Corporate and M&A in Panama
Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee
Jointly led by esteemed Alejandro Ferrer and Arturo Gerbaud, Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee's corporate and M&A practice is well regarded in the market, not least because of the team's wide-ranging expertise in sector-related matters. The sizeable department is a regular legal advisor to both purchasers and sellers in complex local and cross-border transactions, and offer a multitude of services related to acquisitions, mergers and share transfers, as well as corporate and regulatory matters. Petroamérica Terminal, Phoenix Tower International, Julius Bäer and Citibank feature on the practice's longstanding client list. Standout work included the team's advice to the Panamanian branch of The Bank of Nova Scotia on its $550m acquisition of Scotiabank (Panama), following its winding-up. The 'very good' Eloy Alfaro is highly experienced and also active in the corporate arena, where associate Rita de la Guardia offers key support.
The five-partner corporate services and M&A practice at Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega is one of the first choices for international companies seeking advice on the full-scale of corporate and transactional matters with a multidisciplinary approach. The department is regularly instructed by market heavyweights such as JP Morgan Securities, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and McDermott International. A recent highlight involved acting as lead counsel to Grupo Rey on the sale of a 73% controlling interest in Rey Holdings, Panama’s leading supermarket, successfully closing the first public tender offer in approximately 10 years. Practice head Ricardo Arango led the team that represented Cable Onda's shareholders in the sale of 80% of the company to Millicom; while highly-recommended Andrés Rubinoff advised United Airlines on multiple transactions totalling $456m, including a joint venture agreement with Copa Airlines. On the purchaser-side, the practice group also acted as local counsel to car dealership chain Inchcape on its cross-border acquisition of Grupo Rudelman, with the advice including a corporate restructuring, share issuance and the merger agreement.
The corporate, commercial and M&A team at Galindo, Arias & López demonstrates 'impressive capabilities to manage major projects' related to acquisitions, joint ventures, equity interest sales and private bids, as well as corporate restructurings, franchises and cross-border mergers. Commended for its 'ability to identify key issues and address them from a business-oriented and practical perspective', the fifteen-strong practice is frequently retained by both domestic and international companies from a range of sectors. Responsive and proactive', the team recently represented Petróleos Delta on its acquisition of Total’s downstream gas business in Costa Rica. Other headline mandates saw the 'very experienced and knowledgeable' Diego Herrera lead the team that acted as local counsel to Millicom on its $1.46bn global acquisition of 80% of the shares of Cable Onda; while practice co-head Ramon Arias led advice to Copa Airlines in the negotiation of a joint business agreement with United Airlines and Avianca. Senior associate Jose Luis Sosa provides key support in most deals.
Morgan & Morgan boasts a first-class corporate and M&A department, that is well-versed in handling complex local and cross-border transactions from their initial negotiation to post-closing. Under the joint-leadership of reputed figures Francisco Arias, Inocencio Galindo and Ramon Varela, the team offers advice to companies on transactional matters, corporate reorganisation, the establishing of operations in Panama, and public and private bids, while also undertaking regulatory work. Prominent recent mandates saw the sizeable team represent concessionaire Minera Panama in connection with the $6.4bn open-pit copper mining project Cobre Panamá; and act as local counsel to Farallon Nicaragua on the sale of its shrimp business to Cooke Inc. The practice also demonstrates particular expertise in energy-related matters, as evidenced by its acting for Engie Solar on the sale of its participation in PanamaSolar2 to Latin Renewables Infrastructure Funds. Moreover the team has been strengthened with the consecutive promotions of Roberto Vidal (a key lawyer in the department), and Aristides Anguizola to the partnership in early 2019 and early 2020, respectively. Clients include Banco General, Mitsubishi Corp, Hitachi, Banistmo and Caterpillar Financial Services.
Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez
The corporate and M&A team at Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramírez advises a predominantly Americas and Western European clientele interested in establising business operations in Panama, but nonetheless also assists local clients in high-profile transactions. The broad service offering includes advice on joint ventures, acquisitions and mergers, often with a cross-border element, as well as administrative matters. A recent mandate saw the team represent Kingsland Holdings in a joint venture and partnership agreement with Avianca, United Airlines and Copa Airlines. Other matters included advising Amplifon on its $500m-plus cross-border acquisition of hearing aid devices manufacturer GAES. Partners Luis R López Alfaro and Alfredo Ramírez Jr are the first point of call. Newly promoted partner Ricardo Moreno, along with Roberto Harrington and Alejandro Aleman, are the other names to note.
Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán's M&A and corporate practice provides considered commercial and corporate law advice to international and local clients operating in a broad array of sectors, including energy, construction, shipping and finance. The interdisciplinary service offering encompasses advice in connection with both domestica and international acquisitions and mergers, shareholder and trust agreements, and corporate restructuring, as well as general contract negotiations and contentious work. The sizeable department recently acted as local counsel to Corporación Favorita on its acquisition of a majority-stake controlling interest in Rey Holdings. It is also well versed in representing public and state bodies; nonetheless, other key clients include Unilever, Syngenta and Sanofi Aventis. Alexis V Herrera Jr, Michelle Oteiza de la Guardia and Luis Chalhoub are the names to note.
Jointly lead1 by the well-regarded Juan Pablo Fabrega and José Augustín Preciado, the M&A team at Fabrega Molino frequently advises corporate clients and institutional entities on transactions demanding cross-disciplinary expertise in relation to complex IP, tax and labour issues. The department has 1notable experience handling cross-border matters, joint ventures, and the full-range of administrative and transactional matters, as well as advising on antitrust and competition regulations, corporate governance and compliance in general. Practitioners to note include Dani Kuzniecky and Tatiana Abadía.
With particular clout in the maritime and aviation sector, Patton, Moreno & Asvat regularly handles matters related to acquisitions and sales of public and private companies, joint ventures and reorganisations, as well as regulatory advice in connection with antitrust and competition law. The team is also adept at assisting foreign companies with their establishment under special economic regimes. Department head Maria de Lourdes Marengo, whose specialisms span aviation, shipping and tax law, is the main contact, with key support coming from newly-promoted partners Khatiya Asvat and Nadya Price. Senior associate Felipe Escalona left the team to co-establish Delvalle, Escalona, Levy & Corró Abogados.
Arias covers a1 wide-array of corporate and M&A services and has the added resource of the firm's presence throughout Central America. Yuri Moreno and Siaska SSS Lorenzo co-lead a 'highly qualified' practice group that is particularly active advising sellers on due diligence related to regional cross-border transactions. Commended for its 'excellent level of service', the team has also enjoyed notable participation in the handling of transaciton-associated labour matters. Other recent work includes coordinating a share restructuring on bahalf of Mega Pharma; and undertaking due diligence on the sale of Vitro's investments (worth up to $119m) in subsidiaries domiciled in multiple South American jurisdictions. Other representative clients include Grupo Rudelman, Pertento (Ufinet) and Tetrapak.
The corporate and administrative department at LOVILL is commended for its 'great capability to solve legal inquiries and hardships within the processes of mergers and acquisitions'. Elizabeth Heutermatte leads the seven-lawyer team that besides undertaking transactional and regulatory work, also advises on joint venture agreements, corporate restructurings, public tenders and labour-related issues. The practice recently acted as counsel to SGS Panama Control Services on its $18m acquisition of two companies, handling the post-closing integration and company restructuring. The team's client roster includes Visa, Pacifica Petroleum and Financiera Autocash.
Pardini & Asociados
Pardini & Asociados fields a corporate and transactional department that covers all aspects of corporate law, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate reorganisation, obtaining of licenses and regulatory matters. Juan Pardini, whose expertise includes transactions in the aviation and maritime sectors, leads a team that has been particularly active advising on corporate restructurings of late. Notable mandates include acting as local counsel to Air China in relation to its establishment of a local affiliate under a special regime; and advising Miniso Hong Kong on all aspects of the acquisition of a franchise in Panama. The team is also Shell's local legal standing counsel, which it advises on corporate, contractual and regulatory law matters.