Azerbaijan > Legal market overview
Index of tables
Legal market overview
- Aykhan Asadov – Baker & McKenzie – CIS, Limited
- Ismail Askerov – MGB Law Offices Limited
James Hogan –
- Gunduz Karimov – Baker & McKenzie – CIS, Limited
- Elchin Mammadov – MGB Law Offices Limited
Kamal Mammadzada –
- Daniel Matthews – Baker & McKenzie – CIS, Limited
Farhad Mirzayev –
BM Morrison Partners LLC
‘Among the best in Azerbaijan’, Baker & McKenzie – CIS, Limited’s three-partner team has comprehensive legal expertise encompassing financing, transactions, day-to-day support and litigation. Oil and gas is a core focus, but the group also acts for manufacturers and construction companies. The team is advising RWE on a rights acquisition relating to an offshore oil and gas upstream project, and representing Holcim (Azerbaijan) OJSC in two tax disputes. Managing partner Daniel Matthews is advising Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) on shari’ah-compliant financing to allow Amrahbank OJSC to finance certain SME projects, which will be a cutting-edge deal for Azerbaijan. Other clients include Sinochem Petroleum, PSG LLC, and Total Exploration and Production. Gunduz Karimov is ‘very helpful in dispute resolution matters’ and ‘he always demonstrates excellent knowledge and the highest professionalism’. Aykhan Asadov is ‘very client-focused, and very knowledgeable in Azerbaijani legislation’.
Dentons’ ‘very responsive’ team provides ‘reliable, practical advice’, particularly on day-to-day corporate and financing matters for manufacturers, distributors and banks, as well as transactions and an increasing volume of disputes. It has been advising a state committee on the privatisation of 50.2% of International Bank of Azerbaijan, advising Greenfields Petroleum on Azerbaijan aspects of a debenture issuance, and advising ICD on launching the country’s first takaful company (shari’ah-compliant insurer) and on extending lines of credit. It is advising Groupe Lactalis on launching operations in Azerbaijan, and assisting numerous clients such as Procter & Gamble, Herbalife and Hyatt Baku Hotel Company with ongoing business. In disputes, its remit includes representing Tokio Marine as well as a major commodities trader and an oil company. Office head James Hogan has ‘in-depth knowledge of the region’. Kamal Mammadzada and of counsel Ophelia Abdullayeva is also recommended.
Omni Law Firm’s capabilities span top-end financial, corporate and projects advice. Recent highlights include acting as local counsel to State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) on Azerbaijan’s first corporate Eurobond issuance, and being local counsel to Azerkosmos and Ministry of Finance as borrowers of a loan (guaranteed by US Ex-Im Bank) to build a satellite. The team is also giving CNIM SA operational advice regarding a waste incineration plant. Other clients include Azerbaijan Airlines, EBRD, the IFC, Maersk, and Microsoft. The ‘very responsive’ Roman Alloyarov is recommended. Jeyhun Bayramov and Ismail Zargarli are the other partners.
BHM Baku Law Centre ‘provides prompt and professional service, and has an in-depth knowledge of what it takes to do business and mitigate risk in Azerbaijan’. It is particularly notable in the energy, projects and technology spaces. Clients also include the infrastructure construction company, Akkord; various banks such as Pasha Bank and AccessBank; and franchisers such as Ramada Hotel and Coca-Cola. Managing partner Anar Baghirov is highly intelligent and has ‘the profound ability to resolve amicably the most complex cases’, and Mehman Sultanov can ‘cut across cultural differences’; both lawyers adopt ‘an honest and very considered approach’. The firm has an alliance with Lansky, Ganzger & Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH of Austria.
BM Morrison Partners LLC’s experience includes local and foreign investment, privatisation, tax and corporate advice. Clients have included EBRD, Itochu, Lukoil and Total. Farhad Mirzayev is the managing partner.
Deloitte & Touche LLC provides a broad range of day-to-day and transactional legal services. It is advising a large GSM operator on an acquisition in the mobile telecoms market; advising the IFC on the treatment of bad debts; and assisting a large construction company with a hotel development. Senior legal manager Vugar Mammadov is the main contact.
EKVITA’s ‘capable and professional’ practice advises clients on issues including corporate, tax and employment law, and is particularly busy in the oil and gas services and construction sectors. It also assists borrowers with conventional and shari’ah-compliant financing, where it is involved in the establishment of a takaful company. Clients include BP, Seacor, Yugar and Mitsubishi Corporation. Ilgar Mehti is the managing partner, and Anar Karimov is recommended.
IJS Law Firm provides corporate, commercial and financing advice. It is advising two telecoms companies on exclusivity agreements and consumer debt collection, advising on two large municipal water supply PPP projects, and has experience in industrial construction projects. Managing partner Eldar Majidov is the key figure.
MGB Law Offices Limited provides broad advice to banks, oil services companies, retailers, and catering and hotel businesses, including representing clients in tax, employment and contractual disputes. It advised RBS and HSBC on new ship financings, and acted on franchising deals for clients such as Jordana Cosmetics. Managing director Ismail Askerov is well regarded for projects and real estate, and Elchin Mammadov is a tax expert.
Michael Wilson & Partners maintains an office to represent key clients in the jurisdiction. The firm recently advised Falck Group on an acquisition in the oil rig training and safety industry. The team also recently advised Sanofi, TotalFinaElf and Axa. Samir Hadjiyev left the firm in June 2012.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal, which opened in Baku in February 2010, advises foreign investors on M&A, investments and tax law, as well as commercial work including franchising deals for restaurants and luxury goods companies. It advised Triodos Custody BV on providing a credit facility for Demirbank and represented a large cement producer in tax litigation. Other clients include AstraZeneca, ENI, Procter & Gamble, Statoil, Tyco, and British American Tobacco. Farhad Hajizade is recommended.