Firms To Watch: Corporate and M&A

Juan José Porras is the key contact at GT Legal, a corporate, litigation and IP-focused practice which he founded in 2019 following his departure from former firm Palomo & Porras.
Having ended its six-year partnership with EY Law Central America in June 2020, Mollerlaw has re-established itself as an independent firm, focused on corporate, litigation, IP and labour matters, with Enrique Möller Sánchez at the helm.

Corporate and M&A in Guatemala

Alta QIL+4 Abogados

Domestic heavyweight QIL+4 Abogados expanded its regional presence significantly in May 2021, merging with three other firms in El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica to become Alta QIL+4 Abogados. The sizeable corporate team is highly experienced in M&A matters, acting for domestic and multinational corporations from a wide range of sectors, including the financial services, automotive, energy, mining, media and telecoms industries. The ‘excellentMarcos Ibargüen, who has complementary expertise in competition matters, and the ‘experiencedMaría Isabel Luján lead the team; Luján is also head of the firm’s pro bono practice, which includes participating in the Vance Centre’s “Keep Families Together” initiative. José Quiñones and Alejandro Cofiño, who have additional expertise in tax and finance matters, are also key members of the team, along with Andrés Lowenthal, who has extensive experience advising international clients. Senior associates Melissa Echeverría and Santiago Granados stand out for their M&A experience.

Practice head(s):

Marcos Ibargüen; Maria Isabel Luján

Testimonials

‘They have good communication and internal coordination, which allows for good follow-up of the cases they are in charge of, and the client is clear that although there is one lawyer in charge of the case, there is support available if necessary.’

‘María Isabel Luján is very experienced and is brilliantly clear in her communications.’

‘The team not only understands technical legal issues, but also has great business sense – they understand the deal and why it is important, and are always available to help.’

‘Marcos Ibargüen is an excellent lawyer – he is one of the best (if not the best) in Guatemala in terms of his knowledge, business sense, availability and advice.’

‘Marcos Ibargüen and Santiago Granados are very consistent and provide good follow-up and service. They are a great support and good coordinators.’

Key clients

Disagro De Guatemala

Nexeo Solutions

Central Agrícola

Buddi

Tecnifibras

Cinepolis – Mex

Rcma Americas

WPP  Group USA

Airbus Helicopters

Baker & McKenzie

Work highlights

  • Advised WPP Group on the acquisition of Guatemalan e-commerce solutions company XumaK.
  • Advised Cotecna on the bidding process for the provision of non-intrusive X-ray services at Puerto Quetzal, one of Guatemala’s largest ports.

Arias

The ‘experienced‘ and ‘efficient‘ team at Arias acts for both local companies and large multinationals from a diverse range of sectors, including energy, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, telecoms and financial services. The team has been highly active in advising on restructurings due to the pandemic, and has also assisted major international clients with setting up operations in Guatemala and with corporate governance issues. On the M&A side, large-scale regional transactions are a key part of the team’s workload, often with the support of the firm’s other offices in Central America. The firm is also part of the Vance Centre’s “Keep Families Together” pro bono initiative, launched in 2018. Highly regarded practice co-head Jorge Luis Arenales has notable expertise in corporate transactions in the energy, power and telecoms sectors, while fellow co-head Luis Pedro Del Valle is skilled in corporate restructurings, venture capital transactions and cross-border matters. The sizeable associate team includes Ana Avila and Jorge Ordoñez.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Luis Arenales; Luis Pedro del Valle

Testimonials

‘The quality of their work was very good and they were very efficient. The calendar of the transaction was very demanding and many other jurisdictions were involved in the same deal, and their delivery was very good.’

‘Luis Pedro del Valle stands out for the quality of his work, punctual delivery and compliance with deadlines.’

‘A very good team that is very specialised and experienced.’

‘All the members of the team are good. They work with a sense of urgency and are focused on providing a good service.’

‘Arias provides a firm with a variety of legal expertise. We have been able to receive advice on different issues inside the same firm.’

‘I have worked with Jorge Luis Arenales, who I find always available to answer questions regarding corporate issues in Guatemala. His responses are always prompt and thorough.’

Key clients

Walmart

Delivery Hero

Coca Cola

Chevron

Fyffes’ subsidiary in Guatemala (High Q International)

Avon Products

Mondelēz International

Worlée

Facebook

Bayer

Nutricia/Danone

Europharma

TransUnion

FedEx

BIC

Empresas Públicas de Medellín

Johnson & Johnson

S2 Global

Cable & Wireless

Insud Pharma

Acino Pharma

Novartis

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

Work highlights

  • Acting as local counsel to delivery platform Delivery Hero on the €230m acquisition of Spanish app Glovo’s operations in Latin America.
  • Advised screening services company S2 Global on the corporate structure of its local subsidiary prior to its participation in the public procurement process in Guatemala for the provision of non-intrusive scanning services at the port of Santo Tomás de Castilla.
  • Advising Guatemalan real estate developer Grupo HPB on the structuring of an innovative ownership model.

BLP

Regional firm BLP is highly experienced in multi-jurisdictional corporate matters, regularly advising on M&A for major international clients from the pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, real estate, retail and logistics sectors. Advising on day-to-day corporate matters, distribution and agency contracts, and shareholders' agreements also makes up a large part of the team's workload. The firm also has a region-wide commitment to corporate social responsibility: it has established a sustainability strategy encompassing diversity policies, environmental management and a pro bono offering, through its BLP Foundation, which advises more than 100 NGOs. María Inés Arenales, who frequently handles the regional coordination of due diligence and M&A matters, heads the team with the experienced Luis Ruiz. Special counsel Alejandro Arenales also plays a key role in the practice, as does senior associate Alcy Martínez.

Practice head(s):

María Inés Arenales; Luis Ruiz

Testimonials

‘In an M&A context, when working simultaneously across many jurisdictions, it is vitally important to have an allied firm that understands the needs of the client and that understands the delivery and response times. Therefore, it is important that an M&A practice not only focuses on delivering quality work but is also sensitive and attentive to the timescale. The BLP team from Guatemala meets all these expectations.’

‘The team’s strength has always been how attentive they are to clients, no matter the day or the time. They do not just respond, but their answers are accurate, punctual and to the point. They fully understand the client’s needs. It is not always the paralegal, junior or associate who responds – the partners are present at all times and available to answer questions.’

Key clients

Bayer

HCL

Spectrum Brands Holdings

CEVA Logistics

Master Card

Soluciones Integrales Logísticas (Solistica)

Unity Willis Towers Watson

Drake Food Services International

Grupo Mobiliare

Mediterranean Shipping Company

Work highlights

  • Advising Bayer on all corporate matters in Guatemala.
  • Advised Swiss-headquartered Ceva Logistics on the inter-company assignation of 99% of the capital of its Guatemalan subsidiary, Ceva Freight Management Guatemala, and the modification of its articles of incorporation.
  • Assisted US giant Spectrum Brands with the preparation of a consulting service agreement in order to introduce its products to Guatemala.

Carrillo & Asociados

Full-service domestic firm Carrillo & Asociados has seen a recent growth in distressed M&A work as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and has particular experience advising on M&A transactions (distressed or otherwise) in the energy, retail, agroindustrial, real estate, telecoms and banking sectors. Other areas of strength include incorporations, reorganisations, joint ventures and commercial agreements. The team is jointly led by Rodolfo Alegría, who has experience in M&A throughout Central America, with a focus on the telecoms and energy sectors, and Rodrigo Callejas, while founding partner Alfonso Carrillo is also a key figure in the practice. At senior associate level, Mélida Pineda has notable expertise in corporate restructurings and cross-border M&A (particularly in the energy sector) and Sara Santacruz adds key experience in competition and labour issues to the team.

Practice head(s):

Rodolfo Alegría; Rodrigo Callejas

Work highlights

  • Advised the real estate investment vehicle of a high-net-worth family, as a shareholder in a real estate and tourism development, on corporate, financing, regulatory and restructuring matters.
  • Advised the minority passive shareholder of a vehicle imports and sale company on the sale of his stake to a majority shareholder.
  • Advised a pre-payment platform for gift cards on its commercial agreements with different establishments.

Consortium Legal

Standing out for the ‘extraordinary one-on-one engagement‘ of its team, regional firm Consortium Legal is highly active in cross-border M&A transactions and corporate restructurings, with a solid client base including numerous major multinationals. The firm is also part of the Central American Integration Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (Ingrerarse), an alliance to promote sustainability in Central America and the Caribbean. The experienced trio of Rafael Alvarado Riedel, Alfredo Rodríguez and Álvaro Castellanos (who also coordinates the firm’s involvement in the Vance Centre’s “Keep Families Together” pro bono initiative) heads the sizeable team, with Rodríguez and Castellanos bringing additional expertise in tax and finance matters, respectively, to the table. Other notable team members include Sofía Escribá, who is experienced in the negotiation of M&A and shareholders’ agreements, and senior associate Maria Fernanda Morales, whose expertise spans corporate matters in the aeronautics, energy, telecoms, food and non-profit sectors.

Practice head(s):

Rafael Alvarado Riedel; Álvaro Castellanos; Alfredo Rodríguez

Testimonials

‘The team stands out for its level of service and engagement with clients.’

‘Extraordinary one-on-one engagement from every partner and associate. Each member of the team we work with is highly skilled and overall attention to detail is a priority.’

Key clients

Grupo PDC

Distribuidora Me Llega

Inchcape

Millicom

Citigroup

Walmart Group

Telxius Cable Guatemala

Enel Green Power Guatemala

AT&T

Whirlpool

Absortex

Entremares de Guatemala

Work highlights

  • Advised Grupo PDC on the leveraged acquisition of the assets of Australian Dairy Goods in Guatemala and El Salvador and the operations of Dizac, one of the main distributors of the company’s products in El Salvador.
  • Advised a group of Guatemalan investors on the leveraged acquisition of the assets of hygiene products company Absortex.
  • Acted as Guatemalan counsel to Enel Green Power in the due diligence process of the entire local operation in preparation for an internal merger with Enel Americas.

Mayora & Mayora, S.C.

Mayora & Mayora, S.C. has 'a lot of experience' in corporate and M&A matters; the firm frequently works with its offices in El Salvador and Honduras to advise on large multi-jurisdictional mergers and joint ventures in Central America. In addition, the team advises on day-to-day corporate matters and governance, as well as corporate restructurings and the establishment of new operations. Energy and pharmaceuticals are notable sectors of expertise for the firm, which has a strong track record of acting for major domestic and international clients. Claudia Pereira and Sandra Castillo, who are experienced in M&A and corporate restructurings, lead the team, supported by senior partners Eduardo Mayora and Rafael Briz, a specialist in the energy sector. Pereira and Castillo are also active members of the board of Fundación Pro Bono Guatemala, which provides free legal services, particularly to refugees and migrants. Senior associates María de la Concepción Villeda, who stands out for her corporate governance expertise, and María José Nájera are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Claudia Pereira; Sandra Castillo

Testimonials

‘What makes the difference at Mayora & Mayora is that the lawyers are not just specialists in their subjects, but they also understand the needs of the client, so they can give personalised and tailored advice. The firm, in our opinion, stands out from all the others.’

‘They have established personal relationships with clients and the dedication of the team is outstanding, which is a very important difference compared to other competitors.’

‘The team has a lot of experience in corporate and M&A matters. We are pleased with the advice, follow-up and response times we have received. Their client service adds value.’

‘Always ready to help and to get to know in detail the requirements of the client.’

‘Their responses are agile and tailored to the needs of the business. In addition, they have an excellent understanding of the industry in which we operate.’

‘Their responses are always focused on what we are asking for, without digressing, and are within the applicable legal framework.’

‘The difference with other competitors is that they give clear answers, based on the existing legal framework, with short response times and good knowledge of our business.’

Key clients

Diageo North America

Chevron

GBM (an IBM Alliance company)

Marriott International

Pantaleon Commodities

Banco Inbursa

Payless Shoesource

Operadora de Terminales

Fresenius Medical Care

Belcorp

Work highlights

  • Advised Pantaleon Commodities, one of the largest regional producers of sugar cane, on its distribution contracts with customers in the US.
  • Advising regional packaging company Grupo Emasal on the execution of commercial contracts and on day-to-day corporate matters.
  • Advised agribusiness Grupo Montañesa with the acquisition of the assets of one of the largest agricultural production companies in Guatemala for $7.2m.

A. D. Sosa & Soto

'One of the most experienced local law firms in the area', A. D. Sosa & Soto focuses on advising Guatemalan businesses on expanding their operations both locally and regionally, as well as acting for a number of major multinationals. The full-service domestic firm is also a member of the global network DRT International Law Firm & Alliance, which gives it an international reach. At the helm of the practice, Juan Sebastián Soto is experienced in M&A and corporate restructurings, including cross-border matters for international clients; Carlos Rafael Pellecer has notable expertise in the mining and energy sectors; and Einar Klanderud handles M&A and other international transactions. Founding partner Manuel Arturo Soto and associates Liliana Sánchez and María Inés Yon are also key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Juan Sebastian Soto; Carlos Rafael Pellecer; Einar Klanderud

Testimonials

‘The key to getting a deal moving is to have an efficient team that knows how to appreciate the value of time. We got that from A.D. Sosa & Soto and that is why we are very happy with the service received by the team.’

‘In our case, Manuel Arturo Soto was at hand throughout the process and he personally was in charge of overseeing all the issues, even when they were minor. María Inés Yon provided constant support and was a very good source of information to keep things to running efficiently.’

‘It is one of the most experienced local law firms in the area. Its partners and team have advised on numerous transactions, which is reflected in the results of the deals in which they intervene: impeccable. On the other hand, the extensive network to which they belong allows them to handle with absolute guarantees any M&A or corporate advisory process for their clients abroad, in almost any country in the world.’

‘Without a doubt, the standout qualities of the team are the deep technical knowledge and experience of its partners, who cover all matters in the area. This knowledge is transferred to the rest of the team, perfectly managed and coordinated by the partners of the firm.’

‘Excellent, responsive legal resource in Guatemala.’

‘Extremely easy to work with.’

Key clients

D Local

The Conscious Home

Pronico/CGN

Alterna Asociación

Consolidados 807

Huawei Telecommunications Guatemala

Alto Diseño

Asesorías, Sistemas y Servicios De Centroamérica

Hunter Investments

FEMSA/Coca-Cola

Danone de Guatemala

Grupo Z Gas

Work highlights

  • Advised specialist clothing company MAI/The Conscious Home on  distribution and service supply agreements to allow it to access the US market via major commercial online outlets.
  • Advised Asys on the sale of the assets, IP and other intangibles used to develop a sale point software, to be used in restaurants, gas stations and other venues, to a large local distributor.
  • Advised non-profit organisation Alterna Asociación on various corporate governance and compliance issues.

Aguilar Castillo Love

Highlighted for their 'professionalism' and 'ample knowledge of the law in the region', Juan Carlos Castillo-Chacón and Natalia Callejas Aquino lead the experienced corporate team at Aguilar Castillo Love. The Central American firm is well placed to handle regional M&A transactions and counts a number of major multinationals among its clients, with significant strength in the energy, pharmaceuticals and, particularly recently, technology sectors. Corporate governance, particularly for family-owned businesses, is also a key area of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Juan Carlos Castillo-Chacón; Natalia Callejas Aquino

Testimonials

‘They have a solid team, particularly in the area of government contracts. They are attentive and provide thorough advice.’

‘Natalia Callejas stands out for her speed, timely delivery of work and immediate attention to clients’ requirements.’

‘Professionalism and client service.’

‘Juan Carlos Castillo and Natalia Callejas demonstrate professionalism and ample knowledge of the law in the region. We get the same service in every country.’

Legalsa

The ‘well-rounded‘ team at full-service domestic firm Legalsa is highly experienced in cross-border matters, including M&A transactions and joint ventures, as well as advising foreign direct investors on setting up operations in Guatemala. The firm has a niche expertise in advising start-ups, offering a pro bono programme, Start-Ups Legalsa, which assists with incorporation and funding issues, led by associate José Bassila; it also regularly advises local family-owned businesses on corporate governance. Practice co-heads David Font and Johann Hartleben are skilled in cross-border M&A and the regional (and international) expansion of local businesses, while senior associates Mónica Linares and Camilo Peña (who joined the firm in January 2020 from Carrillo & Asociados) bring additional expertise in real estate and tax matters, respectively.

Practice head(s):

David Font; Johann Hartleben

Testimonials

‘Excellent support and a personalised service.’

‘The team stands out for its personal service and streamlining of procedures. They deal with my questions and concerns immediately.’

‘Legalsa has the most well-rounded team in Guatemala. They have specialisms in every area of law, which is an enormous advantage.’

‘Knowledge of all areas of the law.’

Key clients

América Móvil

Claro Guatemala (Telgua)

Servicios de Comunicaciones de Honduras (Claro Honduras)

Cartones de Guatemala (Cartogua)

Oceana Resort

Glovo App

Sula

Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana

Multiproyectos

Super Auto Repuestos Acquaroni

Work highlights

  • Advised credit-card payment processing company Zuma Pagos on the expansion of its business from Mexico into Guatemala.
  • Advised delivery app Glovo on the sale of its operations in Latin America to German company Delivery Hero for $270m.
  • Advised telecoms company Claro Guatemala on its acquisition of the operating assets and radio frequency rights of internet service provider Unitel, which operates under the name Yego Internet in Central America.

CENTRAL LAW Guatemala

Local subsidiaries of major multinational corporations make up a large part of the client base at Central Law Guatemala. The regional firm is active in advising clients on their operations in Guatemala and Central America, with wide-ranging experience in the incorporation of new companies, M&A and corporate restructurings, and the negotiation of shareholders’ agreements. Practice head Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote regularly advises foreign companies on their investments in Guatemala and is particularly skilled in M&A in the mining and energy sectors. Associates Verónica González, the director of the firm’s international department, and Carlos Cabrera are also key members of the ‘efficient‘ team.

Practice head(s):

Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote

Testimonials

‘The team is very efficient and tries to resolve issues as quickly as possible.’

‘Verónica González and Carlos Cabrera are very accessible and are available to deal with our requests even in emergencies, outside normal office hours, showing their professionalism and how valuable they are to us.’

Key clients

Semco Maritime

World Tree

Pacific Investments

MDIF Media Finance

Santillana Educacion

Editorial Santillana

Activa Educa

Ecolab

Kerry

Tecnispice

Aromaticos de Centroamérica

Baltimore Spice Guatemala

Gaspro

Microsoft Guatemala

Baxter

BT

Sencinet

Work highlights

  • Advised Kerry Group on the acquisition of Guatemalan company Tecnispice.
  • Advised Ecolab on the modification of its articles of incorporation in order to expand its commercial activities in Guatemala.
  • Assisted Gaspro with the modification of its articles of incorporation in order to change its corporate and fiscal domicile in another department of Guatemala.

EY Law Central America

EY Law Central America‘s ‘dynamic‘ team is well versed in regional corporate matters, including M&A, joint ventures and reorganisations, regularly acting alongside the global firm’s other offices in Central America. As the legal arm of the Big Four consultancy, the corporate practice is also able to draw on colleagues’ expertise in tax and insurance matters. Clients include large multinational and domestic companies from the consumer products, financial services, pharmaceutical, hospitality and telecoms sectors, among others. Following the departures of former practice heads Enrique Möller Sánchez to his own practice and, most recently, Ruby Asturias to Deloitte Legal Guatemala in July 2021, the practice is led by Costa Rica-based Hernán Pacheco, supported by ‘dedicated‘ managers Mirla Tubac and Ignacio Castillo.

Practice head(s):

Hernán Pacheco

Testimonials

‘The firm’s regional presence in Central America is a positive.’

‘It is a very good team. They are a group of dynamic professionals who know what they are doing.’

‘Ignacio Castillo and Mirla Tubac are dedicated to their clients.’

Key clients

Novex

Comidas Especializadas y Servicios de Guatemala (Denny’s)

Givaudan Guatemala

Chep Guatemala

Kimberly-Clark

Industria de Hamburguesas (McDonald’s)

Prosegur

Intertek de Guatemala

OD Guatemala y Compañía (Office Depot)

Thyssenkrupp Elevadores (Guatemala)

Cablevía de Guatemala

Albedo Capital

Fitch Centroamérica

Light-Tec

Grupo Remm

Work highlights

  • Advising Comidas Especializadas y Servicios de Guatemala, which operates the Denny’s franchise in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, on day-to-day corporate matters.
  • Advised Central American chemical manufacturing group Merril on the reorganisation of its corporate governance and structure to prepare for a possible merger with a competitor.
  • Advising the Central American subsidiaries of Thyssenkrupp Elevadores on corporate matters in the region.

LatamLex | Skinner-Klée & Asociados

Part of the regional LatamLex network in Central America, LatamLex | Skinner-Klée & Asociados is experienced in handling multi-jurisdictional transactions. The team is active in M&A and reorganisations for both domestic and international clients. Practice co-head Alfredo Skinner-Klée, who is currently acting as president of the board of directors of Banco de Trabajadores, is well known for his expertise in M&A in the financial services sector, while his fellow co-head María Gabriela Coronado Díaz regularly advises international companies on corporate transactions and day-to-day operations.

Practice head(s):

Alfredo Skinner-Klée; Maria Gabriela Coronado

Key clients

Banco Internacional de Costa Rica

Kielsa Farmaceutica

Tabacalera Centroamericana

Jardines de la Asunción

Work highlights

  • Advised Tabacalera Centroamericana, the Guatemalan subsidiary of Philip Morris International, on the reduction of share capital.
  • Advised Desarrollos Óptimos, the main stakeholder in Servicios Esenciales de Administración (SEDA), on its reorganisation.

Lexincorp

A regional firm and the Guatemalan member of the Multilaw network in Central America, Lexincorp is well placed to advise multinationals setting up operations in Guatemala and the region on corporate governance. The team also assists with M&A, restructurings, and day-to-day corporate and compliance matters, with clients from the real estate sector - drawing on firm-wide strength in this area - and the retail, food and beverages, and energy industries. Practice head Gonzalo Menéndez González is experienced in M&A, while Julio Aparicio also advises on corporate governance and restructuring and Edvin Montoya is particularly active in corporate matters in the finance and energy sectors.

Practice head(s):

Gonzalo Menéndez González

Testimonials

‘They provide comprehensive support with any type of legal process, and stand out for the quality of their advice and the quantity of time they spend on clients.’

‘They have extensive legal, procedural and administrative knowledge, as well as provide an honest and transparent service.’

Key clients

Grupo Hipertex

Flosan

Palmas del Ixcan

Guanacaste Industria de Extracción de Caucho en Crudo

Garden Connection

Grown Space

Productos y Servicios Santa Adela

Grupo Coban

Hotel Camino Real

Ingenio La Union

Work highlights

  • Advised Campo Sol Corporation on the acquisition of 40% of the stocks in a major corporation.
  • Conducted an extensive due diligence on 178 telephone tower sites for Peppertree Capital Management.
  • Acted as counsel to Scatec Solar on a complex public offer to the local government energy agency.

Novales Abogados

A strong domestic practice, Novales Abogados stands out for its longstanding expertise in the energy, construction and infrastructure, and aviation sectors, where it advises major regional and domestic clients. The team is also active in assisting local family-owned businesses with regional expansions in Central America, and advising foreign investors on setting up operations in Guatemala. Cristián Novales Schlesinger and Javier Novales Schlesinger, who is particularly noted for his experience in the energy sector, lead the team. Founding partner Alfonso Novales Aguirre, a former president of the Guatemalan Bar Association, is also a key figure in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Cristián Novales; Javier Novales

Key clients

Grupo HBP

Toyota Machinery

FUNDESA

Transportadora de Energía de Centroamérica

EEB Ingeniería y Servicios

Enel Green Power Guatemala

Copa Airlines

Bolsa de Valores Nacional

Laboratorio y Droguería Donovan Werke

Calzado Roy

Comercializadora Arturo Calle

Global Farma

Tropilight

TP Consulting Guatemala

Selina Hostels

Mota – Engil

Casa de Moneda de Chile

Naturaceites

Work highlights

  • Advising Colombian cement company Cementos Argos on its entry to the Guatemalan market.
  • Advised Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana on the negotiation of commercialisation and distribution contracts with buyers abroad, especially in Mexico and South America.
  • Advising wine distributor Corchos on the acquisition of 100% of the shares from the other shareholders of the two corporations used to operate the business.

Alegalis

Senior partner Juan Antonio Mazariegos, who is experienced in advising multinationals on corporate structuring, leads the team at Alegalis alongside Roxana Sandoval. The firm is particularly strong in the healthcare and real estate sectors, and is experienced in advising on the authorisations required for special public economic development zones. In addition, the firm has a specialist practice focused on advising start-ups and offers a pro bono programme which assists entrepreneurs in rural areas of Guatemala.

Practice head(s):

Juan Antonio Mazariegos; Roxana Sandoval

Testimonials

‘They show attention to detail and the ability to react quickly, and they provide advice to the client when they need it and in an efficient way.’

‘The team differ from their competitors in that their relationships with clients are more personal and they are almost immediately available. Juan Antonio Mazariegos provides a very personalised service to clients and is always available for any type of consultation. If he is not available at that moment, he will provide an answer within the day.’

‘They are very organised and each lawyer is very knowledgeable in their area of specialism. They are all excellent professionals and have the ability to resolve any situation.’

‘Juan Antonio Mazariegos is extremely knowledgeable and generates confidence, knowing that he is at the head of a legal team with experience in all branches of law.’

‘Roxana Sandoval provides excellent, objective advice.’

Key clients

RV4 Desarrollos

Miel Verde (JIA)

Uno Guatemala

Hospital Herrera Llerandi

Proyectos y Desarrollo de Construcción (PRODECSA)

Tiba Guatemala

Capital Buro

Studio Domus

Servicios Financieros Corporativos

Asociación Nacional de Avicultores (ANAVI)

Grupo de Entidades Fabricantes de Alimentos Concentrados para Animales (GREFACA)

Inversiones Roca

Nutri Listo / Maní+

Evotecnos Group

Biolarva Aquaculture

Centro Otorrino

SYMX Infrastructure

Work highlights

  • Advised Miel Verde (JIA) on the authorisation of its operation in a special public economic development zone in Guatemala.
  • Advised Capital Buro on the reorganisation of an LLC as part of the investment in a real estate project in Houston, Texas.
  • Advised Hospital Herrera Llerandi on the expansion of its operations through the creation of new primary care centres.

Bermejo & Bermejo

The ‘brilliant‘ team at family firm Bermejo & Bermejo has been active in advising airlines, particularly on issues stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as clients in the real estate, agricultural, chemical, and lottery and gaming sectors. The team assists with M&A, restructurings and day-to-day corporate matters. Luis Fernando Bermejo has particular experience in acting for aviation, pharmaceutical and agrochemical sector clients, while Juan Carlos Bermejo and Luis Pedro Bermejo add expertise in real estate law.

Practice head(s):

Luis Fernando Bermejo; Juan Carlos Bermejo

Testimonials

‘The firm has specialist experience with airlines.’

‘They pay attention to details.’

‘This practice is unique because of the people in the team and their personalised relationships with clients. They offer solutions in a competitive way.’

‘They are brilliant, with a good network and great people skills and service.’

Key clients

Embotelladora La Fortuna

Transportes Aéreos Guatemaltecos (TAG Airlines)

Wamos Air

Aproco

Grupo Solid (Guatemala)

Lapco Corporation

Agrocentro

Z60 and Vertikal Sports Performance

Inversiones Moka (Café Gitane)

Carso Group

Terra Inmuebles

Work highlights

  • Advised paint and coatings company Grupo Solid on its merger with RJK and Lapco.
  • Advised Wamos Air on the closure of its operations in Guatemala.
  • Advised an association of small coffee producers, Asociación Barilense de Agricultores, on its restructuring.

BMTLAW

Well-established local firm BMTLAW can also draw on its position as the Guatemalan member of the international legal network Club de Abogados Iberoamérica to handle matters further afield. Jorge Rolando Barrios and Lorena Barrios are key contacts in the team, which advises on M&A and day-to-day corporate matters.

Clarity Law

Founded by former Arias partner José Augusto Toledo in 2019, Clarity Law has quickly grown a strong corporate practice, advising on local and cross-border M&A and private equity transactions, as well as assisting with starting up businesses. Toledo, who also has an extensive background in banking and finance matters, is supported by Ligia Salazar, who joined the firm in August 2020 - also from Arias - and is experienced in cross-border transactions, with additional banking expertise, and associate Gustavo Hernández Ruano. The team also has a strong track record of pro bono work, participating in the Vance Centre's "Keep Families Together" initiative.

Practice head(s):

José Augusto Toledo; Gustavo Hernández Ruano; Ligia Salazar Alveño

Testimonials

‘They’ve been the only team I’ve ever felt has paid attention to my needs. They have been interested in knowing my business, which means they have actually given me a solution that works for me. They go the extra mile and go further than just listening, but get involved in a way I haven’t seen before.’

‘They are humane and compassionate people. They have a great desire to help and come up with real, economic and viable solutions. Gustavo Hernández and José Toledo provide excellent solutions and strategies. They are also very careful to keep us informed of how the process is going.’

‘They are the only firm I know in Guatemala that supports early-stage ventures, with extensive knowledge of corporate and M&A.’

‘José Toledo shows a lot of empathy and drive in his support for entrepreneurs. Gustavo Hernández has exceptional experience and knowledge of corporate and M&A issues.’

‘It is an experienced, serious and honest team, with the ability to advise on the fintech field, which is relatively new.’

‘José Augusto Toledo has recognised experience, is a trusted lawyer, knows the banking and business sectors, and is well connected with other lawyers whom the firm can consult and/or contact for international negotiations. He is attentive in his advice to clients and ensures compliance with all the necessary legal requirements for companies (for example, in terms of licence renewals, holding annual meetings, and so on).’

Key clients

A-Tel Communications

Allied Global Corporation

International Finance Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised contact centre and BPO Allied Global Corporation on its cross-border investment in CallTek.

Dentons Munoz

International firm Dentons expanded its presence to Central America in 2017, merging with Costa Rica-based Muñoz Global to form Dentons Muñoz, which has since established an active practice in Guatemala. The team is skilled in advising on multi-jurisdictional transactions across Latin America, and is active in sectors including healthcare, natural resources and, most recently, film. It also offers clients firm-wide innovations including Dentons Direct, a technology platform which provides support and resources, and has a strong pro bono offering, including participating in the Vance Centre's "Keep Families Together" initiative. Managing partner Luis Abundio Maldonado leads the team with corporate and M&A practice director José Xavier Durán Rossetto, who joined the firm from Alta QIL+4 Abogados in January 2021.

Practice head(s):

José Xavier Durán Rossetto; Luis Abundio Maldonado

Key clients

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Xerox Servicios Compartidos Guatemala

Biesterfeld US

La Danta Films/El Cadejo Blanco

Ferretería de la Construcción

Work highlights

  • Advised Biesterfeld US on its $3m management buyout of all Biesterfeld’s Latin American subsidiaries to Guatemalan company Foragro.
  • Advised La Danta Films/El Cadejo Blanco on the incorporation of a special purpose entity for the production of a film.
  • Advised Xerox Servicios Compartidos Guatemala on its negotiations with HCL to provide shared services outsourcing.

Palomo Abogados

Palomo Abogados advises domestic and international companies on a range of corporate matters, including M&A, due diligence and contracts, with particular expertise in the maritime and insurance sectors – strengthened by its association with global insurance specialist Kennedys. The firm is also a member of Fundación Pro Bono Guatemala, which offers free legal services, particularly to migrants and refugees. Founding partners Federico Palomo and Héctor Palomo, who has notable strength in the food and media industries, and contributes additional IP expertise, lead the team. Associate Sara Rivera is also noted for her experience in advising companies operating under the maquiladora regime.

Practice head(s):

Héctor Palomo; Federico Palomo

Key clients

Make

Citco

Gaspro

Etermar, Engenharia e Construção

Covance Drug Development

Deme Group

Inspecciones Marítimas y de Carga

Dos Pinos

Grupo Procaps

Zelle International

Micro Insurance

Work highlights

  • Advising Gaspro on various matters, including its participation in government bids.
  • Advising Covance Guatemala Services, the Guatemalan subsidiary of drug development services company Covance, on corporate and commercial issues.
  • Advising pharmaceuticals manufacturer Balaxi’s Guatemalan branch on corporate and commercial issues.

Sfera Legal

Central American firm Sfera Legal has been particularly active in advising on corporate restructurings during the pandemic, but also has expertise in corporate governance matters and in the establishment and regional expansion of Guatemalan businesses. In addition, the team has recently advised on investments into new digital ventures, as well as acquisitions by Guatemalan clients abroad. Practice head Ignacio Andrade Aycinena has experience in M&A, joint ventures and private equity transactions. Jorge Asensio and Gabriel Pallares, who is also a key member of the estate planning practice, are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Ignacio Andrade Aycinena

Testimonials

‘Sfera has a team of lawyers who are very well prepared and have varied and complementary specialisations between them.’

‘They stand out for their expertise in different areas.’