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Venezuela > Corporate and M&A > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and M&A
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

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The ‘very good’ practice at Baker McKenzie SC has a longstanding reputation for advising local and international companies on M&A deals in Venezuela, predominantly on the buyer side. It also has a certain focus on industries with particular restrictions for foreign investors, such as oil and gas, energy, media, transportation, and health. Practice head Carlos Delgado is recommended along with Maria Eugenia Reyes and Luis Vicentini.

The ‘very talented and fast’ team at D’Empaire Reyna Abogados is regularly chosen by foreign investors to assist on the acquisition and sale of Venezuelan companies, and has the capacity to handle large, high-profile M&A mandates, including the merger control, financing, tax, and labour law aspects. Recent instructions were predominantly on the seller side. For example, the firm assisted Liberty Mutual with the sale of its Venezuelan subsidiary Seguros Caracas, the largest Venezuelan insurance company, to Venezuelan investor Mr Humberto Gil of Grupo Fidens. It also acted for General Mills on the sale of its Venezuelan subsidiary. Other clients of the practice include Henkel, Empresas Polar, Procter & Gamble, Telecom Italia Sparkle, and United Airlines. The ‘outstandingFulvio Italiani is recommended along with Arnoldo Troconis and Inés Parra.

Hoet Pelaez Castillo & Duque’s corporate team ‘combines international experience with local expertise’ to provide ‘excellent service’. It stands out for its industry expertise in the health care and pharmaceutical sectors and has also developed niche expertise advising Chinese and Korean companies on the incorporation of local branches and subsidiaries in Venezuela. Work highlights include assisting Novartis de Venezuela with the transfer of its influenza business to the Australian company CSL, acting for Alstom on Venezuelan aspects of the sale of its power-and-grid business unit to General Electric, and advising Evolvere Partners on setting up a private equity fund in Venezuela. Other clients include Bayer, Reckitt Benckiser, Renault, Samsung, and Sprint Nextel. Luis Eduardo López Durán is ‘very knowledgeable in different legal areas and very business-minded in finding practical solutions’. Jorge Acedo, Fernando Peláez-Pier and Francisco Castillo-García are also very experienced advisers.

The ‘excellent’ practice at Norton Rose Fulbright is particularly noted for its ‘outstanding experience’ in corporate and M&A matters in the oil-and-gas sector. Recent work includes advising Sierra Oil and Gas on a joint venture in Mexico; assisting CAF Asset Management with the drafting, negotiation and execution of a shareholder agreement entered into regarding a Colombian fund management company; and acting for Husqvarna in the dissolution and liquidation of a Venezuelan subsidiary. Other instructions came from Bridgestone Firestone, Exterran, Tesco, Mead Johnson Nutrition, and Shell. Sergio Casinelli is ‘a well-rounded corporate and transactional lawyer with robust knowledge of the law and good business acumen’. Other recommended individuals include the ‘capable and reliable’ Ramón Andrade, the ‘problem-solver’ Daniela Jaimes and the ‘business-orientedRubén Eduardo Luján. Former practice head Elisabeth Eljuri took up an in-house position at Sierra Oil and Gas in Mexico.

The ‘knowledgeable’ team at Araquereyna is noted for its work helping clients to ‘adapt to the difficult times in Venezuela’. It has particular industry expertise in the food, services and telecoms sectors. Leading lawyer Manuel Reyna has been assisting Sodexo Pass on corporate, contractual and regulatory matters; Pedro Sosa has been advising Industrias Alimenticias Hermo on the structuring of its distribution network throughout Venezuela and assisted Universal Music de Venezuela with all corporate matters related to the company’s winding-up and liquidation procedures; and Pedro Planchart has been advising Telefónica de Venezuela on day-to-day corporate matters. Other clients include BSN Medical, General Motors, Microsoft, and Nokia.

The ‘very good’ team at Mendoza Palacios Acedo Borjas Páez Pumar & Cía has recently been handling two major acquisitions on the buyer side: it assisted Mr Humberto Gil of Grupo Fidens with the acquisition of Seguros Caracas, Venezuela’s largest insurance company, from Liberty Mutual; and it acted for Grupo Automotriz Latinoamericano regarding the acquisition of Renault’s Venezuelan subsidiary. In addition, the practice provides corporate and commercial advice to many longstanding international clients and their Venezuelan subsidiaries, including Bekaert, Coca-Cola, MSD, Münchener, and Telefónica. The team also continues to advise the start-up Grupo Venemergencia, a provider of medical services, which includes not-for-profit emergency services in shantytowns. Manuel Acedo Sucre, Carlos Eduardo Acedo Sucre and Luisa Acedo de Lepervanche are well regarded.

The team at Rodríguez & Mendoza has particular expertise in joint ventures with complex corporate, financial, tax, and labour issues. It has performed numerous due diligence procedures and has a group constantly dedicated to this field. Over the years, it also advised on numerous M&A transactions in the telecoms, food, retail, and natural resources sectors, among others. Clients include a number of international corporations. Francisco Utrera is highly rated.

Tinoco, Travieso, Planchart & Núñez’s team is praised for its ‘sound multi-disciplinary approach, its speed and its flexibility in dealing with the volatile environment in Venezuela’. Recent work includes acting for HBO Olé Servicios regarding its merger with Representaciones Arbona, assisting Cavengas Holdings with the acquisition of a 20% shareholding in Canacol, and acting for CT Energy Holdings regarding its acquisition of a 20% shareholding in Harvest Natural Resources. Other instructions came from Aliva Stump, Crowley Maritime Corporation, and El Tunal. Practice head René Lepervanche Orellana is praised for his ‘professionalism, in-depth understanding of clients’ business and excellent communication skills’. Hans Sydow is also well regarded.

The practice at Travieso Evans Arria Rengel & Paz is noted for its track record in advising foreign investors on the acquisition of Venezuelan businesses and coordinating takeovers involving simultaneous acquisitions in multiple South American countries. The full service firm has experience in the preparation of due diligence investigations that cover several legal aspects of mergers and acquisitions, including financing, tax, labour law, real estate, and intellectual property aspects. Practice head Olga Nass de Massiani has extensive experience in drafting contracts related to the acquisition of companies, joint ventures, and international financing projects. Simón Guevara Camacho is particularly experienced in transactions in the Venezuelan energy sector.

The ‘fabulous’ team at WDA legal, S.C. is praised for providing ‘calm and client-oriented advice in the midst of the worsening business climate in Venezuela’. Recent work includes advising a pharmaceutical company on the reduction and restructuring of its local operations, assisting a plastics-industry client with the sale of its operations in Venezuela, acting for several clients regarding the winding down and liquidation of local subsidiaries, and advising several clients on the restructuring of their business holdings in Venezuela for investment protection purposes. Key clients of the corporate practice include General Motors and Baxter de Venezuela. Ramón Azpúrua is a ‘very steady, smart and dependable lawyer’ and is recommended along with Hernando Díaz-Candia.

Corporate boutique BNM Ontier is particularly noted for its transactional work. Recent highlights include advising the Kerui Group on joint ventures for pipelines in Lake Maracaibo and services for the Venezuelan oil industry, assisting Grupo Yammine on the acquisition of MMC Automotriz, and acting for Ferrostaal Industrial Projects regarding the Moron Fertilizer Plants projects in Carabobo. Other clients include SMS Group, Syngenta, Peabody Energy, and Banco Venezolano de Crédito. José Rafael Bermúdez is primarily engaged in international transactions and has particular expertise in tax-optimized corporate restructurings. Carlos Nevett has been advising international and local clients on joint ventures, foreign investments, currency exchange matters, and contracts with the public sector.

The practice at Despacho de Abogados Miembro de Hogan Lovells has experience advising on corporate restructurings in Venezuela and throughout the Latin American region. It also advises on day-to-day corporate matters. Recent work includes advising Western Union on ongoing corporate and regulatory matters regarding it money remittance business in Venezuela, and assisting Dell with a due diligence process on several Dell subsidiaries located in Latin America. Other clients include PDVSA and Onyx Pharmaceuticals. Latin America practice head Bruno Ciuffetelli divides his time between the firm’s Caracas and Houston offices. Gonzalo Rodriguez-Matos is another key contact.

Imery Urdaneta Calleja Itriago & Flamarique advises buyers and sellers on the drafting and negotiation of purchase-and-sale agreements, as well as merger agreements. The practice has also been assisting with due diligence procedures and merger review processes by the competition authority where necessary. Pedro Urdaneta has experience in the negotiation of domestic and international contracts, including those relating to M&A, joint ventures, and outsourcing.

The ‘excellent’ team at InterJuris Abogados is particularly noted for its corporate work in the energy sector, but also has plenty of experience advising on mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, corporate restructurings, and joint ventures in a variety of other industries. Recent work includes advising Rosneft on its acquisition of a 23.33% shares in the joint venture company PetroMonagas from PDVSA, as well as assisting American Railway Supply with the acquisition of Industrial Rail Realty and the negotiation of a joint venture agreement with a Chinese investor. Other clients include Pfizer, Hewlett-Packard, Accenture, Zoetis, Merck, and Hyatt. The ‘very knowledgeable and quick’ Maria Cecilia Rachadell is recommended along with Juan José Delgado.

Raffalli de Lemos Halvorssen Ortega y Ortiz is noted for its experience in M&A, capital and asset purchases, stock sales and disposals of business assets, restructurings and divestitures, as well as contested transactions, such as hostile takeovers. The corporate practice works closely with the firm’s strong tax team to select tax-optimized vehicles for transactions. Rafael de Lemos Matheus and Jose Manuel Ortega Sosa are well regarded.

Torres, Plaz & Araujo is particularly known for its experience in corporate and M&A matters for oil-and-gas clients, but the practice is much broader and also serves clients in the automobile, pharmaceutical, telecoms, retail, and fast moving consumer goods sector. Recent work includes advising Odebrecht on a joint venture with CVP (a subsidiary of PDVSA); assisting Wärtsilä with the negotiation, structuring and drafting of two new EPC contracts; and advising PepsiCo on restructuring, investment protection and contractual matters. Other clients include BP, Mack, Odebrecht, and Nutresa. Guillermo de la Rosa Stolk and Juan Carlos Garantón Blanco are key contacts.

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