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Recognition

Chambers Europe

Chambers Global

Legal 500

IFLR1000

Banking and Finance

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

What the team is known for
Well known for its broad financial experience, such as representing investment banks and hedge funds in large syndicated financings and corporate transactions involving securities. Simultaneous and syndicated facility arrangements are particular areas of expertise. Highly active with prominent international clients investing in the Bulgarian market, and experienced in finance-related contentious matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"This firm is fast-acting and very good at engaging personally with clients. The lawyers appreciate our decision making and opinions - they truly listen to us and do not try to override our views."

"A practically oriented team which provides every comfort and reassurance to clients."

What's new?
Barclays Bank, Bulgarian Development Bank, Sofia Municipal Privatization Agency and Achmea are recent client gains for the team.

Work highlights
Represented several global banks, led by Barclays, in the Bulgarian aspects of a syndicated facility agreement, for the financing of Cineworld's purchase of CEE-wide chain Cinema City International.

Assisted Dutch insurance client Achmea with financial aspects of the sale of its Bulgarian direct and indirect subsidiaries, Interamerican Life and Interamerican Non-Life.

Notable practitioners
Yonko Hristov is recognised for his detailed knowledge of securities, alongside his knowledge of syndicated loans, financial restructuring and enforcement of receivables. Sources say he "simplifies complex situations well, and is very reassuring."

Clients praise managing partner Vladimir Rangeloff for his sector knowledge and managerial capacity. He led many of the team's recent high-profile case highlights, such as advising the Bulgarian Development Bank on its merger with microfinance institution JOBS EAD.Nikolay Vasilchev is a "very highly performing, smart lawyer," who offers focused knowledge of capital markets and bank regulation to a range of international and local financial clients.

Significant clients
ING, HSBC, RBS, Lloyds, Prista Holdco Cooperatief.

Competition

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

What the team is known for
Maintains a strong track record in competition litigation matters before various national and specialist competition courts. Advises on abuse of dominance, dawn raids, cartel agreements, compliance and merger control matters. Attracts clients from sectors such as energy, agriculture, technology and financial services.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"This team never underestimates the complexity of the issues, and offers useful strategies for sensitive situations."

Work highlights
Successfully defended bTV Media Group in a case concerning an alleged abuse of a dominant market position.

Advised AP Mart on concentration clearance for the acquisition of Delhaize Group's shares in Piccadilly, a Bulgarian retail chain.

Notable practitioners
Stefan Tzakov has a growing reputation in the Bulgarian competition market as a "knowledgeable" lawyer with a "solid grasp of matters," who "doesn't descend into unnecessary detail or lose overall perspective" on a case. He recently advised Bulgarian brewer Kamenitza on various competition issues, including promotion, distribution, retailer relations and consumer rights.

Significant clients
Alen Mak Bulgaria, Burgas Plaza, Energo-Pro Grid, ADM Capital.

Corporate/Commercial

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

What the team is known for
Provides a full corporate service to local and international clients, and has experience on both sides of M&A transactions. Advises on issues including corporate restructuring, incorporation, tax, employment and regulatory matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The lawyers are extremely focused on the client's goals. They are also pragmatic and responsive, and they solve problems rather than creating them."

Work highlights
Advised international nutrition group Danone on the local regulatory and structuring aspects of the EUR 6.4 million sale of its Bulgarian production businesses to Schreiber Foods.

Acted for Italian client Luigi Lavazza on its divestment of Onda Coffee Break, a Bulgarian coffee chain.

Notable practitioners
Founding partner Yavor Kambourov is "an exceptional leader," noted for his expertise on restructuring and complex finance cases particularly. Clients describe him as "diplomatic but firm, and always on top of negotiations."

Vladimir Rangeloff recently led the team acting for the Bulgarian Development Bank on its merger with microfinance institution JOBS EAD. He is the firm's managing partner, and leads the corporate team.

Stefan Tzakov focuses on energy-related M&A, with extensive knowledge of multi-jurisdictional transactions. Sources consider him a "hard-working and precise" practitioner.

Mitko Karushkov remains an active presence in the Bulgarian M&A market, with an emphasis on the tax elements of transactions.

Significant clients
Achmea, Sofia Municipal Privatization Agency, Nikmi, ADM Capital.

Dispute Resolution

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

What the team is known for
Experienced dispute resolution practice, noted for expertise in banking and finance, commercial litigation and energy disputes. Handles a range of national and international cases for clients from sectors including real estate, IT and sport.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"I am impressed by the way that this team goes into detail with investigative work, producing daily reports and staying in constant communication – I always know what is going on."

Work highlights
Represented Alstom Power Italy in an unfair competition litigation before the Commission for Protection of Competition and the Supreme Administrative Court.

Represented the Bulgarian Football Union in several arbitration proceedings at the Sports Arbitration Court in Lausanne, including cases brought against it by the former coach of the Bulgarian men's national football team and the Bulgarian football club CSKA.

Notable practitioners
Emil Emanuilov leads on many high-profile disputes for this team, and is recommended as being "highly experienced in arbitration cases" by interviewees. Lately, he acted for domestic construction company Building Development Holding on FIDIC-related claims.

Todor Todorov draws praise for his experience of tax-related contentious proceedings. Clients especially appreciate the speed and efficiency of his work.

Stefan Tzakov is active on disputes before the competition authorities, and on contentious matters involving the energy sector and public procurement issues.

Yavor Kambourov is highly esteemed in the domestic market, drawing praise for his strength in overseeing his team's work on complex disputes.

Significant clients
Crédit Agricole, Discovery Communications Europe, UniCredit, First Investment Bank.

Employment

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Basic facts about the department
- 4 qualified practitioners

What the team is known for
Prestigious firm advising employers, trade unions, employees and public authorities on the full range of labour and social security issues. Increasing focus on matters concerning anti-discrimination, termination of contracts and non-EU citizens working in Bulgaria.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The lawyers have a very supportive attitude towards anxious clients and provide every reassurance needed."

"The team excels at contract structuring and gives accurate opinions which successfully bridge the lawyer/layperson divide."

"The firm's output is always perfectly prioritised, helpful, to the point and it never strains a deadline."

What's new?
Efco Ins and PMA-Pharma Marketing Advisors joined the firm's client base.
Work highlights
Acted on all aspects related to the transfer of employees in the sale of Achmea's Interamerican set of insurance companies.

Notable practitioners
Andrey Aleksandrov is recognised by market commentators as "a top mediator when tact and precision are required," and they value "his deep erudition translated into clear, accessible advice."

Significant clients
Lidl, Witte Automotive, Kaufland Bulgaria, Crédit Agricole, Euromax Resources.

Energy

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

What the team is known for
Extensive energy offering, working particularly with investors, project developers and financial institutions on electricity and renewable energy mandates. Known for its experience of gas infrastructure matters and energy-related restructuring projects, as well as representing foreign investors in contentious matters against governmental authorities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"A tight and organised team with excellent corporate experience."

"A very sound energy practice, paying attention to key details."

Work highlights
Assisted Bulgarian Energy Holding with the restructuring of the electricity sector in compliance with requirements of the EU Third Energy Package.

Advised Citygas Bulgaria on a range of legal and regulatory issues relating to gas distribution.

Notable practitioners
Department head and market leader Stefan Tzakov provides wide-ranging energy regulatory and litigation advice, with particular expertise in electricity. Interviewees point to his strengths in "negotiations, and handling disclosures and regulatory work. He interprets things well and takes a constructive approach." He recently assisted MVM with electricity trading matters, obtaining a trading licence, and transmission and grid access fees.

Irena Petkova recently represented Energo-Pro in litigation cases challenging the decisions of the State Energy & Water Regulatory Commission, as well as advising the client on day-to-day legal issues. She has strong experience of gas and electricity trading matters.

Significant clients
Citygas Bulgaria, GDF SUEZ, RWE

IP

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Basic facts about the department
- 4 qualified lawyers

What the team is known for
Noted for IP infringement, unfair competition litigation, anti-counterfeiting and customs measures.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The firm has a stellar reputation for building extremely efficient, trusting and warm client relationships."

"The friendly, adept team makes clients feel very safe, taken care of and reassured in court."

"The lawyers protect client interests by making sure they have understood brilliantly what these are and how they morph."

What's new?
VBOX7 and Wamer joined the firm's client roster.

Work highlights
Represented new broadcasting client NOVA TV against the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture in far-reaching royalties regulation litigation.

Notable practitioners
Clients praise Margarita Guigova as "a measured, sharp and innovative negotiator." Sources further highlight her as "rock-solid in disputes," and say: "She is a mover and shaker who always keeps you in the loop."

Significant clients
Kamenitza StarBev, bTV Media Group, Global Group, FKP Sojuzplodoimport/VRB group, Maxinvest Group.

Real Estate

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

What the team is known for
Renowned real estate team with a solid track record on the development of large-scale projects, especially in the energy sector. Active on transaction structuring and negotiations, and real estate and construction disputes, especially FIDIC-related arbitration proceedings. Also covers leasing and land use issues. Experienced in advising international investors on Bulgarian investments and developments.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"A top-notch outfit - the partners are impressively experienced with big investors."

"The lawyers are analytical and consistent, and make clients feel supported and taken care of."

Work highlights
Assisted Sterling Properties with the high-value construction of a shopping centre, and other ongoing real estate concerns.

Advised on the sale of Danone’s local production capacities to US company Schreiber Foods.

Notable practitioners
Sources say market leader Atanas Shopov is an "enthusiastic, energetic and very experienced" lawyer and an "effective negotiator." He handles a wide range of real estate issues, covering the expansion strategies of retail chains, land urbanisation and property regulations. He has advised clients such as Nikmi and Kaufland Bulgaria on a range of real estate matters of late, including property disputes.

Recently promoted partner Radosveta Kojuharova draws on her extensive experience to advise numerous international investors on Bulgarian matters. Clients affirm that she is "fast, reliable and detailed," as well as "articulate and soundly prepared." She has a significant practice in high-value shopping centre development projects.

Significant clients
Sterling Properties, Brentwood Associated, European Trade Centre, Regus.

Tax

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

What the team is known for
Covers the full spectrum of tax issues, including advising on tax compliance, tax planning and VAT matters. Clients include both domestic and international entities.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The firm has the size and resources to resolve any problem. The lawyers are active, committed and deliver rock-solid and well-researched advice; we appreciate their business acumen and solid connections."

"They are excellent practitioners - very co-operative and knowledgeable."

Work highlights
Acting for Crédit Agricole on a number of tax assessment appeals and claims before the Bulgarian National Revenue Agency.

Advising Maxima Bulgaria on the tax aspects of its property purchases as well as guidance on the application of VAT legislation.

Notable practitioners
Todor Todorov "has a first-rate reputation and a notable grasp of both the local and international legal and tax environments," enthuse clients. He is highly regarded for tax litigation and knowledge of VAT implications. Clients also add: "He treats problems with rationality and has a clear advisory style."

Significant clients
Lidl, UniCredit Leasing, Kaufland Bulgaria, Witte Automotive Bulgaria, Citygaz Bulgaria.

Restructuring/Insolvency

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

What the team is known for
Highly regarded practice with outstanding insolvency experience, representing creditors, debtors and administrators in domestic and cross-border matters. Widely active across insolvency litigation and enforcement, refinancing schemes, out-of-court workouts and rehabilitation mechanisms for indebted businesses.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The lawyers manage client expectations well, preparing very balanced, easily understandable opinions. They have a can-do attitude."

Work highlights
Assisted Bulgarian Energy Holding with the restructuring of the state electricity sector, in compliance with the EU Third Energy Package to achieve full liberalisation of the Bulgarian electricity market.

Advised Piraeus Bank as the largest secured creditor on the insolvency of a biofuel manufacturing plant.

Notable practitioners
Yavor Kambourov and Yonko Hristov are key contact figures for this department.

Significant clients
Law Debenture Trust Corporation, Crédit Agricole, Tompkins Square Park, Alen Mak Bulgaria, First Investment Bank.

TMT

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

What the team is known for
Noted for wide-ranging advice on domestic and international matters. Offers business-structuring assistance in emerging TMT trends such as the operating of IP-VPNs.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)
"The lawyers are hard-working and forward-thinking and have a good grasp on media law."

"The team understands business needs and produces prompt, actionable memos."

What's new? The firm added Global Exchange and Western Union to its client base.Work highlights
Advised Nokia on the local legal aspects of the sale of its device and services business to Microsoft, including corporate approvals, regulatory compliance and legal options post-completion.

Notable practitioners
Clients and peers agree that partner Mitko Karushkov is a "straightforward, communicative, energetic and motivated" practice leader.

Significant clients
Telus International Canada, LyondellBasell, MIH Allegro, Palmer Capital Investments.