Industry focus: Food in Spain

Cuatrecasas

Household name Spanish and international food and beverage companies turn to Cuatrecasas for advice on multiple fields of law. The firm enjoys strong renown in the M&A market, and as such is regularly involved in relevant corporate transactions in the food sector; Pere Kirchner in Barcelona is a name to note in this area. Jorge Llevat, also in Barcelona, specialises in IP, and handles IP litigation involving food-sector clients, while Madrid-based public procurement expert Jorge Botella often advises food and beverage companies on labeling and advertising. The firm's employment team is also active in this sector.

Practice head(s):

Jorge Llevat; Jorge Botella

Key clients

PERNOD RICARD

LINDT

HEINEKEN

CHOCOLATES VALOR

RISI

MAHOU SAN MIGUEL

TGT (Grupo Teodoro García Trabadelo)

ARGAL

BODEGAS BARBADILLO

COSTA FOOD

COREN

Work highlights

  • Advising on an ongoing basis with regards to the registration of trade marks, worldwide trade mark license agreement, and the challenging of third parties’ trade marks, particularly regarding the assignment of the Havana Club, Chivas and Beefeater brands.
  • Advising Distribuciones Juan Luna, a food company owned by Nazca Capital, on patent and industrial design infringement proceedings.
  • Advising on acquiring a stake and entering into a partnership agreement with Aviserrano and Paviso Alimentación.

Gómez-Acebo & Pombo

With significant regulatory expertise, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo is regularly instructed by food, agriculture, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages companies in a broad range of matters; the firm's focus and investment in this sector is illustrated by its membership of the Food Law Group. Mónica Weimann acts for major food manufacturers and distributors on commercial, advertising and IP matters; she co-leads the team alongside member of the Spanish Association of Agricultural Law José Luis Palma. IP specialists Sofía Martínez-Almeida and Jesús Muñoz-Delgado are also active members of the group.

Practice head(s):

Mónica Weimann; José Luis Palma

Testimonials

‘What qualifies the team is its high specialization in a very complex subject such as the food sector in Spain and the EU. Its differentiating character is also that they maintain contacts at the institutional level both in Spain and in the EU in this sector, so the assistance goes beyond the merely legal.’

‘José Luis Palma Fernández: His broad culture in the agri-food sector stands out, his simple speech, and his knowledge of the Spanish public administration.’

Key clients

Coca-Cola European Partners

Ferrero Iberica

Galletas Gullón, S.A.

Grupo Kaiku Corporación Alimentaria, S.A.

Makro/Metro Group AG

Mercadona S.A.

Nestlé España, S.L.

Red Bull GmbH

LIDL Supermercados, S.A.U.

Interporc

Nutreco Iberia, S.L.

Jacobs Douwe Egberts, N.V.

Grupo Sanlucar

Fall Creek Farm &Nursery Inc

Work highlights

  • Provided advice on the implementation of a criminal compliance programme.
  • Designed and developed a system ensuring knowledge of and compliance with competition laws in Africa. This included the detailed study of the applicable legislation and enforcement of competition law at a national and international level.
  • Provides recurrent advice on several matters, including IP, unfair competition and advertising.

Garrigues

Garrigues advises leading food and beverage companies across all phases of production, distribution and retailing. Lawyers from the Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Murcia offices assist the firm's clients in this area, which operate in numerous sub-sectors, from agriculture to viticulture to dining. The firm stands out for its corporate and M&A offering, and has recently advised food-sector companies on sales, acquisitions and joint ventures. Corporate and commercial expert Rocío Belda de Mergelina heads the group, which also includes Francisco Soler Caballero and José Manuel Martín.

Practice head(s):

Rocío Belda de Mergelina

Other key lawyers:

Francisco Soler Caballero; José Manuel Martín; Miguel Ángel López Mateo; Ernesto Rey

Key clients

MONDELEZ

Schweppes, SA

GRUPO BIMBO

CARREFOUR

SA DAMM

GONZALEZ BYASS

DEOLEO

CUERVO

ALSEA

Deliveroo

HEREDEROS DE MARQUES DE RISCAL

MARTINAVARRO

WILLIAM & HUMBERT

MERCADONA

MARQUÉS DE GRIÑÓN FAMILY ESTATES

The EAT OUT Group, SL

PANASA

Puleva Food

EBRO FOODS

HERBALIFE

GREFUSA

LACTARIS FORLASA

PERNOD RICARD

GRUPO MAHOU – SAN MIGUEL

IBERSNACKS

GRUPO YBARRA

GRUPO LECHE PASCUAL

LAVAZZA

GRUPO DIA

HEINEKEN

MAREDEUS FOOD SOLUTION

NUTRIMENTOS DEL CAMPO, S.A.

Unilever Foods Industrial España

Queseria Manchega

CONSERVAS EL POZO

Red Bull España

Sunny Delight Portugal

Verdifresh

BODEGAS LUIS CABALLERO

FINDUS

NEW FISH, SL

AGUAS DEL VALLE DE LA OROTAVA

HeaLthtech Bio Active, S.L.

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits, S.A.

International Paper

Work highlights

  • Advised the Espona Family on the sale of  Grupo Gallo – the leading pasta manufacturer in Spain – to PROA CAPITAL.
  • Selected by Deliveroo as the preferred law firm to advise on all legal matters in Spain (corporate, contractual, employment, data protection, antitrust, etc).
  • Advises GRUPO BIMBO on its operations in Spain. Recently, this has included completing the reorganisation of BIMBO IBERIA following the acquisition of PANRICO.

Uría Menéndez

Uría Menéndez advises Iberian and international food companies on corporate, commercial, finance and competition law matters, and also acts for private equity firms and financial institutions in transactions in the food sector. Corporate and commercial specialist Elena Úbeda heads the group from Barcelona, where IP, IT and unfair competition partner Montiano Monteagudo is also based. Corporate and banking expert Eduardo Bagaría - also in Barcelona - receives praise. Madrid-based corporate and private equity partner Manuel Echenique has recently led on several large transactions involving food and agriculture companies.

Practice head(s):

Elena Úbeda

Other key lawyers:

Eduardo Bagaría; Patricia Vidal; Montiano Monteagudo; Manuel Echenique

Testimonials

Eduardo Bagaría: Very fast in negotiations, preparation of legal documentation and conflict resolution. The service is 24/7, regardless of schedules, holidays and without affecting quality at any time. The quality of the advice is exceptional.’

Work highlights

  • Advising Bridgepoint capital Partners on the sale of the leading provider of crop nutrition, protection and bio-control products to Partners Group.
  • Advising Rovensa (a portfolio company majority owned by Bridgepoint) on the acquisition of the Spanish specialist phytosanitary and biological corporations, Agrichem and Even Agro.
  • Advising Telepizza on the acquisition from Premium Restaurant Brands of Desarrolladora Inmobiliaria de Restaurantes, Expertos en Reparto a Domicilio and Expertos en Restaurantes, and thereby the Pizza Hut business in Mexico.

Andersen

The agrifood group at Andersen acts for food companies and associations in a range of matters, with an emphasis on corporate, commercial, tax and customs. Tomás Rivero leads the team, which includes Ignacio Aparicio, 'an outstanding business lawyer with superb knowledge and knows how to support large corporations'. Belén Palao left the firm in April 2021.

Practice head(s):

Tomás Rivero

Other key lawyers:

Ignacio Aparicio; José Miguel Soriano

Testimonials

They have a highly competent team. It compares very favorably with other firms’ teams.

They have a close and very cordial treatment. In particular, partners like José Miguel Soriano show great reliability and speed in responding to our requirements.

We have worked with them for years, and they work with a very competitive and close dynamic. Before any problem they find an adequate solution.’

Knowledge of the affairs of the Company, and efficiency and speed in resolving commercial and civil matters.

I am working with the Custom Team in the Madrid Office. My experience with this team is fantastic due to the (i) willingness to help (the team is very committed) (ii) availability (the team always find a moment for us) (iii) expertise (the Custom team is technically proficient in its area) (iv) transparency and reliance. The main advantage I see is that I do not feel like an “economic objective” but like a business partner and its approach is very practical and realistic.

Andersen Legal Team have offered outstanding legal services, business relevant advice, always in a timely manner presenting unique business acumen and business friendly approach. Especially Ignacio is an outstanding business lawyer with superb knowledge and knows how to support large corporations.

Clear bonus is Ignacio and his team. Knowledgeable, extremely sharp, communicative, with a closer attitude is a true asset for any company doing business in Spain.

The team utilizes modern tools eg Legal Tracker in relation to Billing and linking the services provided with actual legal fees charged.’

Key clients

Newrest Group Holding

J. García Carión

Grupo Andrómeda

Grupo Migasa

Congelados y Frescos del Mar (Confremar)

Grupo Alimentario Citrus

Imperial Tobacco

Federación Española de Alimentación y Bebidas (FIAB)

Federación Española del Vino (FEV)

Cooperativas Agro-alimentarias

Asociación de Cerveceros de España

Grupo Emperador

FEPEX (Federación Española de Asociaciones de Productoras Exportadoras de Frutas y Hortalizas)

ARIFRUIT. (Asociación de empresas de frutas de la Rioja)

Helados Estiu

Work highlights

  • Provided legal assistance for the design and defence of the bid made by NEWREST in the tender published by the national operator Renfe for on-board services in the Spanish high-speed trains.
  • Advising Grupo Alimentario Citrus on tax and transfer pricing matters.
  • Advising aquaculture company Andromeda Group on all corporate legal matters, such as restructuring, commercial contracts and supporting the General Counsel on all corporate compliance and day-to-day legal matters.

Baker McKenzie

The multi-disciplinary team at Baker McKenzie is jointly led by Cristina Duch and Enrique Carretero and assists leading food-sector companies in a range of contentious and non-contentious matters; clients include major breweries, supermarkets and food manufacturers. Xavier Junquera's public and regulatory expertise sees him receiving instructions from food companies on compliance matters. Victor Mercedes is a key contact for litigation, arbitration and insolvency.

Practice head(s):

Cristina Duch; Enrique Carretero

Other key lawyers:

Ester Navas; Xavier Junquera; Victor Mercedes

Key clients

AmRest Holdings SE

Celler Mas Doix

Corporación Alimentaria Peñasanta, S.A.

Danone

Distribuidora Internacional de Alimentación, S.A. (DIA)

Griffith Foods Group Inc.

Lidl

Miquel Alimentació

Mondelez

Pepsico

Unilever

Work highlights

  • Developed an audit programme for the client to check the conformity of its establishments and implement recommendations and internal procedures to ensure that all the client’s facilities and stores comply with environmental and zoning permits and commercial and operating licenses.
  • Representing Corporación Alimentaria Peñasanta in its claim before the National Court against the decision of the Spanish Competition Authority of July 2019 imposing  a fine of €21.8m for having participated in an information exchange and coordinating their strategies to set prices in the dairy sector.
  • Assisted Griffith General Counsel in the company’s US headquarters to design and launch an administrative and health and safety compliance program for the company’s manufacturing plants in Southern Europe

Bird & Bird

Sector-focused firm Bird & Bird adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to advise food companies on corporate, commercial, competition, IP and regulatory matters. In addition to food manufacturers and producers, the team also counts multinational retail and dining companies among its clients. Corporate and M&A specialist Lourdes Ayala is a name to note. Patricia Liñan left the firm in February 2021.

Practice head(s):

Lourdes Ayala; Isidro del Moral; Antonio Cueto; Manuel Lobato

Key clients

GRUPO LACTALIS IBERIA, S.A.

DIEGO ZAMORA, S.A.

Work highlights

  • Representing LACTALIS in sanctioning proceedings opened by the Spanish Competition Authority against nine operators and two associations in dairy industry for alleged illegal exchanges of information in the market for the procurement of raw milk.
  • Advised a subsidiary of Diego Zamora, a Spanish producer and distributor of wines and spirits, on its acquisition of an additional controlling interest in UK-based company Reformed Spirits Company Limited.
  • Advising AMC Group, a leading international agribusiness group in a transaction consisting of the sale of a stake of 30% of its grape varieties business (with a presence in seven jurisdictions) to US fund Paine Schwartz Partners.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's Madrid-based team acts for well-known international food and beverage brands in corporate, commercial, marketing, franchising and data protection matters. Practice head Diego Ramos is highly regarded by clients; commercial, IP and data protection litigation are among his areas of expertise. Paula González de Castejón specialises in IP and IT and is another key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Diego Ramos

Other key lawyers:

Paula Gonzalez de Castejón; Joaquín Hervada

Testimonials

‘Diego Ramos is a star: always reactive, prompt, pragmatic while proposing reasonable fees. I love working with him and the team does as well.

Key clients

Bacardi

Mondelez

SOIFA Alimentación

Hard Rock Café

Work highlights

  • Provides legal advice to one of the world’s leading manufacturers of alcoholic beverages in connection to contractual, marketing and commercial law matters.
  • Provides advice to the global leading producers of chocolate, cookies, biscuits, gum, confectionery and powdered beverages in connection to data management, marketing and commercial law matters in Spain.
  • Provides legal advice on contractual matters to the Spanish market leader in the manufacturing of hummus, falafel and other Mediterranean food items.