Legal 500 2009
Banking and Finance
The Banking & Finance team at Kambourov & Partners ‘displays a certainty of legal knowledge and confidence of advice that allows you to make business decisions effectively’. Managing partner Vladimir Rangeloff leads the practice, supported by partners Emil Emanuilov and Mitko Karushkov. In 2008 the firm advised on two bank sales. First the practice was part of the consortium appointed to provide consultancy services related to the privatization of the share participation of Sofia Municipality and six municipality-owned enterprises in the Municipal Bank. Secondly, the team advised the Economic and Investment Bank (EIBank) throughout its sale, from the drafting the SPA right through to negotiations with bidders and closing the deal. The firm also continues to provide legal assistance to Emporiki Bank in relation to internal restructuring and advised on the EUR80m + financing of a real estate acquisition and office-centre construction project.
Kambourov & Partners’ managing partner Vladimir Rangeloff and senior partner Yavor Kambourov are both recommended capital markets lawyers, praised by clients for their ‘foresight, attention to detail and the ability to speak the language of business’. In 2008, the firm acted for Central Cooperative Bank, assisting the bank in increasing capital and listing approximately EUR8.7m of stock on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange. The firm also advised the Economic Investment Bank in a capital increase worth EUR30m. Additionally, the practice acted for the Law Debenture Trust Corporation, advising in relation to its position as trustee in the issuing of bonds to the value of EUR320m by Dutch company Balkan Steel Finance.
Corporate and M&A
Young partner Mitko Karushkov – praised by clients for ‘skill, depth of knowledge, both developed beyond his years’- leads on corporate and commercial work at Kambourov & Partners having made his name with his work for Nokia Corporation and particularly the mergers with Intellisync and Siemens. Highlights of 2008 included assisting the Austrian steel production company Voestalpine on the possible launch of a EUR7bn steel manufacturing plant in Bulgaria. If brought to fruition, the investment would prove the single largest in Bulgarian history. Other clients include Providence Equity Partners, whom the firm advised on the payment of dividends in a gambling industry company and Bruce Power, whom the firm advised on the possible investment in the Kozluduy nuclear power plant. M&A work is headed by managing partner Vladimir Rangeloff. In 2008 the practice acted for Maxima Lithuania on the acquisition of the Bulgarian supermarket chain Familia.
Privatisation, PPP and foreign investment
Privatization has essentially ended in Bulgaria, but the occasional deal comes along. In 2008, Kambourov & Partners snapped up work as part of a consortium advising on the privatization of the share participation of Sofia Municipality and six of its enterprises in Municipal Bank. The firm also began advising major steel manufacturer Voestalpine on a possible EUR7bn facility. If realized, this will be the largest direct foreign investment in Bulgarian history. Additionally, the firm acted for ProMet in structuring an investment for the development, construction and operation of a safe-box plant in Bulgaria, an investment valued at EUR300m. Clients are unequivocal in their praise for the team: ‘in my experience they are the best, I consider no other’.
Projects, energy and natural resources
Kambourov & Partners energy practice is roundly lauded by clients, particularly when it comes to gas and energy production, distribution and regulation. Importantly, the firm is the long-time choice of global energy giant E.ON in relation to its various Bulgarian operations. In 2008, the team, headed by Stefan Tzakov, advised E.ON Kernkratf on the bidding procedure for a 49% stake in the shares of the Belene Power Company, which is to own and operate the new Belene nuclear power plant. The firm also acted for E.ON Kraftwerke, advising on the construction of a new 600MW plant in Maritza Iztok coal basin. In gas, the group has acted for Gruppo Societa Gas Rimini and Citigas Bulgaria on a range of issues, including representation before the Supreme Administrative Court answering claims by the State Energy and Water Regulation Commission. On renewables, the firm acted for Greenergy regarding the acquisition of a Bulgarian power plant in 2008. Significantly, Kambourov & Partners remains the only Bulgarian law firm to be asked to prepare a legal opinion on the European Federation of Electricity Traders’ standard agreements for the delivery of electricity and natural gas. Since providing that opinion, the firm has been retained as EFET’s legal counsel in Bulgaria. ‘For sector expertise, for competency, for their understanding of our business and our industry’, says one client, ‘we will continue to use them’.
Real Estate and Construction
Kambourov & Partners’ practice has a new head, ‘shining new talent” Atanas Shopov. The firm continued to act for Carrefour Marinopolous and South Management Company as well as providing ongoing advice in relation to the European trade Centre in Sofia and the Mall of Bourgas Izgrev, the firm was newly instructed on the Mall Stara Zagora project, bringing the aggregate value of transactions on which the practice was advising to around EUR150m. Another headline piece of work for the department has been advising on attracting strategic investors for the Panorama City Project, an ambitious city-within-a city complex to be built on 174,000sq m in the city of Varna at a cost in excess of EUR130m. The firm is equally experienced in advising construction companies as developers and investors. In 2008 the firm acted for Tecnica y Proyectos (TYPSA) on various projects including the construction of a road linking Novo Selo to the Maritza motorway and assisting in the bid for the EBRD tender to supervise the reconstruction of the Hemus motorway. Clients believe that ‘credibility, clout and note-perfect advice’ are what set the firm apart from others.
The TMT practice at Kambourov & Partners still glows with the glory of its two major mergers performed for Nokia Corporation: the merger with Intellisync Corporation and that with Siemens. Department head Mitko Karushkov ‘continues to impress; there are few like him in the market’ according to clients. In 2008, the team advised Gramercy International on a range of investments into Bulgaria, including the EUR42m financing of Cabletel’s acquisition of cable operators and network equipment in Bulgaria and Macedonia. Other significant sector clients include BalkanSat, RegioCom and TV2.