Legal 500 Ecuador, 2015


Ferrere Ecuador fields substantial capability in the antitrust field with a team including one partner and three experienced senior associates; José Urizar, for example, was formerly at the Undersecretary of Competition and Consumer Defense, Ecuador’s former competition authority, and has been a private practice counsel since the passage of new antitrust legislation in 2011. In current matters, practice head Javier Robalino Orellana and senior associate Daniel Robalino Orellana (an economic regulation specialist), are handling pre-merger notification matters for Grupo Gloria’s cement subsidiary, Yura, in relation to its public offer for a majority holding in Cementos del Sur (Concesur). Other matters include advice on importation quotas, unfair trade and unfair competition, cease agreements, abuse of market power, and the elimination of barriers to entry into the Ecuadorian market; the team is also representing clients on restraint of trade investigations, and advising on leniency pleas, and antitrust compliance programs. Senior associate Alberto Brown is also noted.


Ferrere Ecuador, the new local office of Uruguay’s Ferrere (which also has offices in Paraguay and Bolivia), is a novel factor in the local market and opened its doors early in the year with a near full-service offering and an impressive team over 30-strong. Ecuador-office managing partner is the highly regarded (particularly for arbitral matters) Javier Robalino who arrived with a sizeable contingent of associates from what was formerly Paz Horowitz Robalino Garcés; while on the finance side, Jesús Beltrán was previously regional general counsel for Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. The core corporate team is completed by partner Ándrés Donoso, whose practice includes administrative and regulatory matters, in addition to expertise in environmental, energy and mining law, plus a substantial team of 15 associates and of counsel. While the office remains new, it undoubtedly constitutes a major new player in the local market, and one that comes with the substantial backing of the firm’s multijurisdictional operation. Recent matters include advising on public bid processes, public contracts, incorporations, share transactions, mergers and acquisitions, and financings, refinancing and capital injections. Of counsel Paulina Regalado is another figure of note – her corporate practice reaches into labour and regulatory matters; as are senior associates Jose Urizar and Alberto Brown.


With industry renowned Javier Robalino – who previously led the dispute practice at the former Paz Horowitz Robalino Garcés – as co-chair, Ferrere Ecuador’s newly formed litigation and arbitration department is set to play a prominent role in the contentious area. Also managing partner for the firm’s new Ecuador branch, Robalino is one of the country’s leading practitioners in international arbitration. The practice is very active in the oil-and-gas sector where the expertise of government relations specialist Paola Gachet and environmental, mining and energy law specialist Andrés Donoso comes into its own in complex corporate litigation and arbitration cases. The department is currently handling a number of weighty matters, such as representing a foreign company in an investor-state litigation concerning a multi-hundred-million-dollar breach-of-contract case.


Bolstered by the expertise of Andrés Donoso, who formerly led the legal department at Petroamazonas, Ferrere Ecuador’s new energy department has ‘hit the ground running’. The nine-strong team regularly advises leading oil-and-gas companies on day-to-day matters, as well as on their interaction with the government and regulators, and is also handling a diverse range of renewable-energy projects. In recent highlights, the multi-faceted Javier Robalino advised the Schlumberger/Tecpetrol joint venture, Consorcio Shushufindi, on the negotiation of a $1.2bn investment agreement with the Ecuadorian state. Other clients include Chandler Corporation, SK Construction and Engineering, and T-Rex Engineering & Construction. Senior associates Martín Pallares, Rafael Valdivieso and Leyre Suárez all have an energy aspect to their practices.


The tax practice at new office Ferrere Ecuador can draw on the considerable expertise housed throughout the firm offices in Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia, and such resources look likely to make the team an important market player over time. Led by government-relations expert, Paola Gachet, the team is currently advising Water Management International on the tax implications of its new branch in Ecuador. In another matter, Javier Robalino is leading a team representing a major petroleum services corporation in a contentious case concerning past tax determinations. Other matters range from tax analysis, litigation and planning, to double taxation and the tax aspects of investment strategies. Clients include 3M Corporation Ecuador, ADC Management, AM Management, Amerisur, Andes Petroleum and Autolider Ecuador.

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