Banking and finance in El Salvador

BLP

The banking and finance team at BLP scored a triumph in February 2020 with the hire of the highly regarded Zygmunt Brett and his team members Mariana Nochez and senior associate Antonella Imbers, who had all left their previous firm Arias at the end of 2019. The trio adds significant strength to the Salvadoran team, and Ricardo Cevallos is now splitting his time between El Salvador and Texas to build up client relationships in the US. Commercial lending, capital markets and regulatory advice remain the pillars of the practice, while the team also offers dedicated fintech services.

Consortium Legal

The banking and finance practice at regional player Consortium Legal had a particularly strong run in 2019, advising regional and international banking institutions on transactions and loan agreements. Services further include due diligence processes. The department is led by Oscar Samour, who specialises in transactions in the financial sector and has repeatedly also advised the Republic of El Salvador on issuances in the international markets. Associate Felipe Aragón is a key figure in the team, bringing significant experience in transactions, competition law and financing structures to the table.

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 on a bond issuance
  • Advised Imperia Intercontinental on the credit agreement of a loan of $100m granted by Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior
  • Provided legal advice to United Airlines, INC and Kingsland International Group, as the lenders, on a loan agreement of $250m to Avianca Holdings

Arias

In a major move, former practice head Zygmunt Brett left Arias in December 2019 together with key team members Mariana Nochez and senior associate Antonella Imbers; all three joined BLP in February 2020. Regional managing partner Armando Arias and co-managing partners of the El Salvador office Lilian Arias and Roberta Gallardo now jointly head the banking and finance group. Advice on traditional loans, syndicated loans, capital markets and financial transactions remains the core focus of the practice, which is praised for its 'very professional and diligent manner'. Senior associate Mario Lozano regularly assists financial institutions with the sale and acquisition of assets, as well as with financing, derivatives and issuance of guarantees by means of securitisation; since publication, he has been raised to the partnership, effective as of January 2021.

Testimonials

‘Arias worked with us on all aspects of our case in a very professional and diligent manner. Throughout the process, Arias has been indispensable in helping us to understand the legal environment surrounding conducting business in El Salvador.’

‘The lawyers we have worked with at Arias have been very diligent. They have always shown themselves to be willing to work together and have a lot of knowledge and experience.’

Key clients

Banco La Hipotecaria – Panamá y La Hipotecaria

Invenergy Clean Power El Salvador

MRO Holdings

Bank of Nova Scotia

PRB Fast Food

LifeMiles

Citibank

Goldman Sachs

Work highlights

  • Advised Invenergy Clean Power El Salvador, as the lender, on the signing and execution of an equity holder loan agreement
  • Acted as local counsel to MRO Holdings and its subsidiaries in a refinancing with Royal Bank of Canada for an amount of $360m
  • Advised Banco La Hipotecaria Panama and Banco La Hipotecaria El Salvador on the structuring, issuing and placing of mortgage-backed bonds on the Panamanian Stock Exchange

LatamLex | Guandique Segovia Quintanilla (GSQ)

The banking and finance team at regional firm LatamLex | Guandique Segovia Quintanilla (GSQ) advises on a wide array of matters, such as corporate bond issuances, securitisation of diversified payment rights and bank financing. Notable practitioners include Ana Patricia Portillo, managing partner Carlos Quintanilla and Oscar Hurtado.

Lexincorp

Well known for its banking and finance capabilities, Lexincorp assists financial institutions with the establishment of operations in El Salvador as well as with day-to-day issues such as loan agreements and contract drafting. The department, which is headed by a trio comprising Enrique Escobar, Antonio Guirola and associate Adriana Portillo, caters to a number of regional banks, including Banco General. Escobar has significant past experience managing legal departments for local banks, Guirola also operates a strong corporate practice and Portillo specialises in modern contracting.

Key clients

Banco General

Banco Industrial

Ficohsa

Work highlights

  • Assisted Banco General with the amendment of a loan agreement to Compañía Azucarera Salvadoreña of $20m
  • Providing drafting and structuring services to Banco Industrial
  • Assisted Ficohsa with structuring of guarantees regarding a credit operation of Arrend Leasing

ECIJA

Ibero-American law firm ECIJA fields a growing banking and finance practice in El Salvador, primarily assisting the international firm's existing clients with banking matters or acting for foreign businesses as local Salvadoran counsel. The team is jointly headed by Alfredo Navas and Carlos Gil. Navas shows additional expertise in energy regulations, bidding contractual law and new technologies, and Gil is familiar with the procurement processes of banks as well as with coordinating transactions.

Practice head(s):

Alfredo Navas; Carlos Gil

Key clients

Motocity

City Express

Waterbear Ventures

Cervecería Salvadoreña

Academia Europea

Grupo Realto

Toto

Fisherman

Laca Laca

Mediprocesos

Novalaser

Corporación Saint Germain

Tropical Foods

Don Li

LatinAlliance El Salvador

When it comes to banking and finance matters, LatinAlliance El Salvador is instructed by clients from a variety of industry sectors such as transportation, energy, aviation and construction. Founding partner José Adolfo Torres and his team offer advice on due diligence processes and the financial aspects of mergers and acquisitions, among other things.

Mayora & Mayora, S.C.

The banking and finance practice of Mayora & Mayora, S.C. acts for individuals investing capital in the region as well as financing banks and businesses looking to secure support for their projects. Manuel Telles and Jennifer Rodríguez de Arteaga share the responsibility for the department, with knowledge of loans, securities, derivatives and trusts. The team is praised for the 'excellent quality of its lawyers' and often collaborates with the firm's Guatemalan office in addition to being retained by banks to assist with opening up operations in the region.

Testimonials

‘The team is focused on completing the deal and looking for solutions, not just problems.’

‘Manuel Telles is an excellent lawyer, who is always available to assist with a transaction.’

‘Jennifer Rodriguez is very focused on getting the deal through and not getting caught up in the problems but in finding solutions.’

‘The firm stands out for the excellent quality of its lawyers.’

‘Available and knowledgeable about the local market.’

Key clients

Aeroman

Banco General

DnB NOR ASA Bank

Grupo Emasal

Inmobiliaria las Cascadas

Laboratorios Vijosa

Lafise

Neoen

Nordea Bank

Telemovil El Salvador (Millicom Group)

The Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund)

Telus International

Viasat

Work highlights

  • Advised on modifying the interest rates of a subordinated debt between Neoen and Providencia Solar for $28m
  • Advised Capella Solar, as the borrower, on the financing of a photovoltaic project by the Inter-American Investment Corporation, Inter-American Development Bank and the FMO

Romero Pineda

Assisting foreign banks, private credit institutions, insurance companies and financial institutions alike, Romero Pineda operates a national as well as regional banking and finance practice. Camila Villafuerte is the key contact in this practice area. In October 2019, Daisy Martinez left the firm to take up a post with the government's Financial System Appeals Committee (CASF).