Banking and finance in Panama
Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee is one of the leading Panamanian players for banking and finance legal services, handling some of the country's most high-profile transactions. The ten-strong team covers the full array of sector-related work, ranging from advice on syndicated loans, credit facilities and debt structuring, to assistance on real estate and project finance. Banks, financial sponsors, investors and multinationals regularly seek the practice's advice on complex domestic and cross-border transactions as well as day-to-day regulatory advice. Recent standout work saw the team counsel lender Banco General on various matters, such as a $46m financing for the completion of the construction of the Altos del Parque project, and a $38m financing for the construction of a new hospital in Costa del Este. Practice head Arturo Gerbaud led advice to a banking consortium including The Bank of Nova Scotia and Unibank, regarding a $40m secured syndicated loan granted to Evolution Hotel. Highly regarded Eloy Alfaro led the team acting as local counsel to Citibank regarding a loan granted to CrediQ, a Central American company providing vehicle-financing services. Heavyweights Banistmo, Banco Santander Central Hispano and BAC International Bank also feature on the firm's client roster. Associate Patricia Cordero is another name to note.
The first-class banking and finance practice at Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega demonstrates extensive experience across financing in the public and private spheres. Typical instructions include advising high-profile banks and financial institutions on cross-border transactions, including loan agreements, credit facilities, bond offerings and securities issuances. Recent engagements saw the team represent Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse Securities and Banco General, as lead bookrunners, on Promerica Financial Corporation's initial debt offering of $200m senior secured notes under rule 144A/Reg S. Estif Aparicio led the team that recently acted as Panamanian counsel to Citigroup Global Markets in two international bond offerings for the expansion of Tocumen International Airport. An area of particular expertise is representing lending entities on the financing of energy-infrastructure projects. Rodrigo Cardoze, assisted by fellow partner Andrés Rubinoff and senior associate Fernando Arias Arias F, continues to represent McDermott in a series of financing transactions. Led by the 'astute' Ricardo Arango, the 12-strong practice group was further strengthened by the arrival of Donald P Canavaggio as an international associate from Milbank.
Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez
Co-led by Alfredo Ramirez and Luis R López Alfaro, the banking and finance department at Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez regularly acts as external counsel to local banks, international financial institutions and multilateral agencies. The sizeable team not only provides ongoing regulatory advice, but also offers assistance to both lenders and borrowers on the structuring of cross-border finance, loan agreements, complex banking and securitisation deals. Among a selection of significant mandates, the practice advised Caribbean Financial Group's local subsidiary, Financiera El Sol, in its first ever multi-jurisdictional securitisation of personal consumer loans. Other notable matters saw the team represent the consortium comprising FCC Construccion and Operadora CICSA on the $450m project financing of the first stage of Corredor de las Playas. Recommended partner Roberto Harrington also led advice to DEG, as lender, on the due diligence and structuring of a $15m unsecured loan to UniBank. Also a key practitioner, María Cargiulo made partner in January 2018. Other representative clients include Banesco and Citibank.
Galindo, Arias & López boasts a ten-strong banking and finance team, which is adept at advising local and international clients on credit facilities, loan agreements, financial restructuring and project finance. Highly commended for its 'knowledge and experience', one of the key strengths of the practice is high-end aviation and energy-projects financing, as demonstrated by its regular involvement in related matters. The 'always available' Cristina Lewis de la Guardia recently led a team advising Copa Holdings on several transactions, including the $625m financing of five Boeing 737-9 planes; the team also acted as local counsel to several international banks on a $36m credit facility to refinance an aircraft fleet. Practice head Roberto de Araujo López led advice to BCT Bank International and Balboa Bank and Trust on their merger process. The reputable Diego Herrera is also a key practitioner in the 'solution-oriented' department.
Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán
Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán's banking and finance department provides advice on administrative and regulatory matters related to the structuring and issuance of securities, compliance issues and both contentious and non-contentious matters, as well as offering general banking legal services. The team often receives instructions from multilateral organisations, investment houses, corporations and trusts with domestic and international banks also featuring on its client roster. Partners Michelle Oteiza de la Guardia, Luis Chalhoub and Domingo Díaz Strunz are the key points of contact.
The well-equipped banking and finance practice at Morgan & Morgan offers comprehensive advice on credit facilities, loan agreements, bond structuring, project finance and regulatory matters. Led by Inocencio Galindo, the eight-strong team regularly represents local, regional and international trustees, issuers and lenders, and demonstrates particular strength in the mining and energy sectors. The group provides ongoing counselling to International Finance Corporation (IFC) on financing and regulatory matters related to a major wind energy project; other recent engagements included advising Banisi, as issuer, in the structuring of a $50m program of revolving corporate bonds; and assisting IDB Invest in relation to a $60m loan facility granted to Global Bank Corporation. Partner Kharla Aizpurua and Ramon Varela are other names to notes.
The banking and securities team at Fabrega Molino has extensive experience advising local and international clients in relation to the establishing of banking operations in Panama, finance structures and regulatory matters. Tatiana Abadía heads a practice that also receives instructions from banks and other financial institutions in connection with syndicated loans, and corporate and real estate finance, as well as capital markets and trust-related matters. Senior partners Juan Pablo Fabrega and Jorge Molina are also active in the department. Representative clients include Banco General and Ideal Living Corp.
With particular clout in the shipping and aviation industries, Patton, Moreno & Asvat's banking and securities team is regularly involved in local and international offers of debt and vessel financing. In a broader context, the practice also advises on derivatives, and the establishment of brokerage companies and investment funds, as well as sector-related regulatory matters. Founding partner Ebrahim Asvat, along with Khatiya Asvat and Nadya Price, constitute the core team.
Sucre, Briceño & Co. frequently assists local and international financial institutions and investment banks with the obtaining of licenses, credit facilities, and general bank contracting and regulation. The practice, led by managing partner Fernando Sucre, further advises on both non-contentious and contentious matters in connection with public offerings, foreign investments and hedge funds. Recent highlight mandates included acting on behalf of Hipotecaria Metrocredit in relation to a $70m mortgage bond issuance; Sucre and senior associate Jhoanna Fong also led advice to Global Bank Corporation on an $18m leasing contract. Anibal Tejeira is another name to note. Clients include Banco Internacional de Costa Rica and Canal Bank.
Benefiting from the close support of its other regional offices, the banking and finance team at Arias receives instructions from international investment funds, financial institutions and multilaterals. Under the leadership of Yuri Moreno, the 'always available' team regularly acts as Panamanian counsel to both borrowers and lenders in loan agreements, credit facilities, guarantee agreements and financing of acquisitions. Associate Maria Elena Moreno left the firm in March 2019.
Arosemena Noriega & Contreras has developed a solid banking practice, which handles matters related to credit transactions, bank registration and licensing, recovery and other financial work. Name partner Julio Cesar Contreras and associates Mario Rognoni and Jose Miguel Navarrete constitute the core team, which regularly advises major financial institutions and investment funds on international bond offerings, security agreements and other multi-jurisdictional transactions.
Co-led by managing partner Gisela Porras and Ana Lucrecia Tovar, the banking and finance practice at Dentons Muñoz can draw on the backing of Dentons international network of offices as necessary. The team regularly acts as Panamanian counsel in sector-related cross-border transactions, such as guaranteed loans, credit facilities, syndicated loans and public offerings. The department also assists major Latin American banks with day-to-day regulatory matters.
LOVILL's banking and finance service offering comprises advice on loan agreements, securities, restructuring of credit facilities and regulatory matters. Elizabeth Heutermatte heads the practice and recently lead the team acting as Panamanian counsel to Grupo Q, as guarantor, on a $154m credit facility granted by Citibank and OPIC. Visa is a recent addition to the firm's client portfolio, which also includes Financiera Autocash, Scotiabank El Salvador and BIM Asset management. Following the end of the the firm's participation in the LatamLex Abogados alliance, both the team and client roster remain largely intact. Associate Ana Carolina Ureña is another name to note.