Latin Lawyer
2009

Guyer & Regules is an eminent name in Uruguay’s legal market. A renowned dealmaker, the firm appears time and time again on the cast list for major transactions. The firm is also widely seen as being one of the most profitable firms in Uruguay and enjoyed growth in 2008.

PEOPLE & PRACTICES

The corporate department is seen time and again on Uruguay’s high-profile deals. Upholding the firm’s reputation in this area are Nicolás Herrera and Nicolás Piaggio, both of whom have experience at leading law firms in New York. Herrera leads transactions across a range of practice areas while maintaining relations with major clients – successfully so, according to our research: one banking client says, “He has a vast experience in banking and M&A, and is supported by an excellent group of partners and associates”. Another satisfied client regards Guyer & Regules as the best corporate legal adviser in Uruguay. “The firm provides comprehensive coverage of all areas of investment banking and corporate finance as well as sound tax advice,” he says, adding that Piaggio is one of the most reliable and experienced lawyers in the firm. Another of the corporate department’s clients finds corporate and tax lawyer Juan Manuel Albacete “meets our needs with excellence”. Álvaro Tarabal is mentioned for his commercial and dealmaking skills. Clients also praise labour and litigation lawyer Leonardo Slinger. Litigation has recently been a busy area, particularly for new partner Carlos Brandes. The firm assists in negotiations between unions, the government and businesses in banking and chemical sectors among others. Associate Isabel Lindner in the banking department has generated positive feedback from a number of clients too. Guyer & Regules may be approaching its centenary, but it is not scared of modernising, as the ages of its partners show (the oldest is 56 and two are under 40), and, in comparison with the other Uruguayan firms on this list, a notably high proportion of the firm’s lawyers have worked or studied abroad, particularly at associate level.

CLIENTS

The banking team represents a sizeable portion of the country’s banking sector. One of Uruguay’s biggest banking clients says, “All of the attorneys we interact with have excellent knowledge of the law and execution capabilities – we consider them an honorary part of our internal legal team.” Citigroup is a regular client, and generated significant work during 2008. Other banking clients include Dutch development bank FMO and Standard Bank. A leading emerging market investments investment manager says, “The firm provides an excellent client-focused and professional level of service.” The firm has a history of work connected to port projects, working recently Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto in the sector, for example. Unilever is a longstanding client, having used the firm for its matters in Uruguay for over 50 years, and country manager Luis Maria Rodriguez says, “They have provided excellent practical and commercial advice [...] the best legal service we require. The team has demonstrated deep knowledge in these areas and go beyond the legal aspects, taking the time to understand our business.”

OFFICES

Guyer & Regules recently opened an office in Montevideo’s main free-trade area, Zonamerica.

ALLIANCES AND NETWORKS

The impeccably connected Guyer & Regules is a member of the Club de Abogados, the Lex Mundi network and Multilaw.

PRO BONO

Lawyers completed an average of 13 hours each last year.

2008 DEVELOPMENTS

Two lawyers joined the partnership, corporate and banking lawyer Diego Baldomir and litigator Carlos Brandes. The firm further boosted its corporate and litigation teams by hiring seven associates at end of 2008. Nicolás Piaggio assisted regular client Citigroup as the underwriter of a US$ 900 million debt exchange by Uruguay. A team advised Arcos Dorados in refinancing the US$ 350 million bridge loan it used to secure its franchising of McDonald’s Corporation’s Latin American restaurants, having worked on the original transaction. On the M&A front, Nicolás Piaggio advised cement maker Loma Negra and Brazilian parent Camargo Corrêa in the sale of their stake in an Argentine joint venture to partner Ancap, Uruguay’s state-owned cement company. Piaggio also recently worked on a key public sector investment, advising Argentine oil field operation and maintenance company AESA, which won a US$ 320 million concession to build oil treatment plants in Uruguay. When Brazil’s Itaú bought assets from Bank of America in Uruguay and shares in a pension fund from Citibank, Juan Manuel Albacete and Álvaro Tarabal advised the sellers. On the buyers’ side, Nicolás Herrera and Leonardo Slinger provided local advice to international mass media company CBS Corporation in its regional acquisition of the International Outdoor Advertising Group (IOA). John Stuart Leaman and Nicolás Piaggio advised Argentine venture capital firm Consultatio in a US$ 140 million real estate project in Punta del Este, while Piaggio and Herrera advised Brazilian private equity fund Advisors Investment in its acquisition of a stake in one of Uruguay’s leading construction companies. Rio Tinto hired Alejandro Miller and John Stuart Leaman for legal work linked to the US$ 210 million port it is constructing.

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