Solicitors governing body: Lietuvos Advokatūra
Competition authority: Lietuvos Respublikos konkurencijos taryba
Financial regulator: Lietuvos Respublikos centrinis bankas
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
Energy and infrastructure (published June) – Energy and infrastructure
Financial and corporate (published October) – Banking and finance, M&A
The largest of the three Baltic states, both economically and in terms of population, Lithuania is a civil law jurisdiction. The country’s legal system is based on a constitution adopted following a referendum on the matter in October 1992, two and a half years after the country became the first state to declare independence from the Soviet Union.
An EU and Eurozone country, it has some of the lowest personal and business tax rates in Europe and is ranked above heavyweights like France and the Netherlands by the World Bank Group in terms of ease of doing business. Despite only having a population of around 3 million, it maintains an economic output similar to that of countries like Portugal and Greece, whose populations are more than triple that of Lithuania’s.
The country has a diverse economy spread across a range of different sectors. There is a strong focus on the services industry but manufacturing, agriculture and construction also make up a prominent proportion of the workforce. Also, thanks to its favourable tax regime, it is able to attract notable amounts of foreign direct investment.
Russia remains the biggest single import and export partner for the country, though increasingly ties with continental Europe are playing an important role. Poland and Germany in particular are seen as important trade partners and improving infrastructure links between Lithuania and these nations in the coming years is likely to see the importance of those relationships grow.
Like the other Baltic states, the legal market here is dominated by a small number of pan-Baltic firms. Perhaps more so than the other two, though, Lithuanian lawyers are increasingly focused in their work. Primarily this is split into banking and finance lawyers and corporate and M&A lawyers but there are also some more highly-focused individuals, such as securitisation specialists, emerging.
There are few restrictions on practicing law in the country. As an EU-member state, qualified lawyers from the EEA are free to practice law, while those from outside that area are more restricted. EEA lawyers must register with the Lithuanian bar and may appear in court, though they must do so in association with a local lawyer.
Jonathan Moore – Journalist - EMEA
Cobalt has strength across the board in all financial and corporate areas in Lithuania. The firm excels in banking, private equity and project work
The banking team has worked for both lenders and borrowers in connection with the refinancing of project finance facilities, acquisition financings and general corporate financings. In the process, it has acted for the likes of DNB, Euroclear and Paroc Group. A clear highlight saw the team advise the European Investment Bank (EIB) on the first corporate loan it issued in Lithuania.
In equity capital markets, the firm’s highlight was representing East West Agro on its IPO, a rare occurrence in Lithuania.
Highlight M&A deals include work for Modern Times Group (MTG) on the sale of its Baltic subsidiaries, and for Livonia Partners on its investment in cable television provider, Cgates.
In the projects area, the firm worked on energy and infrastructure mandates, and notably has a significant role in advising several parties in concern of the esteemed Rail Baltica project. A further venture that the firm has worked on concerns the development of a plastic packaging recycling factory, for GreenTech Baltic.
Along with those outlined above, the firm has also worked with other clients including BaltCap, Johnson & Johnson and Luminor Bank.
“Highly skilled, professional, and respects the client's needs and remarks.” – Project development
The legal team of Deloitte in Vilnius is best known for M&A work, and it has worked in sectors including agriculture, retail and technology.
In the banking space the firm has largely assisted clients on financial regulatory matters. Highlight deals include assisting DNB on various mandates, including on its GDPR readiness across the Baltic states. In a further deal the firm advised on the divestment of a non-life insurance portfolio stake by Vienna Insurance Group in Lithuania.
In a standout deal in the M&A area the firm assisted office supplies retailer Charlot on its merger with Biuro Pasaulis. Other notable deals included representing Practica Capital on its exit from several investments, and Polish tour operator Itaka on its acquisition of Lithuanian tour operator Novaturas.
In an active period of expansion, the firm added Gintautas Bartkus from TGS Baltic to lead its financial and corporate team, while Simas Gudynas was also recruited from Ellex.
Other notable clients of the firm include BASF, Roche and Unilever.
The work of the team at Dominas Levin is evenly distributed between banking and M&A matters, with the firm working across a range of sectors such as agriculture, construction and financial services.
The firm’s work within the banking and finance space included acquisition financing, equity financing, and factoring arrangements. A notable deal saw the firm work for suppliers on various financing matters for the world’s largest fur auction house Kopenhagen Fur.
One of the more significant deals that the M&A team advised on during the research period saw it advise Safi Engineering on the sale of its operations in the Klaipėda Free Economic Zone.
Key clients of the firm include Citibank, JPMorgan and Reckitt Benckiser.
“Diligent, to-the-point, high-level partner focus and good value for money.” – M&A
Ecovis ProventusLaw is the Lithuanian branch of the Ecovis network, which offers tax consulting, accounting and legal advice. The firm has a strong presence in work related to the fintech industry, and regularly represents clients looking for advice in this space.
Recent work highlights include acting on a number of mandates for payment solutions clients on acquiring payment and electronic money licenses.
Key clients of the firm include the likes of deVere Group, PanPay and Seven Seas.
“It is generally easy to contact the partners of the firm on short notice.” – Banking
“Generally easy to contact.”
Ellex – also known as Ellex Valiuanas in Lithuania – acts on matters across the financial and corporate spectrum, with a market-leading position in every practice area.
During the research period, the firm’s banking team has represented both lenders and borrowers on a variety of mandates. Active sectors for the firm have included aircraft finance, debt capital markets, financial regulation and payment services. Clear finance-related highlights include two assignments for ING Bank – in relation to the financing of travel agency Otravo’s acquisition of Interneto Partneris, and on assisting the issuance of a euro bond, with the longest maturity term to date in Lithuania.
On a pan-Baltic level, the firm’s M&A team has advised on several of the region’s biggest deals. This includes work for First Data Corporation on the sale of First Data companies in the Baltic States to Worldline, and for China's Guangzhou Hangxin Aviation Technology on the acquisition of pan-Baltic business of Magnetic MRO. A further notable domestic deal saw it represent AST&Science on a pioneering deal in the Lithuanian space industry.
The firm is regularly involved in the market’s largest project development deals, and has been particularly active in recent natural gas, renewable energy and PPP projects. A further notable mandate has seen the firm work for a sports governing body on the proposed House of Basketball site in Kaunas.
Notable staffing changes saw the arrival of former Glimstedt partner Paulius Gurodis to the M&A team and the departure of Povilas Junevičius to Primus, from the same team.
The firm regularly works with local and national government entities, prominent banking groups and international development banks on deals across the Baltic. Some key clients of the firm include Avion Express, BNP Paribas and Chubb.
“Has a professional and proactive approach.” – Project development
Pan-Baltic firm Fort has strengths in M&A and finance work in Lithuania. The firm has also been active during the research period in the restructuring area.
In the banking and finance space, the firm has been mostly involved in acquisition financing and refinancing deals. Moreover, the firm has provided regulatory advice to a number of clients.
A standout matter in the M&A space saw the firm complete its work for telecommunications company Elisa as it acquired Starman. In other mandates, the firm worked for developers in energy and real estate projects.
During the research period the firm brought in partner Emilis Cicėnas into its projects team.
Glimstedt has strong transactional practices in banking and M&A, maintaining a good share of the market’s significant deals. Financial services and private equity are sectors where the firm has expertise.
The firm’s banking and finance team has been involved in a variety of transaction types - syndicated loans, project financings and bankruptcies. A standout deal saw the team represent European alternative investor and asset manager, Eiffel eCapital, on its investment in a peer-to-peer lending platform developed by Lithuanian loans company, BLender.
In M&A, the firm has a strong reputation for its private equity and venture capital work, where it operates on buy and sell side mandates on acquisitions, divestments and investments. Clear highlights include representing IKEA’s IRI Investment on one of the market’s largest M&A transactions of 2017, and advising Balto Link, the largest insurance broker in the Baltics, on its sale to Aon.
In project development the firm was involved in work involving energy savings companies (ESCOs), representing clients concerning the renovation of public and private infrastructure. A highlight mandate involved working with Panevėžys city municipality to select an ESCO to rehabilitate the street-illumination system and operate it for 15 years, under a PPP project.
During the research period, the firm added former diplomat Oskaras Jusys to its team. A notable departure from the firm saw M&A partner Paulius Gruodis join Ellex.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), KPMG and the Ministry of Environment of Lithuania are among clients who have worked with the firm during the research period.
“An established law firm operating in the market for many years under the same name. Well-known experts.” – M&A
“My instructions to Glimstedt have been limited, but their performance has been strong throughout.” – M&A
“Works in a very constructive and professional manner. Projects are managed on time and in line with budget. Trust in service quality is the main reason to cooperate with this law firm while developing our business.” – Banking, capital markets, M&A
“Highly skilled professional. A person with high moral standards and self-discipline. All work is done in line with integrity and efficiency goals.”
“High-skilled professional. Very dedicated, creative in problem solving, and able to draw reasonable and logical conclusions.”
“Generally very good.”
Leadell Balčiūnas & Grajauskas has picked up notable work in the projects space in both financing and development matters. The firm is the Lithuanian member of a pan-Baltic alliance involving Leadell Pliv in Estonia and Leadell Fogels & Vītols in Latvia.
The banking and finance team’s work is largely focussed on disputes work, covering both insolvency matters and other issues related to financial regulations. Within the project finance space the firm notably acted for the developer borrowing financing for the construction of new terminals in the port of Klaipėda.
Deal highlights in the M&A space included representing the buyer, Renerga, on several wind farm projects across Croatia, the Czech Republic and Lithuania. In a further standout mandate the firm represented Achemos Grupė as it purchased certain businesses from Litagra, in one of the largest Baltic agricultural deals in 2017.
Energy and transportation, in particular wind energy and aviation, are the key strengths of the projects team and the areas in which it has been most active during the research period.
Among the firm’s standout clients are Achema, Fitek, and Roche.
Primus Derling is strong and experienced in all types of financial and corporate transactional work. In particular, the team is recognised for its expertise in banking and M&A work.
The firm primarily works on the lenders’ side in the banking space, and has represented the likes of ABLV Bank, Bank Zachodni and LHV Bank in recent financing deals. In a further notable deal the firm advised telecommunications company Cgates on completing its recapitalisation with new senior debt raised from Swedbank.
In the M&A space the firm notably advised Europe’s largest organic food producer Auga Group on the acquisition of Arginta Engineering, a company specialising in the design and production of customised metal constructions.
Energy, natural resources and transport are the sectors where the firm’s project development team is most active. A standout deal saw the firm provide assistance to Rafako in an international public procurement project by Lietuvos Energija for the construction of a cogeneration plant in Vilnius.
A notable staffing change during the research period saw associate partner Povilas Junevičius depart to join Ellex.
Some of the firm’s key clients include Accor Hotels, Eesti Energia and restaurant chain, Vapiano.
PwC Legal Bukauskas & Partners has experience in transactions including share acquisitions, legal due diligence and initial coin offerings.
In the banking space the firm recently increased its experience in the fintech sector, while also increasingly representing start-ups on matters. The firm has also regularly worked on matters for Lithuania’s Ministry of Finance, advising it on the implementation of financial instruments and in regard to the establishment of a national promotional bank.
A highlight M&A deal saw the firm providing assistance to payment institution Perlo Paslaugos in its acquisition of fellow company Mokėjimo Paslaugos, in a move that significantly expanded its market share. The firm also worked on several demergers including the split of Vilniaus Betonas, and the demerger of real estate and construction company Dekoras.
Admiral Markets, Nordea and Rivopharm are among the firm’s key clients.
The Lithuanian office of Sorainen is recognised for its strong banking and M&A practice, where it is renowned as one of the market’s leader. The firm regularly operates on the largest deals within the Lithuanian market, and has a speciality in sectors including financial services and renewable energy.
In the banking and finance space, the firm impresses on a range of significant mandates from acquisition financings to preparing MTN programmes. In two of the market’s leading acquisition finance deals, the firm represented Nordea and Nasdaq as they expanded their Lithuanian presence. A further significant mandate saw the firm assist Lietuvos Energija as it became the first state-controlled company to diversify its debt portfolio by issuing bonds. Additionally, the matter marked the first Lithuanian issue of green bonds.
The firm’s M&A practice has been busy, representing the buyer on three of the four largest valued Baltic M&A in 2017. Among those mandates, the firm notably acted for payments company, Worldline, on its purchase of First Data Baltics, and for Providence Equity Partners on its acquisition of Modern Times Group (MTG) in the Baltics.
The firm’s project development team has been active on a range of energy, infrastructure and telecommunication mandates across the Baltics. A notable PPP project saw the firm represent Inservis in developing police infrastructure in Kaunas and Panevėžys.
During the research period, key staffing changes included the arrivals of Laura Nalivaikienė and Vitalija Tamavičiūtė, from in-house roles at the State Territorial Planning and Construction Inspectorate and Lithuanian Railways, respectively, to become counsels within the project development team. Moving on, partner Renata Beržanskienė left to become the general counsel at Orlen Lietuva, while specialist counsel Paulius Koverovas departed to become the managing partner of Greenlex.
The firm rises to tier two in the project development rankings in recognition of its recent work in the area.
Key clients of the firm include global financial institutions such as BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.
“Highly technical and sophisticated expertise in insurance claims resolutions. Very sound market overview and state of the art due diligence work.” – Banking
“Deep understanding of the situation and rapid reactions to obtain optimum results.” – Restructuring and insolvency
“Complex, high quality and extremely responsive, hardworking team.” – Project finance
TGS Baltic in Lithuania is renowned for both its project work and its banking and finance practice. In both of these areas, it ranks among the best in the country.
The firm’s banking team has been involved in a mix of lender and borrower side work, partaking in mandates across sectors ranging from energy to blockchain. Financial restructuring is also an area of strength for the team, with recent highlights including acting for Valeant Pharmaceuticals on the reform of its existing financing scheme, as well as on issues concerning the bankrupt Bankas Snoras and Ūkio Bankas.
In M&A, the firm advised clients in the energy, food and beverage, and transport sectors on acquisitions. Deal highlights include work for Euroapotheca on its acquisition of a Swedish pharmacy chain, and work for one of the largest global dairy companies, Fonterra, as it sought to acquire shares in Rokiškio Sūris.
Recent deals within the project development space included work on the modernisation of heat systems. The firm represented the likes of Lietuvos Energija, Miesto Energija and Vilniaus Šilumos Tinklai on deals to improve the current heating infrastructure in cities such as Alytus, Kaunas and Vilnius. A further standout matter saw the firm act for the state enterprise, Lithuanian Airports, on a number of queries including the reconstruction of the runway of Vilnius Airport.
Staffing changes at the firm include the departure of Jūratė Kūgytė, who moved on to become a banking partner at Vilgerts.
The European Investment Bank (EIB), GlaxoSmithKline and Luminor Bank are also among the firm’s key clients.
“Highly experienced lawyers, who are very professional.” – Banking
“The partner we are working with is very professional. We get lots of good advice in the negotiation process with companies we invest in. We feel confident when she is representing us. I cannot imagine what could be better in our cooperation.” – M&A
"Extensive expertise in corporate finance. Has an excellent team.”
"Excellent representation of us during negotiations. Offers professional work and personalised communication.”
"Very professional service.”
The Lithuanian office of pan-Baltic firm Triniti has strength in M&A work, and often works on matters for start-ups and fintech clients.
A highlight within the M&A space saw the firm advise United Partners Advisory on purchasing the shares of logistics company Portitor. Other notable matters included representing the start-up Millo Appliances on its investment process, and assisting media production group Makas on its split-off process.
Some of the firm’s other clients include GoSystems, Intenova and the Lithuanian Business Angels Association.
Tvins is recognised for its strength in banking and finance work. The firm has particular expertise on matters related to collective investment schemes and alternative financing, and counts several crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending companies among its clients.
The firm’s banking team has worked on acquisition financings, refinancings and restructuring work during the research period. A highlight included advising Easy Debt Service, a Lithuanian debt refinancing company, on the acquisition of loan portfolios from four credit institutions. Other mandates included advising a fund management company on the implementation of MiFID II legislation, and helping a real estate developer establish the first real estate crowdfunding platform in Lithuania.
Citus Group, Estate Guru and Orion Asset Management are among the firm’s most important clients.
“Services are provided professionally, with good quality.” – Banking, capital markets
“The firm is readily available to advise, capable of delivering exactly what is requested, and shares a lot of knowledge before engaging on a contract. The firm has good experience and connections in the market.” – Banking, capital markets, M&A
“Very good professional attitude. You receive big law firm quality service with a boutique-type attitude.” – Banking, M&A
“Young and energetic team. Probably the best ratio of the highest quality and most apt price in Lithuania.” – M&A, restructuring and insolvency