Valued by clients for its ‘regional presence‘, Arias is experienced in handling multi-jurisdictional finance transactions alongside the firm’s other offices located throughout Central America. The team advises on structuring debt financing and loan security packages, debt restructuring, project finance, asset securitisation, the structuring of investment funds and trusts, and financial regulation. It also has expertise in private equity transactions, advising both borrowers and lenders, and securities and commodities offerings. The practice is jointly led by Jorge Luis Arenales, who specialises in financings in the energy and natural resources sectors; Luis Pedro Del Valle, whose strengths include the structuring of syndicated loan agreements and securities; and Mario René Archila, who handles financial litigation. Since publication, former senior associate Ligia Salazar Alveño has moved to Clarity Law, effective as of October 2020.
Banking and finance in Guatemala
‘They stand out for their experience in the matters they handle, service orientation and flexibility in negotiating fees, as well as their regional presence.’
Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior
Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG)
Inter-American Investment Corporation (IDB)
International Finance Corporation
Belgian Investment Company For Developing Countries NV/SA (BIO)
BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)
US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)
Regional powerhouse Consortium Legal has a strong client base of domestic and foreign financial institutions and multinational companies. The two-partner team advises on loans and financial structures, the development of new products, and foreign investments, and also has a growing fintech practice. The team also has experience in the issuance of debt; among its recent highlights is its advice to Citigroup Global Markets on the issue of sovereign notes by the Republic of Guatemala on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. The practice is led by Álvaro Castellanos and Diego Alejos, who was promoted to the partnership in January 2020; the duo are praised by clients for their 'knowledge, experience and passion for their work'.
‘They have knowledge of international banking and complex transactions, listen to and understand clients’ needs, and adapt easily to changes in the industry at the same pace as clients.’
‘Both Álvaro Castellanos and Diego Alejos have knowledge, experience and a passion for their work that sets them apart from other lawyers. They are always available to support clients and to work with them to find the best solution for their ever-changing needs.’
Bank of America Merril Lynch
JP Morgan Chase
IDB / IDB Invest
Banco de América Central
Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior
Bupa Global and Bupa Guatemala
- Advised a group of investors including Wells Fargo Bank on the funding of a tranche of Banco Industrial’s diversified payment rights programme.
- Advised Citibank on the granting of a $250m loan to Banco G&T Continental and the structuring of the collateral package.
- Advised Citigroup Global Markets, as sole lead manager and book runner, on the structuring and issuance of sovereign notes issued by the Republic of Guatemala on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.
- Advised United Airlines and Kingsland Holdings on a $250m term loan granted to Avianca Holdings and its subsidiaries.
With offices in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Mayora & Mayora, S.C. is a popular choice of counsel for leading regional banks, as well as international financial institutions. The team has the expertise and resources to advise on a broad range of banking and finance matters, including debt issuances, debt restructuring, corporate finance, project finance and regulation, and has particular expertise in the real estate, energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. Sandra Castillo, whose expertise includes syndicated loans, corporate finance and debt refinancing, leads the practice with Claudia Pereira, who is noted for her experience in trusts and project financing. The team also includes María Fernanda Morales Pellecer, who was promoted to partner in April 2019 and specialises in banking regulation, and the highly regarded Eduardo Mayora.
Banco Internacional De Costa Rica (Bicsa)
Bolsa De Valores Nacional
- Provided ongoing advice to financial institutions including Banco Azteca, Banco Industrial and Citibank.
- Advised Sucden Americas on the drafting and issuance of promissory notes and the constitution of guarantees attached to these obligations.
- Advised Capgemini on the organisation of employees’ annual option plans.
Full-service local practice QIL+4 ABOGADOS, S.A. is 'one of the most highly regarded firms in Guatemala for its prestige and the quality of its lawyers'. The four-partner team has been particularly active in advising foreign investment and private equity funds, and in transactions in the mining and extractive industries. Its strengths include debt issuances, new financial tools such as crowdfunding, and multi-jurisdictional finance transactions, with experience acting on both the borrower and lender sides. The practice is led by the highly experienced trio of Alejandro Cofiño, Marcos Ibargüen and José Quiñones. Andrés Lowenthal, who specialises in project finance and international capital markets, and senior associate Santiago Granados, who has experience in cross-border financings, are also key members of the team.
‘It is one of the most highly regarded firms in Guatemala for its prestige and the quality of its lawyers. They have very good contacts in Guatemala and the Central American region. It is a multi-disciplinary team which can support us with the different legal aspects of each case. The lawyers stand out from those at other firms.’
‘What makes the lawyers at QIL stand out is their knowledge of Guatemalan legislation. They have good local connections and are an important source of information about the market. We have worked very closely with Marcos Ibargüen, Melissa Echeverría, Santiago Granados and José Quiñones. Their main qualities are their sense of responsibility, efficiency and assertiveness.’
‘The team is very responsive and delivers work on time.’
‘They stay in touch with clients, keeping them informed in a timely manner of each step in the different legal procedures, and are always available to offer advice and assistance.’
‘We work directly with the partners, and subsequently with their associates. Their response times are generally excellent.’
‘They have a great deal of knowledge about our business. They understand our interests and always seek to ensure we are protected from any risk.’
JP Morgan Chase
The Royal Bank of Nova Scotia
Transmisión de Electricidad
Corporación Interamericana para el Financiamiento de Infraestructura (CIFI)
Latin American Partners – LAP Fund
Banco G&T Continental
- Advised Caterpillar Crédito on the financing of heavy machinery with security interest and financial conditions.
- Acted as local counsel for Cifi on a $25m syndicated loan to Transportes Aéreos Guatemaltecos (TAG) to fund the expansion of the airline’s operations in Central America and the Caribbean.
- Advised the Republic of Guatemala on the sovereign issuance of $500m in ten-year notes and $700m in 30-year notes.
In addition to cross-border banking transactions and project finance, regional firm Aguilar Castillo Love has notable expertise in capital markets deals, including bond issuances. In a recent highlight, the team advised TMF Group as security agent on Promerica Financial Corporation's initial public offering of $200m-worth of senior covered bonds in the international market. Practice co-head Juan Carlos Castillo-Chacón has particular strength in the financing of energy projects (especially in the electricity sector), as well as in securities and capital markets issues such as swaps and other derivative transactions. Co-head Natalia Callejas Aquino is recommended for her experience in project finance, fintech and regulatory matters.
Bank of America
White & Case LLP
- Advised TMF Group, as security agent, on Promerica Financial Corporation’s initial public offering of senior covered bonds in the international market for $200m.
- Acted as Guatemalan counsel to the lenders – including Credit Suisse and UBS – on amendments to a credit agreement with Zacapa Holdco and Zacapa LLC as borrowers.
- Advised Emergent Technology Holdings on the viability of implementing G-Coins in Guatemala.
With a broad office network in the region, BLP is equipped to advise on the financial aspects of multi-jurisdictional M&A deals and the development of public sector projects, as well as a range of banking and finance matters, including cross-border deals. Capital markets, regulation, financial litigation and fintech-related matters also feature in the team's workload, and clients include local and international banks and financial institutions. María Inés Arenales, who has experience in syndicated lending and the financing of major public and private projects, is the key contact. Alcy Martínez is a name to note at the associate level.
AP Structured Finance
Promerica Financial Corporation
The Bank Of Nova Scotia
Bac Florida Bank
- Advised Cinven on the financing of the acquisition of Ufinet Group’s operations in the region.
- Advised Avianca on an exchange offer of existing notes for newly issued senior secured notes.
- Advised Promerica Financial Corporation on a $200m bond offering on the international markets.
Well-renowned local firm Carrillo & Asociados has particular expertise in insolvency and asset recovery, acting on behalf of custodians and private investors, and also has a strong profile for advising international financial institutions on regulatory compliance. Other work for the team includes commercial lending, project and aviation finance, and loan restructuring. Rodrigo Callejas, who specialises in insolvency, banking regulation and international asset recovery cases, leads the practice with Alfonso Carrillo, who is highly regarded for bankruptcy matters and banking litigation, and project finance specialist Rodolfo Alegría. The team also includes senior associate Emanuel Callejas, who is recommended for his experience in insolvency and fraud cases.
- Advising PricewaterhouseCoopers, as a custodian of Bancafe International Bank, on the recovery of the assets of more than 3,000 Guatemalan victims of a fraudulent scheme.
Lexincorp is highly experienced in banking and finance matters in the real estate, textiles, energy and retail sectors, with clients including property developers, investment firms and financial institutions. It is also able to draw on the expertise of its regional offices in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica and its membership of the Multilaw network to handle cross-border transactions. Luis Pedro Fuxet, who has experience advising local and international clients on complex credit structures, heads the team with Julio Aparicio and Gonzalo Menéndez González.
Eolico San Antonio El Sitio
Ingenio La Union
- Providing ongoing legal counsel to Thor Capital, including drafting credit contract documents.
- Providing ongoing legal counsel to ISJ Capital, including advising on financial legal structures and final leasing contracts.
Following its entry into the Guatemalan market in 2018 through a merger with local practice Asensio Andrade Flores, Central American firm Sfera Legal has been active advising local and international financial institutions on secured credit agreements, securitisations and regulatory issues. Newly promoted partner Melissa Morán Tobar, who is praised for her 'professionalism and knowledge of her field', leads the practice; she is experienced in advising on the structuring of syndicated loans, due diligence matters and bond issuances. Managing partner Ignacio Andrade Aycinena also receives praise.
‘The team’s strong point is the technical and professional quality of its lawyers, as well as the geographical reach of its network of offices. They have broad experience in infrastructure and projects, advising not only local banks but also international sponsors.’
‘Melissa Morán Tobar stands out for her professionalism, knowledge of her field and her constant support on every project.’
‘Ignacio Andrade has great strength in banking and finance matters. He also has broad experience in procedural law, which makes his advice more effective. He compares very favourably to lawyers at other firms, especially for his creativity in proposing legal solutions.’
‘Melissa has assisted us efficiently with the execution of various projects.’