Highlighted for its ‘dynamism and 100% focus on the client‘, BKM | Berkemeyer‘s competition law department has been a key player in the recent swell of attention on this area of law in Paraguay. Having established a dedicated department, the team has swiftly gained experience both in investigations by the domestic competition authority, Conacom, and in merger filings and compliance following major M&A deals. In this context the team has been approached by international firms working on cross-border mergers that involve Paraguay. Manuel Arias, who was promoted to the partnership in May 2022, is well regarded by clients in this area and is one of the more experienced partners in this nascent practice area. He leads the team alongside Carla Sosa, who is similarly well versed in this area, having pursued a diploma in competition law. Senior partner Hugo Berkemeyer is also a key contact here, and the three draw together this practice with the firm’s broader corporate law group. Manfredo Ramirez was singled out by one client for his ‘substantial contribution‘; he makes up a strong associate-level group in this practice area, which also includes Andres Nasser and senior associate Alvaro Rojas, who joined the firm in October 2021.
Competition and antitrust in Paraguay
BKM | Berkemeyer
Hugo Berkemeyer; Carla Sosa; Manuel Arias
‘The BKM team works very closely on the case, collaborating with their previous experiences before the regulator. In this sense, experience is relevant in handling the required documentation, as well as to anticipate potential points to be explored in greater depth by the regulator.’
‘BKM’s lawyers, especially Manuel Arias, stand out for their closeness to internal collaborators. His availability is always remarkable, giving due priority to queries according to their urgency or relevance.’
‘The team is conceptually solid and flexible to the needs of the company.’
‘Its people are partners in the company and in the business. The relationship is based on trust, clarity about the objectives and the quality of the work.’
‘The intervention of the team led by Manuel Arias and with the substantial contribution of Manfredo Ramírez has been simply extraordinary. We have received exceptional attention covering all possible edges of both the substantive discussion and the process.’
‘The dynamism and 100% focus on the client and their needs.’
Banco Itaú Paraguay
- Advising Prosegur Paraguay on the fulfilment of the conditions imposed by Conacom stemming from a recent merger filing process.
- Advising Unilever Paraguay as preemptive counsel in complying with the company’s competition policies as well as with the training of its executives in such matters.
- Advised Banco Itaú Paraguay, on behalf of Itaú Brazil, on the merger filing process before Conacom, following the acquisition of Verbank Securities Casa de Bolsa.
Ferrere stands out for its prowess in merger control filings and related compliance advice, in which it advises a wealth of multinationals and domestic heavyweights in a variety of sectors. Banking and finance has been a particularly strong area, with two of the practice’s recent standout highlights seeing practice head Verónica Franco advising Itaú Unibanco and Credicentro on gaining non-conditional clearance from Conacom for their respective M&A deals. Her ‘strong expertise on competition and antitrust‘ is backed up by associate Fernanda Benítez, who is developing a particular focus on competition and antitrust in her growing practice.
‘An amazing team, always available to listen the need of the clients and to offer the best solutions.’
‘Veronica Franco is a professional with a strong expertise on competition and antitrust. She is responsive and dynamic. She is capable of thinking out of the box and she offers to the client smart solutions. She assisted our company on several matters from big mergers to competition compliance programs, always delivering a satisfactory final work.’
‘Ferrere was exceptionally quick at all times – from conflicts check, to assessment of the transaction, research on precedents from the antitrust authority and providing correct guidance.’
‘The assessment provided to me was objective and timely.’
‘Verónica Franco is highly responsive, be it for responding to requests for calls or for transaction assessments. The assessment I requested was provided in an objective manner, quickly and with high quality. I would absolutely recommend Veronica for clients who need antitrust counsel in Paraguay.’
‘It is a team that can competently resolve queries in different areas of law and in several jurisdictions in Latin America at the same time. When analyses are carried out with a Latin American scope, Ferrere provides an efficient and fast solution.’
‘Verónica Franco is an excellent lawyer and gives very good client service.’
‘It is one of the few antitrust and competition practices in the region with qualified individuals.’
Hidrovias do Brasil
Cervepar (Anheuser Busch-Inbev)
Impala Terminals Group
ICG Strategic Equity Fund III-A LP
- Acting for Mediterranean Shipping Company in obtaining clearance from the Paraguayan Competition Authority in connection with a pre-closing notification regarding the potential acquisition of 50% of a company in San Francisco.
- Advising Itaú Unibanco on gaining clearance from the Paraguayan Competition Authority in connection with the acquisition of local insurance company Providencia de Seguros.
- Assisting Credicentro with the non-conditional clearance from the Paraguayan Competition Authority in connection with the triple merger with Pasfin and LC Risk.
The competition law practice at Vouga Abogados is valued by clients for its ‘clear ideas and recommendations‘; it advises on complex compliance issues in the context of mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, and acts for clients in investigations by the country's competition authority. Drawing on ‘deep knowledge of the legal landscape‘, practice head Rodrigo Fernández is highly regarded. He had studied competition law in Europe prior to its enactment in Paraguay and as such has notable experience in this field. Corporate partner Rodolfo Guillermo Vouga is also an important figure here, acting as a regular contact for the firm’s clients across the range of corporate law issues. Senior associate Cecilia Vera has been a valuable hire in this area and is one of the most experienced young lawyers in domestic competition law. Fellow senior associate Luis Torales is also frequently involved in competition matters.
‘The competition team has brought us a lot of positive innovation to the company. They have also provided assistance with enforcement authority requests. Always ready to attend to business needs immediately.’
‘The plus and the difference is undoubtedly the personalised attention and importance they give us, the search for protection and conflict resolution, providing clear ideas and recommendations. I’d highlight Rodrigo Fernandez and Cecilia Vera.’
‘Vouga’s signature business language displays an exceptional capacity to convey complex legal issues in simple terms, streamlining the understanding and call of action required for our stakeholders. This represents a win for our organisation, as we gain time and focus on the big picture. An innovation worth noting is the transparent manner in which its billing is handled.’
‘Rodrigo Fernández has an ability to always take legal issues and provide us with practical and out-of-the-box solutions based on his deep knowledge of the legal landscape, our company’s ethos, and a general understanding of the necessities of our business.’
‘Our deal is with Rodolfo Vouga and Rodrigo Fernández. Excellent treatment of both. Rodolfo is in contact and deals with the directors of Conacom (national competition commission) and Rodrigo carries out all the detailed reports required by them in great detail.’
Paraguayan Industrial Guild (UIP)
Corporación Paraguaya Distribuidora de Derivados de Petróleo (Copetrol)
AGCO (Massey Ferguson)
- Acting for a domestic company in investigations proceedings brought by the competition authority.
- Advising a client on an unprecedented logistic cooperation agreement between two local subsidiaries.
- Assisted a multinational company in the personal care sector with the analysis of different bills on price regulation of healthcare products.
Mersán Abogados assists national and international companies in matters involving Paraguay’s antitrust law as part of its hugely experienced offering in corporate law. The team advises on anti-competitive behaviour and practices, market research and concentration operations. Diego Zavala and Tomás Mersán jointly coordinate the department.
Diego Zavala; Tomás Mersán
- Advising Maersk on obtaining clearance from Conacom for its acquisition of Hamburg SUD.