Corporate and M&A in El Salvador
The corporate and M&A team, which makes 'the most complex transactions look easy', is the largest department of the 'very reliable and trusted' Arias in El Salvador. Lilian Arias leads the practice, which has recently secured a number of new clients, such as Invenergy, Grupo Rudelman and Trina Solar. Key team members Luisa Rivas and associate Adán Araujo provided advice to Proyecto La Trinidad on the execution of a loan agreement with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), to be used to develop, construct and operate a solar power project. The firm also acted as local counsel to Telefónica in the regional sale of the firm's Central American operations. Furthermore, 2018 saw the arrival of Maximiliano Pimentel from Bufete A&A Lex and Javier Aguilar from an in-house role at IDB Invest. Co-managing partner of the El Salvador office Roberta Gallardo is also a key contact.
Consortium Legal attracts praise from clients for its ability to 'think outside the box'. The team regularly provides tailored advice on corporate structures to assist clients with doing business in El Salvador. Recent work highlights include Oscar Samour acting for Walmart throughout the whole process of opening a second megastore in El Salvador and Maria Alejandra Tulipano advising Cosapi on a number of engineering, construction, mining and real estate projects, with key support from associate Gustavo Vega. Clients praise Diego Martín for going 'the extra mile to deliver solutions to his customers'.
The 'always helpful' corporate team of three at García & Bodán, led by Oscar Torres, is praised for its ability to 'assist clients within tight deadlines'. The practice is best known for its ample expertise in the aviation sector: it provides ongoing advice to Aeroméxico on a variety of matters such as obtaining and renewing operating licences and drafting contracts, as well as representing the airline before El Salvador's consumer protection agency. Associate to note David Claros Flores is currently assisting Panasonic Centroamericana with the corporate restructuring of its operations in El Salvador. Marcopolo, IBT Group and Stanley Black & Decker are also part of the firm's client roster.
LatamLex | Guandique Segovia Quintanilla (GSQ)
LatamLex | Guandique Segovia Quintanilla (GSQ)’s corporate and M&A practice advises corporate clients from a variety of sectors, such as energy and aviation. The team handles transactions, incorporations, joint ventures and restructurings, as well as commercial agreements. Carlos Guzmán and associate Carolina Segovia recently represented UNO El Salvador in the clearance of its acquisition of two gas stations from Alimentos Móviles before the Superintendence of Competition (SC). Managing partner Carlos Quintanilla is also a key contact.
Aguilar Castillo Love
The corporate and commercial practice is at the core of regional firm Aguilar Castillo Love. Carlos Alfaro, who also brings solid expertise in tax matters to the table, is the key figure, along with associate Lorena Madrid. The department assists longstanding clients such as ADT Security Services and Whirlpool Corporation with day-to-day commercial and corporate advice, including assisting the latter in a national product recall. The firm is also particularly strong in multi-jurisdictional matters.
BLP's corporate department, which is led by Ricardo Cevallos, regularly handles restructurings, as well as the full range of corporate services for clients entering the Salvadoran market, including advising on all regulatory requirements. For instance, the team provides ongoing advice to GBM, a distributor of IBM, on day-to-day corporate matters. The team is also active in cross-border deals. Marcella Romero left the firm mid-year and associate Fernando Farrar took her spot on the team.
Espino Nieto & Asociados
In addition to its core intellectual property department, Espino Nieto & Asociados offers advice on corporate and M&A matters. The seven-strong team, which includes key figure Rafael Mendoza, counts Colgate-Palmolive, Ricoh El Salvador and Banco Atlántida among its clients. The practice advised the latter on the acquisitions of Banco ProCredit and Davivienda Vida Seguros, which included obtaining autorisations from El Salvador's financial system and antitrust agencies. José Manuel Cañas joined the firm from his individual practice in January 2019, while Daniel Olmedo left to join Dentons Muñoz.
Lexincorp's seven-strong corporate team excels in advising on regulatory matters related to the local energy industry. Enrique Escobar, for instance, advised AGM El Salvador on all necessary preparations to lease solar energy equipment to homes and businesses in the country. The department also covers issues related to the free trade zone: recently, it assisted clothes manufacturers Supertex and Superprint with corporate modifications to skip customs clearance when goods are moved to different warehouses of the same company. Antonio Guirola is also noted.
Manuel Telles heads the team at Guatemala-headquartered firm Mayora & Mayora, S.C., which is a fairly new player in the Salvadoran market. The team has a particular focus on representing clients from the telecoms, energy, pharmaceuticals and financial sectors. The firm provides ongoing legal advice to Millicom subsidiary Telemóvil El Salvador (also known as Tigo) and is currently advising Laboratorios Vijosa on the constitution of a new company to generate clean energy.
'Amazing group of professionals' MCM Legal, which is new to the ranking, specialises in corporate law, among other areas. The three-strong corporate team led by Daniel Martinez assisted long-term client United Airlines with the renewal of its international cargo operator permit. Both Martinez and Ricardo Milla are praised by clients for 'paying great attention to detail and providing very personalised services'. Other high-profile clients include Huawei, Fiat Chrysler and Telefónica.
Romero Pineda's corporate department has particular expertise in advising clients in the energy sector. 2018 saw the team assist Gaspro El Salvador with obtaining and processing all the environmental and construction permits required to set up a new acetylene production plant and distribute the products. Francisco Martinez -who made partner in January 2020- is currently advising Terminales de Gas del Pacífico on the expansion and development of a new liquified petroleum gas distribution and commercialisation facility. José Roberto Romero is also a key contact.
Sáenz & Asociados
The team at Sáenz & Asociados undertakes a variety of corporate matters, such as assisting with incorporations of commercial companies and the planning of corporate structures. The team includes noted partners Mario Enrique Sáenz and Humberto Sáenz Marinero, and also works closely with the firm’s litigation experts on the resolution of corporate disputes.
Benjamín Valdez & Asociados Abogados/Notarios
Founding partner Benjamin Valdez Iraheta leads the corporate and commercial department at the core of Benjamín Valdez & Asociados Abogados/Notarios. The firm excels in assisting clients across all sectors with day-to-day corporate matters, for example with drafting contracts and obtaining operating permits. Benjamín Valdez Tamayo is another key contact.
CENTRAL LAW El Salvador
CENTRAL LAW El Salvador's corporate team specialises in mergers and acquisitions, particularly for clients in the aviation, communications, tourism and technology sectors. In a recent work highlight, Piero Rusconi Gutiérrez and senior associate Piero Rusconi Bolaños provided Kerry Group with advice on the acquisition of Aromateca, a local food company. The department's client list also includes PriceSmart, Palladium Group and Towerbank International.
Co-led by Irene Arrieta and Mónica Machuca, who is 'always ten steps ahead' and 'provides spectacular service', EY Law Central America's corporate department in El Salvador represents international clients such as Office Depot, Thyssenkrupp and Grupo Monge. In co-operation with the firm's office in Costa Rica, the team conducted the due diligence process for leading telecoms provider Liberty Latin America for the acquisition of a telecoms company in El Salvador, and represented Capella Solar in the negotiation of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts for a new photovoltaic power plant. The team's services are complemented by the firm's strong tax practice.
LatinAlliance El Salvador's corporate team is headed by Mario Costa. In a recent work highlight, the practice assisted Copa Airlines with the incorporation of a Salvadoran branch office as part of its new supply route between Colombia and El Salvador. The team also advises on M&A, particularly large regional transactions, and conducts due diligence. Regional corporate director Freddy Zometa has particular expertise in corporate matters in the civil aviation sector. Fabiola Torres Corletto re-joined the firm after completing her MBA.