The southernmost country of Central America, the Republic of Panama is home to the Panama Canal – the gateway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Revenue from canal tolls continues to represent a significant portion of Panama's GDP. Panama has the second largest economy in Central America and is the fastest growing economy and the largest per capita consumer in Central America. Panama's economy, because of its key geographic location, is mainly based on a well-developed service sector heavily weighted towards banking, commerce, tourism, and trading. The nation is Spanish-speaking with a population of more than 3.9 million. 

Lex Mundi in Panama

Lex Mundi provides coverage in Panama through its member firm Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega (ARIFA). Established in 1914, ARIFA has been at the forefront of the legal profession, advising leading international financial institutions and multinational corporations, as well as some of the largest companies in Panama for 100 years. 

ARIFA is a full-service law firm covering 30 practice areas, organized into 14 practice groups and attended by 46 lawyers. More than 75 percent of ARIFA’s lawyers have been educated in leading law schools in the United States and Europe or trained in law firms in New York and other financial centers. The unique background of its legal teams enables the firm to act as a bridge between legal and business cultures and to provide effective legal services to clients, particularly in challenging cross-border transactions.

ARIFA has a distinguished reputation for consistently providing the highest quality legal advice and is recognized for its unparalleled expertise in structuring complex, innovative and sophisticated mergers and acquisitions, and capital market and financial transactions in Panama and Latin America.

Representative Experience in Panama

  • HSBC in the US$ 2.2 billion sale of its assets in Panama. It is the largest acquisition and sale in Panama.
  • J.P. Morgan and Citi Global Markets, in the US$409 million Avianca Holdings’ registered initial public offering on the NYSE and consecutive bond offerings 
  • The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd., and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in the US$212 million expansion of the first line of the Panama City Metro. ARIFA also represented Citibank in structuring a US$250 million facility to the Government of Panama guaranteed by a MIGA, for the construction of the Metro. The Panama Metro System is the most important public infrastructure project in Panama City, and the first of its kind in Central America. 
  • Itaú Unibanco Holding, Banco Itaú Chile and CorpBanca, in a merger agreement. 
  • Global Bank Corporation in the issuance of the bank’s CHF 75 million Corporate Bonds due 2018 - one of the first bond issuances by a Panamanian bank to be listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. 
  • Colombia’s Terranum Hoteles in becoming the owner of one of Latin America’s largest hotel chains through its acquisition of Decameron Hotels and six of its international subsidiaries 
  • BICSA in the financing of Panama’s first windmill generation farm: UEP Penonomé I; and Interenergy Holdings (IEH) in simultaneous M&A and Project Financing for phase II 
  • The Bank of Nova Scotia and Banco General S.A. in the US$273 million financing for the construction of the country's third high-voltage power line

Contact(s) for Panama