With Paraguayan authorities starting to enforce its 2013 competition law since 2016, BKM | Berkemeyer has established a separate department for this practice, as demand and cases continue to grow. The firm has been involved in this practice area since its earliest stages, with senior associate and practice co-head Manuel Arias, who 'stands out for his experience and background management in competition cases', being part of a team assembled by the government to draft elements of the new legislation. The firm advised on the first concentration notifications in the country and continues to handle a large share of these matters in the market; practice co-head Carla Sosa regularly advises on these alongside Arias. More recently, the team has been assisting Banco Itaú Paraguay with its merger filing process before Conacom, following the acquisition of Verbank Securities Casa de Bolsa. This was led by Arias and fellow practice head Hugo Berkemeyer. Cecilia Vera, a key figure in the team, left the firm in March 2021.
Competition and antitrust in Paraguay
Hugo Berkemeyer; Carla Sosa; Manuel Arias
‘BKM has a highly qualified team in the field. Its ability to work as a team both internally and in interaction with in-house lawyers undoubtedly marks a differential with respect to the market.‘
‘Proximity, quality, specialty and follow-up to the issues.‘
‘The BKM team stands out for maintaining a constant line of communication and follow-up on open issues. They have good management of administrative records and use them adequately to design strategies.‘
‘Manuel Arias stands out for his experience and background management in competition cases, and for maintaining a clear and constant line of communication with the client.‘
‘BKM lawyers show a very open and empathic attitude with the client without being condescending. This firm and professional attitude, in my field is highly valued and especially when what time after the predictions or advice are confirmed. That creates a bond of trust that is very difficult to break.‘
Banco Itaú Paraguay
- Assisting Banco Itaú Paraguay, on behalf of Itaú Brazil, in the course of the merger filing process before Conacom, following the acquisition of Verbank Securities Casa de Bolsa.
- Advised Enex Paraguay on the drafting and designing of a compliance programme focused on antitrust law.
Ferrere ‘demonstrates a real knowledge of the Paraguayan competition regime and the applicable procedures‘. The firm assists its client base of multinational, regional and domestic companies in obtaining clearance from the competition authority, and in matters related to anti-competitive practices. The highly regarded Verónica Franco leads the practice, which she has been developing since 2017; in addition to leading advice to the firm’s existing base of multinationals, Franco is also now starting to draw new clients specifically for this area. A highlight of 2020 saw her advising ICG Strategic Equity Fund III-A on receiving clearance from the competition authority following its indirect acquisition of control over five Paraguayan subsidiaries of Southern Cross Latin America Private Equity Fund IV.
‘Ferrere’s practice in competition law differs from the rest by handling a large portion of the jurisdiction’s cases. This marks an advantage due to the knowledge of the processes and the interpretation criteria, in addition to the expertise in the matter. In addition, the collaboration between multidisciplinary teams within the firm makes it easier for them to understand the commercial processes that must be notified to the regulator.‘
‘Verónica Franco shows great knowledge of the legislation and a very good approach to the most complex issues. I have known Verónica for years and her team has always been recognised as a benchmark in the field.‘
‘Verónica Franco stands out as a partner in the practice. She shows depth in the topics analysed but with a practical vision, adapted to the client and the reality of the market involved.‘
‘Verónica Franco, head of practice, excellent lawyer, presents great sophistication.‘
‘Versatility and commitment to the challenges presented by the client.‘
‘Commitment. They take charge of antitrust administrative files with passion and an unconditional adherence to the interests of the client.‘
‘Ferrere law firm’s presence throughout South America gives their competition practice a rather unique understanding of the regulatory landscape. Ferrere’s competition team in Paraguay headed by Verónica Franco has been very attentive to our industry specificities. They also demonstrate a real knowledge of the Paraguayan competition regime and the applicable procedures.‘
‘Verónica Franco is knowledgeable, kind, and service-oriented. She and her team have been very responsive even at short notice.‘
Hidrovias do Brasil
Impala Terminals Group
ICG Strategic Equity Fund III-A LP
- Assisted ICG Strategic Equity Fund III-A with obtaining clearance from the Paraguayan competition authority in connection with the acquisition of control over five local subsidiaries of Southern Cross Latin America Private Equity Fund IV.
- Advising Credicentro, together with Pasfin and LC Risk, on obtaining clearance from the Paraguayan competition authority in connection with the triple merger of these three Paraguayan companies.
Vouga Abogados has established itself as one of the go-to firms in Paraguay for competition and antitrust matters, assisting clients with compliance issues as part of M&A transactions, as well as working on some of the few competition authority investigations that the jurisdiction has seen. Rodrigo Fernández is a key contact, acting for major clients including Copetrol, British American Tobacco and Paresa. His expertise is complemented by the corporate law knowledge of Rodolfo Guillermo Vouga, who frequently leads matters in this area, including compliance or investigations. Senior associate Luis Torales is quickly building proficiency in this field and regularly assists across the full range of work. In March 2021, competition law specialist Cecilia Vera joined as a senior associate from BKM | Berkemeyer, a significant addition to the firm's expertise in this area.
‘The Vouga Abogados team has the ability to address the client with a practical business language, fully internalizing the client’s operations. Its differential is that the professionals are able to offer solutions or immediate opinions as a preview and then go deeper into details. Being the first highly valued in a commercial / competitive field. It compares very favorably with other firms, the difference lies in the knowledge of the client’s needs and the speed of resolution.‘
‘Vouga has a team that works well coordinated and takes into account the smallest details.‘
‘They have trained people and above all with very good treatment – Rodolfo Vouga and Rodrigo Fernandez.‘
‘Rodrigo Fernández stands out especially for his enormous assertiveness and knowledge of the area. Not only does he provide adequate solutions, but also very creative ones, and that for an organisation like ours is highly valued since we promote out-of-the-box thinking. Another capacity that we value is the rapid understanding of the needs of our business, which, being a hyper-regulated sector, requires a great capacity to adapt to very restricted operating environments.‘
Paraguayan Industrial Guild (UIP)
- Representing an oil and gas company in an investigation opened by the Paraguayan competition authority regarding a commitments and remedies plan.
- Assisted shareholders of Cadena Farmacenter with the sale of a majority shareholding to Grupo Cartes.
- Acting for a multinational group with a leading market share in an investigation opened by the Paraguayan competition authority.
As part of its wider corporate and commercial offering, Mersán Abogados' antitrust team advises clients on anti-competitive behaviour and practices, market research and concentration operations. National and international companies look to practice head Diego Zavala for regulatory assistance, and for advice on the implications of the relatively new competition law on M&A transactions.