Maples is one of the most sought-after offshore firms for Latin American work thanks to a reputation for highly trained technical ability and commitment that precedes it. Much of that success is owed to skilled practice co-heads Simon Firth and Kieran Walsh.
A steady stream of high-profile, sophisticated transactions flows into the offshore outfit and deals are divvied up between this expert double act, who have enviably strong relationships with some of Latin America’s leading corporations. The firm’s workload is generously peppered with headline-grabbing deals, while complex and multi-jurisdictional banking and project finance transactions are a cinch for the team.
Maples is the first contact for large multinationals using offshore structures, which enlist the firm’s help to close deals across multiple borders and a diverse range of industries. Although it is common for offshore firms to home in on Brazil, Maples stands out for having a much broader regional presence. In recent work, it has assisted on deals taking place in Argentina, Uruguay and Mexico. Along with Brazil, the firm has plenty of experience in Peruvian and Paraguayan deals too.
This far-reaching grasp of the region has earned it a place in some high-powered dealmaking. The firm was among the winning firms that worked on the transaction that was named Latin Lawyer’s Deal of the Year Award for 2021, in the public M&A category. In that deal, Maples assisted the target company in the acquisition of AT&T’s Latin American assets, which were bought by Argentina’s Grupo Werthein. In another major mega-deal, the firm assisted Brazilian private equity group Patria in a US$26 billion tie-up with Chilean counterpart Moneda Asset Management, through which the two investment companies combined assets to form a new finance platform.
Unsurprisingly, the firm has an extensive list of well-known clients lining up for its broad spread of expertise. Those include LATAM Airlines, Brazilian meat-processing company Marfrig, Arcos Dorados (the franchiser of McDonald’s restaurants in Latin America), Colombian investment holding Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana, Brazilian brewer Ambev, electricity generator Termocandelaria, power companies Canacol Energy and Empresas Públicas de Medellín, Guatemalan finance group G&T Continental, Chilean forestry and paper company Inversiones CMPC, and Latin America’s largest shopping centre operator BRMalls. A slew of prominent international banks turn to the firm too, including Credit Suisse, Banco Santander and BNP Paribas internationally, Banco do Brasil and Banco Safra in Brazil, and Bancomext in Mexico. BTG Pactual has proven a loyal client in the funds area, while Brazilian financial services company XP has also been known to hire the firm.
In return, customers get excellent and professional service from Maples’ well-oiled team. One happy client even goes as far as claiming that this offering “may be the best firm in the Cayman Islands” and comments that their service from Maples was smoother and more technical than their experience with other offshore firms.
The Cayman Islands is the main hub for all things Latin America-focused, with co-heads Firth and Walsh based there. The British Virgin Islands is the next busiest office. Walsh, who practises both Cayman and BVI law, also spends time here. Those strategic bases collaborate closely with the firm’s Hong Kong, Dublin and London offices to streamline Latin American work.