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The banking and finance practice at Consortium Legal is co-led by Álvaro Castellanos and senior associate Diego Alejos (‘an excellent professional who resolves the matters in front of him efficiently’). In a recent highlight, the team advised Citigroup Global Markets, as sole lead manager and book-runner, on the Republic of Guatemala’s $500m sovereign debt issuance on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange – the second transaction of its kind that the firm has been involved in; and Banco de América Central (BAC) on obtaining a $50m loan from a multi-jurisdictional syndicate of banks led by Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior (Bladex). Other work saw the team advise key client Citibank on the acquisition of IT services companies in Central America as well as assisting the bank’s Guatemalan branch with the granting of a $3.6m loan to Pegamorteros de Guatemala. The team is also handling an increasing volume of fintech work. Clients include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Lex Mundi’s Guatemalan member firm, Mayora & Mayora, S.C. counts some of the biggest names in the financial sector among its clients, including Banco Industrial, Citibank, Banco Azteca and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Recent highlights for the team include organising stock option plans for employees of multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis and consulting, technology and outsourcing company Capgemini, and assisting Energuate, one of the largest energy distributors in Guatemala, with multiple bids to purchase energy, including issuing $330m-worth of bonds through an offshore trust. The team is jointly led by Claudia Pereira, who specialises in loan agreements, secured transactions and project financing, and Sandra Castillo, who is known for her expertise in security trusts and local securities for foreign loans. With support from senior associate Maria Fernanda Pellecer, Pereira also advised Sucden Americas on the grant of multiple promissory notes worth $15m to an alcohol plant in Guatemala. Founding partner Eduardo A Mayora, who continues to act as legal counsel to the Guatemala Stock Exchange, and Rafael Briz, who specialises in energy-related matters, are also key figures.

QIL+4 Abogados, S.A.’s practice has handled a number of big-ticket project finance, corporate finance and capital markets transactions, recently. In one unusual matter, the team assisted Renace (Corporación Multi Inversiones’ energy division), and Bancolombia and Banco Agromercantil de Guatemala (BAM), with a $465m credit facility as part of a scheme to finance four hydroelectric power plants – the largest private power generation project being developed in Central America; key partners Alejandro Cofiño and José Quiñones led teams representing the borrower and the lenders, respectively, under a Chinese wall arrangement. Other work saw the team act as local counsel to Citigroup Global Markets and JP Morgan Securities, as underwriters and initial purchasers, on Central America Bottling Corporation (CBC)’s $500m note issue; and also advise Bank of Nova Scotia and HSBC Securities (USA) on an amended and restated corporate finance transaction for international mining company Tahoe Resources. Cofiño is the head of the banking and finance team, which also includes Andrés Lowenthal, who is experienced at advising on complex project finance deals, including the financing of hydroelectric and mining projects. Other key clients include Norfund, Banco General, Banistmo and CIFI.

Aguilar Castillo Love specialises in handling securities, derivatives and other financial products, as well as project finance and loans to local debtors, almost always acting as local counsel for the lenders. The team advised the seven underwriters – Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credicorp Capital, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Scotiabank and UBS – on the planned IPO of IC Power on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE); the transaction (which involved multiple jurisdictions, including Israel, Peru, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Singapore and Chile) was cancelled due to unfavourable market conditions. The team is led by Juan Carlos Castillo and benefits from his expertise in advising on project finance transactions in the energy and electricity sectors; it acted as local counsel to Scotiabank, Credit Suisse and Banco Santander, as the structuring and initial purchaser banks, on a $300m debt bonds issuance by Guatemalan electricity distribution companies DEOCSA and DEORSA. Other key clients include Bank of America, Torrecom and Deutsche Bank. Associates Natalia Callejas and Iván Quintana are also noted.

Arias advises local and international banks, financial institutions, and insurance and reinsurance companies on a wide range of transactions, including structuring and closing debt financing and loan security packages, project finance, asset securitisation and the structuring and implementation of investment funds and trusts. Founding partner of Arias’ Guatemalan office, Jorge Luis Arenales has led the team since the departure of former practice head José Augusto Toledo in March 2017 (to pursue a career outside the law); he is known for his experience with financial agreements and project, structured commodity and private equity financing. Luis Pedro del Valle advises banks and borrowers on a range of debt products and specialises in investment grade and acquisition finance; while senior associate Ligia Salazar is an expert in insurance projects and secured and unsecured lending. In a recent highlight, the team advised Bladex as the leader of a syndicate of banks which granted the Guatemalan branch of its first international syndicated trade facility of $50m for the purpose of financing its foreign trade loan portfolio. Other key clients include Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Cooperative Rabobank New York Branch and BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund.

Clients praise the lawyers in BLP’s banking and finance team for their ‘great response times’, ‘excellent customer service’ and ‘deep knowledge of local financial systems and laws’, as well as their willingness to ‘go "the extra mile" in every aspect of their job’. The team has been particularly active in the insurance sector, advising both international insurance and reinsurance companies on their activities in Guatemala, as well as acting for local companies such as Aseguradora General and BMI Compañía de Seguros de Guatemala. Finance matters saw the team recently advise a financial group on a $25m pre-export credit agreement with a sugar mill and assist an international bank with a finance agreement regarding the construction of power transmission lines. The ‘very knowledgeable’ María Inés Arenales, who is recommended for her ‘excellent advice’ and for making clients feel ‘comfortable and protected’, leads the team, which also includes senior counsel Alejandro Arenales. Other key clients include American International Bank (AIG), Banco Promérica, Chubb and BAC Florida Bank.

Carrillo & Asociados’ team regularly advises international financial institutions on regulatory compliance matters in Guatemala, as well as on commercial lending, project finance, loan restructuring and financing in specialised areas such as aviation and agriculture. In addition, the team has handled a number of high-profile cases related to the recovery of assets for international banking and financial institutions; for example, practice head Rodrigo Callejas and senior associate Emanuel Callejas continue to advise PricewaterhouseCoopers, as custodian of Bancafe International Bank, on the recovery of $100m-worth of assets; the matter involved jurisdictions in Central America, the Caribbean, the US and Europe. Rodrigo Callejas is known for his expertise in banking regulation and fraud and asset recovery (particularly in cases of cross-border insolvency and financial fraud), while Rodolfo Alegría, who is the head of the corporate department, assists with advising on major banking transactions and the implementation of collateral structures with onshore and offshore assets. Senior associate Mélida Pineda is also noted.

The team at Lexincorp is led by Julio Aparicio, Edvin Montoya and Luis Pedro Fuxet, who is particularly known for acting as senior counsel to the board of Banco Industrial subsidiary Westrust Bank. In recent highlights, Aparicio led advice to brewer Grupo Modelo on a $7m loan restructuring; and Montoya advised Ingenio la Unión on an agreement with Citibank and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association regarding the trading of financial derivatives and commodities. In addition, Montoya is assisting Repimex with an ongoing matter relating to a syndicated credit agreement granted by BAM, Mercom Bank and Banco Reformador for the expansion of a port terminal in Puerto Quetzal. The team also acts for a number of clients in the energy and agricultural sectors; a team led by associate Leslie Henry advised Tuncaj, a special-purpose vehicle created to develop five solar farms in Guatemala, on a syndicated loan to assist with the operation of the energy parks. Another ongoing matter involves structuring loans and a warranties scheme relating to the Xolhuitz and Ixtal hydropower plants.

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