Competition and antitrust in Ecuador

Antitrust Consultores

Boutique firm Antitrust Consultores focuses exclusively on competition and antitrust law, advising both domestic and international clients in a range of sectors including technology, banking and automotive. The ‘tenacious and strong‘ team is highly active in the arena of litigation, with recent cases involving state aid, abuse of dominant position and unfair competition rules, in addition to boasting a sizeable compliance practice. The firm also advises on merger control cases, frequently acting as local counsel to international companies with operations in Ecuador on obtaining authorisation from the Ecuadorian Competition Authority. The firm is led by David Sperber and Gilberto Gutiérrez, both of whom are highly experienced across the full range of contentious and non-contentious antitrust work.

Practice head(s):

David Sperber; Gilberto Gutierrez

Testimonials

‘This is a new and very specialised area of law in Ecuador, which means there are few experts. At other firms, these matters would be handled by lawyers with much less experience.’

‘We receive a personalised service from the lawyer handling our matter, rather than it being delegated to more junior team members.’

‘The team pay attention to the details. They make a great effort to fully understand all the relevant issues and are available to the client 24/7. They go the extra mile.’

‘I admire the fact that all the lawyers at this firm are tenacious, strong and not easily intimidated by opposing counsel. They have been a tremendous support to me.’

Key clients

GlovoApp

Unacem Ecuador and Peru

Corporacion GPF

Claro Conecel

Leterago

Megadatos Netlife

DK Magazine

ABB Ecuador

Smach

Work highlights

  • Advised on the merger control aspects of Spanish delivery and courier app Glovo’s sale of its Latin American assets to a European competitor, Delivery Hero.
  • Representing the Ecuadorian automotive importers of well-known brands Mazda, Cherokee, Fiat, Toyota, BAIC, Nissan, Ford, JAC and others in a motion before the Ecuadorian Competition Authority concerning illegal aid to national auto assemblers.

Pérez Bustamante & Ponce

Pérez Bustamante & Ponce remains one of the strongest names in the market for antitrust work, providing a full service across the spectrum of contentious and non-contentious work. The 'exceptional' team is particularly notable in the field of merger control, where members frequently collaborate with the firm's large corporate department to handle clearance for international mergers. Other recent work has included appeals of competition authority decisions, and abuse of dominance, cartel and gun-jumping cases. Diego Pérez-Ordoñez heads the team and leads the lion's share of the firm's high-profile matters, while at the senior associate level, the 'talentedMario Navarrete handles the full spectrum of competition work, including both transactions and litigation.

Practice head(s):

Diego Pérez-Ordóñez

Testimonials

‘Mario Navarrete is a rising star in Ecuadorian competition law.’

‘My experience with Pérez Bustamante & Ponce has been very satisfactory. They are completely aware of the clients’ needs and provide comprehensive and sophisticated advice. They are always available and responsive.’

‘Diego Pérez-Ordóñez and Mario Navarrete always respond rapidly and efficiently to enquiries, demonstrating deep technical knowledge and common sense.’

‘Mario Navarrete is one of the most talented competition lawyers I have come across around the world.’

‘They are exceptional lawyers who act with a sense of urgency and work efficiently with other departments when other areas of law are involved.’

‘Mario Navarrete is a master of competition law and combines his legal practice with his academic work, which gives him the best possible perspective on matters.’

Key clients

Veolia Environment

Synlab International

Bayer

Repsol

SAAM Logistics

Etex

Anheuser-Busch InBev

Work highlights

  • Advising Veolia Environment on the Ecuadorian leg of the hostile acquisition of Suez, which will be analysed under phase II of the merger control regime.
  • Acting for Bayer in an appeal against the remedies imposed on the client as a result of the transaction by which it acquired Monsanto.
  • Providing day-to-day advice to Anheuser-Busch InBev (and its local subsidiary, Cervecería Nacional) on distribution agreements, competition compliance and policies, negotiations with the regulator, and compliance with the conditions set forth after the acquisition of SAB Miller’s local business.

Bustamante Fabara

Bustamante & Bustamante has ‘excellent experience‘ in competition matters, and is particularly well known for its advice on merger control processes, with a range of high-profile international clients such as AB InBev instructing the firm in complex proceedings. Cartel damages cases are another notable area of practice, alongside other contentious matters such as abuse of dominant position and unfair competition cases. The ‘experienced and knowledgeable‘ José Rafael Bustamante Crespo heads the practice, and is particularly active in merger control proceedings given his significant corporate practice, while Marco Rubio and Kirina González are key figures from the associate ranks. Since publication, the firm has announced its merger with fellow local firm Fabara & Compañía to become Bustamante Fabara, effective as of November 2021.

Practice head(s):

José Rafael Bustamante Espinosa; José Rafael Bustamante Crespo

Testimonials

‘The antitrust team at Bustamante & Bustamante is exceptional. They provide the best solutions to our problems and understand the Ecuadorian market very well.’

‘Jose Rafael Bustamante Crespo has great expertise and provides focused advice on any matter. We are very glad we decided to work with him.’

‘They are experts in competition and antitrust law.’

‘The team have excellent experience. They have great instincts and a great sense of how to manage the Ecuadorian Competition Authority. They are accessible, responsive and commercial.’

‘Jose Rafael Bustamante Crespo is a steady hand. He is experienced, knowledgeable and politically astute when he needs to be. He has fantastic insight into what is likely to happen next and has cultivated strong ties to the staff and leadership at the competition authority.’

‘A young team with the knowledge and energy to defend our interests.’

‘The lawyers have a very commercial and technical focus in antitrust matters. Their analysis goes beyond purely legal issues and they give solid advice.’

‘Jose Rafael Bustamente Crespo is a very well-rounded lawyer who places a strong emphasis on commercial issues. He has strong technical legal knowledge and is available 24/7.’

Key clients

MegaCavedi

AB InBev

Cervecería Nacional

MHI Power Ecuador

Navistar

Work highlights

  • Continued to represent MegaCavedi in the first claim for damages against Kimberly Clark for alleged cartel activity in Ecuador.
  • Advised AB InBev on compliance with three of the 11 remedies that were imposed by the Ecuadorian Competition Authority in relation to its global acquisition of SAB Miller.
  • Advised MHI Power Ecuador on the global 35% divestment of Japanese Company from Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, leaving Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as the sole parent shareholder, which triggered an authorisation from the Ecuadorian Competition Authority.

Fabara & Compañía

Fabara & Compañía‘s ‘highly capable‘ team provides a full service in the field of competition law, with experience in competition authority investigations, merger control proceedings, due diligence and compliance, as well as a range of contentious matters. The team is led by María Rosa Fabara Vera, who has worked in the competition area since its introduction into Ecuadorian law and is highlighted for her ‘extensive knowledge‘; she handles the full spectrum of competition and antitrust matters. Diego Ramírez Mesec is another key figure within the team, particularly for clients in the telecoms industry, while senior associate Daniel Castelo Guerrero is particularly recommended for the representation of clients before the competition authority. Since publication, the firm has announced a tie-up with fellow local heavyweight, Bustamante & Bustamante, becoming Bustamante Fabara as of November 2021.

Practice head(s):

María Rosa Fabara Vera; Mariana Villagomez

Testimonials

‘They have very good knowledge of the subject. The team are able to balance operational action and strategic thinking.’

‘Very good partner involvement.’

‘It is a highly capable team. They take the necessary time to get to know the details of the client’s business and how it works, so that they have the same level of experience as an in-house lawyer, not an external adviser, and they do not just prepare for a specific case. Knowing their clients so well means they can be called upon at any time and in any situation.’

‘The team stands out for its client service and willingness to discuss any concerns that arise, regardless of the day or time. If one member of the team is not available for some reason, this does not affect the process at all – all of the team members have the knowledge and ability to represent us well. They are responsive, honest, punctual, responsible and patient.’

‘What sets the team apart is their expertise in the subject matter and knowledge of the client and the market; this combination means their advice is always focused on the right things.’

‘María Rosa Fabara has extensive knowledge and good judgement. She always keeps up to date on different topics and tries to introduce good practices.’

Key clients

Heineken Ecuador

PepsiCo Alimentos Ecuador

Embutser

F&E Ecuatoriana

Medisystem Holding

Tiendas Industriales Asociadas (Tia)

Leche-Gloria-Ecuador (Grupo Gloria)

Abbott Laboratories

AIG Metropolitana

Equivida

Holcim Ecuador

PepsiCo

Pfizer

DirecTV Ecuador

Bimbo Ecuador

B Braun Medical

Saludsa

Work highlights

  • Acted for PepsiCo Alimentos Ecuador in an investigation initiated by a complaint filed by a former supplier alleging abuse of dominant position; the complaint was rejected and the investigation closed.
  • Advised Medisystem Holding on the merger filing before the Ecuadorian Competition Authority concerning its acquisition of the majority of shares of Servialamo, which received unconditional approval.
  • Acted for Tiendas Industriales Acosiadas in an investigation initiated by a complaint to the Ecuadorian Competition Authority against several dairy product producers and distributors for alleged unfair practices; the investigation was closed and no charges were brought against the client.

Robalino Law

Robalino Law remains active in the field of competition law following its January 2021 split from the Ferrere network and establishment as an independent firm. Daniel Robalino leads the 'knowledgeable' team, and frequently represents clients in litigation before the Ecuadorian Competition Authority, as well as advising on merger control proceedings and regulatory compliance. Dispute resolution practice head Javier Robalino Orellana is recommended for contentious work, while counsels Sebastián Saa and Fausto Alvarado, the latter of whom joined from Alvarado & Asociados in August 2020, are key figures across the full spectrum of the competition practice.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Robalino

Testimonials

‘They are knowledgeable about the subject and communicate well with clients.’

‘Daniel Robalino has good knowledge and communication skills, and is clear in his analysis.’

‘The team stand out for the quality of their work and their efficiency. Their work was excellent in a deal that involved many jurisdictions and had a very demanding timeframe.’

‘Quality and outstanding delivery.’

Key clients

Iberia Airlines

Delivery Hero

3M Corporation

Natural Habitats Group

Genomma Lab International

Grupo GFP Fybeca (a Femsa Comercio Company)

La Fabril

Grupo Vilaseca

Contecon Guayaquil

Eni Corporation (Gas)

Ufinet Spain

Café Minerva

AR Retail

Work highlights

  • Advised Iberia on the merger control process for the acquisition of the Ecuadorian branch of Air Europa.
  • Advised German company Delivery Hero on the merger control process for the acquisition of the Ecuadorian branch of Glovo.
  • Successfully represented Natural Habitats Group in an appeal against a resolution by the first-instance commission denying clearance for a complex horizontal merger.

Coronel & Pérez

César Coronel Jones heads the antitrust team at Coronel & Pérez, which represents several domestic and foreign clients in relation to investigations by the regulator, as well as in antitrust cases brought by other private companies. The firm is also home to a substantial advisory practice which assists clients with compliance, due diligence for M&A transactions and merger control processes. At the associate level, César Coronel Ortega is the key name to note, having advised several companies on compliance, leniency applications, administrative proceedings and foreign entries into the market.

Practice head(s):

César Coronel Jones

Key clients

Kimberly Clark

Inmourbanist

Work highlights

  • Acted for Kimberly Clark in the first-ever leniency application in Ecuador, in a multi-jurisdictional antitrust investigation before the national authority and the Andean Community General Secretariat, and continues to advise in related litigation before the Ecuadorian courts and the Andean Court of Justice.
  • Representing Inmourbanist, a real estate company, in a claim brought by Minutocorp alleging unfair practice, in an unprecedented application of Ecuadorian competition law to real estate matters.

CorralRosales

CorralRosales advises clients in a wide range of industries, including aviation, pharmaceuticals, retail and TMT, on  both contentious and non-contentious competition matters. The team is particularly noted for its experience in merger control, unfair competition and compliance matters. The 'spectacularXavier Rosales heads the practice alongside senior associate Ana Samudio, while Francisco Rosales is recommended for due diligence in cross-border matters.

Practice head(s):

Xavier Rosales; Ana Samudio

Testimonials

‘It is a small firm in which the partners have direct contact with us as the client, and so their advice is of the highest quality. The firm acts as a real business partner in every way and anticipates the needs of our company.’

‘The firm’s partners are true allies – they know our internal strategy and know the company as if they were in-house lawyers. Xavier Rosales is spectacular for competition and antitrust law.’

Key clients

Nestlé

The Walt Disney Company

Unilever

Grupo Familia

Compañía de Petróleos de Chile (Copec)

Clorox

United Airlines

Grünenthal

BMI

Immunotec

Claro (Conecel/América Móvil)

General Electric

Mondelez

SAP

Work highlights

  • Acted for Grupo Familia in an investigation by the Ecuadorian Competition Authority into whether alleged price fixing in the tissue paper market between Kimberly Clark and the client had also taken place in Ecuador, following a competition investigation in Colombia.
  • Advised the Walt Disney Company on obtaining clearance for its acquisition of 21st Century Fox from the Ecuadorian Competition Authority.
  • Advising Unilever on fulfilling the remedies imposed on the clearance of its acquisition of Quala’s personal care business by the Ecuadorian Competition Authority.

Procompetencia

Highlighted for its 'vast knowledge', Procompetencia is a boutique firm focusing predominantly on competition and antitrust law, with a significant litigation practice in the fields of unfair competition, appellate work, leniency applications and abuse of dominance cases. 'Expert' founding partner Marcelo Marín Sevilla heads the team, and has been highly involved in competition law since its emergence in Ecuador in the 2000s. Miguel Maldonado is another key figure within the team, particularly for alternative dispute resolution, as is associate Nicole Srolis, who advises a range of clients and has previous experience working with the competition authority.

Practice head(s):

Marcelo Marín Sevilla

Testimonials

‘What sets Procompetencia apart is its vast knowledge of competition law.’

‘The lawyers’ strength lies in their experience and knowledge of competition matters, their understanding of the regulator, and extensive knowledge of competition law in other countries, particularly Peru, Colombia and the US.’

‘The firm stands out for its degree of specialisation and the unique and professional way in which the lawyers dedicate themselves to each case, not only studying all the angles to get the best solution but also analysing every situation that could arise in every matter. They demonstrate total professional commitment and responsibility.’

‘The team is knowledgeable, professional and well connected.’

‘Marcelo Marín shows total dedication, knowledge and professionalism in competition matters.’

‘The team know every matter very well and provide a personalised service.’

‘Marcelo Marín co-ordinates and advises on cases personally, not only handling the legal issues very adeptly, but also the negotiations with the organisations involved in the process.’

‘They have in-depth knowledge of competition law. Marcelo Marín is a true expert in the subject.’

Key clients

Gea Ecuador

Banco del Pacífico

Dentons Paz Horowitz

Formed by the merger of local firm Paz Horowitz Abogados with Dentons in July 2021, Dentons Paz Horowitz is able to draw upon its extensive global network and client base in competition matters. Byron Robayo Arroyo, who is particularly experienced in unfair competition cases, especially those that overlap with intellectual property rights, co-heads the team alongside Eduardo Esparza Paula, who previously worked for the regulator and is particularly experienced in abuse of dominance, restrictive practices and market control cases.

Practice head(s):

Byron Robayo Arroyo; Eduardo Esparza

Key clients

Oriental Industria Alimenticia

Industria de Productos Alimenticios Inprolac

Quifatex

Sociedad Industrial Reli

KLM Cia Real Holandesa de Aviación

Air France

Talma Servicios Aeroportuarios

Entravision Communications

New Stratus Energy

Fabrilacteos

Aditmaq

Work highlights

  • Advised Entravision Communications on Ecuadorian merger control regulations relating to its acquisition of 51% of the assets of Cisneros Interactive Group.
  • Acted for Fabrilacteos in an ex-officio investigation launched into alleged unfair competitive conduct in the dairy market, which was closed.
  • Acted for Inprolac in an ex-officio investigation launched into alleged unfair competitive conduct in the dairy market, which was closed.

ECIJA GPA

ECIJA GPA is particularly active in cross-border competition work, frequently collaborating with its global network of offices to assist clients in multi-jurisdictional mergers, with the local office handling the Ecuadorian approval processes for such deals. Michael Veintimilla heads the team alongside Bayardo Poveda, with the former handling abuse of dominance and other regulatory issues, while the latter is primarily focused on transactions. Other key figures in the team include litigator Blanca Gómez de la Torre and associate Camila Andrade.

Practice head(s):

Michael Veintimilla; Bayardo Poveda

Key clients

Combustibles del Ecuador (Comdecsa)

Work highlights

  • Advising Combustibles del Ecuador (Comdecsa) on an action against a regulatory barrier which may be having an exclusionary effect on the petrol station market.

Lexvalor Abogados

Lexvalor Abogados specialises in the food, beverage and retail sectors, with a strong track record in cases involving supply chains and vertical integration. The firm is also frequently instructed by foreign law firms such as Linklaters and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to act as local counsel in relation to merger control proceedings. Luis Marin Tobar heads the team alongside Ricardo Peñaherrera, the latter of whom is particularly notable for his representation of domestic supermarket chains.

Practice head(s):

Luis Marin Tobar; Ricardo Peñaherrera

Key clients

Corporación Favorita

Comohogar

Quala Ecuador

Industrias Ales

Ecopacific

Cafecom

Pasteurizadora el Ranchito

Television y Ventas Televent

Work highlights

  • Acting for Quala Ecuador in an investigation into alleged deceptive, comparative and denigratory advertising in the local chicken broth market.
  • Acting for Ecopacific in an unfair competition case brought against Profrutas.
  • Advised Industrias Ales on the merger clearance process relating to the purchase of a 30% interest in the client company by Grupo Superior.

Pino Elizalde Abogados

Pino Elizalde Abogados is building a competition practice with a significant focus on compliance and due diligence, acting for several notable domestic companies, including affiliates of large multinationals. Marco Elizalde heads the practice, and the team expanded in 2020 following the return of associate Jessica Medina, who took time away from the firm to pursue a post-graduate degree; her past experience includes working in house at the Ecuadorian Competition Authority.

Practice head(s):

Marco Elizalde

Testimonials

‘It is a very capable team, with extensive subject knowledge and high-quality client service.’

‘They are creative and bold.’

‘What stands out is the team’s close involvement with our business and personalised service.’

‘A very proactive and detail-oriented team with broad knowledge of this area of law.’

Key clients

Cervecería Nacional (a subsidiary of AB InBev)

Distribuidora de Tuberias Hecadu

Cluson

Profrutas

Work highlights

  • Advised Cervecería Nacional, an affiliate of AB InBev, on the fulfilment of the 11 conditions imposed by the Ecuadorian Competition Authority on its merger with SAB Miller in Ecuador.
  • Defended Profrutas against a complaint filed by Ecopacific alleging unfair competition practices.