The Legal 500

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CALLE 70A #4-41, BOGOTA, COLOMBIA
Tel:
Work +57 1 346 2011
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Web:
www.bu.com.co

Colombia

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 1

Brigard & Urrutia

The sizeable and ‘very professional’ banking and finance team at Brigard & Urrutia has been busy assisting corporate clients in financings connected to the ambitious ‘fourth generation of road concession’ projects (4G), as well as advising in relation to banking and financial services, capital markets, private equity, foreign exchange/derivatives and structured products. Praised for its ‘innovative approach and great skills in developing financing structures’, the four-partner group includes the ‘fantastic, internationally focused’ Carlos Fradique-Méndez; ‘experienced and knowledgeable practitionerManuel Quinche (who is well versed in structured finance, project finance and M&A); managing partner Carlos Urrutia; and Luis Gabriel Morcillo, whose practice also covers capital markets, private equity and M&A. The team acted as counsel to Bank of Nova Scotia, as agent of a syndicate of banking institutions, on the $50m refinancing of a credit line to Nova Scotia Limited; and advised BBVA Colombia and Banco Colpatria on the debt restructuring of Intecplast Inyección Técnica de Plásticos and Andeanplast (packaging services companies, from Colombia and Peru respectively), involving an international credit facility of $38m. Other clients include Itaú Unibanco, Ecopetrol and Credit Suisse.

Leading lawyers

Carlos Fradique-Méndez - Brigard & Urrutia

Manuel Quinche - Brigard & Urrutia

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Competition and antitrust
Competition and antitrust - ranked: tier 1

Brigard & Urrutia

Led by the ‘proactive’ Alejandro García and the ‘expert’ Sergio Michelsen, Brigard & Urrutia’s practice is well regarded for its ‘business knowledge’, ‘top-quality advice’ and especially its ‘client-oriented’ approach to instructions. The group continues to assist clients in preventative matters, investigations initiated by the SIC, merger control proceedings, antitrust cases and leniency applications, and its list of clients now includes corporations such as ARRIS, AB Electrolux and Dell. It advised Repsol on merger control filings before the SIC relating to its $8.3bn acquisition of Talisman Energy; and it is also assisting high-profile client Uber International on its operational strategy in the country, including acting in proceedings. Associate Carolina López is also noted.

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

Brigard & Urrutia

Full-service firm Brigard & Urrutia’s corporate team provides ‘an unrivalled quality of service which is paired with extraordinary knowledge of the industry’; its lawyers ‘have great business acumen and understand clients’ needs’. One of the largest corporate groups in the country, with seven partners, it advises an array of major local and international corporations on complex, high-value transactions. A team led by Sergio Michelsen, Darío Laguado and Luis Gabriel Morcillo advised Casino Group on the indirect acquisition by its subsidiary Almacénes Éxito of 18.8% of the total capital in Brazilian chain Grupo Pão de Açucar, giving Éxito a controlling stake in the target company; the advice also covered the indirect acquisition of Argentine supermarket chain Libertad, involving four jurisdictions and with an aggregate value around $1.8bn. In other highlights, the team acted for General Electric on the Colombian element of its global acquisition of the Alstom Group; and assisted Berry Plastic Group on its $2.45bn purchase of Avintiv. Other key members of the team include Manuel Quinche, Álvaro Cala and José Francisco Mafla.

Leading lawyers

Carlos Umaña - Brigard & Urrutia

Sergio Michelsen - Brigard & Urrutia

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Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution - ranked: tier 1

Brigard & Urrutia

A real powerhouse in the dispute resolution arena’, Brigard & Urrutia provides ‘impeccable legal support, defending clients’ best interests and minimising risks’. The 20-strong team provides ‘a robust service’, covering litigation and local and international arbitration. Joint practice head Luis Alfredo Barragán is leading advice to certain high-net-worth individuals in a highly publicised $2.4m dispute concerning one of the most successful Colombian corporations; and the team is also acting for a well-known oil and gas corporation in a $40m arbitration dispute over breach of contractual terms. ‘Fantastic’ co-director of the practice Irma Rivera Ramírez, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the area, is praised for her knowledge and expertise, and associates Susana Hidvegi and Natalia Ángel are also noted. Clients include Ocensa, OHL, Banco Procredit and Uber Colombia.

Leading lawyers

Luis Alfredo Barragán - Brigard & Urrutia

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Energy and natural resources
Energy and natural resources - ranked: tier 2

Brigard & Urrutia

The ‘reputed’, 18-strong energy team at Brigard & Urrutia is recognised for ‘its deep knowledge of local law and its negotiation skills’. Its expertise covers energy, natural resources, environmental, corporate finance, infrastructure and regulatory matters. Managing partner Carlos Umaña and Carlos Urrutia head the practice and are well versed in corporate, infrastructure and regulatory instructions; they are assisted by associates Claudia Navarro, Marianna Boza and Guillermo Tejeiro. Work highlights included advising Dolphin Drilling on matters relating to its contract with Anadarko to provide seismic services including the incorporation of a SPV, related tax advice, and negotiations with the Colombian authorities. The team also acted for Denham Capital, an energy-focused private equity firm, on its $14m acquisition of a participation in oil-and-gas corporation Platino Energy Corp.

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Insurance
Insurance - ranked: tier 1

Brigard & Urrutia

Brigard & Urrutia has a well-deserved reputation as ‘one of the best firms providing insurance services’, advising a number of major names in areas such as regulatory, reinsurance and registration. Senior associate Lucas Fajardo, who co-heads the practice, is recognised for his expertise in insurance and reinsurance, and previously worked in-house at Allianz Seguros. The ‘reputed’ Carlos Umaña led advice to Zurich in relation to its establishment of a subsidiary office in the country. Carlos Urrutia acted for Lloyd’s of London in connection with the opening of a representative office in Colombia which will allow its managing agents to promote and underwrite reinsurance products in Colombia. The team also provides ongoing advice to Terranum Inversión regarding insurance policies relating to its real estate projects. Luis Alfredo Barragán and Irma Rivera Ramírez are also recommended.

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International trade and customs
International trade and customs - ranked: tier 2

Brigard & Urrutia

Brigard & Urrutia’s ‘commercially focused and responsive’ international trade and customs team is made up of practitioners notable for their international training and specialist expertise. The six-strong group, led by the ‘result-orientedJosé Francisco Mafla and Carlos Fradique-Méndez, covers areas such as free trade zone and foreign exchange matters, international trade disputes, and administrative proceedings. Mafla led advice to REHAU regarding safeguard investigations on imports from China and Turkey initiated by the Ministry of Trade, and Bancoldex, Furukawa and Pernod Ricard are among its other clients.

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Labour and employment
Labour and employment - ranked: tier 2

Brigard & Urrutia

Brigard & Urrutia’s labour team is praised for ‘its great professionalism and rapid responses’ and ‘the high level of knowledge of its lawyers’. It is the Colombian member of the Ius Laboris international alliance, and assists a variety of corporations and individuals in relation to individual and collective matters, labour audits, voluntary termination plans, litigation, and due diligence, with particular strength in the pharmaceutical and advertising industries and a notable practice advising foreign embassies and recruitment consultancy businesses. In a recent work highlight, it acted for a technology corporation in the negotiation and implementation of a voluntary retirement programme affecting a high number of employees, which required the agreement of all employees involved to be successful. It also successfully acted for a well-known international corporation in relation to complex cross-border claims initiated by an employee who claimed wrongful dismissal. Clients include 3M Colombia, Fox Colombia, BNP and Philips. The team is led by Álvaro Cala and Catalina Santos, who is praised for her ‘knowledge, competence and pragmatic approach’.

Leading lawyers

Catalina Santos - Brigard & Urrutia

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Projects
Projects - ranked: tier 1

Brigard & Urrutia

Brigard & Urrutia is ‘a pioneer and an undisputed leader in the sector’, and ‘continues a long tradition of innovative work and precedent-setting expertise’. The large team, which includes four partners, has been involved in some of the market’s most ambitious and complex projects, principally in the areas of highway concessions and public transport. Carlos Umaña led advice to Bogotá Elektrika on a PPP transportation project for the conversion of the Transmilenio BRT fleet (the main transport system in Bogotá) into electric and hybrid transport units; and Umaña and Carlos Fradique-Méndez are acting for a well-known corporation in relation to the legal and regulatory aspects of an energy project to potentially provide energy services to several real estate projects to be executed by the client. The group is also acting for Ocensa on a project to expand pipeline infrastructure valued at several hundred million dollars. Other clients include Shikun & Bibui, Salini Impregilo and Refinería de Cartagena. Key partner Manuel Quinche and associate Claudia Navarro are highly recommended.

Leading lawyers

Carlos Umaña - Brigard & Urrutia

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Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 1

Brigard & Urrutia

With one of the largest real estate teams in the country, Brigard & Urrutia is considered ‘an indisputable leader in the market’. Led by ‘outstanding practitioner’ Francisco Uribe, it handles commercial real estate, zoning regulation and urban planning, hospitality and agribusiness matters. It is advising Inversiones Colombianas Arauco on the Parque Arauco project (Parque Caracolí) in Bucaramanga city, involving a 15-year franchise agreement with Starwood Hotels and negotiations regarding the terms of the agreement for the operation of the hotel in the project. It also assisted Deutsche Bank with title searches in connection with three hotels to be used as security for a credit line of more than $50m granted to Charleston. Other clients include Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels and Oleoducto Central. Associate Natalia Hernández is also recommended. Since publication, Francisco Uribe has taken a leave of absence from the firm until further notice.

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TMT
TMT - ranked: tier 1

Brigard & Urrutia

With the largest team in the market, Brigard & Urrutia has a pioneering TMT practice noted as ‘excellent at all levels, extremely responsive and very committed’; it is at the forefront of the telecoms sector, and also has a particular focus on entertainment matters. Practice head Sergio Michelsen is considered ‘the leading figure in the area in Colombia’, and is supported by associates Ana María Calero and Lina Vargas. The team advises a very high-profile international corporation on all legal and regulatory matters relating to its operations in the country; and in addition recently counselled Intelsat on its acquisition of landing rights for the operation of a worldwide satellite for the provision of television services. Fox Colombia, HBO Latin America, ESPN Colombia and UNE EPM Telecommunications are also clients.

Leading lawyers

Sergio Michelsen - Brigard & Urrutia

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Tax
Tax - ranked: tier 1

Brigard & Urrutia

An ‘outstanding actor in the tax field’, Brigard & Urrutia attracts praise for its ‘in-depth knowledge of tax legislation and its practical advice, which is not just appropriate but clever and innovative’; its service is ‘fast and high value for money’. The group acts for a wide range of clients, in areas such as infrastructure, energy and natural resources, private equity and real estate. Recent work included acting for Producciones RTI/Telemundo in a COP20bn dispute concerning the applicability of export-of-services regulations to films sold outside the country and released in Colombia; and advising a major property developer on the tax structuring of a new private equity fund. Other clients include Isagen, Grupo Bancolombia and Disney. The team is led by José Andrés Romero, Carlos Fradique-Méndez and Lucas Moreno.

Leading lawyers

José Andrés Romero - Brigard & Urrutia

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Further information on Brigard & Urrutia

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Colombia

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