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Chambers Europe 2016

Banking & Finance

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highly active across a broad range of financial matters, such as bond placements and syndicated financings. Represents local and international credit and financial institutions in complex transactions, and offers strong skills in financial litigation, including contentious issues relating to insolvency cases.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"What the team is doing on the ground is really outstanding. Very impressive work is delivered."

"I liked that the lawyers had enough experience. They showed us some crucial points in the contract and helped us to put in some conditions that were in our interest. They work really fast, and we like that."

What's new? AG Capital, Bank of America, Bulgarian Development Bank, Deutsche Bank and MECMA are amongst several recent client wins.

Work highlights Advised Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria on the EUR57 million amendment and establishment of securities under Bulgarian jurisdiction.

Assisted Baumax with various transactional and securities issues relating to the disposal of its Bulgarian unit.

Notable practitioners 

Practice head Vladimir Rangeloff is highlighted for his ability to "deliver on time" in "speciality, complex transactions." He offers substantial experience across the financial sector, including the financing of international M&A investments.

Significant clients Société Générale, Supervisors of Commercial Bank Victoria, UniCredit.

Competition/Antitrust

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Strong Bulgarian outfit that delivers competition advice to a roster of clients in areas including unfair competition, market dominance, cartels, dawn raids and state aid matters. Offers considerable experience on the contentious aspects of competition cases. Sector expertise ranges across finance, TMT, energy, retail and life sciences.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"These lawyers are business-oriented when providing advice, creative in finding solutions, strictly follow deadlines, easy to reach and quick in their responses. They make us feel that we are an important client."

"The main strengths are the full package of high-quality legal services and the level of passion and commitment."

What's new? KMB Bulgaria, Prestige and AP Mart are new client wins for the team.

Work highlights Assisted ZORA with an unfair competition litigation case before the CPC, concerning allegedly misleading advertising.

Represented Mlin before the CPC in abuse of dominant position claims against Bulgargaz and Bulgartransgaz.

Notable practitioners  

Sources describe Stefan Tzakov as a "remarkably intelligent lawyer." He is an established presence in Bulgarian competition. His wide-ranging experience covers all manner of contentious, transactional and advisory competition matters including related public procurements and concession issues. His recent caseload included acting for AP Mart on the acquisition of Delhaize Group's shareholding in Bulgarian retail chain Piccadilly.

Significant clients Alen Mak Bulgaria, CMB Bulgaria, BTV Media Group, Dunov Dr. Dunov and Dunov.

Corporate/Commercial

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners 
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Established presence in the Bulgarian corporate sphere, acting on large-scale local and cross-border M&A, acquisition financing and security arrangements. Also knowledgeable of corporate restructurings, and transaction-related tax and regulatory issues. Active lately on several high-end mandates in the retail sector.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Very high-level service - these lawyers are detail-oriented, disciplined and good negotiators. They can deal with a huge number of difficult questions in a very short time."

What's new? Veronika Hadjieva was promoted to partner level within the team.

Work highlights Assisted Austrian retailer Baumax with the sale of its Bulgarian unit.

Acted for Canadian exploration and development company Euromax Resources on the sale of its Bulgarian subsidiary company Euromax Services.

Notable practitioners  

Vladimir Rangeloff leads this firm's transactional team, and is an "exceptional" lawyer with vast experience in domestic and cross-border M&A, corporate restructuring and privatisation matters. Clients consider him a "skilled and suave negotiator who is punctual, understands business needs and manages risks. He also gets the job done when circumstances are urgent." He has been active lately in the retail sector, such as acting for AP Mart on its acquisition of Delhaize Group’s shares in the Bulgarian retail chain Piccadilly.

Rising star Veronika Hadjieva focuses on corporate issues such as acquisition financing and post-acquisition restructuring. Sources describe her as "highly trusted" and "able to handle large-scale projects."

Significant clients Bulgarian Development Bank, Herbalife, Lufthansa.

Dispute Resolution

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 7 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Significant contentious activity with major international and domestic clients from a broad range of industries. Advises banks on complex insolvency cases, and knowledgeable of construction, insurance, IP, energy and tax litigation, in addition to a growing focus on ADR methods.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"These lawyers always justify their client's trust when instructed on high-profile, sensitive court cases, and add value by advising clients on how to change things to avoid similar litigation in future."

Work highlights Represented retail chain Piccadilly in a number of commercial litigation and arbitration proceedings.

Acted for DANS Energy on an arbitration against the National Electricity Company and Electricity System Operator concerning unlawful charges.

Notable practitioners

Founding partner Yavor Kambourov draws on 25 years of experience in civil and commercial litigation to advise clients on contentious matters, with a particular focus on financial litigation.

Emil Emanuilov recently acted for KMB Bulgaria on an array of arbitration and litigation proceedings. Sources point to his deep understanding of insolvency proceedings, and for being "very well prepared - he always impresses." He recently acted for design and construction client Monolit on a case against Behr-Hella Thermocontrol in a Bulgarian arbitration case concerning due payments for a construction project.

Tax-focused practitioner Todor Todorov offers significant expertise in Bulgarian tax law to clients involved in tax-related disputes, aided by his previous professional experience at the tax treaty department of the National Revenue Agency. He is also knowledgeable of administrative and EU-related cases.

According to interviewees, Stefan Tzakov is a "profound and flexible thinker" and a "reliable name in energy litigation and arbitration." He is particularly active in energy price disputes and appeals in front of the Energy Commission.

Significant clients AON, Deutsche Bank, Lidl Bulgaria, UniCredit, Forton International.

Employment

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 3 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highly regarded domestic firm advising on all areas of labour and social security law including representing clients in matters such as mass dismissals. Recently focused on matters concerning non-Bulgarian or EU citizens such as issuing visas and residence permits. Notably experienced in assisting foreign investors with labour issues relating to developing their Bulgarian businesses.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The team is responsive, clued-in and prompt. The lawyers never waste time, and they know what to do in sensitive situations."

"All of the firm's lawyers are experienced with a good reputation and they are very well positioned in business circles."

What's new? Bulgarian Development Bank, Naspers, Bio Shop KilerA and AgroBul Blu are amongst new client gains.

Work highlights Advised KMB Bulgaria on employment law matters following its merger with Piccadilly.

Assisted Kamenitza with a wide range of labour law matters including employment agreements, dismissals, data protection and disciplinary proceedings.

Notable practitioners

According to interviewees, leading figure Andrey Alexandrov s a "recognised expert in the field who knows his stuff and gives advice that is applicable in practice." He combines practical and academic expertise to cover the full scope of labour matters, focusing on assisting with the Bulgarian operations of major international companies. Lately, this included advising Lidl Bulgaria on a wealth of employment matters such as dismissal procedures and calculation of compensation. Clients consider him "a wonderful specialist - extremely dedicated and impressive."

Significant clients Piccadilly, Ministry of Education, Regiocom, bTV Media Group, Uber Bulgaria.

Energy

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highly recommended energy practice, offering high-end advice across financing, litigation and regulatory matters. Works extensively on large-scale projects, including experience of major gas line and nuclear power plant developments, and advises the Bulgarian electricity operator on various matters. Foreign and domestic clients include investor-owned utilities, energy project developers and government entities.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"This team is very down to earth and pragmatic. It is not as formalistic as some other firms. The lawyers are always available and responsive."

"These lawyers react fast, and have in-depth industry knowledge combined with profound general legal knowledge."

What's new? New clients include Alpig Ecopower, Greek Environmental & Energy Network and GEN-I.

Work highlights Represented the Electricity System Operator in numerous litigation proceedings initiated by renewable energy generators and electricity traders.

Provides energy-related expertise to Citygas Bulgaria regarding a range of matters, including the drafting of agreements and representation before the Supreme Administrative Court.

Notable practitioners  

Top-rated practitioner Stefan Tzakov has diverse knowledge across the Bulgaria energy sector, with experience of projects, regulatory and litigious matters. Recent cases include advising Hungarian energy client MVM on the obtaining of an electricity licence for its Bulgarian subsidiary. Clients say: "He possesses the energy expertise needed, he is very careful and precise and his advice is always straight to the point." 

Significant clients Alpiq Ecopower, MVM Group, Energo-Pro Group Companies, DANS Energy, Witte Automotive.

Intellectual Property

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 3 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highly recommended domestic firm, newly established at the top end of the Bulgarian IP market. Advises leading multinational clients in the media, technology, leisure and entertainment industries. Experienced in representing trade mark and industrial design holders in disputes, as well as anti-counterfeiting and customs measures. Also provides an IP auditing service for sale, acquisition and securitisation purposes.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"These lawyers are business-oriented in their advice, and creative in finding solutions. They strictly follow deadlines, are easy to reach and quick in their responses. They make us feel like we are an important client, and they are very reliable."

"The firm has great connections both locally and internationally, and is strong in the more complex and nuanced cases. Clients are treated individually and the lawyers take the time to get to know you and your business."

What's new? Head of department Margarita Guigova was promoted to partner. New clients include Vbox7, Open Society Foundation, Arya Yoga, and Rocao.

Work highlights Advised Prestige 96 on various IP-related matters, including the export of one of its main brands to Hungary, and litigation proceedings against a competitor.  

Assisted AP Mart with a full range of IP issues, such as the management and transfer of trade marks.

Notable practitioners  

According to sources, Margarita Guigova is a "serious authority" in Bulgarian IP, thanks to her "intellectual thoroughness, bullet-proof tactics and spot-on advice." Others say that she is "a good tactician and gives a competitive advantage to her clients." She is experienced in cross-border licensing, anti-counterfeiting and customs measures, and skilled in infringement and unfair competition litigation. 

Significant clients Nova Broadcasting Group, Don't DIY, Alen Mak Bulgaria, Handmaids, Kamenitza. 

Real Estate

Basic facts about the department
- 2 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Long-established presence at the top end of the Bulgarian market, noted for the ability to advise on all aspects of a real estate matter across a range of industry areas. Experienced in the development of industrial, residential and recreational projects, alongside recent activity on commercial developments including the expansion of retail chains and creation of parks and malls. Provides additional expertise in contentious and tax issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"These lawyers understand business constraints, and give excellent legal advice and sound strategic guidance. They are down-to-earth and approachable, offering deep understanding of daily realities and providing business-oriented solutions to complex issues."

What's new? Sofia Municipality, KMB Bulgaria, AP Mart, Akropolis and Euroterra Bulgaria are among new client gains.

Work highlights Advised Sterling Retail on all aspects of the construction of a shopping centre and sports playground, valued at EUR4 million.  

Assisted SALP with the design and construction of a new gas line for the distribution of natural gas.

Notable practitioners

Clients consider Atanas Shopov a "top-class lawyer" with deep knowledge of real estate and construction law, and the ability to give "fast, straight-forward advice and well-structured opinions." He advises clients throughout the development and construction of major retail, infrastructure and industrial projects. Lately, this has included providing ongoing assistance to Kaufland Bulgaria with its expansion across the country.

Sources appreciate that Radosveta Kojuharova is "target-oriented and has impressive deal-making abilities." She is further highlighted by interviewees for her expertise in construction law, and extensive experience in commercial and residential developments. Lately, she has provided advice on all real estate-related matters to retailers AP Mart and KMB Bulgaria.

Significant clients Brentwood Associated Limited, Monolit, Witte Automotive Bulgaria, Sterling Properties.

Restructuring/Insolvency

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Established presence at the top-end of the Bulgarian market, aiding domestic and foreign clients on formal insolvency, related litigation and enforcement, out-of-court workouts and refinancing schemes. In-depth knowledge of Bulgarian and international law allows for the ability to lead on complex cross-border matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We really needed professional advice and help, which this firm was able to provide. The team is very supportive and constantly monitors the process."

Work highlights Provided legal opinions to UniCredit Bulbank regarding receivables involved in the insolvency of the Corporate Commercial Bank.

Notable practitioners

Yavor Kambourov is the principal contact point for the team.

Significant clients Bulgarian Development Bank, Piccadilly, Piraeus Bank, Unix Solutions, Alen Mak Bulgaria.

Tax

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highly regarded team which advises sizeable domestic and international clients on all tax-related matters, including VAT, corporate tax, M&A-related matters and sensitive contentious tax proceedings. Covers a range of industry sectors, naming numerous banks and financial institutions on its roster, alongside prominent technology, telecoms and insurance companies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"These lawyers are very efficient, and we are confident in their tax expertise."

What's new? Evrobuild, AP Mart, Regiocom, Select Trade and KMB are new client wins for the practice.

Work highlights Acted for AP Mart on a wide range of tax issues, including transactional issues and administrative proceedings.

Assisted Lidl with contentious and customs-related tax cases, as well as the application of double tax treaties.

Notable practitioners  

Clients describe leading figure Todor Todorov as "an expert in tax matters and related litigation." He has substantial experience of disputes before the Bulgarian courts, as well as advising on tax optimisation and compliance issues. Lately, he worked with clients such as Witte, KMB Bulgaria and UniCredit Leasing on a variety of tax cases.

Significant clients Iberdrola Inmobiliaria.

TMT

Basic facts about the department
- 1 partner
- 2 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Renowned firm with experience of advising large international corporations on telecoms and technology matters, often linked to transactional mandates. Noted for knowledge of software services and development, online entertainment and e-commerce issues.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Well-educated, articulate lawyers, who are proactive, careful and follow up on our work."

"This firm is great - responsive, easy to deal with, smooth and open to being challenged."

What's new? New client gains include MECMA.

Work highlights Advised Vodafone on potential implementations of new technologies in the Bulgarian market.

Assisted TELUS with a shareholding in a Bulgarian call centre service provider.

Notable practitioners  

Clients highlight Mitko Karushkov for being "very generous, detailed and client-specific in his approach." He advises on a full spectrum of matters related to the TMT sector, including licensing, content compliance, and broadcast services.