Albania

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: National Chamber of Advocacy of Albania

Competition authority: Autoriteti i Konkurrencës

Financial regulator: AMF : Albanian Financial Supervisory Authority

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:

Financial and corporate; Project development

Jurisdiction overview

Albania is a civil law jurisdiction and has been a republic since the fall of communism in 1991. The country's constitution, that underpins the legislature, has been changed numerous times in the last 100 years with the current system adopted in 1998. There are no regulations specifically barring foreign law firms or lawyers.

The Albanian legal market is primarily populated with domestic firms, and those domestic firms rarely have offices in other jurisdictions. However most of the leading firms have associations with other Balkan firms or are part of broader law firm networks in South East Europe. Those foreign firms that are active are primarily the CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) regional outfits headquarted in Vienna, these firms either have their branch offices in Tirana or work closely with the leading local firms.

For historical reasons, the jurisdiction has close connections with neighbouring Kosovo, and as when work arises across the border, Albanian firms, or their Pristina branch offices, often have a leading role.

Due to the size of the market, most financial and corporate lawyers in Albania have broad practices and can handle work in a number of practice areas. This being said, individuals will often have more of a focus on finance and capital markets work or general corporate and M&A advice.

All the leading domestic firms active in the financial and corporate areas are headquartered in the capital Tirana.

Financial and corporate
Boga & Associates

One of the strongest firms in the country, Boga & Associates has a focus on financing work but is strong across the board. The firm is often present on international transactions providing Albanian law advice and regularly advises international financial institutions on loans to local companies. 

During the research period the firm picked up work for large multinational corporations on regulatory matters and advised sellers on the Albanian aspects of multi-jurisdictional M&A deals.

In projects space the firm advised several developers on energy projects. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•3Power Shala 83.45MW hydropower plant

•Balfin / Komercijana Banka €57.3 million acquisition of shares in Tirana Bank

•Trans Adriatic Pipeline 

Client feedback

"The company provided expected legal opinions within the expected time and quality." – Banking

Drakopoulos

The Albanian arm of a Greek firm, Drakopoulos is a go-to firm for Greek corporations operating in Albania. 

In the research period the firm advised a Greek construction and a Greek healthcare group on an acquisition and a sale in Albania respectively. Aside from Greek clients, it also advised a local tender participant on its role managing a buoy mooring facility.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•American Hospital €1 million acquisition of Hygeia Hospital  

•Porto Romano multi-buoy mooring facility 

•Vlora Waterfront

Frost & Fire Consulting

Frost & Fire consulting is a full-service firm active across the financial and corporate space.

During the research period the firm picked up several mandates in the media sector. It advised an international media group on an acquisition in Albania and worked for TMT clients on investments and activities outside of Albania. Tourism was another source of work for the firm and it advised developers on financing a resort.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•GSA €12 million ferrochrome investment 

•Jale Resort

Client feedback

"Frost & Fire is very attractive and valuable due to the thorough and exhausting analysis of every issue involved in any matter. Their service is prompt and every document produced is of international standards." – Banking  

"Their professionalism, legal acumen, meticulousness and thorough knowledge of Albania's legal framework and its business climate have been clearly demonstrated in the reports, analysis and draft legislation that they have proposed, which have all been of an outstanding quality." – Banking

"Very professional firm with serious and well prepared professionals. I have had the opportunity to work with FFC in cross-border transactions and have witnessed first-hand how they handle themselves brilliantly with other international advisers protecting their client's interests." – Banking

"The lawyers are very professional. The quality of work is excellent and completed within the given deadlines. Last but not least, the partners are very proactive when addressing the open issues." – M&A

"Highly professional, practical, punctual and a serious law company." – M&A

"Highly professional law office." – M&A

"Highly professional in their advice, very useful in the negotiations and very good relationship with the Government Institutions." – M&A 

"Frost & Fire Consulting is a law firm that easily stands for sophistication, expertise, integrity and value. It is the only law firm in Albania where two of its members are US-qualified lawyers with extensive experiences with some of the top global law firms in the corporate, securities, and energy and infrastructure areas. This also shows in their approach to problem solving, client advice and work product. I believe FFC would be better served if they were to expand their ranks in both partnership and associate level, however, their conservative approach to growth and focus on quality is welcome and greatly appreciated." – Project development 

"The team of Frost & Fire Consulting provides quality professional support in helping their clients achieve their goals by playing the needed roles as a counsellor, advocate, negotiator, and problem solver. For example, when I needed to create a trust for my estate in Albania, I learned that the concept of trust and Trust Law in general did not exist at all in Albanian law.  However, FFC partners, Rezart Spahia and Alfred Rushaj, were able to create a novel and very creative legal solution that emulated all the characteristics of a trust that I cared for and addressed all the concerns I had in a very practical manner." – Project development 

"The firm was professional, provided assistance as requested and complied with strict and sometimes short deadlines. The product was of quality." – Project development 

"We have been very satisfied with the collaboration with Frost & Fire Consulting. Their ability to achieve results in a short time, with many involved parties, each of them having different priorities, was extraordinary." – Project development 

"My overall assessment is that they are without a doubt the best law firm in the country for corporate and financial work." – Project development 

"The work with Frost and fire has been extraordinary. Their legal opinions regarding the Constitution of the Republic of Albania, the administrative law, the energy legislation and the EU directives on energy were excellent, undisputed and easily accepted by all the involved parties. This was one of the reasons why we managed to have a tremendous success, in terms of time and quality, during the OST certifications process." – Project development 

"FFC has become the best business law firm in the country with unmatched knowledge and skills in contract drafting, negotiations, cross border transactions and PPPs." – Project development 

"Our experience with Frost & Fire Consulting has been remarkable over the years. Their support for the realization of our projects has been multifaceted. Above all, they have the ability to focus on essential things that are important from the point of view of business to bypass difficulties and conflicts and complete the transaction in a way that not only protects our interests but also creates the foundation for a healthy cooperation with anyone we are negotiating." – Project development

"High capability for legal contracts with international firms as well as financial advisory agreements with banks for financial loans." – Project finance 

"Absolutely first rate. Mr Spahia has instilled in the firm his 'quality first and foremost' culture derived from his education and work in USA, and Mr Rushaj brings his unique multidimensional understanding of Albania's business and legal climate." – Project finance

Gjika & Associates

Gjika & Associates has recently been active in the energy, oil and gas and real estate sectors. It has been mandated by an international energy company on the acquisition of power plants. In real estate it has acted for borrowers financing property acquisitions. Among newer mandates, it has been advising clients on the development and operation of commercial infrastructures.

Hoxha Memi & Hoxha

Hoxha Memi & Hoxha advises international clients on their activities in Albania, including working on acquisitions, licensing and joint ventures across broad range of industries. 

During the research period, the worked for leading names in the aviation and technology industry assisting with joint ventures in Albania. It has also been active in the banking sector, including in fintech where it was advising on establishment and licensing of fintech/payment institutions. 

In the projects space the firm has been active across the infrastructure and energy sectors, working with private sector clients that have concession agreements with the state.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Ayen-Alb 100MW hydropower plant

•LG Electronics / Lufthasana Technik joint venture

•Trans Adriatic Pipeline

Client feedback

"Highly professional, high integrity and work ethic, knowledgeable on the respective field and reliable partners." – Banking

"Extremely fast and direct responses on the questions or issues raised without any hesitation, which is very useful when in need to make a commercial decision. Great office, employees and vast variety of the services provided." – M&A

Kalo & Associates

Kalo & Associates specialises in banking transactions, advising lenders and lessors on project financing, loan and leasing agreements. 

During the research period, the firm advised international financial institutions lending to local financial institutions. It has extensive M&A experience and has been advising on both the buy and sell sides of notable disposals in banking and telecoms industry. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Albania Telecom Invest €50 million acquisition of Telekom Albania

•OTP Bank acquisition of Société Générale 

•Vlora Airport  

Client feedback

“Our primary point of contact was Aigest Milo. I found his advice and his team helpful. Their answers to specific local law queries were clear and definitive. Kalo & Associates also liaised with the opposing counsel in Albania to resolve legal points as to local law security and were able to deliver effective solutions within the Albanian legal framework that reflected the commercially agreed positions between the parties. Overall, our team was pleased with Kalo & Associates' work and cooperation.” - Banking

“Very good, efficient, proactive, reactive, good understanding of client needs and cost effective.” - M&A

“Solid advice, accompanied by great attention to our needs.” - M&A

“Responsive and reliable.” - M&A

Aigest Milo

“Very good, efficient, proactive, reactive, good understanding of client needs and cost effective.”

Aigest Milo, Enkelejd Seitllari and Perparim Kalo

“Both Enkelejd and his colleague Aigest Milo, supported by name partner Perparim Kalo, were very responsive and provided excellent and timely advice.”

Optima Legal & Financial

Optima Legal has a large portfolio work in the gas sector acting for Albanian gas companies and the state on several infrastructure. Elsewhere it is notable for its work on highway and renewable energy projects, where it has advised construction companies and developers.

During the research period, partner Vilma Gjyshi left the firm to join the Ministry of Finance and Economy.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Tirana-Elbasan Highway

•Vlora thermopower plant

Client feedback

"Overall I am very impressed with the firm and the people that work at the firm. They are very commercial, which aligns well with the type of clients they act for - comprising local and international investors. They are very well versed with projects work in Albania, particularly in relation to licensing issues, regulatory matters, energy law and corporate and commercial work." – Project development

Wolf Theiss

The Albanian office of Austrian firm Wolf Theiss is notable for its capability across the board in transactional work. It is most active in M&A where it utilises its network to act on cross border transactions, often advising international corporations and private equity firms on local merger control for global transactions. It is active on both the buy and sell side and has advised on transactions across a range of sectors including banking and telecoms.

In the projects space the firm has acted on some market firsts in Albania in the infrastructure and power sector, and works for a mix of concessionaire, government bodies and construction companies.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Albania Telecom Invest €50 million acquisition of Telekom Albania

•Arbri Road PPP

•Government of Albania €500 million 3.5% sovereign bond issue