Cyprus

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Cyprus Bar Association

Competition authority: Commission for the Protection of Competition

Financial regulator: Central Bank of Cyprus

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction: 

Financial and corporate

Jurisdiction overview

The Cypriot legal system, though still codified like a civil law system, is largely based on English common law. As a EU state, much of the country’s legislation is line with EU legal principles.

In line with most EU states, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals may practice law in Cyprus, though they can only practice local law in association with a Cypriot lawyer. Foreign law firms may open an office in the country if they are from an EEA country, but must have the name of their local law partner in the firm’s title.

The market is largely made up of domestic firms, an exception is Harneys Aristodemou Loizides Yiolitis that maintains a link with offshore firm Harneys. The size of the market is largely responsible for this situation.

Cyprus has established itself as a low tax jurisdiction, and like similar centres the country benefits from the re-domiciling of assets and capital. Because of the country’s double tax treaties, historically a lot of this activity has come from Russia and the Ukraine, though the former has stepped up a campaign in recent years to get its citizens and companies to move their assets back to the home nation. Interest from abroad has also allowed the country’s real estate sector to thrive.

Lawyers are often generalists, but many are specialised in the setting up of Cyprus investment structures and funds for the reasons mentioned above.

IFLR1000 2019: Cyprus market trends and developments

Financial and corporate
AG Erotocritou

A G Erotocritou has been active in the financial and corporate area, advising on sale of stakes in funds and on the financing of the Limassol Port. It is acting for Cocodrilo Holdings in the production of thermal power, advising on licencing and shareholder agreements. Elsewhere, it also acted for Eureka in the acquisition of an insecticides production company. 

Some of the firm’s clients include names such as RCB Bank, PrimeTel and Eureka.

Client feedback

"Very well organised, good communication skills, good negotiation skills, fair charges." – Banking 

Andreas Erotocritou

"Good communication skills, excellent negotiation skills and very professional." 

AG Paphitis & Co

In banking and finance, AG Paphitis & Co advised several electronic payment institution on licensing agreements with the Central Bank of Cyprus. It has also advised the likes of Sberbank in relation to providing credit. 

Allpay and Sberbank are some of the clients the firm has advised during the research period.

Antis Triantafyllides & Sons

Antis Triantafyllides & Sons is one of the oldest Cypriot firms and is known for corporate, and banking and financial services advice. 

One of the firm’s specialities is banking, and it has advised banks on project finance, NPL sales, sale of shares and regulatory matters recently. Its other work was a mixture of an acquisition in technology sector and restructuring of bonds, where it advised the buyer and issuers respectively. 

In general, it has seen a good share of work in construction and real estate where it has advised on M&A transactions and development of properties.

The firm has acted for the likes of TITAN Group, Piraeus Bank, and Hellenic Bank.

Client feedback

"ATS have a strong corporate and finance law practice, are very efficient and responsive, and remain our number one go-to law firm in Cyprus. They are a reliable partner and provide good quality legal advice, have a good commercial judgment and are very professional." – Banking, capital markets, investment funds, M&A, regulatory, restructuring

"Experienced, proactive, specialised in all aspects of corporate law, very adaptable and straight forward." – M&A, restructuring 

Stelios A. Triantafyllides

"Very professional, quick and responsive. Excellent legal and commercial judgment with great organization and management of the team."

Antoniou McCollum & Co

Antoniou McCollum & Co has largely advised private equity firms and investment funds on acquisitions. In the firm’s only non-confidential mandate, it advised APS on the acquisition of NPLs and the real estate management business of Hellenic Bank.

Dr K Chrysostomides & Co

Dr K Chrysostomides & Co is one of the most reputable firms in Cyprus.

In the financial space, the firm has been advising foreign lenders on secured financing and refinancing transactions. Its corporate work includes restructuring and advisory mandates for several joint ventures.

Key clients include Granit Polus group, ENDO International and Barclays Bank Monaco.

Client feedback

"The firm maintained open line of communication throughout, ensuring we were aware of the developments at every stage. They are diligent in pursuing a solution to every problem and look for a resolution up front that is in the client’s best interests, avoiding unnecessary setbacks, delays and postponements." – M&A, project development, project finance

"Very good knowledge in the areas I have used them in. Responds without delay." – Banking, insolvency

E Papandreou & Co

E Papandreou & Co has been active on a mix of M&A and regulatory work, advising across real estate, energy and funds sectors.

During the research period, the firm acted for the likes of Skysolar Group and Chaori Group on the acquisition of several Cypriot companies owning solar wind farms in Greece. It also advised a Cypriot bank on the sale of a real estate portfolio.

In the funds space, the firm advised Global Resources Energy Fund and Greenworld Energy Fund on launching in Cyprus.

Key clients include Piraeus Bank, Ellaktor, Tiriac Group and Blue Diagonal capital.

Client feedback

"I am very satisfied with the services the firm provides. The firm and its partners/associates are very client friendly, ready to assist 24 hours a day (that is unique for Cyrus), provides practical advice and brings value for money. I can reach a partner to discuss all outstanding issues at any time. Would recommend the firm for corporate and banking and finance work." – Banking, M&A, restructuring

"Reliable team, with good connections in the regulatory and finance sectors, and has a good up-to-date knowledge of corporate law and regulation in Cyprus. They also proved to be good at coordinating legal processes involving third party specialists from other jurisdictions." – Banking, M&A, restructuring

"Very responsive and up-to-date, client oriented and provides solutions." – Banking, capital markets, M&A, restructuring

Elias Neocleous & Co

Elias Neocleous & Co is the largest law firm in Cyprus with a strong reputation in financial and corporate work.

During the research period, the firm has been active in the real estate, oil and gas, and shipping sectors, working on acquisition and financing transactions for private equity and European banks and borrowers. It also advised investors on the establishment of Greenmont Alternative Investment Fund. 

Key clients include Trafigura, Avanti Communications and China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation.

Client feedback

"Deal makers, professionals and service oriented." – Banking, capital markets

"Great work with all stakeholders, including the government relations both in Cyprus and EU." – Banking, M&A, regulatory, restructuring

"The firm was very responsive and provided excellent guidance on issues of Cyprus law relevant to the transaction on which they represented us." – M&A

"Strengths include being very business minded, proactive advice and good understanding of Cyprus and English law. My contacts at the firm are proactive and hard working. For me, as an entrepreneur, trust is important and that is why I have worked with Elias Neocleous since 1993." – Banking, capital markets, M&A, regulatory

"The law firm is always up-to-date with everything regarding Cyprus. In addition, they are always on time in terms of delivering the documentations. So far we've had no issues/problems with them, and they have been truly helpful to us." – M&A, project development

"They're transparent and amenable with a clear knowledge of the local market and how to navigate it." – Banking, investment funds

"To the point, very helpful and competent advice. Always aims to get it done in an efficient and timely manner. Delivered results despite some obstacles in between." – Banking 

"We were very satisfied by Mr Roti and his team’s work and their ability to meet tight deadlines." – Banking, capital markets

"They can support all the areas in which we may need help. They have lawyers for all the practice areas. They are well educated and very fast on the job." – Banking, restructuring 

Motaher Chowdhury

"He has strong legal knowledge and is well informed of our group. One of his strength is his willingness to seek assistance from his colleagues when he unsure of something."

Elena Christodoulou

"Perfect legal knowledge."

Elina Kollatou

"She has been truly professional during the multiple transactions in which she worked and delivered on time." 

"She is knowledgeable, navigates the market with ease and has an eye for detail." 

Demetris Roti

"He delivers high-quality work. We were particularly satisfied with his ability to identify issues early on in the process."

Marina Joud and Christos Vezouvios

"Excellent cooperation with both of them."

Christos Kafouris, Konstantinos Michail, Kim Alexia Mourtzi, Elias Neocleous and Demetris Roti

"Proactive, hardworking, overall business understanding and trust worthy."

Harneys Aristodemou Loizides Yiolitis

Harneys Aristodemou Loizides Yiolitis is the Cypriot branch of offshore firm, Harneys. It is one of the reputable firms in Cyprus with a focus on international clients.

During the research period, the firm has been primarily active on acquisition work across corporate, oil and gas, real estate and mining sectors, advising foreign private equity firms active in the jurisdiction. Notable highlights include advising Volcan Holdings on the acquisition of shares in a mining company, and a subsequent issue of exchangeable bonds.

The firm has boosted its banking and finance and corporate practice by hiring partner George Apostolou from G Apostolou & Co and senior counsels Alexander Rymko from Hogan Lovells, and Theodoros Zafiropoulos from Norton Rose Fulbright.

The firm represents the likes of Volcan Holdings, Unicredit, and Galileo Group.

Client feedback

"Professional and prompt responses, knows the matter and financial transaction specifics - a rarity in Cyprus." – Banking, capital markets, investment funds, regulatory 

Ioannides Demetriou

Ionnides Demetriou has been active in the banking sector advising lenders on various financings and refinancing transactions, including project and acquisition finance deals in energy, ports and manufacturing sectors.

In M&A, the firm has been active on privatizations in the infrastructure sector, working for both the state and buyer on several mandates, including the sale of airports and ports.

Key clients include Cyprus stock Exchange, Eurobank Cyrpus and Hermes Airports. 

Kaimakliotis

Kaimakliotis is a commercial law firm with experience in cross-border M&A.

During the research period the firm acted as Cypriot counsels to Blackstone on its public takeover of Taliesin Property Fund and advised Providence Equity Partners and Galileo Global Education on the acquisition of European University Cyprus.

Elsewhere, it has also been active in restructuring mandates where it advised Seadrill Group on its global reorganisation.

Blackstone and Novator Partners are two of firm’s notable, publishable clients. 

Michael Damianos & Co

Michael Damianos & Co’s strength lies in corporate area and it has advised foreign and domestic investment firms on mandates including restructurings recently. The firm has also been advising banks on financing acquisitions in real estate sector. 

One publishable mandate showcases the firm’s capability in project finance where it acted as local counsel to EBRD in the financing of a grain terminal.

Client feedback

"Timely and well-researched advice. Good knowledge of company law, foreclosure/insolvency framework and real estate-related matters e.g. leasing, rent control etc." – Banking, regulatory, restructuring 

"We have been working with Michael Damianos & Co for years, and we are very satisfied with the quality of the work they do and fast responses they give. Michael Damianos was very helpful for my practice and for my Ukrainian clients who invest and operate in the EU." – M&A, restructuring 

Michael Kyprianou & Co

Michael Kyprianou & Co has been working for lenders on financing transactions in various cross-border mandates across retail, real estate and energy sectors.

The firm has also been active in M&A, advising foreign investors on its acquisition in the Cypriot market.

The firm has acted for the likes of Iron Mountain, Emirates and Reliantco Investments. 

Patrikios Pavlou & Associates

Patrikios Pavlou & Associates has focused on banking and finance work during the research period, having advised the lenders on financing transactions across the oil and gas, shipping and financial services sectors. The firm also worked on an aviation financing transaction, advising an aircraft leasing company on local law matters.

Elsewhere, the firm has provided its services for international investors on acquisitions and to distressed companies on restructuring mandates.

The firm has advised foreign clients mostly of Russian origin recently.

Stelios Americanos & Co

In banking and finance, Stelio Americanos & Co divided its time between the acquisition of loan portfolio sales for the likes of Reyl Bank and restructuring work for Nicosia City Mall where it advised the borrowers. It also acted on behalf of the lenders in financing a rail-car operating company.

Its M&A work has included acquisitions of hotels and a private company, acting for the buyers.

Alphabank and VTB are some of the notable clients the firm has advised during the research period.

Client feedback

"The firm’s lawyers have very good expertise in finance and corporate matters under Cyprus law. Their service is of high quality. I wish to stress in particular their responsiveness and well-structured advice." – Banking, capital markets, M&A, restructuring and insolvency

"They always act very promptly to our requests. Their answers are very clear and easy to comprehend. They understand our needs very well and work very closely with our company in order to achieve our goals. Generally, they never let us down. And to be frank, they get better every year, as they are well-staffed nowadays compared to 4-5 years ago."  – Banking, capital markets, investment funds, M&A, project finance, restructuring 

"Very responsive and confident in their advice." – Banking 

Stelios Americanos

"Very responsive and clear advice."

"A real expert. He always has a good attitude and is willing to help and accommodate the clients' needs. He always communicates clearly on complicated matters." 

Despina Americanou

"As competent as Mr. Stelios Americanos."