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Uzbekistan

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Uzbekistan > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Legal market overview

2016 marked a transitional period for Uzbekistan due to the passing of its president Islam Karimov, who had led the country since its independence from the USSR. His successor, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has already brought in various reforms, including lifting long-standing restrictions on currency convertibility and allowing citizens now allowed to buy and sell foreign currencies. These initiatives should encourage economic activity, which has stagnated since the slowdown of the Russian and Chinese economies – two key investors in the region.

Infrastructure, industrials and agriculture are key sectors in the economy, with the country’s natural resources including uranium, cotton, natural gas and gold. Poverty levels have significantly decreased over the past decade and extreme poverty is mainly limited to rural areas.

The legal market consists of both generalist and specialist practices. The most notable recent development is the merger between Dentons and local firm Avent Advokat.

Azizov & Partners is primarily known for its work in corporate and M&A, financing and real estate. Senior partner Ilkhom Azizov and managing partner Aziz Aripdjanov are key figures, and are known for their work on project finance matters.

Rebranded from Colibri Law, Centil Law primarily handles banking and finance, and corporate matters. Zafar Malikov co-heads the governmental relations and business advisory and disputes practices, and is particularly active in non-resident tax, repatriation and currency control matters. Umid Aripdjanov, who jointly heads the energy and subsoil practice, recently advised Zhangjiagang Furui Special Equipment on a joint venture involving the production and exploration of liquefied natural gas products. He also advised Groupe PSA on producing and exporting its vehicles in Uzbekistan. Banking and finance specialist Sofia Shaykhrazieva acted for a consortium of lenders on the financing of a gas-to-petrochemicals project. Otabek Suleimanov, who co-heads the investment transactions practice, and focuses primarily on infrastructure projects, recently assisted Shangfeng Construction Corporation with its investment in a cement production facility. Senior associate Natalya Kim is experienced in banking and finance matters.

Kosta Legal’s team is known for its ‘high level of commercial awareness’, and ‘ability to resolve issues quickly and independently’. Core practice areas include banking and finance, corporate and M&A, projects and infrastructure, and dispute resolution. Azizbek Akhmadjonov, who jointly heads the practice, has ‘a deep understanding of the laws and regulations of Uzbekistan’ and is ‘able to navigate the intricacies of the court system and bureaucracy with ease’. He has expertise in real estate and construction, dispute resolution, and bankruptcy and insolvency, and recently advised Multivac on restructuring its operations in Uzbekistan, particularly in terms of tax efficiency and dealing with non-payments. Nail Hassanov, who jointly leads the practice, has ‘a very commercial and pragmatic approach to addressing the myriad legal issues one encounters’ and has experience in banking and finance, M&A, infrastructure and construction matters. He recently advised Hyundai Engineering on a joint venture with an Uzbek company and a foreign contractor concerning a number of oil and gas and civil infrastructure projects. Senior associate Maxim Dogonkin is ‘a solid lawyer and a rising star in both litigation and transactional law’; he has expertise in competition, corporate governance and regulatory compliance matters.

Avrora Legal has expertise in corporate, commercial, finance, dispute resolution, technology and IP matters, and works in sectors such as natural resources, banking and TMT. Managing partner Babur Karimov is a key figure, with particular expertise in cross-border transactions.

Dentons, which recently merged with Avent Advokat, has significantly enhanced its capabilities in the region. Practice head Eldor Mannopov has expertise in corporate, commercial, construction, contract and tax law. He recently advised Çalik Enerji on contractual matters relating to the construction of two power plants, and assisted Dal Teknik Makina with its EPC contract with Almalyk Mining and Metallurgy Combine for the construction of a cement plant. Of counsel Shukhrat Yunusov, who handles banking and finance, corporate and contractual matters, recently advised China Development Bank on providing a loan to the National Bank of Uzbekistan for financing the acquisition of two 787-800 aircrafts for Uzbekistan Airways. Senior associate Ulugbek Abdullaev is heavily involved in real estate matters.

Grata International focuses on natural resources, banking and finance, infrastructure and energy, FMCG, TMT, disputes and tax matters. Bakhodir Jabborov, who has expertise in corporate and commercial transactions, advised Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation on a uranium deposits exploration project, and assisted General Electric with its EPC contract for its Tashkent power plant. Nodir Yuldashev is particularly active in the oil and gas, pharmaceutical and textile sectors. Project finance specialist Atabek Sharipov advised China Development Bank, as local counsel, on the secured financing of a local textile mill, and acted for Deutsche Asset Management’s Global Social Finance Group on an unsecured credit facility to a local microfinance bank. Irina Obukhova is also a key figure, and has experience in civil and criminal proceedings.

Legalmax Law Firm is an intellectual property firm which handles prosecution and enforcement matters. The firm acted for Ararat in a trade dress case against a local brandy manufacturer. The group also has expertise in dealing with counterfeit products and domain name disputes. Key clients include Starbucks, Hennessy and Nestlé. Lola Islamova heads the practice, and managing partner Mukhammadali Makhmudov specialises in IP enforcement. Sherzod Utkirkhujaev and Jamshid Agzamkhadjayev are also key figures.

Leges Advokat has strong capabilities in banking and finance, corporate and antitrust matters. Azamat Fayzullaev has expertise in banking and finance, and M&A. Banking and finance specialist Nizomiddin Shakhabutdinov is also a key figure.

Mukhamedjanov & Partners has expertise in M&A, corporate, commercial, banking and finance, and capital markets matters. Ibrahim Mukhamedjanov is experienced in corporate and commercial, real estate, and restructuring and insolvency matters. Davron Khasanov focuses on banking and finance, corporate and M&A, and securities and private equity mandates. Recent highlights include advising Universal Bank on private foreign investors acquiring 15% of its shares. The team also assisted Sanofi with a joint venture with Uzpharmsanoat for the production of pharmaceutical products in Uzbekistan. Other work included advising Tashkent International School on employment and compliance matters.

Virtus Leo Law Firm focuses on corporate and commercial work, and has an active contentious practice. Alisher Zaynutdinov is experienced in disputes, corporate and M&A, TMT, and criminal matters. Odinabonu Abdukakhorova has expertise in disputes, labour, tax and IP issues.

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Legal Developments in Uzbekistan

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  • Doing Business in Uzbekistan 2009

    Doing Business in Uzbekistan 2009 has been prepared as a general guide for companies operating in or considering investment into Uzbekistan. It is intended to present an overview of the key aspects of the Uzbek legal system and regulation of business activities in Uzbeksitan.
  • Doing Business in Uzbekistan 2008

    Doing Business in Uzbekistan has been prepared as a general guide for companies operating in or considering investment into Uzbekistan. It is intended to present an overview of the key aspects of the Uzbek legal system and regulation of business activities in this country.

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