Firm Profile > Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega > Panama, Panama

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega
PO BOX 0816-01098, PANAMA

Banking and finance Tier 1

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.

Corporate and M&A Tier 1

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.

Real estate Tier 1

The real estate and property practice at Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega handles a variety of complex legal matters, demonstrating experience across zoning law, environmental issues, developments, commercial lease agreements and financial structures with a focus in the hospitality and tourism sectors. Under the leadership of the strongly endorsed María Carolina Arroyo, the team recently advised Marriott Hotels, and developers Grivalia Hospitality and Grupo Eleta on the development of the the luxury Ritz-Carlton Reserve hotel being built on Pearl Island. In other key mandaates, Rodrigo Cardoze led advice to the private equity real estate company Caribbean Property Group on the sale of the Royal Decameron Golf, Beach Resort & Villas. Additional clients include include Banco General, Hyatt Hotels and La Hipotecaria.

Shipping Tier 1

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega fields one of the leading shipping practices in the country, demonstrating extensive expertise in advising international financial institutions, ship owners and port operators. The team handles both non-contentious and contentious work, including ship financing, vessel registration and litigation arising from maritime disputes. Practice head Jorge Loaiza, with key support from the highly-regarded Pilar Castillo, recently acted as counsel to a number of banks in relation to a significant cross-border restructuring of shipping debt. On the contentious side, the team also successfully represented defendant Atlantic Panamax before the First Maritime Court of Panama in connection with a flag arrest. Grupo Mexico, Seajacks UK and Trafigura Beheer are some of firm's key clients.

Dispute resolution Tier 2

Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega holds a strong position in the dispute resolution arena, offering a breadth of services that encompass administrative, commercial and civil litigation arising from IP, labour, tax, corporate, construction and shipping disputes. Senior partner Fernando Arias heads a practice that is also well-versed in domestic and international arbitral matters. The department is predominantly instructed by international companies operating in a range of sectors, including energy, finance, technology and construction. Other noteworthy practitioners include 'excellent litigator and commercial arbitratorClaudio De Castro. A high-profile client base includes American Express, Chevron Chemical Company, Visa and Samsung.

Intellectual property Tier 2

The IP practice at Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega demonstrates strength across contentious and non-contentious matters. The diverse service offering covers the registration of patents, trade marks and copyright, anti-counterfeiting, infringements, opposition proceedings and transfer of IP rights related to mergers and acquisitions. The predominantly international client base includes well-known names like Colgate-Palmolive, FIFA, Facebook and L'Oréal; the team is also responsible for managing some of their longstanding clients' IP portfolios throughout Latin America. Headline work saw the team obtain registration rights for Guess's logo, after a nine-year long international legal battle with Gucci. Senior associate Carol Durling leads the team, with key support coming from Melissa del Busto, who specialises in health registration matters.

Offshore Tier 2

Jointly led by Fernandao Arias and Gian Castillero, the offshore practice at Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega was kept busy in 2018, handling a steady flow of matters in collaboration with the M&A team. The sizeable department regularly advises Latin American and international banks, family offices and accounting firms in relation to foundations, private trust companies, estate planning and tax matters. A strong network of affiliate offices in London, Belize, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Uruguay provides additional legal support to the practice group headquartered in Panama. Representative clients include Banco General, Banco de Colombia and Farrer & Co. Partner Rosa Restrepo, who handles due diligence and compliance matters concerning foreign legislation, is also active in the department.


ARIFA, in the forefront of Panama’s legal industry since 1914, offers full-service advice to international financial institutions, multinationals and some of Panama’s largest domestic companies. Long recognized for structuring innovative solutions in M&A, capital market and financing transactions, ARIFA also has a strong offshore practice. The firm’s lawyers, many educated in top law schools in the US and Europe or trained at New York law firms, are the backbone of the firm’s success.

Main areas of practice

Capital markets and banking: ARIFA is widely recognized for its innovation in bank finance, pioneering many financial structures in Panama regularly used today. The firm is also acclaimed for its expertise in structuring cross-border transactions, securitizations and domestic IPOs. Notably, ARIFA-led Panamanian IPOs are listed on the NYSE.

Mergers and acquisitions: ARIFA is one of Panama’s M&A leaders, both by deal volume and number of deals. The firm is sought after for acquisitions in Panama and the Central America region, especially those deals with high degrees of difficulty.

Projects and government concessions: ARIFA assists leading multinationals and domestic companies in their dealings with the government of Panama, providing counsel in sectors such as port operations; petroleum storage, transportation and refining; telecommunications; power generation and distribution; toll-roads; mining; and other public works.

Offshore services: ARIFA, with a network of fully integrated offices in Panama, London, Luxembourg, Geneva, Hong Kong, BVI, Belize and Uruguay, is a leading offshore business brand. ARIFA has more than 50 years of experience providing offshore solutions to thousands of companies around the world under its administration. Services include company formation, management services, and trust and estate planning foundation services, among many others.

Real estate: ARIFA covers the spectrum of real estate activities, drafting joint ventures, land purchases, construction and lease agreements. The firm guides clients through complex regulatory issues in hotel, casino, zoning, environmental, construction and property law, allowing them to proceed with confidence.

Shipping: ARIFA facilitates vessel registration and financing for clients around the world through a proprietary network of offices in London, Hong Kong and Panama. A premier firm for ship financing in Panama, ARIFA is also Panama’s leader for platform financing. ARIFA has a growing interdisciplinary maritime litigation practice for clients’ shipping-related disputes.

Intellectual property: ARIFA offers clients a full range of intellectual property (IP) legal services. The firm also uses a well-established network of IP corresponding firms to co-ordinate trademark and other IP rights registrations around the world, particularly in Latin America.


Department Name Email Telephone
Capital markets and banking; and M&A and corporations Ricardo M Arango
Commercial and real estate María C Arroyo
Corporate services; and estates and private clients Fernando A Arias
Corporate services; and estates and private clients Gian Castillero
Regulatory work Sofía J Cohen
Government contracts and permits Rosa Restrepo
Intellectual property Carol Durling
Labor and migration María del Carmen Zúñiga
Labor and migration Vivian Holness
Litigation and arbitration Fernando A Arias
Litigation and arbitration Octavio Amat
Shipping Jorge Loaiza III
E: [first initial][surname]
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Federico Alfaro  photo Mr Federico Alfaro
Mr Octavio Amat  photo Mr Octavio Amat
Mr Estif Aparicio  photo Mr Estif Aparicio
Mr Ricardo M Arango  photo Mr Ricardo M Arango
Mr Fernando Arias  photo Mr Fernando Arias
Ms María Carolina Arroyo  photo Ms María Carolina Arroyo
Mr Rodrigo Cardoze  photo Mr Rodrigo Cardoze
Mr Gian Castillero  photo Mr Gian Castillero
Ms Sofía J. Cohen  photo Ms Sofía J. Cohen
Mr Juan F. Corro  photo Mr Juan F. Corro
Mr Claudio De Castro  photo Mr Claudio De Castro
Mr Roy C Durling  photo Mr Roy C Durling
Ms Carol Durling  photo Ms Carol Durling
Ms Vivian D. Holness  photo Ms Vivian D. Holness
Mr Jorge Loaiza photo Mr Jorge Loaiza
Ms Rosa Restrepo photo Ms Rosa Restrepo
Mr Andres N. Rubinoff  photo Mr Andres N. Rubinoff
Mr LeRoy W. Watson  photo Mr LeRoy W. Watson
Ms María del C. Zúñiga  photo Ms María del C. Zúñiga
Mr Eduardo de Alba  photo Mr Eduardo de Alba
Other fee-earners : 28
Total staff : 150+
Partners : 15