Energy and infrastructure
Energy played a part in the decisive Euromaidan protests in Kiev which culminated in Ukraine’s incumbent government of Viktor Yanukovych being overthrown in 2014. What has happened since after Russia supported Ukrainian pro-soviets and annexed the Crimea region, makes this easy to forget, with the subsequent civil war, fuelled by Russia’s intervention, still engulfing the east of the country.
Ukrainians began protesting in 2014 when, after much flirting with the European Commission, Yanukovych opted against signing an association agreement with the European Union that would of strengthened the county’s economic and political ties with the trading bloc. Russia had made its objections to the affiliation clear, manipulating its dominant role in the world’s energy supply market and using its position as Ukraine’s largest trading partner to persuade Yanukovych to renege on the deal.
Since dislodging Yanukovych, Ukraine has elected a new government which has signed a trade agreement with the EU. One of its crucial targets is to improve energy security for Ukraine.
Russia supplies more than half the gas Ukraine consumes and gas accounts for around 40% of the country’s overall energy usage. In the past, gas has caused tensions between the two countries. When Ukraine fails to pay its bills, Russia cuts it – and subsequently other parts of Europe - off, as it has twice already, in 2006 and 2009.
Greater energy independence has long been an ambition of Ukraine, even under Yanukovych’s decidedly pro-Russian government. The country’s strategy for weaning itself of its dependence on Russian energy revolves around improving alternative supplies of gas and domestic production.
Building an LNG terminal to secure imports from abroad was a central part of the country’s energy diversification strategy. Yet, although the project has been planned and in progress for years, Ukraine is struggling to find a supplier and to agree a route. The Bosporus would be the obvious way to import US LNG, for example, but Turkey will not permit ships to transport the resource up its already congested river.
Investing in renewable development and tapping unconventional gas reserves, estimated to be the third-largest in Europe, have been Ukraine’s two clear avenues for improving domestic energy production. The loss of Crimea and the war in the east have severely dented the country’s plans for shale exploration. Multi-billion dollar production sharing agreements (PSA) signed with Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron to investigate Ukraine’s tight-gas potential have both been cancelled because of the fighting, and an agreement with Eni to develop unconventional hydrocarbons in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea has been invalidated by the region joining Russia. What’s more, the new government has reformed the law to remove the attractive incentives that were previously available under PSAs.
Renewable energy only accounts for 0.6% of Ukraine’s electricity capacity, despite the country having once had one of the highest solar feed-in tariffs in Europe. At present, there is little sight of new development with funding scarce. It’s also worth noting that the Crimea had the most potential for solar and has one of Europe’s biggest photovoltaic parks.
Coal, the country’s most abundant natural resource, is seen as one solution to improving domestic power production by using it instead of natural gas. The coal industry is concentrated in the Donbass, however, where fighting continues and has already heavily diminished the region’s output.
On the legislative side, one of the new government’s amendments, which will certainly not aid its aim for greater energy independence and has not been received well by the oil and gas industry, is the increase on royalties introduced by its 2014 tax code. The code increased tax rates for oil drilling to 45%, and the gas sector was even more severely hit. State-owned gas producers are being taxed up to 70% and independents 55% - up from 27% - of their revenues. The IMF has strongly recommended the country revisit these decisions and amend the taxes. The government has said it needs the money to fund security measures.
Infrastructure development has not been prevalent in Ukraine for several years as its weak economy and massive debt burden have not made projects a realistic prospect. With the country’s closer ties with the EU, funding should be more readily available in future and the East of the country in particular will need to be rebuilt once hostilities cease.
Ukraine’s legal market is surprisingly large, with a number of small domestic firms and a handful of internationals. A number of foreign firms have closed offices in the last two years, Chadbourne & Parke, Noerr and Beiten Burkhardt to name a few – but some remain, and the projects area is mostly dominated by UK and US firms. In energy, CMS is widely seen as the leading expert, but Baker & McKenzie runs a close second. Asters is the leading Ukrainian firm when it comes to project work.
Ben Naylor – Journalist EMEA
Aequo has experience in oil and gas disputes and has clients in the shipping and aviation sectors.
One client in the energy sector gives the firm top marks in their feedback, noting the team is excellent in terms of communication, attitude and technical ability.
Much of the firm’s recent headline work has been contentious matters for the same client in the energy sector. The team has acted as local counsel to the client, defending it in actions in domestic and international courts.
Domestic firm Arzinger has experience in project development, with competency in public procurement and PPPs (public-private partnership) and construction and energy regulation. It is has significant clients in the oil and gas and renewables sectors.
One developer commends the firm and its team for its accuracy, accessibility, responsiveness and value, also noting it has depth.
An important mandate for the firm has been advising the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine on its plans for reforming and demonopolising the gas market, including the restructuring of Naftogaz to comply with the EU’s third package.
The team is also representing several clients in large disputes in the energy sector. A headline case in 2015 saw the team acting for Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice in a $360 million arbitration relating to electricity exports.
Asters is experienced in all types of energy projects - oil and gas, renewable and shale - and environmental regulation and has experience advising on large domestic transport projects.
“Contact is fast, open and straight. They are open-minded and make good suggestions,” is the feedback of one client from an energy company. “They give us business tips for free and have provided us with good networking opportunities”
The firm’s recent project work includes advising on negotiations for several production sharing agreements.
Avellum is better known for corporate transactional work than project development but it has significant clients in the energy and natural resources sectors and some of the biggest investors in Ukraine confirm it has a good understanding of domestic energy law and regulation.
One natural resources client, which uses the firm for project work and transactions, says: “Avellum is intellectually powerful and strong in all substantive and technical aspects of Ukrainian law. On all our transactions, the team is always available. Partners and associates give top priority to our projects. When the changing structure of the transaction requires, the firm allocates enough manpower to accommodate ambitious deadlines. The hands-on approach of Glib Bondar and the can-do attitude of Oleksandr Polonyk are invaluable.”
A recent highlight for the firm in the energy area is its role advising the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine on a new law to govern the domestic electricity market.
Baker & McKenzie has a strong energy and natural resources offering, and is especially recognised for its mining expertise. The firm has a long history in Ukraine and has experience advising on the development on most types of energy, transport and social infrastructure projects.
Recent work highlights for the firm include the restructuring of Naftogaz, where it was advising the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as one of the parties guiding the energy group’s reform. Its other work, which is confidential, includes nuclear and gas projects.
Market-consensus deems CMS’ Ukraine office as the leading energy specialist in Ukraine with an unsurpassed knowledge of energy project and regulatory work. More broadly, the firm has a strong project offering with experience in public procurement, PPPs (public-private partnerships) and construction contracts and permits. Agriculture, oil and gas, renewables and shipping are all sectors where the team has expertise.
The firm’s recent work includes significant projects and disputes. One recent matter saw the team representing MV Cargo on a joint-venture to develop a new $100 million grain terminal in the Black Sea port of Yuzhny. In the disputes area, a significant case sees it representing JKX in international arbitration proceedings and litigation against Ukraine under the Energy Charter Treaty relating to accusations of gas market restrictions and punitive taxes. Additionally, the firm represented JKX in successfully challenging the government’s resolution to allow Naftogaz monopoly over supplying gas in Ukraine.
Dentons has a strong Ukrainian energy and natural resources offering, with expertise in oil and gas, nuclear and renewable energy project work.
A recent notable addition to the firm’s Ukraine energy practice was associate and renewable energy specialist Maksym Sysoiev, who was recruited from local firm Marchenko Danevych.
The firm’s publishable notable recent engagements include producing several reports - one on the biogas sector in Ukraine for the commission of OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and another for a confidential client on the country’s shale energy potential.
Boutique ECOVIS Bondar & Bondar specialises in aviation work, including corporate matters, disputes and tax.
The firm’s recent work includes representing Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) in a dispute with the Ministry of Infrastructure relating to the cancellation of certain routes, and another role for UIA relating to a competition law infringement claim it bought against a fuel supplier.
The Kiev branch of Russian firm Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners has experience in project development and disputes in the energy and infrastructure sectors.
One client which the firm has advised on several renewable projects says: “The team has great depth, is very commercial and is responsive to issues - some of which are firsts for the country,” is one client’s feedback.
The firm’s recent work highlights include a cross-border PPP (public-private partnership) project and disputes in the energy and transport sectors.
Typically, Engarde's work in energy and infrastructure is providing corporate or regulatory advice to clients involved in the sectors.
The firm’s recent work has included assisting clients in the power sector with obtaining the relevant licences to trade in Ukraine.
Domestic firm Gestors has represented clients in the energy and construction sector in disputes.
One recent highlight saw the firm advising Gomelglass Ukraine in an anti-dumping investigation.
Ilyashev & Partners is one the leading disputes specialist in Ukraine and the firm has experience acting on large cases in the energy, natural resources and infrastructure sectors.
The firm’s recent workload includes several significant disputes for clients in the energy sector concerning the activities of Naftogaz. One matter sees it advising Ostchem Holding in an action against the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine (CMU) challenging its decisions to give Naftogaz monopoly over supplying gas to Ukrainian industry.
Ukrainian boutique LCF Law Group has experience representing clients in the energy sector in disputes relating to unpaid contracts.
Client feedback on the firm is good. "The extremely client-focused and well-organised team is incredibly helpful for in-house counsel, thinks outside the box and provides prompt, top-class, professional advice, which always ensures quality results for the client. The lawyers have excellent knowledge of procedural and business law. I really appreciate LCF's unbeatable expert value at highly advantageous prices. There is hard to find more acceptable balance," says one head of legal form an oil and gas business. Another client from a chemicals company says: "LCF built a very strong litigation team and now has the resources to handle some of the largest and most complex transactions at the market."
The team at Redcliffe Partners, a young firm established by members of Clifford Chance’s former Kiev office, gained experience working on large renewable and oil and gas projects while still representing the magic circle firm.
Clients recommend the team for energy and agriculture project advice. “Redcliffe partners have a very good team of professionals who are very smart, committed and have extensive knowledge and experience,” says one referee the firm assisted with an infrastructure project financing. “The team was always available and very responsive. I would like to point out the work of Dmytro Orendarets and Olesia Mykhailenko who are emerging to be a star team,” the client adds. Another the team advised on a renewable energy project financing was similarly impressed. “The team assisted with both cross-border legal issues and the local regulatory and banking issues. They were top of the market under the Clifford Chance brand and remain so under the new brand,” says the client.
One of the firm’s few publishable work highlights in 2015 is a role for the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) advising it on the Ukrainian law aspects of preparing a financing framework for a new facility agreement for loans to lenders making sustainable energy investments in the residential sector.
Sayenko Kharenko provides project and regulatory advice in the energy sector, where it represents a number of significant parties.
The firm’s recent work highlights include advising the EBRD on reforming the domestic regulations governing energy performance contracting (EnPC) for public buildings in Ukraine.
Local firm Vasil Kisil & Partners is most notable for the strength of its disputes practice, the firm caseload includes large energy disputes. The firm also has experience advising on public procurement issues and contracts relating to domestic infrastructure construction.
One client the firm gave EPC contract advice says: “They are professional, timely and give high quality support.”
One contentious work highlight saw the firm representing Shell in a dispute against attempts to invalidate a production sharing agreement it agreed with the state. The team’s project work includes assisting Hubei Changyang Hongxin Industrial Group on securing the necessary permits and approvals to develop a magnesium mine in Ukraine.
Wolf Theiss’ Kiev office has experience representing clients in the energy and infrastructure sector in disputes.
Recent work highlights include advising an oil and gas company on a dispute relating to a pipeline, and acting for a real estate client involved on a dispute relating to a joint-venture and land acquisition.
Domestic firm Aequo, although only a few years old, has an experienced team, which includes strong banking and finance and M&A partners, and the firm has established itself among the upper echelons of the Ukrainian legal market for high quality transactional advice.
Clients are impressed by the firm’s work and its service. An in-house counsel from the risk team at a bank the firm advised on a financial restructuring says of the banking team: “Excellent grasp of the situation and what I am looking to achieve; proactive in outlining the legal strategies to get me there.” Another client from a bank who has instructed the firm on various finance transactions, says: “The team has a very good combination of local knowledge and internationally recognised standards which are needed for these types of transactions.”
Clients of the M&A practice are similarly effusive in their praise. “I highly rate Aequo’s M&A team and the firm as a whole,” says the head of legal from a leading international technology company. “The lawyers are responsive and I always have direct access to the partner. They are fast, accurate and pragmatic, and able to manage very complex transactions.” An M&A partner at an international law firm’s office in South-Eastern Europe says: “They have been very responsive and helpful. Their advice has been practical and commercial. Perhaps their smaller size means that occasionally they are not quite as polished as they could be, but they make up for that in enthusiasm.” A partner from a private equity house, remarks: “Aequo has a highly experienced M&A team with great associates with hands-on involvement at all levels.”
A financial advisor from an investment business which sought the firm’s restructuring advice, says: “I rate Aequo highly, as they have a well organised modular approach to projects and problem solving. This has allowed the senior partner that we have worked with, Yulia Kyrpa, to delegate effectively yet apply effective quality control to deliver cost effective solutions.”
Two partners, Kyrpa and Anna Babych, who lead the banking and finance and M&A practices respectively, are client favourites. “Yulia is personally involved in all transactions. She has a very good technical knowledge of Ukrainian law and also very familiar with international transactions. Yulia is a very nice person to work with,” is one’s feedback on Kyrpa. Of Babych, another says: “Anna has strong expertise in strategy, negotiations and deal-making. She’s very solution-driven, to-the-point and knowledgeable about English law. Anna is dedicated and works for you around the clock. Clearly top-tier.” Another notes: “Anna Babych is proactive and very client-minded, and provides valuable guidance.”
Another client describes managing partner Denis Lysenko as a “highly skilled and reliable professional with a strategic mode of thinking and great commercial vision.” Vasyl Mishchenko is, he adds, “a very knowledgeable and diligent lawyer”.
The firm’s recent banking and finance work included mandates on significant loans and numerous debt restructurings. Among the notable matters were roles advising Naftogaz negotiating a $300 million revolving credit facility from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for winter gas purchases; assisting the EBRD again with devising a restructuring plan for the Deposit Guarantee Fund (DGF), a Ukrainian bank resolution agency; advice to a subsidiary of Sberbank of Russia on the restructuring of Avia’s $40 million debt; and, various corporate loan restructurings for the EBRD.
Among the firm’s significant capital markets deals were roles for UniCredit Group and its Ukrainian subsidiary, Ukrsotsbank, on a capital increase, and assisting an international client with restating its eurobonds and a new tap issuance.
The firm’s recent M&A highlights include advising the Ukrainian Redevelopment Fund on acquiring an equity stake in software company, Ciklum; and acting for Mosquito Mobile when it bought Trans-Con.
During the research period Alexandrov & Partners’ added Oleg Shevtsov as an associate in its M&A team.
A client who worked with the firm on M&A and corporate restructuring matters says the lawyers provided “excellent work”.
On the project finance side, Dmytro Alexandrov, Artem Petrenko and Vitaliy Yankovych provided legal support to a large Ukrainian agricultural holding in the matter of $50 million financing of an agricultural sector.
The M&A team advised a Czech investor on the $2 million acquisition of a private agricultural enterprise in Khmelnitskiy region.
In the banking area the firm advised Deutsche Pfandbriefbank and its group of companies in the $43 million restructuring of a Ukrainian borrower’s debt.
The M&A team advised Konecranes Group in relation to purchase of shares in a Ukrainian holding company owning a crane building plant from Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation, and advised KSG Bank in the sale of its shares to private investors.
Oleksander Plotnikov has been promoted to partner and head of banking and finance practice at Arzinger in April 2016.
“The M&A team headed by Anna Zorya is bright and extremely dedicated to the client. They provide very straightforward and detailed advice in a timely manner. One project involved enormous technical work and they completed it brilliantly,” says a client from the financial services sector.
A client who worked with the firm on project finance, refinancing, M&A and insolvency matters says the teams have “exceeded expectations”.
In the banking area, on the lenders’ side, the firm advised a group of lenders in the matter of providing a working capital facility to Mriya Agro Holding; advised UniCredit, BNP Paribas and Erste Bank in the matter of $1.3 billion debt restructuring for the same company and provided legal counsel to a syndicate of banks in connection with restructuring of a syndicated loan facility provided to Creative Group.
In M&A the firm advised DE Master Blenders in the matter of purchasing $4.2 billion in shares in Jacobs Ukraine as a part of worldwide joint venture between Mondelēz International and DE Master Blenders 1753.
Asters is an established presence on the market and has a team experienced in banking and finance work and M&A transactions.
Clients recommend the firm. “Asters is an excellent firm - business oriented, with a wealth of experience and expertise and very good value for money,” says one in-house counsel at a bank the firm advises on corporate finance. “Very professional and they know their work very well. I would rate them as top of the range in Ukraine,” is the feedback of the managing partner of a foreign law firm that has worked with the firm on various banking and finance transactions. “We are impressed with the great service which Asters has been providing during the period of our cooperation,” notes a third client, a partner at a domestic business. “Regardless of the complexity of a matter, Asters' lawyers are always focused on delivering practical and commercially focused solutions.”
Several individuals are mentioned in client’s feedback. “Iryna Pokanay is an excellent lawyer, business-oriented and responsive,” says one. Another recommends Oleksiy Demyanenko.
The firm’s recent banking and finance highlights included representing a domestic corporate on the $500 million restructuring of its loan participation notes; acting for an international development bank on negotiating a $90 million loan for a Ukrainian business; acting for China Development Bank on a $50 million loan agreement with Ukrtelecom; and, advising the IFC on a $35 million loan to Astarta.
An M&A highlight for the firm was its role representing the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on increasing its stake in UkrSibbank to 40% through a $130 million capital increase. Additionally the firm was involved in number of large international deals, acting as local counsel on the Ukrainian aspects, and was involved in smaller domestic deals.
Avellum is one of Ukraine’s leading domestic firms for transactional work. Its expertise in capital markets and finance is almost unrivalled, and it has technically strong and commercial corporate lawyers. The firm is typically singled out for its ability to handle large volumes of work while keeping the quality of its output high.
The firm made one significant hire in the research period recruiting banking and finance senior associate Igor Lozenko from Sayenko Kharenko. Senior associate Olena Polyakova left the firm to study abroad.
The firm’s banking finance practice has been involved in a number of significant transactions. Most notably it represented the state on the sovereign debt restructurings and new loans it agreed in 2015 and 2016. Among the headline transactions were its role representing the Ministry of Finance on the restructuring of 13 sovereign eurobonds with a total value of around $15 billion and three sovereign-guaranteed loans of $408 million in total. Additionally it advised Kyiv on restructuring its $550 million Eurobonds.
New money loans deals, where the firm advised the government, include when it borrowed ¥108.2 billion from Japan International Cooperation Agency and a €200 million loan from KfW, the German development bank.
The firm’s private sector banking and finance work included advising PrivatBank on restructuring $430 million in Eurobonds and acting for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) when it lent $300 million to Naftogaz.
The firm’s headline M&A deals were in the banking sector, where it advised Raiffeisen Bank International and Raiffeisen Bank Aval when the EBRD acquired a 30% stake in the latter for €122 million, and acted for UniCredit when it sold a stake in Ukrsotsbank to Alfa Group.
Ukraine’s oldest international firm has some of the country’s most experienced transactional lawyers. It is recognised for its strength in banking and M&A in particular, and its experience in the energy and natural resources sectors.
The firm saw some changes at senior associate level. Andrii Moskalyk was hired from Clifford Chance as the firm closed its Kyiv office, and Zoryana Matviychuk, Olena Kuchynska and Andriy Nikiforov left. The latter moved to Kinstellar’s nascent Kyiv branch to lead its banking and finance practice. Matviychuk joined Redcliffe Partners.
The firm’s recent banking and finance work included a number of large debt restructurings, including advising Metinvest on the restructuring of its eurobonds and bank debt with an accumulative value of $2.3 billion; representing DTEK on its $900 million bond exchange offer; and, assisting PrivatBank with its $250 million bond restructuring. Additional publishable banking work for the firm’s Kyiv branch included advising the IFC on a $100 million risk sharing facility with Raiffeisen Bank Aval.
In M&A the firm has been relatively busy, securing roles on a number of private equity deals. The highlights included advising a private equity fund on divesting of one its Ukrainian retail assets; representing Avista Capital Partners and Nordic Capital on their joint acquisition of Pharma Start; and, acting for Rozetka on the sale of a minority stake to a private equity fund focused on Ukraine. Another corporate highlight was the firm’s role acting for Cargill on negotiating a €100 million joint-venture with MV Cargo to build a new port terminal in Yuzhni.
CMS Ukraine is recognized for its finance work in the energy, natural resources, agricultural and infrastructure sectors. The corporate and M&A team has an English qualified partner Graham Conlon based in Kyiv who has experience with working on cross border transactions.
In the banking area on lenders’ side, the team advised HETA Asset Resolution on a $72 million loan assignment and restructuring of a security package.
The M&A team advised MV Cargo on a joint venture with Cargill in order to construct a new grain terminal in Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Yuzhni. The team also advised a construction company in Kazakhstan in connection with the acquisition of an Italian construction company.
Dentons has strong and active finance and corporate practices in Kyiv, and is involved in large cross-border deals secured through the firm’s network. Its corporate team specialises in energy work and has oil and gas and renewables experts based in Kyiv.
One staffing change at the firm saw it hire banking and finance senior associate Nadiya Shylienkova who had been employed by Clifford Chance’s now closed Kyiv office.
One client from the risk department at a bank the firm advised on a real estate financing says: “Excellent legal advice and support,” adding: “Natalia Selyakova is a great legal expert and advisor with excellent knowledge of all particularities of financing transactions.”
The firm secured roles on some large debt restructurings in 2015/2016. One of the most significant deals was the restructuring and exchange offer for around $15 billion of Ukraine’s sovereign guaranteed eurobonds, where it was representing the ad-hoc creditors committee. Other mandates included advising the liquidator in the insolvency of a large agriculture company; representing an international investor on more than 20 transactions relating to the acquisition of debt of Ukrainian corporates, with a total value of around $1.7 billion; and, representing an export credit agency in the debt restructuring of an agricultural business of which it is a creditor.
Among the firm’s notable new money deals were roles advising Export Development Canada on two loans to Ukraine of around $310 million in total, and for an international lender when it provided a $207 million trade finance facility to a Ukrainian business.
In M&A the firm has been involved in a number of deals in the energy sector which are all confidential. One example saw it advising an Asian client when it bought a majority stake in a Central Asian state’s oil and gas company. Another highlight was its advice to Turkcell’s Ukrainian arm on the acquisition of SCM Holdings’ 45% stake in Euroasia Telecommunications for $100 million.
The DLA Piper Ukraine office recruited Galyna Zagorodniuk as partner, Iaroslav Malomuzh and Kostiantyn Karaianov as associates and Dmytro Tkachenko as senior associate.
In the banking and finance area, the firm advised Avangardco Investments on the restructuring of its $200 million eurobond issue.
The M&A team advised Pharma Start in relation to the sale of a stake in the company to Acino Pharma; advised Georgian Industrial Group on acquisition of 29.29% stake in Ukrainian insulin producer JSC from a Polish biotechnological company Bioton.
Dmitrieva Partners is located in Kyiv but the firm has a network of established contacts all across Ukraine and plans to open an office in London.
In the past year the firm provided counsel on matters including the purchase of assets and shares and corporate support services.
ECOVIS Bondar & Bondar is a boutique law firm with expertise in transport and aviation. Sergii Dziubenko and Darya Yermak joined the corporate team as associates during the research period.
In the banking and finance area, the firm advised Ukraine International Airlines on a number of debt restructuring transactions.
In the M&A area, the firm advised Millenium 2003 and Illichivsk Sea Commercial Port on a joint venture between the companies related to management of cargo handling facilities issues.
Russia’s largest firm Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners has a good financial and corporate practice in Kyiv, recognised for securities work in addition to banking and M&A.
In banking and finance, the firm’s recent mandates are all confidential. The significant work included advising a foreign lender on restructuring a bilateral facility it had extended to a Ukrainian bank, and helping two other international banks with restructuring pre-export facilities which had been provided to a large Ukrainian industrial group.
The majority of the firm‘s M&A work is confidential and saw the firm advising clients on the local aspects of larger intentional transactions. One publishable highlight was the firm’s advice to Apax on its acquisition of Infopulse.
Engarde, during the research period, advised a number of clients on corporate issues and acquisitions as well as restructuring related work.
During the research period Eterna’s corporate and M&A team hired and Dmytro Honcharenko as associate and internally promoted Sergiy Androshuk to senior associate.
“We feel quite comfortable when working with the firm, they were quite successful in resolving the court proceedings related to IP and Tax matters in Ukraine. It should be mentioned that they follow a client-oriented approach and have a good, experienced and result oriented team,” says a client from the electronic industry.
“The firm has a profound market knowledge and has proved to be an excellent business partner providing tailored solutions for our firm. Their client management is one of the best in the market,” says a client who worked with the firm on regulatory and restructuring matters.
The firm has advised Rolls-Royce in connection with the $1.32 billion sale of a gas turbine and compressor business to Siemens.
Everlegal advises its local and international companies on domestic and cross border M&A deals with a particular focus on energy related practice. Recently the team increased its activity in the agricultural sector.
During the research period the firm advised a Ukrainian client in connection with a potential sale of a small scale hydro plant; advised on an agricultural business acquisition by a foreign investor; and advised an IT company on due diligence related to a private equity investment.
During the research period Gestors advised CCEC-Ukraine on the preparation of legal opinion on purchase of a building in the centre of Kyiv. In the restructuring and insolvency space, the firm advised Köhler & Partner Handels as the creditor in case of bankruptcy of PJSC.
Ilyashev Partners hired Yan Akhramovich, Maksimilian Grishin and Dmitry Konstantinov for the banking and finance team during the research period and Natalia Levchuk, Iryna Kuzina, Vladimir Zakharov, Ruslan Mannapov and Ivan Stasyuk for the M&A team.
“The firm has a good reputation and is great in every aspect. I find them extremely responsive and professional. We are very happy to have them on our side,” says a partner who worked with the firm on financial restructuring matters.
“The firm has a team of very sophisticated experts in the banking industry. We have established a wonderful working relationship with them and look forward to continuing our business relationships in the future as their services are always superior,” says a client who worked with the insolvency and regulatory teams.
In the banking space, Maksym Kopeychykov, Oleksandr Vygovskyy and Oleksandr Fefelov provided legal counsel to the Committee of Creditors of Oschadbank with regard to restructuring the bank’s $500 million notes. The team also advised BTA Bank Kazakhstan on $200 million debt restructuring agreements.
In the M&A space, the firm advised BTA Bank Kazakhstan in connection with selling $300 million shares in the logistic parks Tolmachevo and Pyshma.
Integrites opened new offices in Munich and Amsterdam during the research period. Svyatoslav Sheremeta joined the firm as a partner and head of the corporate and M&A practice in 2016; Julian Ries, Danyil Fedorchuk and Vasyl Yurmanovych joined the corporate M&A team from Gide Loyrette Nouel.
In banking, the firm advised Autonomy Capital in relation to the restructuring of the State Export-Import Bank of Ukraine. The banking team also advised VTB Bank on a share capital increase.
In the M&A space, the firm advised Vesta Service group in the matter of corporate restructuring and is currently advising Rikon Fish Group in relation to the acquisition of two special warehouses.
Jeantet launched in Ukraine in November 2015 after taking over the original team of Gide Loyrette Nouel which left the market, the lawyers have worked together for more than nine years.
There is individual praise for Igor Krasovskiy: “Igor is truly outstanding at this firm. He alone ensures that next time there is a Ukrainian deal I will think of him and his firm to instruct.”
In the banking area, the firm advised International Finance Corporation in connection with the rescheduling of a $30 million secured loan to Concern Hlibprom; are advising EIB in the matter of extending a €260 million loan facility to UkrEximBank and assisting EBRD and IFC with a restructuring of two secured facilities.
In the M&A space, the firm advised Creativebau in the acquisition of a hotel in Ukraine.
KPMG is mainly focused on banking and finance area. Volodymyr Pavlenko and Kateryna Safronenko who both have expertise in banking and finance, corporate restructuring and M&A joined the firm during the research period.
A client who worked with the firms on derivatives matters says: “KPMG Ukraine is one of the most professional, knowledgeable and thorough law firms I have ever worked with. Their attention to every detail has been flawless and their record of success in our civil cases is a testimony to their diligence.”
The banking team at LCF hired Yuliya Lukoshkina, Olga Stupchuk, Semen Kravtsov and Oleksandr Biryukov during the research period while Yuliya Atamanova and Volodymyr Nevmerzhytskyi joined the corporate team.
“LCF shows the ability to meet tight deadlines without exception no matter the complexity of the situations and along with this the firm’s team is extremely proactive and forward-thinking,” says a client who worked with the firm on regulatory and corporate finance matters.
The banking team advises on debt restructuring and termination of liabilities. In the corporate and M&A area, the firm is currently working on corporate restructuring cases.
Lexwell & Partners focuses on M&A area and Ivan Zievakov and Natalia Martyniuk joined the team as senior associates during the research period.
In the M&A area, the firm advised Freeze Oil Fund on the acquisition of a petrol station chain from BRSM Group and represented a group of investors in the acquisition of a grain terminal and related assets in a sea port in Ukraine. The team also advised Amstar In connection with M&A and restructuring procedures.
During the research period Misechko & Partners advised on bond issues, bank lending, debt restructuring and alternative funding.
The banking team advised Panalpina World Transport on advanced repayment of an intragroup loan and establishing a letter of credit.
During the research period Moris Group acted as consultant to Deposit Guarantee Fund which guaranteed private clients’ deposits in a number of banks which were being shut down.
In the M&A space, the firm advised the Football Federation of Ukraine in relation to the acquisition of shares in JSC Ukraine Football International.
The firm also advised on a number of liquidation matters.
Peterka & Partners has a strong M&A team and hired two senior associates during the research period: Taras Utiralov, an expert on M&A, insolvency and restructuring matters and Tatiana Bagmet who has experience with corporate law.
In the M&A space, the firm advised Soufflet Group in relation to a equity investment by the EBRD to finance the Group’s expansion plans both in Ukraine and abroad. The team also advised Atlas Copco Ukraine and SDB Benelux on corporate issues.
Phenomena has experienced teams in banking and finance and capital markets.
“On recent matters, Phenomena proved to be a very well organised team that works efficiently and delivers an excellent legal product,” says a client from the materials industry who worked with the firm on financial and corporate restructuring matters.
“I have a very good impression of the firm. They are high-skilled professionals with profound knowledge of law and solid experience in cross-border transactions. Also, they are very creative and solution driven,” says a client from the pharmaceutical industry whom the firm advised on corporate restructuring and regulatory matters.
A client who worked with the firm on refinancing and insolvency issues says: “The firm successfully combines profound knowledge of Ukrainian law and a practical approach to solving complicated legal issues. The firm consistently demonstrates strong expertise and high efficiency.”
The firm recently worked on a number of confidential matters which include the restructuring of credit and security packages on the lender side.
Established by some of Clifford Chance’s former Kyiv team after the magic circle firm closed its office in the city, Redcliffe Partners is recognised for banking and finance work, including debt restructuring and project finance.
Feedback on the firm’s banking and finance advice is positive. “My experience with the firm is very good. They have a great deal of knowledge, very responsive lawyers and paralegals who are solution driven, patient, friendly and really trying to accommodate the client, especially considering the often unexpected difficulties that may arise when dealing with companies in Ukraine,” says a paralegal from a foreign bank. “Redcliffe Partners has deep knowledge of the Ukrainian law and is experienced in structuring and restructuring of the banking products,” explains a financial advisor from a lender.
The firm made three new hires for the corporate practice, adding partner Rob Shantz from PwC Kyiv, who now leads the team, counsel Zoryana Matviychuk from Baker & McKenzie, and counsel Ario Dehghani from Hogan Lovells in Munich.
Clients are impressed by Dmytro Orendarets and Olexiy Soshenko. “Dmytro is one of the best banking and finance transactional lawyers in Ukraine,” remarks one. “Dmytro Orendarets and Olexiy Soshenko both have a great deal of knowledge, are very responsive, solution driven, patient, friendly and really trying to accommodate the client,” notes another. A third remarks: “I am fully satisfied with work done by Olexiy, he is a very experienced and reputable lawyer.”
The firm has been busy in the banking and finance area, predominately advising creditors on debt restructurings. The transactions included advising Sberbank and Deutsche Bank on restructuring a $600 million syndicated loan to Ukrlandfarming; representing UniCredit Bank Austria on the restructuring of a $400 million pre-export facility to Kernel Group; and assisting Landesbank Berlin in restructuring the $215 million debt of Wind Power.
The team’s new money deals included advising European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on lending $85 million to Myronivsky Hliboproduct and representing the EBRD and the IFC on a $74 million senior secured loan to MV Cargo for the development of a grain terminal in Yuzhny Port.
Notable M&A work for the firm included a number of financial services transactions, including advising EBRD when it increased its stake in Raiffeisen Bank Aval with a $150 million investment; representing a North American buyer when it acquired the Ukrainian insurance operations of the QBE Insurance; and, representing a Russian client when it sold its local subsidiary.
Sayenko Kharenko is one of the country’s leading commercial firms. It has banking, capital markets and M&A experts and a larger team than most of its closest rivals. Merger control is another area where the firm excels.
In banking and finance the firm has been involved in a number of large financial restructurings, working on deals related to sovereign and private sector businesses’ debt. Among the larger transactions were roles for Ukreximbank - Ukraine’s export and import bank - on restructuring of eurobond’s valued at around $1.5 billion in total; for Oschadbank on restructuring bonds valued in total at $1.2 billion; = for Goldman Sachs as dealer manager on Kyiv’s $550 million bond restructuring; and, for Commerzbank as consent solicitation agent on two Eurobond restructurings of $420 million in total.
New lending work for firm included advising the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on a syndicated $40 million facility for ViOil, and on a $40 million loan to Kronospan.
In M&A the firm’s notable mandates included advising Moscow Exchange on the sale of controlling stakes in two Ukrainian stock exchanges - Ukrainian Exchange and PFTS Stock Exchange - to a group of investors, andrepresenting FrieslandCampina when it bought the distribution business of Anika Group. Additionally the firm advised on the local aspects of several large global mergers and roles on a number of deals – banking and pharmaceutical sector transactions, for example - which were, at the time of going to press, still confidential.
Spenser & Kauffmann worked on a number of debt restructuring matters with local and international banks during the research period. Nikolay LIkhachov has joined the firm as counsel, he has a focus in banking and finance and M&A.
The banking and finance team advised Ukravto on a debt restructuring with PJSC Credit Agricole Bank.
The M&A team represented Ukravto and Standing Car Selection in a corporate restructuring.
Syutkin & Partners hired four lawyers who specialise in M&A law this year: Oleksii Kudriavtsev, Sergii Lebed, Volodymyr Lysenko and Ustiugov Artem.
Vasil Kisil provides services to clients in local and international capital markets. In March 2015 the firm became a member of a working group on reforming the corporate governance in enterprises owned by state.
In the banking and finance area the firm advised a Ukrainian hotel operator with regard to restructuring of a $20 million loan and provided legal counsel to an international financing operator of micro-lending platforms on structuring a new service and loan refinancing.
The corporate team advised AWAS on changing legal ownership of an aircraft for refinancing reasons and acted as legal counsel for Nicmas in the matter of restructuring of its group which includes more than 30 companies. The team represented a Ukrainian pharmaceutical company in an acquisition of a production facility in Lithuania.
Wolf Theiss added Oleg Mazur to its banking and finance and corporate teams during the research period as counsel.
A client from the oil and gas industry who worked with the firm on refinancing matters says the lawyers have a “highly professional approach to the process” and offer “the best level of legal services we found in Ukraine.”
In banking, the firm advised Bluebay on financing its $60.5 million acquisition by LDC.
In the M&A area the team advised Amic Energy in relation to its $280 million acquisition of petrol station chains operating under Lukoil; advised VIG in the matter of acquiring 20% of insurance company Globus and assisted QBE with selling its Ukrainian subsidiary to Fairfax.