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Chambers Europe 2018

Banking & Finance

What the team is known for Represents local and international credit and financial institutions in syndicated facility arrangements and bond placements. Assists clients with banking and capital markets regulation. Acts on public takeovers, private equity transactions and financial litigation, including enforcement and contentious issues relating to insolvency cases. Well versed in financial restructuring mandates.

Strengths Clients highlight the "prompt and high-quality" services provided by the team, adding: "We have been impressed by the motivation of the lawyers and their level of expertise."

Work highlights Acted for Petroceltic on its financial restructuring following its takeover by Worldview Capital.

Advised the Bulgarian Export Insurance Agency on a range of financial issues, including disputes with DSK Bank.

Notable practitioners

Vladimir Rangeloff advises a range of credit institutions, investment managers and banks on restructuring, financing and regulatory issues. He recently acted for Credit Europe as pledgee on a USD25 million uncommitted credit facility for Belor Group.

 

EU & Competition

What the team is known for Strong Bulgarian outfit that advises on a range of matters including cartel proceedings and competition compliance in distribution agreements. Handles significant cases that test Bulgarian law on the abuse of a stronger bargaining position. Prominent in both contentious and non-contentious matters relating to advertising of consumer goods. Acts for automotive, TMT, food and retail sector clients.

Strengths Clients describe the lawyers as "technically astute, thorough and precise, with tremendous knowledge of the EU law perspective."

"The lawyers are very stable in their performance and are willing to satisfy every need of my business," states another interviewee.

Work highlights Advised Lidl on its appeal of the EUR1 million fine imposed for alleged misleading advertising. The firm also assisted with two proceedings relating to Bulgarian legislation prohibiting the abuse of a stronger bargaining position.

Acted for Maxima Bulgaria on proceedings brought by the CPC against retailers that were alleged to be participants in a cartel.

Notable practitioners

Stefan Tzakov impresses clients with his "concise, well-structured and well-balanced advice." "He digs deeply into issues and is exhaustive and detail-oriented," states one source. Tzakov advised Aon on an information request from the CPC relating to the latter's investigation into vertical restraints in the insurance sector. He also assists clients from the retail, automotive and media sectors with diverse contentious and non-contentious competition issues.

 

Corporate/Commercial

What the team is known for Successful team advising local and international clients on commercial issues, M&A transactions and corporate restructurings. Regularly advises multinational entities on transactions involving their Bulgarian subsidiaries. Of late, the firm has been active across a broad range of sectors such as automotive, construction, energy and banking.

Strengths Clients laud the service provided by the team, one saying: "I value their immense experience and competence across fields. What impresses me is the speed and accuracy of the advice, the knowledge and the business focus."

Additional sources praise the speed of response demonstrated by the team, suggesting it is "proactive and always attentive to informing and suggesting new opportunities."

Value for Money Clients praise the resourcefulness of the firm and suggest it is "cost-effective and great value for money."

Work highlights Acted for Piraeus Bank and Piraeus Bank Bulgaria on the sale of Piraeus Leasing Bulgaria to Finance Information Assistance.

Assisted BISAM with the Bulgarian aspects of its purchase of FinAnalytica.

Significant Clients Petroceltic, ADM Capital, Astound Commerce, Witte Automotive, Akropolis Group.

Notable practitioners

Vladimir Rangeloff is a well-known name who represents a range of clients, particularly those active in the real estate sector. He recently led the team advising on the disposal of Piraeus Leasing Bulgaria by Piraeus Bank. Sources say: "He really knows his way around all the big players."

Veronika Hadjieva is described by interviewees as "very dynamic, proactive and proficient." She is experienced across the full breadth of corporate transactions, restructuring and advisory work, and regularly represents commercial developers and real estate companies. She recently advised BM Leasing Inc on the sale of its stake in BM Leasing AD to Web Finance Holding. Clients say she "drives things forward and comes up with good strategies to best serve our interests."

Dispute Resolution

What the team is known for Strong team dealing with claims for domestic and international clients across various industry sectors, particularly within the banking and energy industries. Well versed across commercial disputes, including intellectual property and competition litigation. Regularly represents clients in international arbitration, insolvency proceedings, enforcement and debt collection matters.

Strengths Sources commend the experience of the firm, pointing out its "impressive domination of the law, unique industry insight, hard workers, great integration between teams and clear and to-the-point advice."

Additional interviewees have been "impressed by the motivation of the team of lawyers and the level of expertise," and the firm draws further praise for its "very adaptable, flexible" team "with sound industry and legal knowledge."

Work highlights Acted for Fix Finance on a EUR1.8 million arbitration against KMB Bulgaria concerning agreements to purchase real estate.

Significant Clients Bulgarian Football Union, Tabacos Marasca, Olinesa, Katarzyna Estate.

Notable practitioners

Clients are keen to emphasise the strong position Yavor Kambourov holds in Bulgaria: "With his unique deal-making skills, business focus, confident and reassuring presence and vast knowledge, he remains the crème de la crème of the market." He offers expertise across a wide range of commercial disputes, such as insolvency litigation, IP claims and debt collection, and he recently advised Bulgarian Development Bank on litigation proceedings for the collection of receivables.

Clients believe Emil Emanuilov to be "the best." They describe him as "very intelligent and knowledgeable, with high business awareness. He is confident and convincing in court and a very strong litigator." Emanuilov is widely appreciated for his activity in litigation matters as well as construction arbitration, insolvency proceedings and tax disputes. Market commentators admire his "superior skills and strong demeanour in court," adding that "he can distil the biggest complexities into something easy to understand for a non-lawyer." His recent workload includes representing UniCredit Bulbank in commercial disputes valued at EUR10 million and insolvency proceedings brought against bad debtors.

Stefan Tzakov is particularly well regarded for his experience in energy litigation and labour disputes. He regularly advises clients in the energy and automotive sectors and has recently acted on investment arbitration proceedings and damages claims.

Employment

What the team is known for Highly regarded domestic firm advising on all areas of labour and social security law, representing clients in both contentious and non-contentious cases. Expertise includes terminations, contract drafting and data protection. Well versed in immigration matters concerning non-EU citizens, such as visa issuances and residence permits. Particularly notable for its representation of major local supermarket chains and international retailers. Benefits from close links to leading international firms to attract work for global transport and technology sector clients.

Strengths Interviewees are impressed by the quality of the firm's advice, saying: "Everything is clear, comprehensive and logical."

Sources describe the lawyers as "highly experienced specialists," going on to say: "They give very quick and high-quality responses."

Work highlights Advised Kamenitza on a wide range of issues including dismissals, disciplinary proceedings and data protection.

Assisted Prestige 96 with various contentious and non-contentious employment law matters, including the drafting and termination of employment contracts.

Notable practitioners

Andrey Aleksandrov is well regarded in the market and described as a "bright employment lawyer." He earns praise both for his academic profile and for his advocacy skills in court cases. He regularly acts for clients from the retail, insurance, pharmaceutical and TMT sectors, and advised Uber on various employment matters including data protection and amendments of employment agreements.

 

Energy

What the team is known for Well-reputed energy practice, offering noteworthy experience in litigation as well as financing and regulatory matters. Works for a range of domestic and international clients including project developers, lenders and governmental organisations. Extensive activity in renewables, nuclear power, natural gas and mining, with a strong presence in the electricity trading sector. Regularly assists the government on regulatory mandates.

Strengths A source considers the practice one of the best, describing it as "experienced and competent."

A client notes the team for its "strong substantial argumentation."

Work highlights Advised the European Federation of Energy Traders (EFET) on its master agreements for the delivery and acceptance of electricity and natural gas.

Acted for the Electricity System Operator on a EUR16 million litigation brought by renewable energy generators and electricity traders.

Notable practitioners

A "reputable energy lawyer skilled at litigation,"Stefan Tzakov heads the energy practice at the firm. He often advises EFET on the Bulgarian energy market. A client reports: "He demonstrated excellent strategic thinking and brought outside-the-box solutions to the table." He recently advised Trafigura on a cross-border project with regard to natural gas transmission.

 

IP

What the team is known for Stands out for superb track record in copyright cases on behalf of clients in the media and entertainment industries, including artists and broadcasters. Advises domestic and multinational trade mark and industrial design holders on a wealth of registration, infringement, unfair competition and anti-counterfeiting mandates. Assists with patent filings and with third party oppositions to trade mark registrations. Well versed in representing clients before the BPO, EUIPO and World Intellectual Property Organization.

Strengths The team's foresight and communication skills are highlighted by clients: "We are impressed by their ability to foresee the future steps of the adverse party and the court. The team is highly responsive and attentive, which brings fluidity and ease of communication."

Another client notes how hard-working the lawyers are: "They go totally above and beyond what we expect and deliver incredible value in all regards and in a timely manner."

Work highlights Represented Piraeus Bank in a copyright infringement dispute over material used in a promotional video.

Advised Bulgarian online retailer 24OPEN on copyright issues relating to the software used for its website.

Notable practitioners

Margarita Guigova works extensively with clients in the entertainment industry on disputes over the payment of royalties or the unlicensed reproduction of content. She also represents corporate clients in trade mark registration and opposition mandates before national and European IP authorities. Clients appreciate her rigorous and pragmatic approach, citing "her thorough analysis of the matter and her ability to provide practical advice that is focused on long-term results."

 

Real Estate & Construction

What the team is known for Highly regarded team reputed for acting on high-value developments. Frequently assists clients with the development of residential buildings and commercial premises, including shopping centres. Advises on financing, design, construction and long-term leases. Practical expertise also encompasses the construction of gas pipelines and industrial plants. Also assists with real estate M&A.

Strengths Sources are impressed by the consistency of the quality of service, with a client noting that they liked "everything from response times to availability to quality and comprehensiveness of advice," adding that the team demonstrated "focus on results and clients' needs."

Work highlights Assisted Kaufland with its further expansion in Bulgaria and recently advised on the development of two hypermarkets in Sofia as well as Veliko Tarnovo.

Advised Witte Automotive on the development and construction of a car parts manufacturing plant.

Notable practitioners

Head of department Atanas Shopov advises clients on a wide range of real estate and construction matters. According to a client, he has "sector-specific expertise, significant business acumen and is very inventive which gives us huge confidence that we are on the right track." Advised Witte Automotive on the development and construction of a new manufacturing plant.

Radosveta Kojuharova is highlighted for her expertise in real estate development, with a source saying that she is "best for commercial developments like shopping centres and office buildings. She knows that market like no one else." She co-led the team advising Balkan Business Centre on the development and construction of a business centre in Sofia.

 

Restructuring & Insolvency

What the team is known for Distinguished team for insolvency litigation, enforcement and debt collection matters. Also provides expertise in domestic and cross-border restructuring mandates. Active for creditors, debtors and administrators. Clients consist of banks and companies active in the retail, TMT and finance sectors.

Strengths Clients are "impressed by the motivation of the team" and highlight the "prompt and high-quality legal services" it provides.

Work highlights Advised Kamenitza on the insolvency of KMB Bulgaria and the recovery of receivables.

Acted for Unix Solutions on the insolvency of Global Communication Net and the collection of receivables.

Notable practitioners

Emil Emanuilov is well regarded for representing clients in insolvency and enforcement proceedings. Clients say: "He is knowledgeable about insolvency law and responds to requests in a timely manner. His advice is useful and easy to understand." He recently advised UniCredit Bulbank on the initiation of insolvency proceedings against Siconco Building and on the collection of receivables.

Hristina Kirilova is highly active on insolvency matters, regularly representing clients from sectors including banking, media and technology. She recently advised Alen Mak Bulgaria on the insolvency of part of its business.

 

Tax

What the team is known for Highly regarded team advising sizeable domestic and international clients on all tax-related matters, with special expertise in VAT, corporate tax and sensitive contentious tax proceedings. Notable activity on M&A-related matters, double tax treaties and customs duties. Acts for clients from a variety of industry sectors, including food and drink, financial services, automotive and construction.

Strengths Clients praise the team's "excellent" level of services provided, one noting that its main strengths are "legal knowledge, commercial orientation, responsiveness and attentiveness to clients." The lawyers "do their very best to respond to clients' needs at any time. We highly appreciate the strategic thinking, pragmatic advice and fluid communication with both partners and associates."

Another client highlights the team's "understanding of our issues and knowledge of the tax process" and also underlines the firm's "excellent expertise" in international as well as Bulgarian tax law.

Work highlights Assisted Mazars with an application of double tax treaties.

Advised Colore A on the group's tax restructuring and represented the group in tax proceedings before the National Revenue Agency.

Notable practitioners

Todor Todorov is a "vastly knowledgeable" tax lawyer who is singled out for his "calm and coolapproach even with tight deadlines." Clients report that he "speaks the language of your business," and he is described as "very supportive and attentive" as well as a "strong negotiator." Todorov has a broad tax practice, assisting clients with VAT matters, tax restructuring and the taxation of employees. He also represents clients in tax litigation.

Clients describe Zahari Naumov as "smart and hard-working" and add that "working with him has been really easy and pleasant." He particularly assists clients with VAT and excise duty issues, and has a number of clients from the food and drink and infrastructure sectors.

 

TMT

What the team is known for Noteworthy for advising clients from the TMT sector on data privacy and data transfer. Also has experience acting on transactional mandates, technology acquisitions, regulatory matters and commercial issues. Provides additional knowledge of technology-related IP protection and software rights.

Work highlights Acted for Toyota Motor Europe on the implementation of 4G in-car technology, including the regulatory compliance, data privacy and cybersecurity, and consumer protection aspects.

Notable practitioners

Mitko Karushkov is noted for his focus on data privacy issues. He acts for software companies, satellite operators and telecoms companies on their TMT regulatory and data protection mandates. He also regularly advises companies on IP protection issues, and he recently assisted MIH Allegro with the IP protection and transfer of rights of an online trading platform.