Banking, finance and capital markets in Belarus

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners

The team at Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners is regularly instructed by international banks on eurobond matters. The firm also advises international financial institutions on domestic loan agreements, providing on-the-ground expertise on Belarusian banking regulations. In recent work, the group advised the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on a loan to Saria totalling €17m. Vastly experienced practice head Dennis Turovets and associate Anastasia Yarokhovich are names to note.

Practice head(s):

Dennis Turovets

Key clients

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Work highlights

  • Advising the joint lead managers on the issuance and placement of sovereign eurobonds on the external financial market for a total amount of $2bn.
  • Advising the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Belarusian authorities on preparation of the first PPP – M10 road.
  • Assisting the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with the provision of a loan to Saria in the amount of €17m.

Sorainen

Sorainen impresses with its strong capabilities in the fintech space. It also continues to act for a variety of foreign lenders on sizeable transactions, with a varied workload ranging from advice on loan facilities to project financing for international financing institutions. The group is also well known for its regulatory expertise. The highly experienced Kiryl Apanasevich heads the practice; he acted for the European Investment Bank on the client's first major project in Belarus. Senior associate Ann Laevskaya is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Kiryl Apanasevich

Key clients

Bloomberg

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

European Investment Bank (EIB)

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Kaamos Group

Lacerta

Nordic Environment Finance Corporation

Raiffeisen Bank International

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International

World Bank

Raiffeisen Centrobank

Work highlights

  • Advised European Investment Bank on its lending to the largest banks in Belarus.
  • Assisted Raiffeisen Centrobank AG with regulatory issues related to the offering and distribution of structured securities to investors in Belarus.
  • Advised Nefco on another facility within the framework of its cleaner production financing programme.

VMP Vlasova Mikhel & Partners

VMP Vlasova Mikhel & Partners acts as the Belarusian counsel on myriad types of financial sector transactions, namely bilateral and syndicated loans, trade finance and project finance arrangements, as well as providing ongoing advice on financial regulatory matters. The team receives many of its instructions directly from leading international law firms and also advises international finance institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on financing projects in Belarus. The highly regarded Tatiana Emelianova heads the team. Another key practitioner is Marina Khomich.

Practice head(s):

Tatiana Emelianova

Key clients

EBRD

China Development bank

Eurasian Development Bank

Gazprombank

Alfa Bank

Commerzbank

Unicredit Bank

Export-Import Bank of China

Work highlights

  • Assisting China Development Bank with setting up a representative office in Belarus
  • Advising the joint global coordinators on a $200m offering of global depository receipts (IPO) by Eurotorg, the largest grocery retailer in Belarus, on the London Stock Exchange.
  • Advising a client on a syndicated term loan facility in  the sum of €40m provided by a group of European banks.

Arzinger Law Offices

Arzinger & Partners is a popular choice for borrowers in diverse sectors; it has recently developed expertise in assisting niche IT clients, most of which are international clients attempting to enter the Belarusian market. The firm also act for some foreign banking institutions, including a consortium of German banks. Juri Slepitch jointly heads the practice alongside experienced banking lawyer Sergey Mashonsky , who is 'able to find an approach and a common language for solving complex situations'. Evgenia Seregina is another 'key' member of the team. Maksim Slepitch, formerly a senior associate in the team, left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Sergey Mashonsky; Juri Slepitch

Testimonials

‘Key people in the team are Juri Slepitch, Sergey Mashonsky and Evgenia Seregina. I know that they work a lot with everything that relates to digital banking and have been directly involved in a banking reform of Belarus – allowing mobile apps to operate locally with minimum technical and legal barriers.’ 

‘Sergey Mashonsky is able to find an approach and a common language for solving complex situations.’ 

‘Arzinger proved to be the team you can rely on for any business and finance law issues in Belarus. They are quick in responding on any requests or follow-ups and always give comprehensive advice.’ 

Key clients

Belarusbank

DB Schenker

Fishman Group

Huawei

Izovac

Octapharma AG

Svetlogorsk Pulp and Board Plant

Triniti Invest

UNIBEP

BTA Bank

Commerzbank

Work highlights

  • Advised on the validity of a surety bond.
  • Acted for a client in successfully challenging the National Bank’s assertion that the client’s activities in Belarus were illegal due to non-compliance with local banking regulations
  • Advised on structuring a foreign loan to a Belarus-based bank.

Borovtsov & Salei

Borovtsov & Salei advises on a range of financial transactions for an array of banks, multinationals, and financial institutions. Practice head Alexander Botian's expertise in project financing and loans has led to repeat instructions in this area, namely on cross-border transactions. Elsewhere, the team is developing expertise in the ever-expanding IT sphere. In 2018, this included acting for clients involved in blockchain and cryptocurrency. Despite the absence of capital markets activity, the firm also advised some international clients on fundraising and coin offering options. Senior associate Illia Salei is another key name.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Botian

Key clients

Crea Holdings, Inc

Mebelain FLLC

Forex Club

Work highlights

  • Advising a Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed company on the issue of potential fundraising through an ICO in Belarus.
  • Assisting a start-up project with the issue of crowdfunding through token generation events in various jurisdictions and the associated risks.
  • Advising one of the leading over-the-counter companies in the CIS on the financial regulatory framework of the Republic of Belarus as well as other day-to-day matters.

REVERA

Led by Dmitry Arkhipenko, the team at REVERA acts primarily for international banks and financial institutions, with particular strength in loan agreements and financing advice. It also acts for borrows and is noticeably developing its work for IT clients, especially for start-ups attempting to enter the local market. It also handles some capital markets work on the Moscow Exchange. Associate Olga Polozova is a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Dmitry Arkhipenko

Key clients

EBRD

Evrotorg

HBOR

Glavmolsnab

Belarus Biotechnological Corporation

21vek

MSQRD

OWHelth

A1 Investment Group

SolbegSoft

Work highlights

  • Advising EBRD on providing a secured loan of $20m to the largest Belarusian grocery retail network.
  • Acting as a local adviser to the largest Belarusian grocery retail network – Eurotorg – on its $300m IPO and listing on the London Stock Exchange.
  • Acting for a major Belarusian bank in a dispute with a financial monitoring agency seeking damages worth over $3.5m following the alleged failure to prevent fraudulent operations.

SBH Law Office

SBH Law Office specialises in advising both international banking institutions and local banks on large financing projects, owing to the team’s expertise in equity financing, corporate restructuring, and project financing. The group frequently advises the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on international mandates, and also helped finalise the country’s very first private equity fund for Zubr Capital. Anastasiya Malakhova and Alexander Bondar, who jointly head the practice, are highly regarded.

Other key lawyers:

Anastasiya Malakhova

Key clients

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Zubr Capital

MT Bank

Volvo Financial Services

Baltic International Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Zubr Capital on the closing of the second part of its investment fund.
  • Advised EBRD on its $45m financing of the largest solar electric power station in Cherikov District.
  • Assisted EBRD with its €13m financing of Servolux.

Verkhovodko & Partners LLC

Jointly led by Dmitry Bokhan and Nina Knyazeva, the team at Verkhovodko & Partners LLC provides 'outstanding legal services', making it a go-to firm for almost half of the country’s domestic banks. Additionally, the department regularly receives instructions from both foreign institutions and borrowers, ranging from inter-bank loan agreements for the former, to registration issues and advice on day-to-day operations for the latter. Bokhan is praised for his 'extraordinary negotiation skills', while Knyazeva is a 'knowledgeable lawyer', who has 'a sensible and commercial approach to solving the tasks set'. Associate Irina Veremeichuk is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Dmitry Bokhan; Nina Knyazeva

Testimonials

‘This law firm has a unique blend of expertise and understanding of Belarusian laws that allows our company to safely settle our complex business issues. They have excellent client service and very quick response times, lots of attention to the company and we are very impressed with the firm’s knowledge.’ 

‘We are fully satisfied with the professionalism that is given to each matter, whether large or small, local or international. In my opinion, they provide outstanding legal services, in a timely and accurate manner.’ 

‘Dmitry Bokhan is an experienced lawyer and a skilled business consultant who always takes into account the realities of Belarusian business and market, which allows achieving the client’s goals. In addition, Dmitry has extraordinary negotiation skills. These qualities make him an excellent lawyer, who is trustworthy on the part of clients.’ 

Igor Verkhovodko is truly one of the best and most experienced Belarusian attorneys. His non-standard approach to problem-solving, excellent knowledge of law and perfect legal intuition speak volumes for him.

Nina Knyazeva is a highly qualified and knowledgeable lawyer, who professionally represented the client’s interests in international and domestic transactions. We rate Nina incredibly highly thanks to her ability to know clients in great detail, and her sensible and commercial approach to solving the tasks set and, in our opinion this professional level cannot be beaten.

Anna Orlovich is a very promising young lawyer. She has the main qualities that a lawyer should have: highly responsible, client-oriented with exceptional knowledge of law.

Key clients

Sberbank of Russia

BelVEBleasing Modus Group

Minsk Transit Bank CJSC

EPAM Systems

Belavia Belarusian Airlines

Zeppelin-CAT

Telekom Austria Group

Work highlights

  • Assisted a client with a RUB1.7bn financial cross-border project intended for the acquisition of 30 train carriages by the Belarusian Railway.
  • Assisted a client with restructuring its lending obligations by repaying the loan to the bank in exchange for selling the client’s bonds.
  • Assisted Naftan, the largest Belarusian oil refinery, with a cross-border loan transaction with Československá obchodní banka.

Aleinikov & Partners

The ‘forward-thinking’ pairing of Dmitry Matveev and Denis Aleinikov lead the practice at Aleinikov & Partners, which has established a reputation for delivering niche services in the IT sector, as well as for foreign financial institutions. Described as ‘trendsetters and influencers’ in the market, the firm is instructed by both domestic and international clients on fintech issues, structuring advice and venture financing.

Practice head(s):

Dmitry Matveyev; Denis Aleinikov

Testimonials

The firm has an excellent knowledge of Belarusian law.

Aleinikov and Partners is one of the most reputable firms on the market. They try to be on the same page with a client and trends. To some extent they are trend setters and influencers.

We worked with Denis Aleinikov and Dmitry Matveev. Both are forward-thinking.

 

Key clients

Belvneshekonombank

Alfa-Bank

EVO Group

UNICEF

My Power Farm

Work highlights

  • Advising on the development of the legal framework for a remote customer identification system in Belarus.
  • Advising UNICEF on its fundraising activities in Belarus.
  • Providing legal expertise regarding the improvement of banking and financial regulations of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Belarus “On Development of Digital Economy”.

Stepanovski, Papakul and partners

Stepanovski, Papakul and partners has a particular focus on assisting international banking clients with the drafting of agreement terms and securities for cross-border loans. Project financing and due diligence reviews are other key strengths, usually complemented by advice on regulatory matters. Banking expert Sviatlana Valuyeva primarily leads on matters.

Practice head(s):

Maria Sheiko

Key clients

Gazprombank AO

Commerzbank AG

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Work highlights

  • Acting for EBRD on the provision of refinancing to IOOO VMG Industry (the Company) (Belarus) for a loan in the sum of €50m.
  • Acting for EBRD on financing provided to FLLC Swoods Export (the Company) (Belarus) for a loan in the sum of $15m.
  • Advising Promsvyazbank JSC on an intrabanking transaction concerning a number of Belarusian entities.