Banking and finance in Bolivia

Criales & Urcullo

Javier Urcullo leads Criales & Urcullo's banking and finance practice, which is particularly promininent in capital markets work and counts Bolivian Stock Exchange Bolsa Boliviana de Valores as a key client. The sizeable 11-strong team is adept at advising on the full array of financial matters, and can call on the additional expertise of Adrián Barrenechea in relation to complex cross-border issues and Luis Valda for regulatory matters. Senior associate Andrea Urcullo is primarily focused on capital markets work and can draw on time in-house at Spanish bourse CNBV.

Practice head(s):

Javier Urcullo

Key clients

Banco BISA

Banco FIE

Bolsa Boliviana de Valores

Entidad de Depósito de Valores de Bolivia

Bisa Administradora de Fondos de Inversión

Bisa Agencia de Bolsa

Compañía Americana de Inversiones (CAISA)

Banco Fortaleza

Banco Ecofuturo

Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz

Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo

Work highlights

  • Advised GLAS on the $100m senior secured bond offering by Paraguayan meat-processing company, Frigorífico Concepción.
  • Advising Bolsa Boliviana de Valores on implementing sanctions regulations.
  • Assisting Bolsa Boliviana de Valores with the second development phase of a new electronic trading platform.

Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C

Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C's practice handles the full range of finance work,  from loan agreements and securities, to credit facilities, capital markets matters and regulatory mandates. Project finance specialist Jorge Inchauste (particularly noted for his structured finance expertise) and Ramiro Guevara (a former head of the legal department at the Bolivian Central Bank and director of the National Stock Exchange) are the key names in the La Paz office. The pair share leadership of the practice with Santa Cruz-based Enrique Barrios, also a project finance expert, who has a strong energy and hydrocarbons aspect to his practice. Senior associate Alejandra Guevara (project finance, foreign investment) is also noted. The November 2019 departure of former senior José Bernal - who joined the new administration as chief-of-staff at the Ministry of Foreign Relations - was a loss, but the firm has responded rapidly, hiring José Manuel Canelas, previously a senior associate at C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados, in February 2020. Since publication the firm has announced a tie-up with Dentons, effective as of mid-March 2021.

Key clients

HSBC

JP Morgan

Morgan Stanley

Export-Import Bank of China

Alicorp

Simmons & Simmons

Work highlights

  • Advising Morgan Stanley on a range of financial issues in Bolivia, including insolvency and credit facility matters.
  • Assisting Simmons & Simmons with financial regulatory matters.
  • Advising Bridgestone on credit agreements with Bolivian distributors.

Moreno Baldivieso Estudio De Abogados

Market heavyweight Moreno Baldivieso Estudio De Abogados has long-established capability in assisting prominent international financial institutions with insurance matters and large-scale loan agreements; the practice also handles a full range of syndicated credits, M&A-related financing transactions, project finance, the structuring of guarantees and capital markets matters. Regional development bank CAF is a key client and recent mandates saw senior partner Ramiro Moreno and Andrés Moreno continue to assist the multilateral lender with a number of high-value transactions, most recently a $10m revolving loan agreement with Banco de Desarrollo Productivo and a $12m loan renegotiation with Banco FIE. The pair co-lead the practice in conjunction with insurance expert René Claure. Miguel Ángel Jemio and Luis Moreno are other active, partner-level contacts in the practice; senior associate Teddy Mercado (corporate, M&A and banking and finance) is also noted.

Key clients

CAF

Banco do Brasil Sucursal Bolivia

American Express

Credit Suisse

AON

Western Union

Banco Nacional de Bolivia

BUPA Insurance

Work highlights

  • Assisted Credit Suisse with structuring a pair of security repurchase agreements with two Bolivian banks.
  • Assisted investment company Global Partnerships with a $2.2m revolving loan agreement with Bolivian financial institution Sembrar Sartawi.
  • Advised Western Union on implementing a referred payment service for Amazon’s customers in Bolivia.

PPO Abogados

Multi-jurisdictional financial matters remain prominent in the workload of what was formerly Ferrere, now PPO Abogados’ team, with a core focus on handling high-value loan agreements and transactions for a solid client base of international lenders. Practice head Carlos Pinto continues to assist the European Investment Bank with a $64m loan to the Ministry of Environment and Water to finance the 'My Water V' project, while Lindsay Sykes is a key name in the department for structured finance mandates. Senior associates Salomón Eid (financial regulation), who returned to the practice from the New York office of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP  in February 2019; and Mattias Garrón, who has been assisting Pinto with the above noted EIB mandate, are both set to become partners as of August 2020, as part of the newly independent firm's strengthening of its partner-level bench.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Pinto

Testimonials

A leading firm in Bolivia with highly trained and experienced lawyers.’

Key clients

Phoenix Tower International

Sumitomo Mitsui

Equilibrium Clasificadora de Riesgos

European Investment Bank

Cargill

Work highlights

  • Advised Phoenix Tower International on its $100m sale-and-leaseback agreement for the acquisition of 600 wireless communication tower sites from NuevaTel, a subsidiary company of Trilogy International Partners.
  • Represented Liberty Mutual in connection with the acquisition of the business and operations of AmTrust Insurance Spain, involving a carve-out of the entity’s Bolivian operations.
  • Assisted French development bank AFD with its $99m credit agreement with the Bolivian government for the development of renewable energy.

Bufete Aguirre, Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa Sociedad Civil – (BAQSN)

Santiago Nishizawa, Ignacio Aguirre and Eduardo Quintanilla co-lead Bufete Aguirre, Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa Sociedad Civil – (BAQSN)’s finance practice, which has a solid reputation for assisting banks and other lending institutions, borrowers and investor clients with a range of cross-border transactions. The practice group also handles project finance, the drafting and review of loan agreements, collateral and securities agreements, due diligence for financial and micro credit institutions, regulatory matters, and bankruptcy and insolvency issues. In ongoing work, Nishizawa continues to assist Inter-American Investment Corporation with the provision of working capital loans to small enterprises in Bolivia. Other key members of the merged firm include senior partner and former Bolivian Central Bank director, Fernando Aguirre; Julio Quintanilla (banking, project finance); and senior associate Leonardo Azurduy Saunero, who can draw on in-house experience at Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz.

Key clients

IDB Invest

ResponsAbility Investments

Panamerican Securities

PYME Progreso

Incofin Investment Management

Inter-American Investment Corporation

Banco Solidario

Work highlights

  • Assisted IDB INVEST with a $58.5m loan to Phoenix Tower International (PTI) for the acquisition of telecommunication towers in Bolivia.
  • Represented Panamerican Securities as a co-investor in Bolivian start-up company UltraGrupo.  

Indacochea & Asociados

Indacochea & Asociados’ 'very technical', eight-strong team has earned recognition for its strength and expertise advising on local capital markets work, particularly bond issues and promissory notes, but also handles a broader range of matters from project and agribusiness finance, to leases, trusts, exchange controls and debt restructuring. 25-year veteran Mariana Pereira heads the practice; she has noteworthy expertise in financial restructuring, bond issuances and loan contracts. Alonso Indacochea is noted for his expertise in advising foreign investors. Senior associate Ana Carola Muñoz (capital market, M&A and corporate finance), is also noted.  

Practice head(s):

Mariana Pereira

Testimonials

Indacochea & Asociados has a very technical team’.

Key clients

JLT Seguros

ISA Bolivia

Contreras Hermanos

Banco Nacional de Bolivia

Work highlights

  • Assisted animal health company Zoetis with a high-value financial reorganisation.
  • Advised Contreras Hermanos on a $1.3m debt restructuring between its subsidiaries.
  • Advised retail company Tienda Amiga on a $1.4m private bond issuance.

Becerra de la Roca Donoso & Asociados S.R.L.

Mauricio Becerra de la Roca and La Paz-based senior associate Dario Martinez share leadership of Becerra de la Roca Donoso & Asociados S.R.L.’s practice, which demonstrates notable strength in structured finance, regulatory matters and financial litigation. The 12-strong team acts for an established client base of local and international energy, mining and agribusiness entities, and is also noted for assisting insurance companies, most recently with contentious and regulatory issues. Ongoing matters include continued assistance to YPFB Refinación in litigation against debtors relating to unpaid diesel contracts. Associate José Antonio Velásquez is another key name in the Santa Cruz office.

Testimonials

The team has proven experience and recognition in the sector; its strengths are experience and knowledge of financial and sector regulations.’

Mauricio Becerra de la Roca is the partner that stands out for his experience and dedication to the firm and its clients. Also Manfred Arauz, Monica Claure who was recently incorporated, Dario Martinez, Amiclar Colomo and Carol Arias.’

Key clients

Root Capital

Industrial Hilandera

Guabirá Energía

YPFB Refinación

Ingenio Azucarero Guabirá

Fortaleza Seguros

Work highlights

  • Acting as legal advisers and trustee for the liquidization and dissolution of the Bolivian subsidiary of Industrial Hilandera (in conjunction with Peruvian firm CMS Grau).
  • Advising Root Capital on the management of its credit portfolio as regards the financing of a number of agribusiness projects.
  • Advising Fortaleza Seguros on regulatory insurance issues.

C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados

Aircraft finance is a niche speciality of C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados’ practice, which also counts cross-border mandates for financial, power and infrastructure clients as a significant component of its workload. Recent mandates include advising John Deere Financial Chile on acquisition finance agreements for the purchase of agricultural equipment by corporate clients. La Paz-based María del Carmen Ballivián co-heads the practice with Diego Rojas out of the Santa Cruz office, with Sandra Salinas and Grisset Carrasco additional partner-level contacts in La Paz. Associate José Manuel Canelas left the firm in December 2019, subsequently joining Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C as a senior associate in February 2020.

Key clients

John Deere Financial Chile

CMP Inversiones

Volvo Construction Equipment

Work highlights

  • Advised Volvo Construction Equipment on the establishing of guarantees for the financing of heavy machinery; value $9m.
  • Advised Caterpillar on loan and pledge agreements; value $6m.

Bolsa, Banca y Comercio

With approaching 15 years in the market, micro-boutique Bolsa, Banca y Comercio, effectively a sole-practitioner operation, continues to punch above its weight - if anything further establishing its niche in private-issue capital markets and financial advisory work, as well as growing activity in the corporate and M&A areas. Sergio Pantoja Navajas is an experienced corporate finance practitioner whose recent mandates include advising CAMSA and Grupo Empresarial de Inversiones Nacional Vida on the establishment of their respective bond programmes and the structuring of the first issuances therein; and advising investment fund manager Alianza on the restructuring of its closed investment growth fund. Other matters include advising the World Bank on strategic matters related to its operations in Bolivia, as well as on corporate matters.

Key clients

CAMSA Industria y Comercio

Banco Pyme Ecofuturo

Gustu Gastronomía

Distriubuidora Mayorista de Tecnología (DISMATEC)

Marca Verde (SAFI)

Alianza (SAFI)

Clinica Metropolitana de las Americas (CMDLA)

Grupo Empresarial de Inversiones Nacional Vida

Work highlights

  • Advisory to Banco Pyme Ecofuturo on legal structuring to facilitate financing by international creditors.  
  • Advised investment fund administrator Marca Verde on the structuring of various private issues, incuding those by Hidro Electrica Boliviana, Molino Andino, Ingenio Sucroalcoholero Aguai, Sociedad Agroindustrial Nutroil and Alimentos Agua Clara.

Würth Bedoya Costa Du Rels Abogados

Santa Cruz-based Würth Bedoya Costa Du Rels Abogados has some significant banks on its books, notably BTG Pactual and Banco Nacional (de Bolivia), but its engagement in the finance sector of late has largely been limited to advising its construction company clients on obtaining loans for the development of projects. A case in point is the team's current advice to Constructora del Urubó regarding a $1.7bn loan for the development of a complex of gated communities and 35,000 homes. Name partner and transactional specialist Fernando Bedoya is leading on the above deal; but it is younger partner, practice head Jorge Serrate who, along with senior associate María Pía Arce (whose former experience includes time at Argentine firm Errecondo, González & Funes, best known for its banking, finance and capital markets work), that constitute the core of the finance team, handling financing and loan agreements, debt restructuring and project finance in general. Name partner Mauricio Costa du Rels leans into the sector, particularly in relation to energy financings.

Key clients

La Moliendita

La Herredura

Bluequest Resources

BTG Pactual (Chile)

Banco Nacional de Bolivia

Constructor del Urubó

Work highlights

  • Advised La Moliendita on the review of finance documents and loan agreements and the registration of liens; value, $1m.  
  • Advised La Herredura on the $10m financing from Banco Union for the construction of all three phases of the Suburb project.  
  • Advised Constructora SVI on the $1.3m financing for the final phase of an apartment complex projects.