Iberian firm Garrigues has continued its expansion across Latin America, bolting on Chilean firm Avendaño Merino.

Avendaño Merino, which will now be known as Garrigues Chile, has a team of more than 20 lawyers. Five lawyers will become Garrigues partners; Oscar Ferrari, Luis Felipe Merino, José Miguel Rioseco, Luis Eduardo Correa and Rodrigo Fernández. The firm focuses on corporate law, with a special emphasis on M&A, tax, real estate and energy.

The transaction in Chile makes Garrigues the European firm with the largest number of own offices in Latin America, with a presence in Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Brazil and Chile and a total of 100 Latin American lawyers working in its various offices.

The firm has been developing its own network since it decided to pull out of its Latin American alliance in 2013.

Last year, Garrigues merged with local player DLP in Colombia. At the time, the firm named Argentina and Chile as its next targets for expansion. In 2014, Rubio Leguía Normand partners Óscar Arrús, Sergio Amiel, Thomas Thorndike and José Francisco Meier joined Garrigues’ office in Lima.

Rival Iberian firm Uría Menéndez revealed its plans to develop its activities in Latin America two years ago, after it took on a 30 per cent stake in the merger of Chilean firm Philippi and Colombian firm Prietocarrizosa, creating Philippi Prietocarrizosa & Uría.

By 2020, the firm plans to consolidate its merger under the Uría Menéndez umbrella, buying up the rest of the shares from the two other firms.