Firm Profile > Garrigues > Bogota, Colombia

Garrigues
AVENIDA CALLE 92 NO 11-51
PISO 4
BOGOTA
Colombia

Banking and finance Tier 2

With its ‘highly capable and business-oriented team’, Garrigues is particularly highlighted for project finance and financial regulatory matters. Recommended practice co-head Roberto Borrás, a former chief financial superintendent, led advice to CMIG on obtaining an approval from the Colombian financial regulator to acquire four financial institutions previously owned by Old Mutual. Borrás' fellow practice co-head, counsel Camilo Gantiva, is noted for his ‘deep knowledge’ and ‘practical approach’; he acted for state entity Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN), as structuring agent, and Empresa Metro de Bogotá, as borrower, in the negotiation of credit agreements with multilateral organisations to obtain financing for the development of the first line of the $4.2bn Bogotá Metro project. The practice group’s third co-head, Francisco Noguera, who is ‘extremely capable in project finance’, assisted a syndicate of local lenders, including FDN, with the $570m project financing of the Coviandina PPP toll road project. Other clients include Zurich Insurance, BlackRock, Bancolombia, the World Bank and Alianza Fiduciaria.

Competition and antitrust Tier 2

Garrigues’ practice ‘understands international business and the interplay with the country’s legal procedures’, and is recommended both for high-profile cartel cases and merger control filings. José Miguel De La Calle, a former head of the SIC, leads a six-strong team which was further strengthened with the incorporation of associate Carolina Polanco, who joined from regulator SIC where she co-ordinated a taskforce for the promotion and protection of competition. The team is defending Editorial Santillana before the competition authority against allegations of bid-rigging in public procurement activities; the claim was made by Colombia Compra Eficiente, the country’s purchasing agency. The group was also retained by Prosegur to assist on the merger control procedure regarding the company’s acquisition of G4S’s Colombian cash management unit; the transaction was unconditionally cleared. Other clients include Enel X, Whirlpool, Locust and Bolsa Mercantil. Senior associate Alejandro Acevedo is also noted; however, his fellow senior associate, lawyer and economist Angela María Noguera, left in late 2018 before subsequently establishing her own firm, Noguera Moreno Consultores.

Corporate and M&A Tier 2

Proactive and knowledgeable’, Garrigues’ practice group has a multi-disciplinary focus and ‘expertise across different industries’; it handles the full range of corporate matters, including cross-border M&A operations and private equity investments, among others. Recommended figures Ignacio Londoño and Andrés Ordóñez joined as counsel from Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in 2017, with Ordóñez going on to be made partner in October 2019; the pair co-head the ten-strong practice group. Recent mandates include assisting Fresenius subsidiary Quirónsalud with the acquisition of Clínica Medellín, which operates a portfolio of healthcare services in Medellín’s metropolitan area. It also advised Prosegur Cash on its acquisition of Grupo Almo’s Central American cash-in-transit business, and Valorem on the sale of its local logistics company, Suppla, to DHL Supply Chain, among other matters. Experienced senior associate Cristina Copete joined from Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA) in January 2019. Other clients include Zurich Insurance, Enel X, Valorem and China Harbour Engineering Company.

Litigation Tier 2

Garrigues’ team’s ‘exceptional negotiation, research and communication skills allow for fluid work between lawyer and client’. Alberto Acevedo leads the seven-lawyer practice, which can also draw on support from the firm’s wider network. The team is representing TC Buen in a collective action initiated by a group of Buenaventura residents who are claiming redress for the damages caused to their houses and other environmental damages by the company’s port operations; it is also advising Bingos Codere in a series of cases filed by the landlords of one of its casinos in Bogotá after the client assigned the lease agreement to a third party. Other clients include Prosegur, Frontera Energy, Old Mutual and OHL.

Projects Tier 2

Garrigues’ practice is particularly recommended for ‘resolving all difficulties arising from project financing’. Francisco Noguera (‘understands the needs of complex projects’) and senior associate Iván Fierro, who joined the firm in 2018 from national infrastructure agency ANI, co-lead the ten-strong team. The practice group is currently advising BlackRock on the $570m project financing of the Ruta Del Cacao 4G toll road project. The team is also one of those selected to advise Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional and Empresa Metro de Bogotá on the structuring of the project for Bogotá’s first metro line. Other 2018 mandates included advising Bancolombia, as sole lender, on the $44m PPP toll road project Accesos Norte de Bogotá. The departure of former senior associate Natalia Auli was offset with the July 2018 arrival of senior associate Alejandro García from Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA). Associates Paola Valderrama and Nicolás Angulo are also noted. Clients include San Francisco Investments, Valorem, Banco Davivienda and Corficolombiana.

Tax Tier 2

Tax has long been Garrigues’ core practice and the firm has come to be known internationally for its involvement in high-profile tax disputes and transactional tax planning, as well as for advising on tax policy reform projects. In the Bogotá office, the profusely praised Camilo Zarama heads a team that ‘stands out for its creative and complete approach’. Counsel César Cermeño heads the tax litigation sub-department and is regarded as ‘a reference in the field’ by clients and peers alike. The practice group can also count on of counsel Fernando Zarama, who has over 30 years’ experience, and recommended principal associate Laura Galeano. Recent mandates included advising Quironsalud on the tax planning for an investment structure used to acquire Clinica Medellín, including definition of the tax structure and identification of possible tax liabilities, and Australis on the tax planning for the acquisition of 50% of Alianza Fiduciaria and Alianza Valores from Advent International, which involved analyses of both the local tax implications and of those in Chile and Spain. On the contentious side, the litigation team filed a nullity lawsuit on behalf of Asociación de Transporte Aéreo de Colombia against a stamp tax that the Department of La Guajira imposed on planes, passengers and items flying from its airports. Other mandates included representing Esenttia in an $8m lawsuit against the Tax and Customs Administration related to the rejection of expenses incurred due to the maintenance of machinery that constitutes a fixed asset of the company. Clients include KOPPS (an AB InBev subsidiary), British American Tobacco, Whirlpool and Australis Partners.

International trade and customs Tier 3

Garrigues’ four-strong practice, led by César Cermeño, focuses on customs controversies and free trade zone qualifications, as well as providing support in due diligences for high-profile transactions. The team continues to advise Patria Investments on the incorporation of Odata, one of its portfolio companies, and in the process of registering Odata as a free trade zone user. The team also assisted Ilunion with gaining qualification as a free trade zone user. Associate María Paz Arroyave is also noted.

Arbitration Tier 4

Garrigues acts in national and international arbitrations, mostly relating to construction and shareholder disputes. The ‘strongAlberto Acevedo leads the seven-lawyer practice, which is currently representing Frontera Energy in a construction arbitration initiated by SDV Energía e Infraestructura, one of its former contractors. The firm is also acting for OHL in a domestic arbitration initiated by Mas Stone, one of its gravel supplying contractors.

Real estate Tier 4

The practice group at Garrigues’ Bogota office handles investment in real estate through transactions involving private equity funds and trusts. It also has considerable experience in land management and has been advising Odinsa on both the expansion of El Dorado airport and the construction of Cartagena’s new airport. José Miguel de la Calle heads the four-strong team, with senior associate Melissa Castro a key member. Other matters include assisting Old Mutual with the acquisition of several commercial properties in a major Colombian city and the associated assignment of lease agreements with retailers. Other mandates included assisting care company Cooserpark with the urban planning and construction permits required to develop an eco-friendly ash forest; the advice included representing the company in a real estate dispute filed by a local community, based on alleged misuse of the soil. Clients include Cafam, Andean Tower Partners, WeWork and Fiduciaria Bogotá.

Labour and employment Tier 6

Established in 2016, Garrigues’ practice focuses on litigation and compliance. Led by senior associate Carlos Silva - and with key support provided by Ignacio Londoño - the team assisted Rothenberger with the assessment and implementation of the best contractual structure for the company’s operations in the country. Other recent mandates included assisting Rizzani de Eccher with obtaining approval from the Ministry of Labour for the collective dismissal of over 200 employees.

 

The Bogota office comprises a solid team of multidisciplinary, highly trained, Colombian lawyers. As well as boasting a wealth of experience in the local market, many of these professionals have worked at major law firms in other jurisdictions, such as Madrid, New York and London.

Over the last few years, Garrigues’ immediate positioning as one of the leading firms in Colombia has been clear, having advised on some of the highest level projects and matters, and acting as legal counsel to top-tier international and domestic clients, who are industry leaders in Latin America.

Garrigues’ team in Bogota now comprises 45 professionals, with highly respected lawyers in the Colombian legal services market and with extensive experience in the area of international investment.

The firm has five offices in Latin America: Lima, Bogota, Mexico City, Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo. Garrigues has the largest network of own offices in the region, among the major European law firms. It also has its own offices in Spain (in 20 cities), Belgium, China (Beijing and Shanghai), Portugal, Poland, Morocco, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Senior contacts

Jose Miguel De la Calle (partner): Jos? is a senior partner and experienced lawyer with a solid background in industry and government entities, including Legal Vice President of the National Bank of Commerce and Superintendent of Industry and Trade. His practice focuses on corporate law, financial and economic law, administrative law and competition law. Graduated from School of Jurisprudence at Colegio Mayor del Rosario in 1991and has a Master’s in Law (LL.M) with honors from Harvard University.

Ignacio Londono (partner): master of law degree in corporate and financial law (LLM) from Columbia University. Founder and partner of the firm De la Calle, Londono, Lopez & Posada, where he worked for 15 years. He has been professor of commercial contracts and companies at Universidad de los Andes, as well as professor of business legal aspects of the MBA program of the Business School of the same university for more than 15 years.

Roberto Borras (partner): Roberto leads the capital markets and banking and finance practice. He served as chief financial superintendent of Colombia, director general of the financial compliance unit of the Colombian ministry of finance and public debt, and chairman of the Colombian securities market self-regulatory body. He also served as deputy superintendent for risks and superintendent for conglomerates in the financial superintendency. He has worked as an international consultant for the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Association of Supervisors of Banks of the Americas (ASBA) and USAID.

Camilo Zarama (partner): Camilo worked in the tax law team at the Madrid office, where he was a member of the international service line and former part of the tams advising the firm’s main energy and telecommunications clients, among others. He has acted as tax advisor to various companies in M&A and in the field of tax litigation. Admitted to practice both in Colombia and Spain.

Department Name Email Telephone
Corporate M&A Ignacio Londoño ignacio.londono@garrigues.com
Corporate M&A Andrés Ordoñez andres.ordonez@garrigues.com
Tax Camilo Zarama Martínez camilo.zarama@garrigues.com
Finance Roberto Borrás Polanía roberto.borras@garrigues.com
Antitrust José Miguel de la Calle Restrepo jose.miguel.delacalle@garrigues.com
Litigation Alberto Acevedo Rehbein alberto.acevedo@garrigues.com
Labor Ignacio Londoño ignacio.londono@garrigues.com
Public law José Miguel de la Calle Restrepo jose.miguel.delacalle@garrigues.com
Foreign trade Cesar Cermeño cesar.cermeno@garrigues.com
Infrastructure Ivan Fierro ivan.mauricio.fierro@garrigues.com
Other fee-earners : 36
Partners : 7