EY Peru has strengthened its project development practice with the hire of two project development partners, Juan José Cárdenas and María Luisa Peña Hartog, from Rebaza Alcázar & De Las Casas. The new team also includes Diana Tassara, Diana Garate, Natalia Gallardo, Felipe Durán-Cornejo, Alejandra Gálvez and Lucía Villavicencio. 

Although EY (Ernst & Young) is best known for being one of the “big four” accounting firms, it has been increasingly hiring lawyers and building a reputation as a law firm. One of the firm’s most notable recent developments in Latin America was its merger with Costa Rica-based Pacheco Coto, a Central American regional firm. “The global platform of EY, its presence in more than 150 countries and its business model were key factors that attracted us and undoubtedly weighed very much in our decision [to join the firm],” said Cárdenas.

The partners’ hire comes at an important time for Peru’s infrastructure sector. Lava Jato, or Operation Car Wash, an investigation into corruption allegations at Brazilian state-owned oil company Petrobras, has had implications for not just Brazil, but for several Latin American countries, including Peru.

“There is no doubt that the Lava Jato episode has affected the PPP projects pipeline in Peru,” Cárdenas said. “Having said that, I am kind of optimistic about the coming years for PPP projects in Peru and the project finance activity.”

Cárdenas pointed to the second runway and new terminal of the Lima Airport, the Salaverry port and the wastewater treatment plants of Titicaca Lake as examples of projects that are in the pipeline in the country.

“The infrastructure gap is still very large in Peru, and PPP projects have been and will continue to be a key tool for [the] government and investors to reduce such gap in the coming years,” Cárdenas said.