro Planchart, who is ‘incredibly bright’, and practice head Pedro Sosa are handling various matters for the latter client, including assisting with a corporate restructuring. Other work included assisting Microsoft Venezuela in modifying contracts to comply with Venezuelan law and analysing the impact of exchange control regulations. Manuel Reyna is also noted. The well-respected Gustavo Reyna joined the firm in 2016 from D’Empaire Reyna Abogados, and Roberto Strauss Perera was a new hire in 2017.

The well-regarded corporate and M&A team at InterJuris Abogados has an impressive portfolio of international clients including Rosneft, Lenovo, Pfizer and Accenture. It regularly serves as local counsel on high-profile global M&A deals, recently acting for Hewlett Packard Enterprise on the spin-off of its enterprise services business, which was merged with Computer Sciences Corporation, and also on the spin-off and merger of its non-core software business with Micro Focus. In another recent highlight, the team is assisting American Railway Supply in relation to its partnership with CRRC Meishan for the production of railway wagons, which requires various regulatory approvals. Juan José Delgado and María Cecilia Rachadell head the practice. Since research concluded, the corporate team has been further strengthened with the notable hire of Carlos Delgado, formerly managing partner at Baker Mackenzie SC's Caracas office, as a senior counsel. In addition, the firm has incorporated administrative expert and former name partner at Raffalli de Lemos Halvorssen Ortega y Ortiz, Luis Ortiz, a hire that is likely to see the firm increasingly well-positioned in relation to public law (and associated contentious matters) going forward.

Mendoza Palacios Acedo Borjas Páez Pumar & Cía handles an impressive range of work for national and international clients and has notable strength in the insurance, logistics, pharmaceutical and automotive sectors. Carlos Eduardo Acedo Sucre and Diego Lepervanche assisted private equity fund Evolvere Capital in acquiring Emerson’s Network Power business in Venezuela. Other work included advising a group of investors on purchasing Renault Venezuela and Renault P&A, and assisting in the design and implementation of corporate structures for local companies. Citibank and MSD Farmacéutica (a subsidiary of Merck & Co) are also clients. Luisa Acedo de Lepervanche, Manuel Acedo Sucre and new arrival Luisa Lepervanche, who was previously in-house with The Coca-Cola Company, are other names to note.

Rodríguez & Mendoza’s team has extensive experience in cross-border and domestic M&A transactions, for local and international clients. Francisco Utrera has a track record acting for clients in the insurance and pharmaceutical sectors, and Cristobal Mendoza has historically been a key name for privatisation matters. Reinaldo Hellmund is also recommended.

Tinoco, Travieso, Planchart & Núñez has seen an uptick in work from multinational corporates exiting Venezuela. Other recent matters include advising on joint venture agreements, drafting distribution agreements and handling acquisitions for local companies. It is a popular choice for companies active in the construction sector. Practice head René Lepervanche Orellana and Hans Sydow are key names in the team.

Travieso Evans Arria Rengel & Paz’s practice head Olga Nass de Massiani is highly respected, and has served on the board of directors for various international companies. The team has a solid corporate and M&A practice, covering asset and share sales, joint ventures, franchise agreements, due diligence exercises, cross-border takeovers and the structuring of transactions to comply with foreign exchange controls. Simón Guevara Camacho has acted for clients including Verizon, Oracle and BASF, and has notable expertise in energy transactions, as well as serving as corporate secretary in various joint ventures.

WDA legal, S.C. serves as general counsel to various clients, including a global credit card corporation, consumer products companies, and a client in the telecoms sector. Ramón Azpúrua’s work in this area has included handling a merger of the local subsidiaries of two pharmaceutical companies, advising a US-based oil company on its investments in Venezuela, and assisting a software developer in negotiating licensing and service agreements. Hernando Díaz Candia’s track record includes advising on the purchase of an automobile manufacturer.

BNM Ontier continues to handle acquisitions and divestments, despite the decline in investment in Venezuela by foreign companies, and has recent experience acting for shareholders in selling controlling interests in local banks and insurance companies. Its track record also includes advising on the purchase of a cinema chain, and assisting an international client in the sale of its Venezuelan subsidiaries via a management buyout. Other areas of expertise include mergers, joint ventures, due diligence exercises, business reorganisations, capital increases and exchange control regulations. José Rafael Bermúdez and Carlos Nevett Gimón are key names.

The team at Despacho de Abogados Miembro de Hogan Lovells works with the firm’s network of international offices to handle headline deals. Gonzalo Rodriguez-Matos, together with lawyers in New York and London, advised Venezuelan rum producer Ron Santa Teresa on entering into a distribution alliance with Bacardi. Rodriguez-Matos and counsel Juan Carlos Pondal-Kleber are handling ongoing regulatory and compliance matters for Western Union, concerning the impact of exchange control regulations. Bruno Ciuffetelli, who divides his time between Houston and Caracas, heads the practice. Other clients include Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Dell.

Imery Urdaneta Calleja Itriago & Flamarique is best known for advising on M&A deals, including preparing and reviewing documents for the competition agency and other regulatory bodies. Pedro Urdaneta has notable expertise in domestic and international contract negotiations, in areas such as outsourcing, joint ventures and M&A.

In addition to its significant experience in M&A transactions, Raffalli de Lemos Halvorssen Ortega y Ortiz has a strong track record serving as outside counsel to various corporations operating in Venezuela (handling matters such as the incorporation of local subsidiaries and shareholder agreements), and is also well-versed in the creation of joint ventures. The group works closely with the firm’s tax practice to assist in the optimisation of corporate structures. Rafael de Lemos Matheus and Jose Manuel Ortega Sosa are the key practitioners.

Torres, Plaz & Araujo provides ‘a high level service and strong advice on corporate and commercial law’. It is widely known for its strength in the energy sector, and recent mandates include advising Total Oil and Gas Venezuela concerning its projects in the country. The firm also advised Mack Trucks on restructuring its business operations in Venezuela and establishing a joint venture. Guillermo de la Rosa Stolk has ‘deep knowledge of corporate law’.

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