Ukraine

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

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 as Russia-backed Ukrainian pro-soviets annexed the Crimea region, makes this easy to forget, with the subsequent civil war still engulfing the east of the country. 

Ukrainians began protesting in 2014 when, after openly flirting with the European Commission, Yanukovych opted against signing an association agreement with the European Union that would have 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

Financial and corporate
Aequo

Domestic firm Aequo is perhaps best known for its work within the banking area. Agriculture, energy and real estate are sectors where the firm has expertise.

The firm’s banking team had a stellar year, with the standout deal seeing Aequo advise Naftogaz on a government-guaranteed loan from Citibank and Deutsche Bank, in a first-of-its-kind deal which ensured that the Ukrainian oil and gas company had a guarantee to supply winter gas to Ukrainian consumers and companies. A further highlight included representing the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as a local counsel, in connection with an extension to OTP Leasing.

In the capital markets area, the firm has been active, advising on a number of capital increases and euro bond issuances, including on several deals for regional lenders.

The current research period saw the M&A team work on high value private equity deals and strategic M&A transactions in the financial services sector. A few highlights were representing Dragon Capital on different mandates concerning the acquisition of two business centres and a logistics centre in Kiev.

In the projects area, the firm is working for sponsors on renewable energy and conventional energy infrastructure developments. The firm has also advised the developers on issues concerning Port Yuzhnyi.

A notable departure during the research period saw counsel Maryna Fedorenko move to the in-house team at the National Bank of Ukraine.

Key clients include Dragon Capital, Google and Infosys.

Client feedback

“Cooperation with Aequo proved to be very productive for us. They have a very professional but friendly approach and great expertise in the corporate finance area. Aequo showed very fast delivery and response time.” – Banking

“Aequo's M&A and private equity practices are rather professional and strong. They nearly always meet the deadlines and understand our intentions in the transaction.” – M&A

“I am very much satisfied with the work Aequo does for us. The firm provides excellent service. The lawyers are very business-minded and prompt in providing replies to our requests; they have a good understanding of what the clients expect from them.” – M&A

“Promptly provides great quality legal opinions and due diligence reports at a reasonable cost.” – M&A

Anna Babych

“She is a talented negotiator. I am very comfortable with her at the negotiating table. She is highly regarded in the market as an M&A expert.”

“Professional and skillful.”

Yulia Kyrpa

“A professional lawyer with a highly client-oriented approach.”

“Quite professional and skillful.”

“Very professional and committed lawyer.”

Andriy Kravets & Partners

Andriy Kravats & Partners is a domestic firm active in the banking and finance and M&A practice areas. 

In banking and finance the firm has worked for various financial institutions on lending, but also operated on the other side of transactions, representing borrowers. 

An M&A highlight for the firm was working on the privatization of the Ukrainian Bank of Reconstruction and Development, representing the buyer of 99.99% of its shares, Bohai Commodity Exchange Co. The firm did not exclusively represent purchasers in M&A transactions, also representing a seller. 

Another client of the firm is Euroventures: AB Ukraine.

Antika Law Firm

Antika Law Firm is an domestic firm that specialises in project development. 

Within project development the firm worked on all aspects of projects for its clients, with work in the energy and mining sectors. One example is the firm’s work for AWT Bavaria, advising on an energy supply contract. 

Other clients of the firm include Ghelamco Group, Ukrainian subsidiaries of Cadogan Petroleum, NEFCO, Norsk Energy, and Chernivtsi city council.

Ario Law Firm

Ario Law Firm is a Ukrainian firm active primarily in M&A. In the M&A practice area, the firm worked on a notable acquisition for a buyer.

Client feedback

“The law firm provided us with comprehensive legal services in the insolvency of one of the biggest legal entities of the group.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“The law firm provided us with full legal consulting and technical support in the acquisition of an insolvent company. All tasks were performed at a high professional level in accordance with contractual obligations and in due time. We continue to maintain business contacts with the firm, and we are ready to recommend it to our colleagues.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Arzinger

Arzinger is an independent firm operating in banking and finance, M&A, and project development through offices in the Lviv and Odessa regions, in addition to Kyiv. The firm is also a member of the Associated European Energy Consultants, and individuals in the firm hold membership in the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators.

In banking, the firm advised Ukrsotbank, Deutsche Bank, and the International Finance Corporation on the cross-border debt restructuring of Mriya. 

An M&A highlight for the firm was advising its client, Centric, in the acquisition of Rokitt Astra Business and Technology. 

In project work a key client of the firm is the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry, for which the firm worked on the restructuring of Naftogaz Ukraine with regard to its gas supply functions under the EU’s third energy package. 

Other noteworthy clients of the firm include ING, Raiffeisen Bank, ContourGlobal, and Energoatom.

Client feedback

“Good client service. Arzinger always provides superior & cost-effective legal services.” – M&A

“Work with the company suits us in all respects.” – Project development

“We have worked with Arzinger for a long period of time. Our work collaboration has been excellent in every field.” – Project finance

Timur Bondarev

“Always has deep practical knowledge of the clients.”

Oleksander Plotnikov

“Very good professional.”

Asters

Asters has strong practices in all ranking categories in Ukraine, and does notable work in the banking, M&A and projects practice areas. 

Recent banking highlights for the firm tended to be refinancings, acquisition financings or loan restructurings, with a mix of borrower and lender work. The matters included several mandates for international development banks including the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

In the capital markets space, the firm’s notable work has been mostly concentrated on the debt side. A standout mandate saw the firm advise on a euro bond issue by Ukraine, acting for the Ministry of Finance.

The firm’s M&A team advised on a number of large cross-border deals in the research period. Most notably, it represented IndustrialBank on its merger with Express Bank, and acted as local counsel for Anadolu Efes in connection with the establishment of its joint venture with Anheuser-Busch.

In projects, the firm largely worked within the electricity, renewable energy and transport sectors, often representing international clients investing in Ukraine. Deal highlights include acting for GE Transportation in connection with the modernisation and supply of freight locomotives.

International companies including Chevron, Eni and Shell are clients of the firm. 

In October 2018, the firm merged with the Ukrainian office of Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners.

Avellum

Avellum has market-leading lending, capital markets and M&A specialists, and is consistently involved in the market’s most significant deals. Agriculture, energy, financial services and technology are some of the sectors where the firm has expertise.

In the banking area, the firm’s recent notable work included a number of large acquisition financings and syndicated loans with the firm acting for the lenders on the majority of the deals. Among the highlights were roles on financings for Energoatom and mining company Ferrexpo.

The firm’s highlights within the capital markets space saw the team represent Ukraine on a large sovereign bond issue and tender offer, in the first such issue since its 2015 sovereign debt restructuring. The deal was also Ukraine’s first euro bond issue combined with a liability management operation.

In M&A, the firm’s highlights included acting on Horizon Capital’s disposal of a stake in Ergopack in favour of Sarantis Group. A further significant retail deal saw the firm represent the shareholders of the Karavan hypermarket chain as it was sold to Auchan Group.

In the projects area, the firm is working on various developments, representing a mix of private and public sector developers, including on agriculture, ports and railway matters. 

Staffing changes during the research period included the arrival of Maksym Maksymenko from Spenser & Kauffmann, who joined as a counsel within the project development team. The capital markets team had an exchange of counsel personnel with Sayenko Kharenko, as Maria Tsabal arrived shortly after the departure of Igor Lozenko.

Deutsche Bank, ING Bank and Rabobank are among the firm’s key banking clients.

Client feedback

“We are very much satisfied with Avellum's work in the fields of budget and tax legislation, financial transactions documentation etc.” – Capital markets

“Avellum provides excellent service and value for money. The team gives practical advice in line with our needs and are available day and night during intense negotiations. They incorporate the most advanced western legal techniques and practices into our work. By adding their first-hand knowledge, broad industry experience and unparalleled level of service, Avellum's team of powerful negotiators has been delivering the best results to our business for many years. For our project, they successfully completed our transaction in one week, as per our request due to commercial reasons. Moreover, this transaction was rather unusual considering the complexity of its completion mechanisms as the parties had decided to close the transaction simultaneously in three different locations.” – M&A, project finance

“Avellum is one of the best firm in Ukraine. The firm's lawyers have strong technical proficiency and creativity.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Glib Bondar

“Glib is technically excellent and great to work with.”

Yuriy Nechayev

“Yuriy's ability to oversee complex matters in drawn-out legal procedures impresses. He always sees the big picture and immediately recognises clients' needs. Yuriy is a highly intelligent lawyer. I recommend him as a 'go to' lawyer in corporate and M&A matters”

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie is one of the leading firms in the country for M&A and project development advice, and is arguably the strongest international firm with an office in Ukraine. Energy, financial services and mining are sectors where the firm has expertise.

In the banking area, the firm’s recent notable work included a number of large acquisition financings, financial restructurings and syndicated loans, with the firm acting for the lenders on the majority of the deals. A public highlight was working for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on the syndicated facility provided to Nibulon, a prominent Ukrainian agro-producer.

The firm has significant experience in the capital market space working for issuers and lenders, and in the research period it completed bond offerings related to two Ukrainian companies, Energoatom and MHP. Among other significant work, the firm completed a large-scale debt restructuring for Metinvest under its notes and pre-export finance loan facilities.

Agriculture, retail, and oil and gas work formed a large part of the firm’s M&A mandates during the research period.  The firm’s highlights within the agriculture sector include acting for Greenyard’s acquisition of Mykogen and on the sale of a stake by Ukrainian Agrarian Investments to Kernel Holding. A further significant retail deal saw the firm represent Billa Ukraine on the sale of three supermarkets to the Varus Group.

In the projects area, the firm has worked on oil and gas, solar and wind energy mandates. Notably, the firm advised Polenergia on its potential participation on the Ukraine-EU energy bridge project, the first Ukrainian PPP project in the energy sector.

Glencore, Horizon Capital and Naftogaz are among the firm’s key clients.

Client feedback

“In general, everything is on really high level. However, it would be advisable to improve communication with the client so that the client could determine the necessary amount of additional services to be provided to him and preliminary discuss their cost.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Cai & Lenard Law Firm

Cai & Lenard is a domestic law firm which has worked on a wide range of sectors from trade to industry, transportation to telecommunications.

Client feedback

“The firm has a strong team of professionals in different areas. The firm provides good service and is coordinated by the partners in the field of corporate and financing practices.” – Banking

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang

CMS is a market leader in project development and in energy law in general, and also has activities in banking and finance and M&A. 

In project development, the firm has worked across a myriad of sectors, including renewables and oil and gas. An example of its oil and gas work was advising McKinsey with respect to a study of underground gas storage facilities in Ukraine, with the aim of introducing private participation. 

The firm also represented SD Capital in the research period.

Dentons

Dentons is one of the top firms in the country for project-related work. The firm’s vast and experienced global network attracts a range of international clients across the financial and corporate practice areas. 

The firm’s recent banking work includes extending credit facilities, providing export finance and loan restructurings. In this space, the firm has represented the likes of BNP Paribas and VTB Bank.

In M&A, the firm was active in sectors including logistics, manufacturing and technology. A highlight included assisting Ingenico to expand its Ukrainian footprint, and advising an international technology company on a number of investments in Ukrainian software research and development centres.

The firm’s projects team have had a stellar year, working on the procurement and development of a variety of the most significant ongoing mandates across Ukraine. Public notable deals include work for the developers on the construction of a 200MW solar power plant in Dnipro, and on the construction of a fourth metro line in Kiev, which is backed by Chinese investors.

As a result of its sustained good work in the area, the firm rises to tier one in the project development rankings.

Other international clients of the firm include transportation service BlaBlaCar, Deutsche Bank and Sberbank.

Client feedback

“Responsive service from experienced and knowledgeable partners.” – Banking, M&A

“Dentons impressed us with its expertise on international arbitration law (commercial and investment), corporate finance, M&A and project management. The firm's main strength is its ability to assess a case from different angles and propose a prominent solution regardless of any complicated circumstances. Another Dentons' strength is its prompt adaptation to changing circumstances and its ability to quickly provide business-oriented solutions.” – Banking, project development

“Highly professional, client-oriented, cost flexible, respected and stable.” – M&A

“Dentons Ukraine has provided us with excellent legal support in our transaction. The legal team is always constructive and practical. Other strengths include professional support with hands-on approach, sector knowledge and expertise, strategic and analytical skills, great availability, and very short response times.” – Restructuring and insolvency

DLA Piper

DLA Piper is active in M&A and banking. 

In banking, the firm represented Black Sea Trade and Development Bank on a medium term secured loan it offered to a Ukrainian borrower, and its broader work was often representing lenders and financial institutions, including Citibank. 

In terms of M&A transactions, the firm largely worked on acquisitions, representing clients on both the buy and the sell side of deals. A highlight for the firm in this practice area was representing Aristocrat Leisure on the acquisition of Plarium Global. 

Other notable clients of the firm include Cyprus Popular Bank Public Co., Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety of Germany (BMUB), and Takeda Phamaceutical Co.

Client feedback

“Competent, responsive, well-organised and has high expertise in the domain.” – Banking

“The firm's strength lies in its project management skills, in-depth knowledge of the industry, strong networks, quick turnaround of documents and high quality drafting in both local and English language.” – M&A, project development

Illya Muchnyk

“He has a deep commercial understanding of the business side of transactions as well as of demands and expectations of our counter-parties and partners who are leading international financial institutions and private equity funds. He has a very good understanding of English legal financial and corporate documentation, an ability to deal efficiently with important financial institutions and he is a really efficient negotiator, being able to achieve results to the satisfaction of all parties. Fully satisfied with his service.”

Oleksandra Poliakova

“She is very responsive and is good from a technical standpoint, understanding complex international finance documentation.”

DLF Attorneys-at-Law

DLF Attorneys-at-Law is a domestic firm active in M&A. The firm is relatively young, and has mostly foreign clients, primarily from Germany. The firm has largely held an advisory role for various corporate entities recently, but also saw work in sales and joint ventures within the M&A practice area.

ECOVIS Bondar & Bondar Law Bureau

ECOVIS Bondar & Bondar has offices in Ukraine and Lithuania. In the Ukrainian market, the firm operates in M&A. In addition, the firm is a member of ECOVIS International, a global consulting firm. Within M&A, the firm has predominantly worked on sales, acquisitions, and joint ventures for its clients.

Engarde

Engarde is a local Ukrainian firm operating in M&A. The firm worked on acquisitions on the buy side and on due diligence for its clients recently.

Esquires

Esquires is an Ukrainian firm operating in M&A. The firm worked on buy side acquisitions for its clients, often working on due diligence, but also saw some work in sales. The firm represented Investment Capital Ukraine on the purchase of Ukrsib Capital Management. 

A few other clients of the firm include Ingo Ukraine, LVN (Nemiroff), and Bank Avangard.

Client feedback

“Strong client orientation. Deeply considers the clients' requirements and tries to find solutions regardless of challenging environment and legislative restrictions.” – Banking

“Very professional and client-oriented approach.” – M&A

Eterna Law

Eterna Law is a regional firm with offices in Ukraine, Russia, and Kazakhstan. In Ukraine the firm is active in M&A and banking and finance. 

In banking and finance, the firm has represented financial institutions in financing transactions. 

Within M&A the firm predominantly represented sellers in acquisition deals, but saw work on the buyer’s side too. Additionally the firm saw some work in joint ventures and represented a private investor in FoodFox with regard to its sale to Yandex Taxi.

Client feedback

“Reasonably priced for the high-quality services. Professional team with high level of knowledge and skills.” – Capital markets

“Energetic, passionate and result-oriented.” – Capital markets, M&A

Everlegal

Everlegal is a domestic firm active in M&A and project development, with the latter being the firm’s stronger practice area. The firm has an office in Kazakhstan. 

In M&A, the firm worked in energy, specifically renewables, representing a client on the acquisition of small hydro-power plants in Ukraine. 

In project development the firm operates extensively in the renewable energy sector, with notable work in solar energy. A highlight was representing Main Group Ukraine on the Nikopol 10MW solar energy project. 

Main Group Ukraine and UDP Renewables are clients of the firm.

Client feedback

“Everlegal is one of the best, the fastest and the most efficient client-oriented firm. It has a strong M&A team who are attentive to details and ready to give high quality advice based on the profound understanding of clients' needs and wants.”

Vsevolod Volkov

“He has strong reputation in banking and finance, and international disputes. We worked together in both practices. He is a brilliant lawyer - very straightforward, efficient and client-oriented. He is capable of meeting the deadlines, and the documents that I had received from him were fantastic in terms of style and substance. He is also very good in negotiating the terms of transactions with counter parties, not only on the legal but also on the commercial side. He is very much in line with the commercial aspects of the transaction.”

Evris

Evris is an independent domestic firm in Ukraine that works in M&A and banking and finance.

In banking, the firm worked on a debt restructuring transaction 

The firm has primarily worked on buy side acquisitions in M&A but also some joint venture work. An example of such work was advising Agrosinergiya on the acquisition of some of the assets of Chuguyev. 

The firm hired Sergii Papernyk to head its banking and finance practice in 2017 from Sayenko Kharenko. In addition, the firm hired Sergiy Benedysiuk to head its corporate and M&A practice in 2017 from PWC. 

Other notable clients of the firm include First Ukrainian International Bank and Prominvest Bank.

Client feedback

“We have high praises for Evris's corporate and M&A team's experience and maturity, profound technical knowledge, hands-on approach as well as rather proactive and solution-oriented way of working. The guys proved their ability to appropriately balance the risks and opportunities of each and every aspect of our deals. They react quickly and reasonably on our requests. I trust them and feel comfortable.” – M&A

"Very professional attitude, effective project management and excellent relationship management skills, good expertise and experienced staff allow it to perform complex and complicated tasks. The firm is up to date on the legal field and is focused on continuous development and innovative industries.” – M&A, restructuring and insolvency

"They were able to formulate a great strategy and, then, carry it out in a very impressive manner. We appreciate the firm's very client-oriented and service-minded approach.” – Restructuring and insolvency

EY Law

The legal arm of EY is active in M&A. The firm has worked for a mix of buyers and sellers on transactions recently. For example, the firm advised MK Group on the sale of Agro Invest Ukraine to Kernel. 

Other high-profile clients of the firm include Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, Rozetka, and Sarantis.

GOLAW

GOLAW is a Ukrainian firm with a Berlin office, opened in 2018. In Ukraine the firm was active in banking and finance, M&A, and project development. 

In banking, the firm worked on several refinancing deals, but also saw work on creating finance facilities. The firm advised ProCredit bank on a subordinated financing with the International Finance Corporation.

Within M&A the firm was worked on joint ventures, mergers, sales, and acquisitions. 

In project development the firm primarily advised on real estate projects, advising clients on a series of leasehold agreements, for example advising European Agro Investment Ukraine on the leasehold interest of a complex of maritime terminals in Odessa. 

Other clients of the firm include Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation, Expobank, and Lars Export.

Client feedback

“We have worked with a large number of law firms in various jurisdictions, and I can safely say that the firm is the most professional, value adding and commercially minded firm we have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. Legal services can seem like a necessary evil, however, when Golaw provides advice, it always feels like value for money.” – Banking

Gryphon Legal

Gryphon Group works in the banking and finance area in Ukraine. 

The firm’s recent banking and finance work consists of mostly of financial restructurings, such as advising Alfa bank Ukraine on the financial restructuring of Azovmash. 

A few other clients of the firm include Ukrsotsbank, Diamant Bank, and Donetsksteel Group.

Ilyashev & Partners

Ilyashev & Partners has offices in Russia, Ukraine, and Estonia. In Ukraine the firm works in project development, M&A, and banking and finance. 

In banking and finance, the firm advised Creative Group on the refinancing of its loans. 

In M&A the firm largely worked on sales for its clients, for example advising BTA Bank on the sale of two commercial properties to Dragon Capital. 

Some high-profile clients of the firm include Poltava Petroleum Company, Niel Natural Resources Investments, and BTA Bank.

Client feedback

“Ilyashev & Partners did a great job for us. They supported us in our first EU acquisition deal. We are very satisfied.” – Banking, M&A

“The firm has an outstandingly dedicated and knowledgeable team. Cooperation with the company ensures gaining a reliable partner in legal matters as well as the timely delivery of quality services at a reasonable price. That's why we only deal with this law firm as our partnership is built on a mutual professional history and a large number of successful participatory projects.” – Banking, M&A

“We engaged Ilyashev & Partners on dozens of projects last year. The firm's attorneys advised us on a wide range of commercial, competition and corporate issues, often with a cross-border elements including commercial contracts, joint venture agreements, lease agreements, protection of property rights on our innovations, deposit agreements, sublease agreements and outsourcing contracts. We asked for tax advice on foreign investments, foreign currency regulation and land tax. The firm registered titles to real estate objects belonging to our subsidiaries throughout Ukraine; advised on a major real estate deals; and represented us in a dispute concerning the use of riverside wharfs. I find Ilyashev & Partners to be one of the most trusted and well-known Ukrainian law firms. They have a very good customer contact. Our more than 10 years of relationship is built on trust, and we consider them to be the best in the market.” – Banking, M&A

“We have been working with Ilyashev & Partners for the last 11 years. It's a fantastic team to work with, and they're very client-focused, commercially-minded, and get things done. The firm is well-reputed and is one of the most authoritative full-service law office in the CEE region. We are satisfied with the team's responsiveness, quick understanding of our requests and needs, promptness in delivering the work results and excellent interpersonal contacts.” – Banking, M&A

Georgiy Dzhaniashvili

“He makes good suggestions. He is practical, very smart and can be relied upon.”

Vitali Galitskihh

“He is an extraordinary professional and person. We enjoyed working with him very much. He was always in contact with us.”

“He was like an extension of our in-house team. He is a commercial and results-oriented tax & corporate adviser. He is creative and business-minded when engineering complex schemes. He really focuses on the interests of his client while remaining deal-driven. We appreciate his quality of work and responsiveness.”

Leonid Gilevich

“Brilliant for commercial contracts.”

Natalia Levchuk

“Very experienced in real estate and land law.”

Mikhail Ilyashev

“He develops strategies; he is a talented lawyer with a catchy mind who grasps the picture faster than one can think of. He has an excellent understanding of matters at stake, as well as deep, practical and theoretical knowledge.”

“He is a tireless worker with decades of experience. He immediately understands what you mean when you ask him something, always takes care of the issue right away and has a good overall picture of an assignment. I appreciate his personal involvement while he keeps a close eye on situations that may be brewing.”

Roman Marchenko

“A well-respected name in the Ukrainian legal market.”

“He is a remarkable lawyer with an impressive ability to choose the best possible strategy. Mikhail is the firm’s leading force on corporate, tax, commercial, real estate and construction matters. He understands a broad range of legal issues, does not need time to read up and can give a recommendation on the go. He is an extremely responsive and hardworking lawyer with great knowledge of the local market and strong relationships in the business community.”

“He is remarkably efficient in complex situations. He immediately understands what you mean when you ask him something, and he always takes care of the issue right away.”

“My key contact on finance and banking matters. He is is very hands-on and a strong leader on a deal. He always manages to structure deals well and maintains the highest quality. He really focuses on the interests of his client while remaining deal-driven. He is very creative and co-operative and is the smartest lawyer I know. He understands both the legal details and the commercial nuances of matters.”

Yevgen Solovyov

“He is a strong corporate law expert. He has great patience and technical legal skills.”

Oleksandr Vygovskyy

“He has a major expertise in banking and finance. He reads the situation very quickly and always offered a solution.”

Integrites

Integrites has offices in Kazakhstan and Russia, in addition to Ukraine, where it is active in banking and finance and M&A. The firm also has three representative offices in the Netherlands, UK, and Germany. 

In banking, the firm represented Banque de Commerce et de Placements on a loan, preparing security documentation.

The firm primarily worked on due diligence for acquisitions and mergers in M&A.

Svyatoslav Sheremeta, partner in corporate and M&A, left the firm for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in summer 2017. 

Notable clients of the firm include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Coöperatieve Rabobank, and BNY Mellon.

Jeantet

In Ukraine, French firm Jeantet operates in banking and finance and M&A. 

In banking and finance the firm represented Eurocape Ukraine on a financing and political risk insurance from OPIC and Apollo Fund to build and operate a 225MW wind farm. This represents the firm’s growing work in political risk insurance in banking and finance. 

A few other clients of the firm from the research period are the European Investment Bank, Louis Vuitton, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Kinstellar

Kinstellar is a regional firm in Central and Eastern Europe. Its Ukrainian practice is active in M&A, project development, and banking and finance. 

In banking, the firm represented ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih on a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, along with a syndicate of commercial banks. 

In project development the firm advised TBEA on a 500MW wind power plant in southern Ukraine. This also leads into M&A, as the firm advised its client on a joint venture for the project. 

Other clients of the firm are the supervisory board of Naftogaz Ukraine, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Duferco.

Olena Kuchynska

“She is an outstanding corporate law professional with extensive expertise in both private and public sector.”

KPMG

KPMG Law is the legal branch of consulting firm KPMG. The firm’s Ukrainian office works in M&A. 

Oleg Chayka, the firm’s director, left in December 2017 to relocate to KPMG in Malta. 

Clients of the firm include Canada Penson Plan Investment Board, Voltalia Group, and the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine.

Client feedback

“Professional and experienced in corporate law.” – M&A

“Excellent members and firm. Not one issue in terms of how mandates were executed. Very easy to manage and transparent on all actions. Best law firm I have ever used.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“Strong professionals. Extremely satisfied with the level of support.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Lavrynovych & Partners

Lavrynovych & Partners is a local firm active in M&A. Recently the firm advised clients such as FTNT and Gamet Business Development on the liquidation of legal entities. 

Demetra Investments, JV Mapkom, and MoneyGram are key clients of the firm.

Law Offices of OMP

Law Offices of OMP is a local firm in Ukraine active in M&A. The firm has been particularly active in the pharmaceutical sector recently, representing Glenmark Pharmaceuticals from RO to trade subsidiary. 

Other clients of the firm include Crown Agents and Recordati.

Lexwell & Partners

Lexwell & Partners has been active in project development. Within the area the firm mostly advised clients on obtaining licenses, but also worked on a notable wind farm project, advising TBEA on a 500MW project. 

Key clients of the firm include Podilsky Cement and ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih.

Client feedback

“Lexwell & Partners has strong team of lawyers in different legal spheres. They render round-the-clock legal support in any urgent situation. Deep analysis of every issue is their key style of work.” – Banking

Nobles

Nobles is an domestic firm active in banking and finance and M&A, with banking and finance being its stronger practice area. 

In banking and finance the firm represented several financial institutions acting as lender on financings and refinancings. 

The firm worked on acquisitions for international buyers in M&A, advising UAGRO Beteiligungs on the acquisition of a Ukrainian agricultural company. 

The firm hired two new partners this year: Roman Shulyar and Artem Nagdalian in banking and finance, who were hired in December 2017 from Phenomena. 

Other clients of the firm include Western NIS Enterprise Fund, Union Tank Eckstein, and Viatrans.

Client feedback

“The firm has a strong capacity in the banking and finance sphere. The lawyers are very experienced and competent in handling complex legal matters. Their business acumen allowed them to predict the risks in my project and presented me with viable and cost-effective solutions for the existing and potential problems. They are result-orientated and 100% committed to their client. This shows in their responsiveness and discipline. They delivered great results within tight deadlines and were always available for me.” – Banking, M&A, project finance

“They are knowledgeable in their business and provide clear, concise, professional and timely advice.” – Banking, project finance

Roman Shulyar

“Roman is a very skilled and diligent lawyer. He has a thorough knowledge of Ukrainian law and is attentive to every detail, which has helped us identify the most expedient solution to my issue. Roman is very responsible and he genuinely cares for the success of his client. He handled all the issues with my utmost satisfaction.”

“Roman is an excellent lawyer and reliable person who may be trusted. I truly appreciate working with him on very complex projects.”

PwC Legal

PwC Legal is the legal branch of the global consulting firm PwC. In Ukraine the firm acts in the banking and finance and M&A. 

In banking and finance the firm represented Lohr Ukraine in a debt restructuring via debt to equity swap. 

In M&A the firm worked largely on due diligence for its clients, such as advising CH on an acquisition. 

A few other clients of the firm include Technologia, Oschadbank, and Symyrenkivske Agricultural.

Client feedback

“Gave us appropriate advice on our mandate.” – Project development

Redcliffe Partners

Redcliffe Partners has good practices covering all areas ranked by the IFLR1000. Banking and finance is where the firm has been strongest in the recent past, with the firm’s M&A practice also experiencing significant improvement.

In the banking and finance area, the firm worked on several mandates for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), including on providing loans to postal services company Meest Express, food producer Agrofusion, grain producer Nibulon and construction firm Olimpex Holding, among others. The firm also represented Credit Suisse and UniCredit Bank on large-scale lending commitments.

The firm’s M&A practice has been active on deals across Ukraine with a mix of buy and sell side work, some involving private equity and some strategic. A clear highlight was its advice to Grupo Bimbo as it acquired East Balt Bakeries from private equity fund, One Equity Partners. 

In the projects area, the firm has been acting on issues involving the storage and transportation of natural gas, among other mandates.

New clients include Coca-Cola, Glencore and Mitsubishi Corporation.

Client feedback

“Very good expertise.” – Banking

“Very responsive, clear and effective.” – Capital markets

Dmytro Fedoruk

“Good, solid lawyer.”

“Very practical, good knowledge of industry and good internal management.”

Olena Polyakova

“Good communicator with good drafting skills.”

Sayenko Kharenko

Sayenko Kharenko has one of the market’s strongest financial and corporate practices across the board. The firm’s M&A team is generally involved in all the market’s high-end transactions, and the firm also has an experienced banking and finance group.

In the banking and finance area, the firm worked for lenders on some of the biggest deals in the market. Among highlights were the firm’s role for General Electric’s largest deal in Ukraine, and its role for a syndicate of banks in the largest ever World Bank-guaranteed trade finance facility concerning a loan to Naftogaz. A notable project finance mandate saw the firm work for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), on the construction of the Central Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility in the Chornobyl exclusion zone.

The capital markets group has been involved in broad variety of work. The highlights were concentrated in the debt side of the markets and included representing global banking groups on the capital markets-related refinancing deal by Metinvest, the eurobond issue by Ukreximbank and on the landmark sovereign bond issue by Ukraine.

The firm’s M&A team had a busy period. In the largest retail M&A deal to date in the jurisdiction, the firm represented Auchan Group on its acquisition of the Karavan hypermarket chain as the French group doubled its presence in Ukraine. Other highlights within M&A for the firm included acting as the local counsel for AB InBev’s joint venture with Efes, and for HP’s acquisition of Samsung Electronics.

In projects, the firm’s recent mandates have primarily included energy, infrastructure and transport projects. The firm’s clients have been a mix of public and private sector entities. 

In a notable staffing change, the capital markets team had an exchange of counsel personnel with Avellum, as Maria Tsabal departed shortly after the return of Igor Lozenko.

In addition to those already mentioned, the firm’s clients also include Aegon, P&O Maritime and the Hut Group.

Client feedback

“Sayenko Kharenko has an outstanding team of professionals that, besides being knowledgeable and attentive to details, are very responsive and reachable round-the-clock. The team sees the big picture and is capable of offering a number of alternative solutions to one problem. Sayenko Kharenko always puts clients first and provides a number of tailored services which are unique to every clients. The firm aims to leave every client not just satisfied with their work but rather fascinated.” – Project finance

SDM Partners

SDM Partners is a domestic firm that operates in M&A and banking and finance. 

In banking and finance the firm has worked for both borrowers and lenders and has advised on debt restructuring. 

In M&A the firm worked on sales, acquisitions, and joint ventures for its clients. 

Tatyana Gromova, a corporate partner, left the firm in November 2017. Yuri Rudenko joined the firm as a partner in 2017, operating in commercial law.

Client feedback

“Very skilled, collaborative and professional.” – Project development

Serhiy Dzis

“Very helpful, professional and always finds ways in a very complex legal environment.”

Spenser & Kauffmann

Spenser & Kauffman is a local firm that works in M&A and banking and finance. 

In banking and finance the firm is often active in debt restructuring, including recently advising Nederlands Financierings-MaatschappijVoor Ontwikkelingslanden and Deutsche Investitions-Und Entwicklungsgesellschaft on a loan restructuring for Lutsk Motor Vehicle Plant. 

In M&A the firm acted for buyers, representing Agrospetssrvis on the acquisition of Agrocontract-N and Novomyrgorod-Agrocontract, working on due diligence and advising on Ukrainian law aspects on the transaction’s documentations and structuring. 

A few other clients of the firm are Alfa Bank, VTB Bank, and SA Mondoo.

Client feedback

“Very high quality and pragmatic lawyers.” – M&A

Vasil Kisil & Partners

Vasil Kisil & Partners is a domestic Ukrainian firm that operates in banking and finance, M&A, and project development.

In banking and finance the firm worked in the aviation sector recently, advising SMBC Aviation Capital on a refinancing with Wells Fargo and Export-Import Banks. 

In M&A the firm predominantly worked on the buy side of transactions, but saw some work in sales, for example representing LNZ Group with respect to the acquisition of a group of companies in the real estate sector. 

In project development the firm worked on infrastructure development on projects in maritime, railway, and road construction. An example of the firm’s work was advising Mykolaiv Sea Port on its railway servitude agreement with the Administration of Sea Ports of Ukraine. 

Some other clients of the firm are European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Intellecom, and AWAS and KAHALA Aviation.

Client feedback

“Vasil Kisil & Partners (VKP) main strength, to my opinion, lies in their overall corporate culture. VKP is a Ukrainian firm that adopts and follows the highest western standards of corporate governance, professional development, ethical code of conduct, and customer relations.” – Banking, M&A

“I personally have very a positive impression of VKP. They deeply understand local regulations and are even able to give smart advice on the unusual matters like ours. On the other hand, they seemingly have a working chain of best friends abroad, and we were perfectly comfortable with them advising us on cross-border and even foreign jurisdictions matters.” – Investment funds

“Professional, good knowledge of the Ukrainian market, quick response and client-oriented. Will need to expand its international practice.” – M&A

“Fully satisfied with their performance. Great response time, pro-activeness, quality advice and follow-up.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Oleg Alyoshin

“Client-oriented. Always responded quickly to whatever situation occurred, even when he was not in the country; professional with good knowledge and understanding of internal market.”

Volodymyr Igonin

“Highly professional, client oriented manager ready to advise and help even on the matters that do not relate to his area.”

Anna Sisetska

“She is great.”

Wolf Theiss

Wolf Theiss is a regional firm, present across Central and Eastern Europe. The firm’s Ukraine office works in banking and finance and M&A. 

In banking and finance the firm largely advised clients on interactions with Ukrainian governmental entities, for example providing financial regulatory advice to Moneta International. 

In M&A the firm worked on both the buy and sell side of transactions, advising Bain Capital on the acquisition of the Ukrainian Subsidiary of Sealed Air Diversey Care division. 

Other clients of the firm include Lukoil International, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Deere & Company.

Client feedback

“Knowledgeable, thorough, quick to respond and pragmatic.” – Restructuring and insolvency