chambers europe
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Chambers Europe 2008

Banking and Finance

This commendable, ten-lawyer finance group is skilled in the areas of banking, insurance, project finance, capital markets, tax, regulatory and compliance investments. The firm act for both borrowers and lenders, and is highly regarded among international investors, private equity firms and banks. Clients raved about the ‘outstanding quality’ regularly delivered by the firm. Vladimir Rangeloff’s dedicated approach was valued by his clients, with one source describing him as ‘responsive, quick and truly looking for solutions for the clients as opposed to trying to win a points game against a local competitor. The team advised Volksbank International in relation to a proposed acquisition of DZI Bank, and advised Economic Investment Bank on its sale of a 75% stake, worth EUR480 million.

Corporate/Commercial

This firm has become serious contender for international corporate and commercial mandates thanks to its ‘high-quality’ work for big-ticket deals in recent years. It is also well-known for its achievements in the energy sector. Lately, the team has been picking up a range of interesting assignments from the Bulgarian state authorities. It is also reported to be becoming a player in finance and capital market transactions. Recent highlights include a groundbreaking deal in which the firm acted for foreign trade holding company Chimimport on its EUR267 million IPO on the Sofia exchange. Clients highlight the accuracy and punctuality of the 33-strong team, saying ‘They can be relied upon to deliver results, even under tight deadlines’. Name partner Yavor Kambourov is hailed by sources as an “extremely good manager who deserves every bit of praise’. He is involved in all of the firm’s major transactions and litigations and has made his mark in the finance and capital markets sector. He led the team that advised Central Cooperative Bank on the increase of the bank’s capital and its trade on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange. Vladimir Rangeloff focuses on a broad range of corporate and M&A transactions, including IPOs. The market praises him for being ‘great on the privatization front’. Widely recognized for his work in the energy sector, Stefan Tzakov gives ‘top-end’ advice on licensing and energy regulatory matters and privatization work. Clients emphasized his ability to work under pressure. The firm is particularly active in the energy sector. For example, it advised on the restructuring of the electricity distribution companies in Varna and Gorna Oriahovitza, and on the unbundling of the supply and the distribution activities. The team acted on the merger of long-term client Nokia’s Bulgarian subsidiaries and Intellisync. It also advised Nokia on the Bulgarian leg of its global merger with Siemens.

Dispute Resolution

This ‘very impressive and strategically brilliant team’ is popular for dispute resolution work. ‘It will always be our first choice for litigation’, commented one satisfied client. The lawyers are also effective arbitrators and are renowned for their client-focused approach, providing “excellent communication skills and a highly responsive service’, that clients can rely on. ‘The team guided us through a very sensitive case and had no difficulty in explaining all the complex issues’. The firm is highly skilled in commercial litigation and has handled disputes relating to corporate restructuring, shareholders’ rights property and energy. Emil Emanuilov is ‘a very astute, client-oriented and committed practitioner’. Sources describe him as ‘an excellent attorney who handles some very impressive cases’. Yavor Kambourov is ‘a very prominent and vastly experienced litigator’. He is credited with being one of the first lawyers to deal with commercial litigation and “he is still setting the pace’. The team is representing the foreign owner of Dedicated Property Group in a shareholders’ agreement dispute worth EUR10 million. Other clients include Central Cooperative Bank, E.ON and Technoimportexport.

Employment

Offering ‘pragmatic and clear advice’ this firm ‘always delivers for its clients and is very creative in offering practical business solutions’. Following the country’s entry to the EU, the firm has been buzzing with foreign investors. ‘I would definitely recommend it to any global company, doing business in Bulgaria’, commented one such client. The team’s expertise includes handling work permits for non-EU citizens, litigation and consultation advice, drafting employment contracts and collective labour agreements and representing clients anticipating inspections by employment authorities. It has carried out a wide range of such work for the likes of Nu Boyana Film Studios, NIKMI and Nokia.

Energy and Natural Resources

‘This firm has a profound knowledge of energy law, an excellent understanding of the relevant institutions and outstanding analytical abilities.’ The team handles matters such as nuclear, thermal and hydroelectric power, and is the only Bulgarian law firm, chosen by the International Federation of Electricity Traders to prepare a legal opinion on standard agreements for electricity trading. Clients were eager to point out ‘Not only is it an expert in Bulgarian law, but it also works brilliantly on international level.’ Described as “an exceptional, service-minded and enthusiastic lawyer’, Stefan Tzakov is highly esteemed among his clients and competitors, who praise ‘his brilliant precision and detail’ while others enthuse about his excellent language skills. Highlights include advising Russian contractor ZAO Atomstoyexport on the construction of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant. The team also covers a wide range of energy matters in its ongoing advice to E.ON Bulgaria, while other clients include RegioCom and Kaolin.

Intellectual Property

The team at this full-service outfit is praised for its wide-ranging IP practice, with key areas of expertise including trademarks, copyrights and designs. In addition, the lawyers handle due diligence, trademark registration, research and monitoring, the drafting of licensing agreements and IP infringement litigation. It also represents clients before the Bulgarian Patent Office and the Competition Protection Commission. Mitko Karushkov heads the IP practice and is the group’s primary contact. The firm continues to advise both domestic and international companies on their IP rights.

Real Estate

This six-lawyer team was consistently rated by interviewees, earning its place at the top of the table. The firm has been advising on a plethora of real estate and construction matters, such as the development of shopping malls, acquisition and sales and advising on title of succession. The team’s client list predominantly features foreign international companies looking for an international and domestic expertise in the real estate sector. ‘We always look to the upper end of the market; therefore, we choose Kambourov & Partners’, said one client. Another one added ‘This is an excellent specialist. A lot of the issues and deals are complicated, but the firm manages to meet our expectations completely’. Particularly skilled in construction matters, Atanas Shopov moves to the top of the rankings this year. Clients appreciate his dedicated work ethic: ‘If I needed him on a Sunday afternoon, I will be able to get him on the phone’. They also praise his ‘in-depth knowledge for the real estate market in general’, and note “his very comprehensive knowledge of the way to connect international standards with the local legal framework’. The firm has been advising Russian contractor ZAO Atomstoyexport in the design, construction and development of a nuclear power plant. It has provided due diligence, a review of the share purchase agreement and other documents for QVT Financing, regarding financing for the Super Borovets project.

TMT

Clients report a busy year for this firm, which has worked on several telecommunication and media deals, including advising TV and film producers. Clients and peers describe the team as accomplished in assisting on deals for cable and network operators, and with a number of prestigious international clients, the group is experienced in advising foreign investors looking to obtain shares in TMT-related companies. Kambourov & Partners is also skilled in representing clients before the Communication Regulation Commission. The talented Mitko Karushkov is described as ´great authority in this field´. He has consistently ´performed very well´ for his clients and is ´polite, prompt and skilled´. Vladimir Rangeloff is also a name clients highlighted, mainly due to his input on the financial elements of TMT deals. The team advised Providence Equity Partners in the tender procedure for this acquisition of BTC. Other highlights include advising the Bulgarian subsidiary of Nokia on its global merger with Siemens, and assisting Nu Image in the privatization of Boyana National Film Centre.