As part of the DRT International Law Firm & Alliance network, local practice A. D. Sosa & Soto has strengthened its international connections and counts a number of global corporations among its clients. The 'well-connected' team advises on M&A, corporate restructuring, corporate governance and foreign investments. The practice is led by Juan Sebastián Soto, who focuses on international transactions, including distribution and franchise contacts; Carlos Rafael Pellecer, who has expertise in M&A and corporate finance; and Einar Klanderud, whose experience includes advising non-profit organisations.
Corporate/M&A in Guatemala
‘The team are well connected and work together to protect their clients’ interests. It is unusual to find teams that work collectively in this way, combining the best qualities of each member to find the solution to our issues.’
‘Juan Sebastian Soto, Carlos Rafael Pellecer and Einar Klanderud stand out for their robust protection of clients’ interests, as well as their identification of clear and direct strategies to solve our problems. They show total commitment and dedication to the matters we entrust to them.’
Coca Cola FEMSA
TV Azteca Group
Danone de Guatemala
Auto Partes y Más
MBMG International Brands
Huawei Telecommunications Guatemala
- Advised Multinational Brand Management Group on the asset purchase agreement of Gef stores in Guatemala.
- Advised Huawei Telecommunications (Guatemala) on the service agreements surrounding its launch.
A Central American firm with a presence in South America thanks to its office in Ecuador, Aguilar Castillo Love is well placed to advise on M&A transactions throughout Latin America. The team has a strong international client base, with expertise in a broad range of sectors, including disruptive industries. The practice is also experienced in advising on corporate governance; team co-head Juan Carlos Castillo-Chacón is particularly active advising family-owned corporations on such matters, in addition to foreign companies with operations in Guatemala. Co-head Natalia Callejas Aquino is noted for her corporate compliance expertise.
American Tower Corporation
Jaguar Energy Guatemala
- Acted as local counsel to Owens-Illinois General Inc on its acquisition of shares issued by Empresas Comegua.
- Advised Global Brigades on establishing its Guatemalan office.
- Advised The Nature Conservancy on corporate compliance matters.
The broad corporate practice at Arias covers M&A, reorganisations, the establishment of branches and representative offices, and corporate governance, and is highly active advising international clients on investments in Guatemala. The team's client base includes a large number of multinationals, and it is experienced in advising on multi-jurisdictional transactions, often with the support of the regional firm's network of offices across Central America. The practice has particular strength in highly regulated sectors, including telecoms, energy and finance. Jorge Luis Arenales, who has extensive experience in domestic and cross-border transactions and investment projects, leads the team with Luis Pedro Del Valle, who is noted for his telecoms expertise. The strong cohort of associates includes Florencio Gramajo, Jorge Ordoñez and Ana Avila.
Operadora de Tiendas
High Q International
Premium Restaurant Brands
SBA Communications Corporation
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Advised Telefónica on the sale of its operating business across Central America to América Móvil and Millicom for $2.3bn.
- Advised Eurofarma Laboratórios on the acquisition of several products and brands from Stein Laboratories.
- Advised on the sale of Spectrum Brands Holdings’ global battery and portable lighting business in Central America to Energizer Holdings for $2bn.
- Advised Premium Asian Restaurants of America and Comidas Orientales on the sale of the China Wok chain of restaurants.
Local firm Bermejo & Bermejo is experienced in advising international corporations with operations in Guatemala, as well as domestic companies with international operations. The practice is noted for its strength in the real estate and construction, aviation, agrochemical and gaming sectors, and for advising on the corporate needs of franchises. Juan Carlos Bermejo leads the 'efficient' and 'responsive' team, with support from Luis Pedro Bermejo and Luis Fernando Bermejo.
‘The firm stands out for its teamwork, the specialisation of the team members and the efficiency of the service.’
‘They are efficient and responsive in providing services, particularly Luis Fernando Bermejo.’
‘It is definitely a good team and the main thing is that they have good communication, which makes the work easier.’
‘Each team member is an expert in their field – Juan Carlos in everything relating to laws and contracts, and Luis Fernando in all trade mark matters. Between them, they make up a very good team.’
Embotelladora La Fortuna
Transportes Aéreos Guatemaltecos
Grupo Solid (Guatemala)
Carso Infraestructura y Construcción
- Advised Grupo Solid on the sale of its agroforestry division.
Regional firm BLP advises on both domestic and cross-border M&A transactions, as well as spin-offs, franchise and distribution agreements, shareholders' agreements and the operation of free trade zones. The team counts local, regional and international companies, ranging from start-ups and family businesses to global brands, and private equity firms among its clients. María Inés Arenales, who adds her expertise in finance and tax to corporate matters, leads the team alongside Luis Ruiz, who is noted for his experience in M&A and advising on foreign investments in Central America. Senior counsel Alejandro Arenales and associate Alcy Martínez are also key contacts.
One Equity Partners
Derivados de Gasa
Hill & Knowlton Guatemala
Juan Niemann & Cía
Promerica Financial Corporation
- Advised Lafrancol Guatemala on a due diligence process.
- Advised Grupo HAME on the restructuring of more than 200 of its operating companies in jurisdictions including Panama, the BVI, the Bahamas and the US.
- Advising HCL on day-to-day corporate matters.
Well-established Guatemalan firm BMTLAW advises local and international clients on a range of corporate matters, including the establishment of companies, M&A and restructuring. The key contacts are the highly experienced Jorge Rolando Barrios and Lorena Barrios, who specialises in M&A, energy-related transactions and foreign investment.
Carrillo & Asociados advises domestic and international clients from a wide range of sectors, including energy, retail, agribusiness, telecoms and banking, on corporate matters. The team has experience assisting with due diligence, incorporations, reorganisations and joint ventures, as well as complex M&A transactions, and also advises foreign investors on distribution and franchise agreements. Rodolfo Alegría, who has notable expertise in the energy and telecoms sectors, and Rodrigo Callejas, who focuses on cross-border transactions and joint ventures, lead the team alongside highly regarded senior partners Alfonso Carrillo and Francisco Chávez. Senior associate Mélida Pineda is also noted for her strength in the energy sector.
CENTRAL LAW Guatemala
Praised for its 'reliability and efficiency', CENTRAL LAW Guatemala regularly advises the Guatemalan subsidiaries of multinational companies on general corporate matters, including the incorporation of businesses, as well as M&A and restructuring. The team has particular strength in the mining and energy sectors; practice head Juan Pablo Carrasco de Groote is experienced in advising foreign investors on investments and acquisitions for projects in Guatemala and the rest of Central America. Associate Verónica González is also a key member of the team.
‘What makes them stand out is their accessibility and availability to respond to our requests for advice at any time.’
‘Two of the team’s key strengths are reliability and efficiency.’
Bayside Support Services
Smart Doing Enterprises
- Advised Worldwide Cosmetics on the expansion of its distribution activities in Guatemala.
- Advising the local subsidiaries of Kerry Group on ongoing corporate matters.
Regional firm Consortium Legal is active in cross-border M&A transactions across Central America, with a multi-disciplinary offering that includes advice on financial and tax structuring. The 'experienced' and 'reputable' team acts for leading domestic and international clients from a range of sectors, including telecoms, pharmaceuticals, mining, energy and financial services. The practice is led by tax specialist Alfredo Rodríguez, who has particular expertise in international investment law; Álvaro Castellanos, who specialises in regulated sectors such as energy and finance; and Rafael Alvarado Riedel, who frequently advises international clients, including on project bids. With particular expertise in mining-sector M&A, Sofía Escribá made partner in September 2020; both she, and senior associate Maria Fernanda Morales, are also key members of the team.
‘The team is specialised in different areas of law, and is experienced and reputable.’
‘Short response times, responsible advice and the experience to foresee contingencies.’
Sandwiches & Restaurantes
Distribuidora Me Llega
Telxius Cable Guatemala
- Advised Millicom on a potential investment in Telefonica.
- Advised Disney on the acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s operations in Guatemala.
- Advised Eurofarma on its acquisition by Laboratorios Stein.
- Advised Telxius on an agreement with América Móvil to deploy a submarine cable along the Pacific coast of Latin America, from Guatemala to Chile.
Valued for its 'knowledge' and 'experience', EY Law Central America has particular strength in corporate governance and structuring, advising a roster of leading local and international clients. The team also handles M&A transactions, often acting on cross-border matters with the support of the firm's global network of offices (including offices throughout Central America). Areas of expertise include the telecoms, financial services, pharmaceutical and hospitality sectors. Ruby Asturias, who has extensive experience in complex M&A and multinational investments, leads the practice with Enrique Möller Sánchez, who has expertise in corporate governance and restructuring. The team also includes experienced managers Mirla Tubac and Martin Barillas.
‘The team members complement each other, they have a good relationship with their clients and explain their advice well.’
‘They stand out for their knowledge and experience of legal procedures.’
Comidas Especializadas y Servicios de Guatemala
Agencia Nacional de Alianzas para el Desarrollo de Infraestructura Económica (ANADIE)
Prosegur Global CIT
- Advising Comidas Especializadas (which operates the Denny’s franchise in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) on day-to-day corporate matters.
- Advised Merril on the reorganisation of its corporate structure and governance to prepare for a possible merger.
- Advised Cablevía on the preparation of its initial private stock offering to finance a possible infrastructure project.
LatamLex | Skinner-Klée & Asociados
LatamLex | Skinner-Klée & Asociados' client base includes a number of regional banks and the Guatemalan subsidiaries of multinational corporations, which the team advises on multi-jurisdictional corporate matters in Central America. It benefits from connections across the region thanks to its membership of the LatamLex network. Practice co-head Alfredo Skinner-Klée is highly regarded in the market - among other roles, he is currently serving as President of Banco de los Trabajadores - and has longstanding M&A experience. Co-head María Gabriela Coronado Díaz is also a name to note.
Zimeri Gandara Family
Banco Internacional de Costa Rica
- Advised Banco Internacional de Costa Rica (Bicsa) on the restructuring of its Guatemalan office.
- Advised Tabacalera Centroamericana (the Guatemalan subsidiary of Philip Morris International) on the process of decapitalisation.
Legalsa is noted for its expertise in corporate matters in the telecoms, agribusiness, financial and technology sectors, and for its experience advising national and foreign investors on cross-border transactions. The team handles M&A, joint ventures, the organisation and operation of new businesses in Guatemala, and corporate governance, and has growing practices in energy and infrastructure, estate planning and advising start-ups. Managing partner David Font, whose strengths include M&A, foreign direct investment and corporate structuring, heads the team with Johann Hartleben, who has a focus on international transactions, with a focus on the real estate and aviation sectors.
‘The most important things about the team are its availability, knowledge and strategic approach.’
‘They bring together expertise in different areas to reach a comprehensive solution.’
Compañía Agrícola Industrial Santa Ana
- Advised América Móvil on its $333m acquisition of Telefónica’s operations in Guatemala.
- Advised Cidal on the sale of its operations in Central America and South America.
- Providing day-to-day corporate advice to Claro Guatemala.
Lexincorp is noted for its strength in the telecoms, real estate and energy sectors, and is particularly experienced in assisting transnational companies with setting up operations in Guatemala and Central America, drawing on support from the firm's other offices. Gonzalo Menéndez González, who specialises in the acquisition of local companies by international entities, leads the team with Julio Aparicio, who often handles complex restructurings. The team, which also includes Edvin Montoya, was further strengthened in March 2020 by the addition of José Miguel Valladares from his own practice, V&P Legal.
‘They have complete command of the subject and provide global advice.’
Peppertree Capital Management
Campo Sol Corporation
Empresa Minera El Condor
Ingenio La Unión
Corporación Camino Real
- Providing ongoing corporate advice to Hipertex.
- Advising Milésimo on corporate structuring.
Having expanded its presence in Central America through the opening of offices in Honduras and El Salvador in 2016 and 2017, respectively, Mayora & Mayora, S.C. is highly experienced in cross-border M&A transactions in the region. The team also advises on corporate governance, particularly in relation to the rights of minority shareholders, the establishment of businesses and foreign entities, and corporate restructurings. The energy, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and technology sectors are among its areas of strength. Practice heads Claudia Pereira and Sandra Castillo are particularly experienced in advising multinational clients, many of which are based in the US, Mexico and Europe. The team also includes well-regarded senior partners Eduardo Mayora and Rafael Briz, and senior associate María de la Concepción Villeda, who specialises in corporate governance.
24/7 Guatemala Contact Services Company
Compañía De Autoservicios Cofal
Ingenio Palo Gordo
- Advising 24/7 Guatemala Contact Services Company on general corporate matters, including corporate governance.
- Advising GBM (an IBM Alliance company) on ongoing corporate matters.
- Advised Grupo Montañesa on the acquisition of the assets of one of the largest agricultural production businesses in Guatemala.
- Advising companies including Total Marketing Support Global, Ufinet, Diageo, PRA Health Sciences, Hoffmann-La Roche and Ingenio Palo Gordo on ongoing corporate matters, restructuring operations and governance.
Novales Abogados stands out for its work on corporate matters in the energy and aviation sectors. The practice's client roster includes national corporations and family-owned businesses, as well as international companies. Cristián Novales Schlesinger, Javier Novales Schlesinger and founding partner Alfonso Novales Aguirre make up the team.
Palomo Abogados (formerly Palomo & Porras) is best known for handling corporate matters in the maritime and insurance sectors, and has strengthened its international practice through its recent alliance with global insurance firm Kennedys. The team advises on M&A, corporate structuring and business expansions. Following the departure of Juan José Porras in May 2019 to set up GT Legal, the practice has been jointly led by Héctor Palomo and Federico Palomo. Senior associate Sara Rivera is also recommended for her expertise in the maquiladora regime.
The London P&I Club
The Swedish P&I Club
Norwegian Hull Club
Cooperativa De Leche Dos Pinos
- Advised ITS Infocom on corporate matters including the preparation of a commercial contract for the provision of technical and operational services.
- Advising Balaxi International on the expansion of its business in Guatemala.
Local powerhouse QIL+4 ABOGADOS, S.A. advises a broad local, regional and international client base, including corporations and a number of investment banks, on M&A, joint ventures, corporate structuring and private equity transactions. The multi-disciplinary team also assists with the tax, labour, administrative and environmental aspects of corporate transactions. Its areas of expertise include the automotive, financial services, energy, pharmaceutical and telecoms industries, and it has also been notably active in the media sector. Highly experienced partners Marcos Ibargüen and María Isabel Luján lead the practice. Other noted members of the team include José Quiñones and Alejandro Cofiño, who specialise in tax and finance, respectively; Andrés Lowenthal, who advises clients from the US and across Latin America; and senior associate Melissa Echeverría, who specialises in cross-border M&A.
Disagro De Guatemala
WPP Group USA
Central American firm Sfera Legal is praised for its 'detail-oriented approach' and 'availability'. The team is experienced in handling multi-jurisdictional M&A transactions, as well as corporate restructurings, joint ventures, the creation of corporate entities, corporate governance and private equity matters. The team is led by the highly regarded Ignacio Andrade Aycinena; he and Gabriel Pallares Cruz-Gomar, whose expertise includes foreign investment, are described as 'excellent lawyers'.
‘Sfera Legal’s corporate and M&A practice is undoubtedly one of the strongest at the firm. The team’s level of knowledge and experience in this area makes transactions smoother for all the parties.’
‘The main thing that sets the team apart is their detail-oriented approach and availability to assist clients outside regular working hours. I turn to Gabriel Pallares and Ignacio Andrade in particular for all my corporate matters in Central America, not only because they are excellent lawyers, but also because they are incredibly meticulous and are available 24/7.’
‘When it comes to skills and strengths, I have to point out their capacity for analysis and ability to resolve cases in an agile and reliable way.’
‘It is one of the best known and most elite national firms. They have highly qualified lawyers in every area. I would say it is a good firm because of the thorough and timely advice provided by lawyers in the different fields of law.’