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Legal market overview
Ukraine, often described as ‘the breadbasket of Europe’, has a strong agricultural industry and its economy is benefiting from a resurgence in sectors such as pharmaceutical, retail, outsourcing and energy – particularly renewables such as solar and wind energy. Nevertheless, its recovery from the financial crisis of 2008 is far from complete. Its once strong steel sector is struggling and many international banks are exiting the country’s financial services market.
There is widespread public support for the signing of a European Union association agreement, which could provide long-term economic stimulus, although this is complicated by the imperative of maintaining positive social, economic and political links with Russia. In November 2013, President Viktor Yanukovych decided against signing the EU trade agreement, leading to vociferous public protests, although his removal from power in February 2014 may see the issue being revisited.
Foreign investors remain shy of the risks in Ukraine and many are waiting until the next presidential elections to determine their investment strategy.
Some international law firms are prominent in the market, including Baker & McKenzie – CIS, Limited, Clifford Chance LLC, DLA Piper Ukraine LLC and Dentons. In addition, Gide Loyrette Nouel enhanced its team by hiring a number of partners following the closure of Beiten Burkhardt’s Kiev office. Nevertheless, the market increasingly favours high-quality domestic firms such as Sayenko Kharenko, Vasil Kisil & Partners, Arzinger and Asters. Young firm Avellum Partners has quickly found a place among the elite.
Also of note, Ulysses and Danevych Law Firm merged in December 2013 to form Marchenko Danevych.
Legal Business: country analysis
Breaking new ground – advisers hope shale revolution can restart CEE market
Weighed down by political unrest and slowing economies, energy and infra projects look like one area to be driving
the CEE economy. Can the shale revolution power up
Click here to read the feature.
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AstapovLawyers Partner Eugene Blinov & the firm's Associate Roman Protsyshyn share their recent arbitration practice regarding applicable law in contractual disputes.
The 2008 financial crisis peak had hardly faded away, when another breaking news was brought to the surface in CIS countries: a significant part of the funds advanced during the pre-crisis period by banks and other financial institutions to support various businesses and commercial initiatives, flew beyond national frontiers to be found in Panama, BVI, Seychelles, Jersey, Cyprus and other offshore and onshore jurisdictions in the pockets of numerous private persons, mostly CIS nationals. No surprise this fact led to a tsunami of disputes, one way or the other related to repayment of loans and funds advanced under other types of finance arrangements. Many of those disputes are still pending, thus, keeping finance arrangements among the top-litigated issues within CIS borders.
Article V1(b) of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, better known as the New York Convention, provides that recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award may be refused, at the request of the party against which it is invoked, only if that party furnishes proof to the competent authority where the recognition and enforcement is sought that it was not given proper notice of the appointment of the arbitrator or of the arbitration proceedings. However simple at first glance, the question of what constitutes 'proper notice' turns out to be less than clear in practice.
This guide provides the international practitioner and in-house counsel with a comprehensive worldwide legal analysis of the laws and regulations of real estate. This article appeared in the 2013 edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Real Estate; published by Global Legal Group Ltd, London. www.iclg.co.uk )
6 February has marked lawyers’ calendars with an important message from the UK Supreme Court: English courts will not accept the jurisdiction over a dispute having the “centre of gravity” in another country. AstapovLawyers' Managing Partner Andrey Astapov and Associate Anna Kombikova comment on a recent CIS precedent.
The Presidium of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI) recently amended Article 52 of the Rules of the International Commercial Arbitration Court (ICAC) at the UCCI. This article governs the procedure for forwarding an arbitral award to the parties to arbitration proceedings.
Eugene Blinov and Anna Kombikova of AstapovLawyers ILG commented on peculiarities of enforcement of arbitral awards against Ukrainian bankrupt companies. The lawyers noted the risks connected with such cases and suggested possible solutions.
On 6 November 2012, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted changes to the Law of Ukraine "On the Procedure of Carrying-Out Settlements in Foreign Currency", dated 23 September 2004, No. 185/94-BP, as amended, granting the National Bank of Ukraine ("NBU") a power to amend for a term of up to six months the term for cre-diting to the exporters' accounts of currency proceeds under export contracts. These changes to the law entered into force on 17 November 2012. The NBU was extremely fast to implement its new power, passing a Resolution dated 16 November 2012, No. 475 (which entered into force on 19 November 2012).
The mitigation of damages is a well-known principle in international legal practice. However, in Ukraine there is no widely applied court and arbitration practice on the issues relating to mitigation of damages, and aggrieved parties may be unclear as to what should and can be done.
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine at its meeting on August 29 resolved  to amend its Resolution "On approval of the Order for the use of funds allocated in the state budget for payments related to implementation of judgments of foreign jurisdictional authorities rendered upon consideration of matters against Ukraine" (the "Government Resolution"). Appropriate amendments were prepared by the Ministry of Justice (responsible for protecting the state's interests in foreign courts and arbitral tribunals) in order to improve mechanisms to protect the rights and interests of Ukraine in foreign judicial and arbitral proceedings.
Kyiv, 27 January 2015 - Dealmakers Monthly Magazine, an established global deal reporting magazine, has highlighted exceptional rankings of AstapovLawyers and awarded the firm the following accolades:
Kyiv, 29 January 2015 – Avellum Partners is proud to announce that it has acted as the legal counsel to the world’s two biggest cement producers Lafarge and Holcim in connection with obtaining a merger control clearance from the Ukrainian competition authority of their EUR 40 billion planned merger of equals. The proposed transaction will create the largest cement producer in terms of sales and manufacturing capacity in the world.
Kyiv, 30 January 2015 – Avellum Partners acted as Ukrainian legal counsel to PJSC “First Ukrainian International Bank” (“FUIB”) in connection with solicitation of consents of holders of its outstanding USD252,488,000 11% Loan Participation Notes due 2014 (“Notes”) issued by, but without recourse to, Standard Bank Plc (“Issuer”) for the sole purpose of funding a loan to FUIB. FUIB solicited consents from noteholders to amend certain terms and conditions of the Notes, including in particular the substitution of the Issuer, the extension of the final maturity date of the Notes to 31 December 2018 and the addition of an amortised redemption provision under the Notes.
Kyiv, 29 December 2014 - Avellum Partners advised Nadezhda Group ("Group"), operating in the liquefied petroleum and gas industry, on tax planning for holding structure of the Group, all legal and tax aspects of corporate restructuring and acquisition finance issues, aimed at obtaining finance from international finance institutions ("IFIs").
Kyiv, 14 January 2015 - Avellum Partners acted as Ukrainian legal counsel to Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch and ING Bank N.V., London Branch, who acted as Dealer Managers, in connection with the exchange offer of Metinvest B.V., the parent company of a vertically integrated group of steel and mining companies ("Metinvest") for its USD500 million 10.25% guaranteed notes due 2015, coupled with the new issue of USD289.7 million 10.5% guaranteed notes due 2017 ("Notes") under its USD1,500,000,000 Guaranteed Medium Term Note Programme and a 25% cash consideration. The Bank of New York Mellon, London Branch acted as the Exchange Agent. The Notes are listed and admitted to trading on the Global Exchange Market of the Irish Stock Exchange.
Kyiv, 08 December 2014 - Avellum Partners advised Lafarge Group in connection with obtaining a merger control clearance from the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine for the sale of LLC "Lafarge UralCement", operating a 1.1 million tones per year cement plant in Korkino, Russia, to Dyckerhoff Gmbh. The plant was sold for a total enterprise value of EUR 104 million.
Kyiv, 18 November 2014 - Avellum Partners announced that it has acted as the legal counsel to ING Bank N.V. (" ING ") in connection with a USD100 million sunflower oil pre-export loan facility (" Loan ") to Myronivsky Hliboproduct Group (" MHP ").
Kyiv, 22 October 2014 - Avellum Partners is proud to announce that our Tax Practice has been highly recognized by International Tax Review (" ITR "), a highly reputable international magazine for tax professionals published by Euromoney Plc. In particular, Avellum Partners was ranked within Tier 3 according to the World Tax and World Transfer Pricing 2015 proving its leading reputation in Ukraine.
AstapovLawyers represents interests of KVV Group in potential acquisition of JSC "Liepajas Metalurgs", Latvian biggest industrial enterprise as well as the only still mill in Baultic states. KVV Group is one of two finalists for further talks on the sale of the metallurgical company. The bidders have signed letters of intent for the acquisition of the plant. The expected deal value is not disclosable yet, however it is clear it will be in the range of EUR 80-100 million.
Kyiv, 30 October 2014 - AstapovLawyers has been named among the top firms in Energy and Infrastructure (Tier 2) by the annual IFLR1000 rating.