Next Generation Partners

Firms To Watch: Banking and finance

Mario Antonio Ayala and Mario Ernesto Ayala head the banking and finance practice at regional firm Sfera Legal, which has longstanding experience advising on the incorporation of new banks and insurance companies in El Salvador.

Banking and finance in El Salvador

Arias

The banking and finance team at Arias acts for local and international banks and financial institutions, advising on high-value, multi-jurisdictional financial transactions. Described by clients as ‘true strategic partners‘, team members offer assistance with the full range of matters, including debt restructuring, loan agreements, equity investments, asset securitisation, due diligence and project finance. The team is led by Roberta Gallardo, who also heads the M&A practice, structured financing expert Luisa Rivas, experienced negotiator Ana Mercedes López and investment project specialist Carolina Lazo. It is supported by new partner Mario Lozano and senior associates Adán Araujo and Rafael Burgos. The group’s client roster includes international names such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank of Nova Scotia and Citibank, and spans the banking and financial services, hospitality and energy sectors.

Practice head(s):

Ana Mercedes López; Roberta Gallardo; Luisa Rivas; Carolina Lazo

Testimonials

‘Arias is a team that stands out for its technical and professional capabilities. They are true strategic partners in their advice on the management of the client’s business.’

‘Arias has a team of lawyers who are always available and prepared to advise on any case.’

‘Roberta Gallardo and Ana Mercedes Lopez get involved, with a deep understanding of each transaction, which enables them to give practical solutions in complex matters.’

Key clients

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Decameron

EMF Microfinance fund, AGmvK (Enabling Qapital)

The Bank of Nova Scotia

PRB

Citibank

IDB Invest

Work highlights

  • Advised the IFC on a loan facility to Banco Agricola.
  • Acting as local counsel to Decameron in the negotiation and formalisation of the Salvadoran collateral package of a syndicated loan that is being arranged by Itaú.
  • Advised Inter-American Investment Corporation on the financing granted by the client and the Inter-American Development Bank in favour of CMI’s food division in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

BLP

The powerhouse banking and finance team at BLP assists national and multinational clients with the full range of matters, including credit restructuring, risk assessments, consumer rights issues, the structuring of credits of investments, capital markets transactions, regulatory compliance, and banking litigation and arbitration proceedings. The team is led by respected finance authority Zygmunt Brett and supported by Mariana Nóchez, who has expertise in domestic and cross-border transactions, director Luis Vega, who specialises in consumer protection issues, and associate Jose Raul Gochez, who advises on regulatory compliance, but did see the departure of Ricardo Cevallos in August 2020 to establish his own firm. The group represents regional and international banks and financial institutions, including the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest), Banco Agromercantil de Guatemala, Bancolombia and the Bank of Nova Scotia.

Practice head(s):

Zygmunt Brett

Key clients

Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest)

Banco Agromercantil de Guatemala and Bancolombia

Bank of Nova Scotia

Work highlights

  • Assisted the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest) with several financing transactions in El Salvador involving local banks and energy projects.
  • Acted as local counsel to the Bank of Nova Scotia in a refinancing transaction involving the amendment and restatement of a syndicated loan.

Consortium Legal

The banking and finance practice at Consortium Legal remains a market leader, with clients including international banks and financial institutions engaged in high-value cross-border transactions. The group provides a wide range of services, advising on due diligence processes, project finance, asset securitisation, derivatives, leasing, loan agreements and structured finance transactions. Spearheaded by experienced partner Óscar Samour, and supported by associate Felipe Aragón, who has expertise in structured finance, the team’s diverse roster includes such clients as the government of the Republic of El Salvador, spanning sectors including banking and financial services and consumer goods.

Practice head(s):

Óscar Samour

Key clients

Imperia

United

Bladex

Banco Promerica

Corporación Grupo Terra

Credit Suisse

AB InBev International (La Constancia)

Digicel

Textufil

Work highlights

  • Advised the Republic of El Salvador through the Ministry of Finance on a bond issuance of $1bn.
  • Provided legal advice to Imperia Intercontinental and Inversiones Imperia El Salvador (Impes) on the purchase of Scotiabank El Salvador’s shares.
  • Advised PDC Consumo and PDC Comercial on the purchase of 100% of Australian Dairy Goods’ assets in El Salvador and Guatemala and the Dizac inventory.

LatamLex | Guandique Segovia Quintanilla (GSQ)

The team at LatamLex | Guandique Segovia Quintanilla (GSQ) remains a key player in the banking and finance practice area. The group advises local and international banks and financial institutions on a wide spectrum of matters. These include special bank contracting, leasing, syndicated loans, restructuring, securitisation, derivatives, project finance and bond issuances. Ana Patricia Portillo, Carlos Quintanilla and Oscar Hurtado are key contacts.

ECIJA

The team at ECIJA combines the experience of its team with a global reach to provide a comprehensive service for its local and international clients. The team advises on a wide range of matters, including corporate financing, asset financing, debt restructuring, capital markets matters, bank contracting, due diligence and regulatory compliance. The group is led by 'outstanding' office founder and managing partner Alfredo Navas Duarte and Carlos Gil, who is experience in transactions in the finance, energy and telecoms sectors,  and backed by associate and public contractual agreement expert Luis Paulino Selva. The group’s client portfolio spans a diverse spectrum of sectors, from food, financial services and logistics, to e-commerce and insurance.

Practice head(s):

Alfredo Navas Duarte; Carlos Gil

Testimonials

‘A lot of knowledge of technical issue and jurisprudence. Robust advice on banking and securities law.’

‘Alfredo Navas Duarte is outstanding. He is knowledgeable and collaborative.’

Key clients

Motocity

City Express

Distribuidora Morazan

Cervecería Salvadoreña

Academia Europea

Superea

Toto

Fisherman

Laca Laca

Mediprocesos

Novalaser

Corporacion Saint Germain

Tropical Foods

Don Li

Stifel Investment Banking

Exor Investment Corporate de El Salvador

American Foods

City Express

Credicity

Exor International

Work highlights

  • Advised Westgate on structuring the contract for the sale of a property to Atlantida Capital, Gestora de Fondos de Inversion.

LatinAlliance El Salvador

The banking and finance team at LatinAlliance El Salvador maintains a strong regional presence, advising banks and financial institutions on a diverse range of matters, including the constitution of trusts, compliance issues, securitisations, the structuring of syndication of credits, investment funds and representation before regulatory bodies. The group is led by founder and managing partner José Adolfo Torres and backed by regional director Michelle Sutter and associates Mario Costa and Norma Villalobos, who has expertise in high-value credit line transactions. The team’s portfolio contains local and regional banks and financial institutions, including Banco de Fomento Agropecuario, Banco G&T Continental and Grupo Prival.

Practice head(s):

José Adolfo Torres

Key clients

Grupo Prival

Grupo Yobel SCM

Banco G&T Continental

Rodio Swissboring

Grupo Coinpro

Work highlights

  • Advised on the transformation of Banco de Fomento Agropecuario from a public bank to a public and private capital bank.

Lexincorp

The experienced group at Lexincorp continues to assist banks and financial institutions at the local and international levels. The team offers a full service, advising on such matters as securitisations, the structuring of syndicated loans, refinancing, guarantees, debt management and the constitution of trusts. Led by corporate and banking expert Enrique Escobar, and supported by Antonio Guirola, who is experienced in advising on international transactions, and associate Adriana Portillo, the group’s client roster spans the banking, manufacturing and tech sectors.

Practice head(s):

Enrique Escobar

Testimonials

‘They provide a very timely and personal service. There are no weak points in the team.’

‘Enrique Escobar and Adriana Portillo work very well with our colleagues and teams.’

Key clients

Banco Industrial

Supertex El Salvador

Raf

Productos Atlas

Work highlights

  • Advised Productos Atlas on a $5m consumer loan from Banco Promerica.
  • Advised Raf on obtaining a $4m line of credit from Banco Azul de El Salvador.
  • Advised Supertex on a $1m consumer loan from Banco Agrícola.

Mayora & Mayora, S.C.

The banking and finance group at Mayora & Mayora, S.C. coordinates with its regional offices in Guatemala and Honduras to advise local and international corporations and financial institutions. The team assists with a wide range of matters, such as foreign direct investment, securitisation, restructuring, derivatives, trusts, guarantees, project finance, due diligence, and banking and finance regulation. The experienced Manuel Telles leads with team, with support from associate Jennifer Rodríguez. The firm’s roster spans the energy, telecoms, pharmaceuticals, and banking and finance industries.

Practice head(s):

Manuel Telles

Key clients

Aeroman

Banco General

DNB Bank ASA

Grupo Emasal

Inmobiliaria las Cascadas

Laboratorios Vijosa

Lafise

Neoen

Nordea Bank

Telemóvil El Salvador (Millicom Group)

The Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund)

Telus International

Viasat

Work highlights

  • Assisted Neoen/Providencia Solar with the modification of interest rates of subordinated debt.
  • Advised Neoen/Capella Solar on its Salvadoran security documents.
  • Advised Grupo Emasal on various banking transactions.

Romero Pineda

The multi-disciplinary team at Romero Pineda combines the strength of its corporate, commercial and banking and finance departments to advise national and regional insurance companies and financial institutions. The group handles such matters as project finance, securities, tax issues, regulatory compliance, microfinance, due diligence processes, share transfers and loan agreements. The team is headed by foreign investment expert Francisco Martínez, and supported by senior associate Camila Villafuerte. The group's client roster includes multinational clients such as Microsoft and UPS, and spans such sectors as aviation, energy, banking, real estate and tourism.

Practice head(s):

Francisco Martinez

Key clients

Evergreen Packaging

Compassion International

Microsoft

Amway

Electropura

UPS

Copa Airlines

DFC (US International Development Finance Corporation)

Ufinet

Inkoa

Grupo Bimbo

Work highlights

  • Advised the senior lenders – CABEI, OPIC (now DFC), FMO and Finnfund – on the $112.5m financing of ten photovoltaic plants developed by Bosforo.
  • Advised OPIC (now DFC), the IFC, BID, BID Invest, FEC and KfW as senior lenders on the $650m financing of a natural gas plant to be developed by Energia del Pacifico.
  • Advised Copa Airlines on the management of all Covid-19 related issues.