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Chambers Europe 2013

Banking & Finance

This firm has a solid reputation especially for financing work in the energy sector. It advised a consortium of international banks on the financing of the NABUCCO gas pipeline project. The firm has also been involved in complex restructuring projects for the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company and Bulgarian Energy Holding.
Sources say: "We are very happy with its service." "The lawyers understand the law very well."
Managing partner Vladimir Rangeloff is described by one client as an "out-of-the-box thinker," and is noted for being a hands-on, extremely efficient and knowledgeable adviser. He is also a renowned corporate lawyer.
Yonko Hristov "is able to quickly understand the issues and always delivers more than expected." He advised the Black Sea Property Fund on financing various residential real estate developments.

Competition/Antitrust

This firm improves its position in the rankings this year due to a string of competition cases and enthusiastic client feedback. Its strength in the energy and media sectors means that it is well positioned to advise clients on related competition issues. It also has a highly regarded litigation practice which it can utilise in contentious competition cases. The firm assists clients with merger clearance, competition commission investigations and anti-concentration proceedings. A noteworthy case was acting for bTV before the competition commission on proceedings against Nova TV. The firm has also advised E.ON, Alstom and the Bulgarian-American Credit Bank.
Sources say: "The lawyers react very fast – sometimes a few hours matter." 
 Charismatic energy lawyer and litigator Stefan Tzakov enters the competition rankings this year due to his impressive performance in competition cases. Clients benefit from his comprehensive background knowledge and say: "He goes beyond providing purely legal advice." He represented Maxima in a cartel investigation following its acquisition of several retail chains.

Corporate/Commercial

This well-established firm continues to make its presence felt in the Bulgarian legal market. The corporate team provides counsel on a broad spectrum of matters, including M&A, restructurings, IPOs and demergers. It recently advised Bulgarian Energy Holding on the restructuring of the project involving the design and construction of the Belene nuclear power plant.Sources say: "The team always gives clear and concise advice."
Vladimir Rangeloff is lauded as "a calm and confident adviser." His practice focuses on mergers and commercial disputes.
Stefan Tzakov draws praise for his in-depth knowledge of the energy sector. "He handles things quickly and efficiently and is business-oriented," state clients.
Yavor Kambourov is well regarded for his expertise in banking and finance and real estate matters.

Dispute Resolution

This highly respected firm remains a key player in the Bulgarian dispute resolution market. It operates across a broad range of sectors such as real estate, banking and energy. Indeed, the team has developed a particular knowledge of the energy industry in order to offer a complete service to its energy clients. The group recently represented E.ON in a EUR1.6 million lawsuit against Bulgaria's anti-monopoly commission.Sources say: "A client-oriented team with fast reaction times."
Practice head Emil Emanuilov is a popular choice with clients for complex litigations. They regard him as "a high-quality practitioner who is a pleasure to work with." 
Market observers regard Yavor Kambourov as a "marvellous all-rounder with a pragmatic approach." He has particular knowledge of corporate and banking issues.
Commercial dispute specialist Stefan Tzakov is another valued member of the team. As a "formidable litigator," he leads on a number of the firm's most prominent cases.

Employment

This highly respected firm fields an impressive team, with expertise in diverse areas of employment law. It has developed a particular specialisation in data protection matters as well as an increasingly popular labour law disputes practice. It also has notable experience of trade union issues and collective bargaining agreements. The group advised Inditex, owner of multiple fashion brands, on a variety of issues, from employee dismissals to consumer law issues.
Sources say: "An excellent standalone practice staffed by highly qualified practitioners."
Department head Andrey Aleksandrov commands respect as an authority on labour law. Interviewees confirm: "He is thorough and convincing; his depth of knowledge is second to none." He also has impressive academic credentials; he lectures on employment law at Sofia University.

Energy

This leading practice is active across all aspects of the energy sector. It assists clients with a variety of energy matters including transactional, contentious and regulatory advice. The firm is noted for its strength in electricity trading and success in energy disputes. One important mandate is advising Bulgarian Energy Holding on the estimated EUR500 million restructuring of the Bulgarian energy sector and implementation of the EU's Third Energy Package. The firm continues to advise E.ON, and also counts RWE Supply & Trading and Citygas Bulgaria amongst its clients.Sources say: "It has guided us through with a great deal of judgement." "Whatever had to be done just got done."
Clients describe practice head and respected litigator Stefan Tzakov as "a brilliant lawyer." He is fluent in German, gives down-to-earth advice and has impressive expertise in the energy field, administrative law and regulatory matters. He assisted Euromax Resources with the sale of two gold deposits.
Up-and-comer Irena Karpe is praised by clients for her ability to handle complex matters, as well as for her quick and accurate advice. She acted for the consortium of lenders on the financing of the NABUCCO gas pipeline project.

Intellectual Property

This large firm's reputation for litigation extends to its IP practice. It advises on a variety of contentious IP matters and is representing Global Films in two copyright infringement cases concerning the free use of parody, in what is an important test of the EU Copyright Directive. The firm also provides general IP counselling and is especially active in managing the trade mark and industrial design portfolios of international clients. With its expertise in the media, film and drinks industries, the firm is well positioned to assist clients with transactional IP issues. Companies on the client list include Alstom Power Italy, Propeople and FKP Sojuzplodoimport.Sources say: "It certainly delivers high-end service and results."
Practice head Mitko Karushkov is a skilled communicator who "is fast to find and propose solutions." He advised CAPITA Group on IP issues related to its acquisition of a translation and software development company.
Trade mark specialist Margarita Guigova is valued for being "a precise, meticulous and efficient practitioner." Clients say: "She has very strong business sense and is capable of predicting potential issues."

ТМТ

This firm continues to develop its TMT practice with a particular focus on the media and entertainment sectors. It advises TV production companies on various matters ranging from litigation to corporate advice. A significant client is Boyana Movie Studios, which it advised on tax incentives for film production in Bulgaria, and on the production of its films. The firm is also active in telecoms and often appears in arbitrations against BTC. Other clients include Nokia, Global Vision and Krisolta Film & TV.Sources say: "It is open-minded and creative in its approach to making decisions. This is something we appreciate a lot."
Sources highlight Mitko Karushkov's focused and commercial advice. "He is very well educated and you can count on him," according to one interviewee. Karushkov advised Kodak on the disposal of its motion picture film processing laboratories in SEE.

Real Estate

This firm has a leading real estate practice which covers the full range of matters including litigation, arbitration, restitution claims and construction. The increase in restructuring and insolvency proceedings has kept the department busy with due diligence, title research and securitisation work. For example, it is reviewing the Bulgarian Energy Holding's pledges over real estate as part of a EUR500 million restructuring. The firm also represents Burgas Plaza against McDonald's Restaurants in a claim for breach of a lease agreement. Other significant clients are E.ON Bulgaria Grid, T-market and The World Bank.Sources say: "It has valuable real estate experience, especially in the energy business." "We have a long-term and fruitful relationship that has been of crucial importance to our business in Bulgaria."
 Practice head Atanas Shopov is universally well regarded and stands out for his broad academic knowledge, which he combines with pragmatic and results-oriented advice. He continues to assist Lidl with its expansion in Bulgaria, and also advised it on establishing mortgages over its hypermarkets. 
Radosveta Kojuharova is admired by clients for thinking outside the box and for her ability to find solutions. She acted for Sterling Properties Bulgaria on the development of the Lyulin Mall in Sofia.