Chambers Latin America
2016

Banking & Finance

 

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What the team is known for: Long-standing leader in banking with a deep bench. Respected team advises a raft of private banks and represents pension fund managers. Additional expertise on the restructuring of sovereign debt. In-depth knowledge of private banking, investment trusts and major financing transactions.

Strengths: “These professionals are at the top of the market. They are outstanding and deliver the best results. They feel like business partners rather than lawyers, and their presence is indispensable”.

“They are very efficient and they have great knowledge. This team is one of the best in Uruguay”.  

Work highlights: Assisting the largest pension fund in Latin America, Sura Asset Management, with the issuance of bonds in Uruguay. Represented TMF Group in the setting up of the Montes del Este forestry trust, the first financial structure in Uruguay to allow the deferred purchase of shares by pension funds. The total value of the shares issued is USD50 million with the proceeds going towards the purchase of 10,000 hectares.

Notable practitioners

Star performer Nicolás Herrera is held in the highest regard by peers and clients alike. Sources say: “He is an expert in banking and capital markets, one of the very best and most experienced lawyers in Uruguay”. Another adds: “He is one of the few lawyers with a profound understanding of not just the law, but also business – he has a global perspective”.  

Nicolás Piaggio leads on sovereign debt deals and exchanges. Sources recognise him as a “point of reference in the field“, continuing: “He knows so much about this industry, has great experience and has advised some of the most important financing institutions”.  Interviewees go on to acknowledge his ability to generate great confidence in his clients.

Álvaro Tarabal remains an important figure in the market, particularly for his work with HSBC and Banco Itaú. He enjoys an excellent reputation for his work on big banking restructurings. Clients highlight his strategic input and his ability “to manage relationships very well and bring together specialists on a project very skilfully”.

Juan Manuel Mercant is particularly active in project financing. Clients value his good working relationships with credit providers and his understanding of the stock market. Sources say: “He is very intelligent, dynamic, and can take decisions and lead a team”.

Florencia Castagnola enters the rankings after impressing clients with her expertise in capital markets and project finance. Sources say: “She is very knowledgeable and she gets things done”. 

Associate-to-watch Marcos Payssé is praised by sources, who say he “has a lot of initiative and comes up with new ideas to solve problems“. They add: “He also knows how to negotiate and when to be firm”.

Corporate/M&A

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What the team is known for: Pre-eminent corporate practice with outstanding depth and sector experience. Frequently acts for investors in some of the biggest multi-jurisdictional M&A transactions and investment projects. Advises a blue-chip clientele across the Uruguayan corporate spectrum, with notable experience in the agribusiness, forestry, energy and food and beverage sectors.

Strengths:“The team has extensive experience in M&A and specialism in different areas. Guyer & Regules is an excellent firm that provides an absolutely impeccable service. The lawyers know the law and also the commercial side – they are so rigorous and this puts you at ease”.

“Apart from being excellent professionals, the lawyers are permanently available. You can speak with senior members whenever there is an emergency”. 

Work highlights: Advising Union Agriculture Group in the acquisition of 67,000 ha from rival agribusiness El Tejar. The value of the deal is USD100 million and the acquisition saw the client become the largest agricultural landholder in Uruguay.

 

Notable practitioners

Vastly experienced practice head Nicolás Herrera commands deep respect from peers and clients alike due to his “outstanding strategic vision and capacity as a negotiator”. Sources describe him as “charismatic and very articulate”, adding: “He has a profound knowledge of corporate matters”.

According to market commentators, the seasoned Nicolás Piaggio “is in all the most important deals”. Clients also highlight his dedication and expertise, adding: “He is a specialist in capital markets and M&A – he has a lot of knowledge and commercially is very good”.

Álvaro Tarabal has an excellent pedigree leading the team on numerous large and complex transactions. Interviewees report: “He is completely professional and technically strong.” They add: “He gets results”.

Alejandro Miller has a strong academic background and is described by sources as “an expert in corporate with a lot of experience in the field”. Interviewees go on to highlight his creativity.

Dispute Resolution

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What the team is known for: Revered and sizeable disputes practice with high level of involvement in complex civil and commercial litigations. Team frequently defends multinationals across various sectors. Particular expertise in competition law and disputes in the construction sector. Regularly acts in disputes arising from M&A and labour issues.

Strengths: The team is creative, flexible and manages complex cases really well. The lawyers are very effective in court and in cases that don’t go to court – they find good solutions for all parties”.

“The lawyers are very quick and thorough in how they prepare a case”.

Work highlights: Advising Philip Morris in all domestic actions brought against the government of Uruguay and representation as local counsel in the bilateral investment treaty arbitration before ICSID.

Notable practitioners

Practice head Carlos Brandes is lauded by clients and peers alike and enjoys a stellar reputation in the field. Sources say: “He is an expert in litigation with deep technical ability – he is an outstanding lawyer”. They add: “He can detect what the other side are going to do, what their strategy will be, and he plans accordingly”.

Star associate María Eloísa Cerdeña is an established name in the market, representing banking clients in contentious cases. Clients say: “She has good attention to detail and works well under pressure”.

Associate to watch Federico Florín covers both litigation and arbitration. He is strong in civil disputes and has accumulated experience in shipping and commodities.

Associate Mariana Santo handles litigation related to public and regulatory law. Clients say: “She is impressive, really knowledgeable, super-responsible and hard-working”.  

Energy & Natural Resources

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What the team is known for: Highly respected and sophisticated energy practice with a considerable market share in all sources of energy. The team has a long and distinguished track record advising energy giants in the oil and gas sector. The lawyers also enjoy a superb reputation in project finance, advising both developers and sponsors in major solar, biomass and wind energy projects.

Strengths: “The team has good knowledge of the sector and is full of people with different specialisms. The lawyers are very dedicated and professional, very fast in their responses and efficient”.

Work highlights: Assisting Corporación America (Grupo Eurnekian) with the development of two wind farms with a total output of 90 MW. The advice covered obtaining USD176 million under a project finance agreement.

 

Notable practitioners

Practice co-head Federico Susena has considerable experience in energy matters. “His client service is fantastic, he listens, he understands things quickly and is always prepared to come up with solutions to problems”, according to sources.

Juan Manuel Mercant is very active in big energy deals. Sources recognise his expertise in project finance. “He is always trying to anticipate future issues and make sure we are prepared”, adds one client.

Labour & Employment 

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What the team is known for: Esteemed labour practice advising a notable roster of international banks and corporations across the full labour spectrum. Team has a strong track record in labour litigation. Also advises on day-to-day labour and social security matters, due diligence and audits. Particular expertise negotiating with trade unions and the government.

Strengths: “The lawyers are excellent professionals who work closely with the client. They are always available and show both aptitude and expertise. The results that Guyer & Regules achieve is what puts it in another class from other firms”.

“For me there is no way the firm could improve as the results are always excellent”.

Work highlights: Advising Banque Heritage on all labour aspects involved in the purchase of the Uruguayan operations of Lloyds Bank, which included the downsizing of the bank.

Notable practitioners

Experienced practice co-head Eduardo Ameglio continues to advise on some of the firm’s most notable mandates in this space. He is held in high esteem by peers, while other interviewees describe him as “technically excellent – one of the outstanding figures in the market”.

Leonardo Slinger enjoys a stellar reputation amongst peers and clients alike. According to sources, “he is a real expert who is extremely dedicated to the client and is great at explaining  things”. They add: “He understands which points to argue and how to devise a strategy, and has great reasoning”.

Associate to watch Santiago Madalena is highlighted by clients for his potential in the labour sphere. He is active in collective bargaining and has advised a number of prestigious banking institutions.

Associate to watch María José Poey plays an active role assisting clients with day-to-day labour matters and related litigation. Sources see her as “part of the new generation”.

Real Estate

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What the team is known for: Eminent real estate practice with particular strength in agribusiness and forestry. Team experienced in residential and commercial development linked to tourism, as well as industrial plant developments. Well versed in mortgage issues, leasing and other secured loans.

Strengths: “The team facilitates business; it doesn’t just give the best legal advice, it gives good commercial advice as well. The lawyers always do what’s best for the client; they really are a great support”.

“The lawyers are extremely professional and client-oriented. They are outstanding and deliver the best results”.

Work highlights: Advising Montes del Plata in the acquisition of 147,000 hectares of forestry land including the negotiation of lease and joint venture agreements with landowners.

Notable practitioners

Clients praise practice co-head Federico Susena for his dedication and exhaustive efforts in this space. Sources say: “He is technically excellent”, adding: “He has a real vision of business and client service”. He covers large-scale real estate transactions and realty trusts and has notable experience in agribusinesses.

Practice co-head John Stuart Leaman is a specialist in foreign investment and enjoys deep respect from peers and clients alike. Sources describe him as “an eminent point of reference”, adding: “His ability to make a deal go ahead is so impressive – he is ingenious in finding solutions”.

Associate to watch Beatriz Spiess impresses clients with her technical ability and professionalism. Sources add: “She is able to pick up the work of an experienced partner”.

TAX

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What the team is known for: Revered tax practice with a stellar reputation in the market. Team advises brokers, financial institutions, multinationals and the State in the tax ambit. Areas of focus include tax planning, double taxation and transfer pricing. Also frequently involved in related aspects of energy and finance deals, M&A and restructuring.

Strengths: “Guyer & Regules is the best firm in Uruguay. The lawyers produce really in-depth analysis, give solutions and explain all the risks associated with each option”.

Work highlights: Advising Sura Group on a decree that will generate significant tax savings for pension funds when selling their stock. This will result in approximately USD2 million worth of savings for the client.

Notable practitioners

Practice head Juan Manuel Albacete is recognised by interviewees as the leading tax lawyer in the industry. Sources say: “His strength is his level of sector knowledge – he really understands finance and tax and is very pragmatic without being too theoretical”. They add: “Aside from his strong technical ability, he has great capacity to build relationships and is very dedicated to us”.

Associate-to-watch Juan Bonet plays a pivotal role for the firm in the tax sphere. According to sources, “he is outstanding – he links tax and accountancy matters really well”.