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Arias

DIAGONAL 6 10-01 ZONA 10, CENTRO GERENCIAL LAS MARGARITAS TORRE II, OFICINA 402 B, GUATEMALA CITY, GUATEMALA C A, GUATEMALA
Tel:
Work +502 2382 7700
Fax:
Fax +502 2382 7743
Email:
Web:
www.ariaslaw.com

Guatemala

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 2

Arias

Arias advises local and international banks, financial institutions, and insurance and reinsurance companies on a wide range of transactions, including structuring and closing debt financing and loan security packages, project finance, asset securitisation and the structuring and implementation of investment funds and trusts. Founding partner of Arias’ Guatemalan office, Jorge Luis Arenales has led the team since the departure of former practice head José Augusto Toledo in March 2017 (to pursue a career outside the law); he is known for his experience with financial agreements and project, structured commodity and private equity financing. Luis Pedro del Valle advises banks and borrowers on a range of debt products and specialises in investment grade and acquisition finance; while senior associate Ligia Salazar is an expert in insurance projects and secured and unsecured lending. In a recent highlight, the team advised Bladex as the leader of a syndicate of banks which granted the Guatemalan branch of its first international syndicated trade facility of $50m for the purpose of financing its foreign trade loan portfolio. Other key clients include Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Cooperative Rabobank New York Branch and BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund.

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Corporate/M&A
Corporate/M&A - ranked: tier 1

Arias

The members of Arias’ ‘very experienced and capable’ corporate team are praised by clients for their ‘excellent response times’ and ‘industry-specific knowledge’. Led by senior partner Jorge Luis Arenales, a ‘very analytical lawyer’ who ‘thinks strategically’, the team regularly handles multi-jurisdictional matters for clients from the energy, infrastructure, telecoms and banking sectors, among others. Recent highlights include advising Italian insurance company Assicurazioni Generali on the sale of its Guatemalan subsidiary Aseguradora General; assisting EZCorp with the $53.4m acquisition of a major pawn store and consumer loans chain in Central America; and providing ongoing advice to Sika Guatemala on the development of the company’s production plant. Luis Pedro del Valle led the advice to International Nickel Supply on the acquisition of shares worth $13m in mining exploration company Mayaniquel; and senior associates Cynthia Soto, who is increasingly involved in assisting clients with cross-border acquisitions, and Vivian Morales, who is experienced at advising on corporate governance, securities and other regulatory matters, are also noted.

Leading lawyers

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Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution - ranked: tier 1

Arias

Arias’ dispute resolution clients include multinational companies, government entities and financial institutions, and it regularly advises on disputes in the real estate, telecoms and IP sectors, among others. The practice group, led by Mario René Archila and senior associate Luis Fernando Zelada, also houses a growing domestic and international arbitration practice, and since Aurélie Huet joined the firm as special counsel in April 2017, has also begun to focus on compliance, anti-money laundering and anti-corruption cases. Recent highlights include advising IT company KIO Networks on the recovery of telecoms equipment worth $2m from Construcción y Telecomunicaciones; and the recovery of loan portfolios valued at $60,000 and $900,000, respectively, from Mudanzas Express and B&R Ingeniería de Sistemas. The team is also representing technology distribution company Exprescom Guatemala in complex tax litigation.

Leading lawyers

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

Arias

Noted for its ‘prompt responses and very good quality of work’, and considered by some as ‘better than other firms in Guatemala and other Central American countries’, Arias provides IP advice that stretches across the pharmaceuticals, automotive, cosmetics, media, consumer products and manufacturing sectors, and which includes the registration of trade marks, geographical indications, patents and domain names, copyright protection, IP due diligence and IP litigation. The practice group recently successfully defended Burberry in opposition proceedings against a third-party that was trying to register a trade mark that included Burberry’s famous check design; as well as representing Sanofi-Aventis in opposition proceedings against a third-party trying to register a trade mark named "Alegria" which reproduced the client’s trade mark Allegra. The team also assesses marketing campaigns for Visa Guatemala, including the review of consumer protection and unfair competition matters, and acts in criminal IP matters – such as advising Crocs on several counterfeiting cases. An ‘excellent lawyer with a passion for IP’, senior associate and practice head Ivón Hernández is considered ‘very capable’ and ‘very active, talented and academic’. Mario René Archila assists with IP litigation. A new client is motorcycle manufacturer Kawasaki.

Next generation lawyers

Ivón Hernández - Arias

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Labour
Labour - ranked: tier 1

Arias

Considered a ‘reliable partner in the country’, Arias is a ‘very active and reputable firm that stands out in terms of client service’ and ‘shows deep knowledge of labour matters with a preventive approach, business sense and practical solutions for complex problems’. Clients additionally benefit from ‘the advantage of a regional presence with great professionals’ since the team ‘always renders an impressive, deep analysis of local and regional regulations’. The practice’s service offering includes advice on the drafting and implementation of internal workplace regulations and policies, compliance with labour law obligations, the resolution of labour claims and disputes, and transaction-related labour advice. The firm also handles labour permits and has a sizeable immigration practice. Recent matters saw the team undertake labour due diligence on behalf of Sealed Air Corporation in connection with the sale of business divisions to Bain Capital Private Equity. Another highlight was the representation of the Norwegian Royal Embassy in judicial proceedings regarding the termination of a local embassy employee due to fraudulent acts. With over 30 years’ experience, ‘key player in the market’ Liz Gordillo provides an ‘impeccable service’ due to her ‘amazing ability to explain different topics’; moreover, she is ‘always up-to-date with new regulations and trends in labour legislation and case law’. Her team includes senior associates María Elena Barrientos and Rosa María Arenales (who has ‘strong technical knowledge’ and is ‘very responsive and knowledgeable in labour and employment matters with a great sense of risk avoidance’). Other prominent clients include Walmart, Chevron, Bayer, IDB, Mondelez and Fedex.

Leading lawyers

Liz Gordillo - Arias

Next generation lawyers

Rosa María Arenales - Arias

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Tax
Tax - ranked: tier 2

Arias

Arias has been growing its tax department since its official establishment in 2014; it has a slightly stronger focus on non-contentious tax advice, but also handles tax litigation. Advice ranges from tax planning and structuring, administrative tax proceedings and tax compliance to tax due diligence and tax advice related to M&A transactions, such as recently assisting Assicurazioni Generali with tax matters in connection with the sale of its majority participation in Aseguradora General to its local partners. The team also advised San Miguel Industrias PET on the possible tax consequences for its local subsidiary arising from a $300m international senior guaranteed notes issue. It additionally has expertise in transfer pricing as well as in customs matters related to commercial trade agreements such as DR-CAFTA, the Mexico-Northern Triangle FTA and other free-trade agreements in effect in the region; as a result, it not only assists clients with tax aspects of their investments, acquisitions and business ventures abroad, but also regularly acts for foreign clients and investors with projects in Guatemala. The ‘very competent’ Ximena Tercero ‘has made a name for herself’ and does a ‘tremendous job’; ‘her service, advice and speed are phenomenal’.

Next generation lawyers

Ximena Tercero - Arias

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