Finance focus with international outlook
Alfaro Abogados stands out for its committed global approach, which it has used to strategically position itself in preparation for Argentina’s return to economic form. Alfaro is best known for its corporate and M&A and banking and finance work, but a broad service offering also encompasses energy, sports and entertainment, antitrust, litigation and infrastructure departments.
Alfaro’s compact size belies an impressive international presence that has put this firm ahead of the curve. The firm was one of the first from Argentina to open in New York more than two decades ago. In 2016, it became the first Argentine firm to open in China, where one partner is based full-time. The firm is already notable for working with some of China’s largest businesses operating in Argentina and the new office is intended to reinforce that strength, as well as pick up business from Argentine companies seeking to enter China. The international flavour of this firm is felt in Buenos Aires too: Alfaro runs six-month lawyer exchange programmes with European, US and Chinese firms.
The firm is run by a management committee composed of equity partners Carlos Alfaro, Agustín Negre and Liliana Arauz.
Alliances & networks
The firm is a member of the World Law Group.
Alfaro’s headquarters are in Buenos Aires, but the firm stands out for being one of the first Argentine firms to establish a presence abroad. The firm has long operated from New York, and in 2016 established a presence in Beijing. Offices in London and Madrid were closed to allow Alfaro to focus on an Asian expansion strategy.
Chinese oil and gas company Sinopec is a major client, while German shipping company Hamburg Süd has also relied on the firm for antitrust advice. Merck is a pharmaceuticals client, and US industrial conglomerate Textron regularly calls upon the firm.
Corporate and M&A
Key partners: Founder Carlos Alfaro is an esteemed rainmaker who has done much to promote his firm at home and abroad as chairman of the Argentine–American Chamber of Commerce. He heads the corporate department and is recommended in LACCA Approved , in-house counsel research conducted by Latin Lawyer’s sister association, the Latin American Corporate Counsel Association. One client says he “is extremely well informed about the current political and economic situation in Argentina. He consistently provides an insightful and differentiated perspective on recent events in the country.” Hernán Verly is another main name within the corporate team. New York-qualified Soledad Matteozzi heads up a foreign investments group; she also leads Alfaro’s China desk and is based in Beijing, having previously led the New York office.
Analysis: The backbone of this firm, Alfaro’s corporate group advises companies on mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures and works closely with other departments to give clients a multidisciplinary service. It also works on corporate restructurings and helps clients with regulatory matters. The practice has an international flavour and works with global companies consolidating their presence in Argentina. It is visible in the shipping, financial, energy and infrastructure sectors. Clients are happy with the level of service they get here, with one wine-producer client saying the team has “real and practical understanding of legal issues from a corporate perspective. They know how businesses actually operate so their advice fits easily with our procedures.”
Banking & finance
Key partners: Carlos Alfaro is the main name; Sebastian Rodrigo stands out for aviation finance.
Analysis: Another strong suit, Alfaro advises clients on loan structuring, leaseback financing, pre-export financing, the tax impact of financing transactions, transparency regulations and project finance. The practice takes a multidisciplinary approach to its work and has a developed a niche strength in aircraft financing, for which it works alongside Alfaro’s aviation team. It has agreed financing arrangements in the energy sector too. The firm also runs a debt restructuring group.
Work highlights: The team helped the financial arm of a US aviation company review its aircraft finance activity in Argentina in light of changes to previous restrictions to the outflow of funds. Alfaro helped a Chinese oil and gas major carry out a complex debt to equity swap that involved converting a loan made to its Argentine branch into equity, doubling the capital allocated to the Argentine branch.
Key partners: Sebastian Rodrigo
Analysis: This department helps energy companies set up base in Argentina and advises oil and gas clients on exploration and production permits and contracts. It works with some of the key players in the Argentine oil and gas market on regulatory issues in the industry, as well as assisting them with day-to-day corporate matters. The practice has several Chinese petroleum companies on its books. The firm is expanding its services to the renewable energy space, advising companies on public bids and multilateral financing for projects.
Work highlights: A major Chinese oil and gas company worked with Alfaro to open an Argentine branch for its business.
Sport & entertainment
Key partners: Javier Medin; in 2016 FIFA appointed him vice chairman of a normalisation committee assembled to audit Argentina’s national football association, AFA.
Analysis: The practice handles transactional work as well as permits and tax matters, and represents players, clubs, actors and singers.
Analysis: The firm has given free legal advice to education and health projects that foster social responsibility, working with El Samaritano, a foundation supporting schools and hospitals in rural areas and Reaching U, a US organisation that works with children in Uruguay living below the poverty line. The firm also works with organisations that provide financing for women’s entrepreneurial development, such as Pro Mujer.