Next Generation Partners

Firms To Watch: Corporate and M&A

With an emphasis on fintech and the growing cryptocurrency market in El Salvador, the corporate team at Torres Legal advises foreign investment companies and financial conglomerates on M&A and operational establishment throughout the region and abroad.

Corporate and M&A in El Salvador

Arias

The ‘excellent and very efficient’ corporate team at regional powerhouse Arias remains a market leader, advising major multinational corporates and financial institutions – including Chevron, Citibank and Telefónica – on high-value, cross-border transactions. The team has strength in a range of sectors, from construction, telecoms and renewables to pharmaceuticals, finance and retail. The group is jointly headed by founding partner Armando Arias; El Salvador co-managing partner Lilian Arias, who brings over 26 years of experience in the corporate arena to the team; M&A authority Roberta Gallardo, who recently led the team’s advice to Telefónica on the sale of its Salvadoran operations; Ana Mercedes López and Mario Lozano, who provide additional banking expertise; and energy sector and project development specialists Luisa Rivas and Carolina Lazo. The team is backed by Adán Araujo, who supports Rivas in advising on major projects, Ernesto Sánchez and Flor Rodríguez (all of whom were promoted to senior counsel in November 2021).

Testimonials

‘As a company, we work with Carolina Lazo on everything related to regulations and environmental compliance, and one of her main characteristics is her immediate availability and mastery of all matters related to this subject, as well as the cordiality she has in dealing with her clients.’

‘What stands out is the team’s extensive experience in corporate matters in different sectors, excellent service, and ability to provide creative and innovative suggestions. They are strategic allies of the client and they have a team that can provide advice across all branches of law.’

‘The Arias team is very proactive and collaborative, providing responses according to our needs.’

‘Luisa Rivas has a lot of experience and local legal and strategic knowledge related to the development and execution of public projects in El Salvador.’

‘Arias has been our law firm since our company opened its offices in El Salvador. The service has always been excellent and very efficient.’

‘Mario Lozano has always assisted our staff with any query or support that is required. He is very knowledgeable and is always willing to answer questions.’

‘The firm stands out for its professional level, experience and track record, highly trained team, and spirit of service and excellent treatment of clients.’

‘Luisa Rivas and Adán Araujo are frank and open in their conversations with clients.’

Key clients

Citibank

PRB

ADOC

SBA

Holcim

Del Sur

Grupo Cassa

Telefónica

3M

Chevron

Work highlights

  • Assisted Webhelp with the acquisition of all the Latin American operations of OneLink, across the jurisdictions of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.
  • Assisted Telefónica with the sale of its operations in El Salvador.
  • Assisted Akzo Nobel with the execution of due diligence and review of the disclosure schedule for its acquisition of 100% of the share capital of Grupo Orbis.

Consortium Legal

A young, dynamic team with extensive experience and an innovative vision, the market-leading corporate practice at Consortium Legal utilises the deep bench strength of its teams across El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to advise national and international corporates, insurers and financial institutions involved in high-value, cross-border transactions. M&A expert Oscar Samour leads the team along with Diego Martin, who specialises in international trade and insurance law, and Maria Alejandra Tulipano, who advises private and public companies on public tenders and concession contracts. The team is supported by recently promoted senior associates Fidel Márquez, who handles competition law matters, and Felipe Aragón, who focuses on project finance, along with associates Gustavo Vega, who manages complex distribution agreements, and Francisco Mendoza. The group maintains an active client base spanning the retail, construction, automotive, telecoms, aviation and food sectors, including such key market players as Cemex and Payless. The full-service practice also extends to asset purchase agreements, company incorporations, licensing, due diligence processes and corporate governance.

Testimonials

‘They have a young, dynamic team with extensive experience and an innovative vision.’

‘Oscar Samour and Fidel Márquez are total professionals, with a perfect balance between their human qualities and their excellent professional profile. Their first-rate academic backgrounds and extensive professional experience make them the best legal advisers on vital decisions for our company.’

‘Gustavo Vega and Francisco Mendoza are the lawyers who assist me with corporate matters. I can always count on them when I have a requirement, need or query, and know they will always ensure the welfare and safety of the company.’

‘Consortium Legal’s M&A team has lawyers with different training, both academic and professional, which sets them apart from other teams that only have local lawyers or very few lawyers with experience and training abroad.’

‘A professional and experienced team that specialises in large and delicate transactions.’

‘The strength of the team lies in its ability to understand the needs of the client and provide advice based on the law applicable to their specific case. In the same way, the firm has a high level of knowledge of the industries their clients work in. The firm’s attorneys possess a high degree of integrity.’

‘I have an excellent relationship with the Consortium team. I really appreciate that they are always available when I request their support and I trust them.’

‘The team is experienced, available, offers a personalised service and maintains excellent relationships with clients.’

Key clients

Code Projects

YKK El Salvador

Amcor Rigid Packaging

Truper Herramientas

The Office Gurus

Blackhawk Support Services

LICA

DITESA

Enersys Solar

Applaudo Studios

Fisherman Wealth Management

Urbanisa

Cemex El Salvador

Inchcape El Salvador

C Imberton

Comercializadora de Energia Para America

Payless Shoesource of El Salvador

Textiles San Andrés (Grupo Hilasal)

Confecciones del Valle (Grupo Hilasal)

Exportsalva Free Zone (Grupo Hilasal)

Work highlights

  • Advised Grupo PDC on the acquisition and execution of the asset purchase agreements for all the inventories, assets and intellectual property of Dizac, a consumer goods distributor and manufacturer of the ‘Australian’ milk brand in El Salvador and Guatemala.
  • Advised General International Telecom and Jaguar Fund No 1 on the acquisition of 99.3% and 100% of the shares, respectively, of two local companies in the telecoms sector, Telefónica Móviles El Salvador and Telefónica Multiservicios.
  • Advised Cemex in El Salvador and Costa Rica on sale of its assets and operations in Central America to Cementos Progreso Holdings.

Dentons Munoz

With the March 2022 addition of the entire team from domestic practice MCM Legal, Dentons Munoz has strengthened its regional presence and bolstered its corporate team in El Salvador. Former MCM Legal corporate head Daniel Martinez brings 20 years of experience representing national and multinational companies to the team, Ricardo Milla provides expertise in restructurings and company formations, and senior associate David Aguilar has a track record of handling regulatory matters and public procurement processes. Having advised such household names as United Airlines, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Huawei and Telefónica, the team’s skill set ranges from corporate governance and regulatory compliance matters to assistance with market expansion and complex service and distributorship agreements. Other key figures include Central America chairman and managing partner José Antonio Muñoz and associate Flor González, a specialist in commercial transactions and corporate agreements.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Martínez; Ricardo Milla

Aguilar Castillo Love

Supported by 11 offices in nine countries across Latin America, the Salvadoran corporate group at Aguilar Castillo Love utilises its regional strength to assist household-name multinationals (including Coca-Cola and JP Morgan) involved in high-value, multi-jurisdictional transactions. Led by Carlos Alfaro, who brings additional tax law expertise to the team, international trade specialist Flor De María Cortez and newly appointed El Salvador managing partner Esteban Agüero Guier, the team has a full-service offering which extends to cross-border M&A, regulatory compliance, advice on customs tariffs, joint ventures, divestments and labour contracts. Its active client base covers the retail, tech, food and beverages, healthcare and financial service industries. Associate Lorena Madrid, who handles competition law matters, provides support.

Key clients

JP Morgan

Trafigura Novi (Facebook)

The Coca-Cola Company

Banco Ficohsa

Davis Wright Tremaine

Carestream Healthcare

Do Brasil

Diebold Nixdorf

GE Healthcare

Work highlights

  • Advised JP Morgan, as administrative agent, in relation to the multibillion-dollar refinancing of Colombian airline Avianca and its subsidiaries’ super-priority debtor-in-possession term loan.
  • Advised Trafigura on obtaining authorisation from the Superintendency of Competition in relation to its acquisition of approximately 95% of the social capital of Puma Energy Holdings.
  • Provided regulatory advice to Novi concerning the “Novi Wallet” product – a digital asset wallet that allows users to send and receive digital currency Diem to and from third parties.

BLP

Supported by offices throughout Central America (in Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala), the Salvadoran business law practice at BLP advises major multinational corporates, banks and financial institutions, development agencies and insurers on day-to-day matters and complex, cross-border transactions. The multi-disciplinary group is led by Zygmunt Brett, an authority on M&A and banking and finance matters, with over 20 years of experience in the practice area, and Mariana Nóchez, an expert in due diligence and regulatory processes. Senior associate and commercial law specialist Antonella Imbers also provides key support. The practice’s client base, which includes household names Bayer, Chevron and Pfizer, demonstrates its strength in the energy, retail, healthcare, telecoms and financial services sectors.

Practice head(s):

Zygmunt Brett; Mariana Nóchez

Testimonials

‘The BLP team is very capable and professional in its work. In addition, its members handle corporate and M&A issues well, with the ability to make the necessary adjustments to guide their clients and at the same time reach agreements between the parties.’

‘They are very dedicated and practical but at the same time have great legal abilities. We have known and worked with Zygmunt Brett for more than 15 years as a team and as a counterparty and he has always demonstrated professional and dedicated management of his clients’ matters, looking for solutions that will bring the transaction to a good conclusion.’

Key clients

Bank of America

Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwik-kelingslanden (FMO)

Bayer

Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB Invest)

Grupo Altum

Manuchar

Banco Azul (Inversiones Financieras Grupo Azul)

Grupo Orbis (Pintuco)

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Pfizer

Chevron

Work highlights

  • Advised FMO on its $60m funding alongside Banco La Hipotecaria (in Panama) and La Hipotecaria (in El Salvador) of affordable housing mortgages.
  • Acted as local counsel to IDB Invest on the financing of an energy project.
  • Advised Inversiones Financieras Grupo Azul, a financial conglomerate made up of Banco Azul and several insurance companies, on Banco Azul’s acquisition of the shares of Banco G&T Continental El Salvador and its subsidiary brokerage house G&T Continental.

CENTRAL LAW El Salvador

With offices in seven countries across Latin America, Central Law El Salvador combines regional strength with the experience of its corporate team to assist such national and multinational companies as Nokia and Smart Fit with a comprehensive range of matters across the practice area. Spearheaded by Piero Rusconi Bolaños, who specialises in M&A and infrastructure matters, the team’s full-service offering covers advice on expansion strategies, sales and distribution contracts, due diligence, corporate restructurings and regulatory compliance. Other key contacts include founding partner Piero Rusconi Gutiérrez, IP and industrial property director Sandra Cabezas, and associates Fernando Argumedo, whose practice focuses on tax and new technologies law, and Francisco Murillo, who adds experience in the energy and telecoms sectors. The team’s client base is also active across the fitness, IT, travel, education and agro-industrial sectors.

Practice head(s):

Piero Rusconi Bolaños

Testimonials

‘The communication is impeccable – extremely fast turnaround.’

‘Central Law’s corporate team is excellent, both in its handling of the law and in its availability and openness to its clients. They are always available to help and are flexible, within the legal framework, with the solutions they provide.’

‘Francisco Murillo and Fernando Argumedo made us feel at home in El Salvador. Any questions I had, they were there to help.’

‘Francisco Murillo is an excellent lawyer. What makes him stand out most is that he thinks as a strategic ally of the client.’

Key clients

Towerbank International

Lipman Family Farms

Smart Fit

Airplus Lufthansa

Palladium International

Mabe Group

Keiser University / Everglades College

Grupo Ferrer Internacional

BMR Energy

Sencinet

Kerry Group

Technoserve

Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile

Santillana Group

Megapaca Group

Nokia

Transatlantic Holdings

Bioelements

Bit2me

Agroindustrias San Francisco

Servicios de Personal

Work highlights

  • Advised Towerbank International on the legal strategy to apply for preferential tax treatment as a foreign legal bank before the Central Bank of El Salvador and the Ministry of Finance.
  • Advised tomato grower Lipman Family Farms on the granting of production credit contracts constituting guarantees on the crop produced and greenhouses.
  • Provided legal advice to Smart Fit regarding the expansion of its franchise into El Salvador.

García & Bodán

With offices in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, the experienced team at García & Bodán advises national and multinational companies and insurers on day-to-day corporate matters and on complex, multi-jurisdictional transactions. The group’s comprehensive service extends to due diligence, company incorporations, the expansion of operations, and M&A. Its client base includes household names such as Stanley Black & Decker, spanning the food and beverages, education, retail, telecoms and insurance sectors. The practice is led by Oscar Torres, who has additional expertise in labour matters, having been appointed as regional director of labour in April 2022, as well as tax, energy and aviation issues. Key support in transactions is provided by senior associate David Claros Flores.

Practice head(s):

Oscar Torres

Key clients

Aeroméxico

Logística Comercial El Salvador (Herbalife Distributor)

First Cash Financial Services

Grupo Lala

Industrias La Constancia

Stanley, Black and Decker

Grupo Almo

Novae Aliados Agroindustriales El Salvador

Work highlights

  • Advised Pan-American Life Insurance Group (PALIG) on the creation and authorisation of a new Salvadoran insurance company named Pan American Life Seguros de Personas, with the purpose of migrating its operations.
  • Advised Scala Higher Education on its day-to-day operations and the legal, corporate and tax structure required to provide services to universities in Central America.
  • Advised Novae on the process of opening operations in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

Benjamín Valdez & Asociados Abogados/Notarios

The corporate and M&A team at boutique firm Benjamín Valdez & Asociados Abogados/Notarios provides a full service, advising national and multinational companies on due diligence, M&A, regulatory compliance, corporate expansion and additional tax issues. Benjamín Valdez Tamayo, founding partner Benjamin Valdez Iraheta and Mario Martinez, who also heads the real estate practice, are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Benjamín Valdez Tamayo; Benjamín Valdez Iraheta; Mario Martinez

LatinAlliance El Salvador

Coordinating with the firm’s offices in Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala, the corporate department at LatinAlliance El Salvador employs its regional strength and the experience of its multi-disciplinary team to advise national and multinational banks and corporates on a diverse span of issues across the practice area. The practice advises on M&A, complex negotiations and contract reviews, licensing, corporate governance, shareholders’ agreements, labour issues and due diligence, with clients active across the agro-industrial, energy, telecoms and non-profit sectors. Key contacts include firm co-founder José Adolfo Torres, regional corporate director Michelle Sutter, who has over 22 years of experience in corporate and compliance matters, senior associate and corporate department head Mario Costa and associate Norma Villalobos.

Testimonials

‘LatinAlliance has a well-prepared team, which is led by Michelle Sutter, a diligent, assertive professional who always seeks the best perspective to advise the client.’

‘Excellent lawyers with deep knowledge of the Central American market and good business relations.’

Lexincorp

With a presence in Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, the Salvadoran corporate and M&A team at Lexincorp provides a full service to regional and national corporates across the practice area. Headed by corporate and banking expert Enrique Escobar, the group assists with M&A,  joint ventures, corporate governance, consumer protection issues, tax planning and restructuring. With clients spanning the food, energy and telecoms sectors, the team is supported by M&A expert Adriana Portillo, who was promoted to partner in January 2022, and Antonio Guirola, a specialist in transactional work.

Practice head(s):

Enrique Escobar

Key clients

Boskalis Ventus

SAAM Towage

Al Forno

Productos Atlas

Orazul Energy

Green Planet Energy

Work highlights

  • Advised Ventus on the development of a wind power plant in El Salvador.
  • Advised SAAM Towage on its negotiations with Energía del Pacífico, which is developing a 355MW LNG power plant in El Salvador, over the provision of tug, fire safety and personnel transport services.
  • Assisted Orazul Energy with the acquisition of Orazul and Inkia assets in El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama.

Mayora & Mayora, S.C.

Supported by the bench strength of four regional offices in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, the multidisciplinary team at Mayora & Mayora, S.C. advises local and multinational clients on a broad spectrum of corporate issues. Such matters range from cross-border M&A, restructurings and corporate governance to due diligence, share purchase agreements and foreign entity registration. Led by experienced senior partner Manuel Telles, the team’s client base spans such sectors as construction, energy, telecoms, pharma and finance. The group is supported by senior associates Jennifer Rodríguez, who brings a background in banking and finance, and Lorena Villacorta, a specialist in international trade.

Practice head(s):

Manuel Telles

Testimonials

‘The firm has a specialist team with all the abilities necessary to achieve an effective resolution to any situation.’

‘Manuel Telles, who has participated extensively in the specially regulated corporate sector, has an experience and knowledge that puts us at an advantage when carrying out corporate activities.’

‘The team that supports us is made up of professionals with great technical and human qualities.’

‘My closest relationship is with Manuel Telles. He is approachable and quickly understands our requirements.’

Key clients

Inmobiliaria las Cascadas

Neoen (Capella Solar/Providencia Solar)

Romero Pineda

The multi-disciplinary team at Romero Pineda marshalls the strength of its corporate, commercial, and banking and finance departments to advise major regional and multinational corporates (including UPS, Procter & Gamble and Copa Airlines) on cross-border M&A, major energy projects and expansion into the Salvadoran market. Headed by Francisco Martinez, who has expertise in the aviation, insurance and energy sectors and also handles competition issues, the group assists with matters involving e-commerce, customs, legal tech (including blockchain, crypto and fintech issues), compliance, real estate and the environment. Key support is provided by managing partner and firm vice president José Roberto Romero Mena and senior associate and banking, finance and insurance division head Camila Villafuerte.

Practice head(s):

Francisco Martinez

Testimonials

‘Our company has worked with Romero Pineda for many years and we have been provided with an excellent service. We look forward to continuing to work with them in the years ahead.’

‘Francisco Martinez has been available for us every time we request any advice from him.’

Key clients

United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)

Abbott

Kellogg’s

FMI 360

Grupo SMI

Pactiv Evergreen

Copa Airlines

Alltech

UETA

Bimbo

VAPE

Work highlights

  • Assisted Gaspro with its positioning in the medical supplies and industrial oxygen market.
  • Assisted Bimbo with the expansion of its local plant in El Salvador, including a substantial investment in its assets and operations.
  • Retained by Copa Airlines to renew its licence to operate in El Salvador.