Montevideo-based firm Ferrere has expanded its presence in the region with the full opening of an office in Ecuador. In September, the firm announced the bolstering of its M&A, capital markets, and banking and finance practices with the addition of Jesús Beltrán as a partner.

Beltrán was based in Ecuador, although the firm did not yet have a full-fledged office there. The Ecuadorian office will operate with 34 attorneys including four partners. Javier Robalino will serve as managing partner for the office and, in addition to Beltrán, will be complemented by partners Andrés Donoso and Paola Gachet and Paulina Regalado as counsel.

Robalino joins Ferrere from Paz Horowitz Robalino Garces, where he spent nearly four years as a partner. He was part of the team that advised Schlumberger in its $1.2 billion acquisition of Mi Swaco, Smith and Geoservices to form Schlumberger del Ecuador, the country’s largest oil servicer. He also advised Corporación Masaveu, Spain’s second largest cement company, in the selection process of a strategic investment partner to form an alliance with the Ecuadorian state for the $600 million design, construction, operation and management of a new line of cement production center.

According to Robalino, the new opening of the new office is “a crucial step in the modernization of the Ecuadorian legal market.”

Donoso, who also joins from Paz Horowitz Robalino Garces, will head the firm’s oil and gas practice. He represents clients at all points along the crude oil production and distribution chain. Donoso focuses on oil and gas, mining, regulatory, and natural resources. He previously served as Secretary of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Ecuador, Chief Negotiator for the Ecuadorian State on oil and mining contracts, Legal Manager of Petroamazonas EP, and Legal Director and Executive Vice President of Dispetrol.

Gachet specializes in public contracting and migration issues, and works with the tax and transfer pricing department. She was part of the team that advised Uruguayan group Bustin-Montelur in the $4 million investment structure process for general representation of Mercedes Benz in Ecuador through its subsidiary, Autolider Ecuador.