Demarest Advogados has hired a new partner to lead its Iberian office desk.

Andoni Hernández, a Spanish lawyer, brings experience in M&A and foreign investment to the firm, and also has experience with PPPs (public-private partnership), public bids, and privatisations. He previously worked at Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira, a Madrid-based firm with an office in Brazil.

The Iberian desk specialises in clients from Spain and Portugal and was previously led by partners Gabriel Ricardo Kuznietz and Gonçalo Godinho.  

Hernández’s hire comes during a tumultuous political and economic time for Brazil, which has added uncertainty for some investors. Still, Hernández is optimisitc. “Crisis always brings opportunities. Both Portugal and Spain are countries with a long-lasting tradition of investments in Brazil under long-term commitments. I am currently witnessing fairly steady interest from Iberian capital searching for new opportunities in Brazil,” he said.

Infrastructure, in particular, is a sector rife with opportunity. “There is a huge necessity to improve infrastructure, but the challenge so far has been not to promise more, but to deliver what has already been granted, Brazil is a region where huge difficulties are confronted in the process of executing projects, sometimes because of poor preparation and maturation of the projects being offered, sometimes due to messy processes which prejudice predictability as to how to actually implement the investments, some other times just due to lack of tradition,” he said.

According to Hernández, the current government has expressed an intention to improve the infrastructure investment process and he said that if the government is successful, the market will respond positively.

“In addition to the well-known privatisation of new airports, ports and eventually railroads (although specially the latest will most probably require some additional time and maturity) municipal services related to mobility, waste and water treatment and urban lighting are, for sure, going to be in the sight of investors.”