Banking, finance and capital markets in Bulgaria

Boyanov & Co.

Market front-runner Boyanov & Co. handles headline instructions on behalf of both borrowers and lenders with stand-out expertise in corporate-related issues. The firm recently advised new client Commerzbank on establishing a branch in Bulgaria to serve as IT hub for the entire banking group. The team is in demand among domestic and international banking panels, as well as foreign law firms requiring Bulgarian finance advice. At the helm, Damian Simeonov is widely respected across the market and well supported by experienced partners  Ralitsa Nedkova and Georgi Drenski.

Practice head(s):

Damian Simeonov

Other key lawyers:

Ralitsa Nedkova; Georgi Drenski

Key clients

Citibank

Eurobank

Vidima Ideal Standard

UBS AG

UniCredit Bulbank

Deutsche Bank

Raiffeisen Bank International

International Investment Bank

European Investment Bank

Commerzbank

Work highlights

  • Advising manufacturer Ideal Standard Vidima on syndicated financing of up to €85m led by DSK Bank (Bulgarian subsidiary of OTP Hungary).
  • Represented Commerzbank on establishing a branch in Bulgaria that will act as an IT hub for the entire Commerzbank group.
  • Acted for Komerčni Banka as security agent in relation to the corporate restructuring of the Bulgarian subsidiary of PPF Group, and as borrower under a syndicated facility provided by international banks (includig BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, HSBC, Société Générale and UniCredit).

CMS

CMS stands out for its cross-border capability and notably coordinates international deals out of Sofia, alongside advising on high-level domestic transactions. Strengths of the practice, led by dual-qualified UK/Bulgarian lawyer Elitsa Ivanova and office co-managing partner Gentscho Pavlov, include syndicated and bilateral secured lending, acquisition and leveraged finance, project finance and real estate finance. Third partner Dimitar Zwiatkow is recommended for banking M&A and large-scale portfolio transactions, including non-performing loans, while senior associate Katya Todorova  joined from DTT (Dimitrov, Tchompalov & Todorova) in August 2020 to head the capital markets practice.

Practice head(s):

Elitsa Ivanova; Gentscho Pavlov

Other key lawyers:

Dimitar Zwiatkow; Katya Todorova

Key clients

Black Sea Trade and Development Bank

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

SAREB

Leader 96 EOOD

ING Bank

UniCredit Bulbank/UniCredit Group

OTP Bank /DSK Bank and Expressbank

Nordea Bank Finland

Deutsche Leasing

Export-Import Bank of Korea

Work highlights

  • Advised Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, and Eurobank Bulgaria (Postbank Bulgaria) on €56m parallel loans for the financing of a large mixed development, including a 5-star Marriott hotel in downtown Sofia.
  • Acting for Spanish state-owned ‘bad bank’ asset manager SAREB in relation to complex enforcement proceedings with respect to real estate assets in Bulgaria and ongoing support in relation to the enforcement.
  • Represented UniCredit Bulbank on the €50m (claim value) sale of a mixed non-performing loan portfolio, secured mostly by real estate assets, to a consortium comprising APS Holding and Balbec.

Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov

With a strong track record of deal 'firsts' in Bulgaria, Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov fields one of the largest, specialist finance teams in the market. Some 14 lawyers, includng four partners, are jointly led by the pre-eminent project finance and international lending expert  Nikolai Gouginski; Georgi Tzvetkov, strong in both regulatory matters and transactions; and Vessela Stancheva-Mincheva, who heads up capital markets and insurance. Stephan Kyutchukov completes the partner team and leads on real estate finance. Clients include international investment banks, global funds and domestic lenders.

Practice head(s):

Nikolai Gouginski; Georgi Tzvetkov; Vessela Stancheva-Mincheva

Other key lawyers:

Stephan Kyutchukov

Testimonials

‘The team is very professional, dedicated and well organised.’

‘Nikolai Gouginski is an excellent lawyer with significant experience. He has outstanding knowledge and provides solid advice on complex matters.’

‘The team involved in the banking practice has exquisite negotiation skills and provide professional legal advice on any issues that occur while drafting and executing finance documents. They are capable of keeping any deadline, no matter how tight it is. With their help, we have managed to overcome several obstacles in finance structures.’

‘Georgi Tzvetkov and Kaloyan Krumov – both outstanding professionals. We have worked with them both as advisers to the bank and as advisers to our clients. In both cases – the advice they provide is always in the best interest of their client, but still structured in a way to be acceptable to the other side, which makes closing transactions easier. Georgi is a great negotiator – always capable of proving his point in a firm, yet in diplomatic way.’

‘DGKV can deliver top products unmatched by their local peers; they work fast, are committed to success, understand clients’ commercial needs and act appropriately.’

 

Key clients

Alpha Bank

AP Investments

Arab Bank (Switzerland)

Barclays Capital

Blantyre Capital Limited

BNP Paribas Factor

Bridge Capital

British Arab Commercial Bank (BACB)

BTC (Black Toro Capital Group)

Bulgarian Real Estate Fund

Burgan Bank

Caterpillar Financial Services

China Eximbank

The Export Import Bank of China (CEXIM)

Citadel Securities Europe Limited (CSEL)

Citibank

DEG Invest

Deutsche Bank

DSK Bank

DVB Bank SE

Eleven Fund Cooperatief

Equinix

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Forex Capital Markets

Goldman Sachs

JP Morgan Europe

 

Work highlights

  • Advised PPF Group on the financing of the acquisition of Central European Media Enterprises’ assets in Central and Eastern Europe for $2.1bn on an enterprise value basis.
  • Advised a consortium of lenders including Blantyre Capital. the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Bulgarian Development Bank in relation to the financial restructuring of Bulgarian TV and satellite operator Bulsatcom.
  • Advised The Export-Import Bank of China in relation to several shipping finance transactions of $198m and €82m, extended to certain subsidiaries of Navigation Maritime Bulgare.

Kinstellar

Kinstellar specialises in cross-border financings alongside domestic banking regulatory matters, while at the other end of the spectrum, provides mentoring to Fintech start-ups. The team is smaller than competitors in this tier, but nevertheless manages to 'gets the deal done'.  Office managing partner Diana Dimova is leading advice on a landmark project finance in the country, although experienced counsel Svilen Issaev takes charge on the bulk of key instructions. They include respresenting the ERBD on its first loans under the €200m (approx.) Bulgarian Water Sector Financing Framework.

Practice head(s):

Diana Dimova; Svilen Issaev

Other key lawyers:

Kristina Lyubenova; Maya Medzhedelieva

Key clients

OTP Bank

DSK Bank

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Meridiam

APS Holding

Lion’s Head Investments (Old Mutual Property and AG Capital)

Ecophos and Aliphos Bulgaria

China Development Bank

Akbank

Mezzanine Management

Inter Cars

Work highlights

  • Representing OTP Bank and its subsidiary DSK Bank as lenders in negotiating a €30.5m loan for the construction and operation of a major office complex in Sofia.
  • Advising the EBRD on its first loans under the approximately €200m Bulgarian Water Sector Financing Framework (funded by the EBRD and ESIF/Fund-of-Funds) for the improvement of water and wastewater infrastructure in Bulgaria.
  • Advising Credit Suisse on a €30m cross-border financing of Sarantis Group in Bulgaria and Romania, including the provision of advice on the tax and banking regulatory law aspects.

Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova)

A compact team led by Tsvetan Krumov at Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) punches above its weight in this sphere, demonstrated by its work for United Group on its €1.5bn bond issue to finance the acquisition of BTC/Vivacom. A varied caseload conveys capability across a range of financial transactions and regulatory issues on behalf of both domestic and international banks and financial institutions. Associate Milena Gabrovska    is gaining high-quality exposure, assisting on the majority of key instructions such as Monroe Capital Investments' $250m financing to Marlin.

Practice head(s):

Tsvetan Krumov

Other key lawyers:

Milena Gabrovska

Testimonials

‘The team is very good. It was a challenging project.’

‘Tsvetan Krumov was very good in assisting in the delivery of the difficult risk financing product.’

‘Schoenherr’s team knowledge of the financial regulations and market is very extensive. Their excellent service has been moulded to our requirements and has inspired confidence and trust in our business relationship.’

‘Milena Gabrovska is a knowledgeable, innovative and skilled lawyer. When discussing new projects, Milena takes the time to really understand all the aspects of the transaction and, as a result, always identifies the most appropriate legal solution. ’

‘Great personalities, responisve and outstanding experience. They are very client oriented.’

‘The team is proactive, well organised, with a very good overall market knowledge and great experience.’

‘Proactivity, outstanding quick response time, patience, very good communication skills.’

 

Key clients

United Group

Monroe Capital Investments

BNP Paribas (Suisse)

Société Générale Group

VTB Capital Plc

UniCredit Bulbank, Bulgaria

European Investment Bank (EIB)

JP Morgan Securities

ING Bank (the Netherlands) and ING Bank N.V. (Bulgarian branch)

Bulgarian Development Bank

Citibank Europe (Bulgaria branch)

International Swaps and Derivatives Association

Ares Management Limited

OTP Bank, Hungary

Raiffeisen Bank International

Work highlights

  • Advising United Group on the Bulgarian aspects of its €1.05bn bond issue and on the structuring of the Bulgarian security package under the financing of the acquisition of Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC)/Vivacom.
  • Advised Monroe Capital Investments on the legal aspects of the $250m financing extended to Fourth UK, owned by Marlin Equity Partners.
  • Advising VTB Capital Plc on the Bulgarian aspects of the restructuring of €240m financing extended to Viva Telecom.

Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski

Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski impresses in the capital markets arena, where Nikolay Bebov and his team recently worked alongside the London office of Clifford Chance in representing the Republic of Bulgaria on its dual tranche €2.5bn eurobond issuance. The firm also advised on the country's first IPO since 2018, acting for Eleven Capital. Outside the financial markets, the firm is well-versed in a broad scope of regulatory and financial transactions. Practice co-head Damyan Leshev takes an increasing lead on key matters, while Victoria Tzonkova handles financial disputes and litigation.

Practice head(s):

Nikolay Bebov; Damyan Leshev

Other key lawyers:

Victoria Tzonkova

Testimonials

‘Nikolai Bebov and Damian Leshev are seasoned professionals with a successful track record in capital markets. They are flexible and provide a timely response on client requests.’ 

‘Great variety of legal competences. Great ability to provide practical advice, backed up with solid theoretical knowledge. Flexible and client-oriented approach. Competitive pricing. Remarkable level of cooperation with the client; approachable and easy-talking. Deep understanding of clients’ needs and for clients’ expectations. Proactive in the development of the relationship with the clients. Reliable and clear legal opinion and advice. Exceptional quality of service provided. Recommend: Irina Tsvetkova, Nikolay Bebov, Damyan Leshev and Petar Ivanov.’

Exceptional professionals with complex and solid legal expertise. Possess legal expertise which is specific to the market. The whole team is open minded and proactive in searching for the best legal solution for their clients. They always see the practical side of the topic, so their opinion and advice is never based in the theoretical knowledge, solely. Very cooperative, amicable, easy to be reached. ’

‘The services offered are unique in terms of both legal expertise and advice for practical implementation of the relevant requirements.’

‘The attorneys are open-minded, working to combine innovations with conservative legal requirements and their advice really contributes to the development of the companies and is state-of-the-art. I would like to mention more specifically Damyan Leshev, Nikolay Bebov and Dimitar Grozdanov.’

‘Certainly, I can point out their professionalism; high level of expertise in the field of banking, finance and capital markets law (and not only, but also for example in the GDPR area); prompt and reliable consultancy services within short deadlines; valuable pro-active approach (e.g. they organize different legal seminars on actual regulatory and other hot topics); very easy communication; competitive prices.’

‘Nikolay Bebov is a very experienced lawyer with a profound professional knowledge of the industry/sector, prompt delivery of final legal product, reliable legal advice, competitive pricing, easy communication and case/matter management. Damyan Leshev is a very experienced lawyer with a profound theoretical and practical knowledge of the banking and capital markets industry/sectors, prompt delivery of final legal product, reliable legal advice, competitive pricing, availability and easy communication. Petar Ivanov has profound knowledge of the capital markets industry/sector, prompt delivery of final legal product, availability and easy communication.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable and responsive. When we raise any questions or concerns, we always get timely answers, which are very comprehensive and straight to the point. Nikolay Bebov is an outstanding partner who leads his team to perfect results. Nikolay is very humble, easily approachable, always responsive and a mindful lawyer who has broad knowledge of his field, is always open for improvements and feedback, and can explain difficult things in a simple manner.’

Key clients

Balkan Advisory Company

DeltaStock Insurance Broker

Eleven Capital

Energo-Pro

Ferratum

Fourth Limited

MK Brokers

Raiffeisen Asset Management

Société Générale

TBI Bank

Work highlights

  • Represented Eleven Capital on its IPO on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, the first IPO in Bulgaria since 2018.
  • Advising Société Générale as creditor in the insolvency of Bulgaria’s Corporate Commercial Bank (CorpBank).
  • Acted for Fourth Limited on the release of the Bulgarian security package under an existing seinor notes facility, value £65m and $15.1m.

Wolf Theiss

A well-resourced and experienced team at Wolf Theiss holds its own in the Bulgarian market, advising major domestic banks on regulatory and transactional matters, as well cross-border financings of the highest complexity on behalf of international  institutions. It is acting for JP Morgan Securities on the €1.5bn bond financing of United Group's headline acquisition of Vivacom, a deal led by practice co-heads Katerina Kraeva and Richard Clegg. Providing strong support, the junior bench includes experienced associate Jasmina Uzova, NPL specialist Konstantin Altandzhiyski  and dual UK-Bulgaria qualified consultant Irina Dekova .

Practice head(s):

Katerina Kraeva; Richard Clegg

Other key lawyers:

Jasmina Uzova; Konstantin Altandzhiyski; Irina Dekova

Testimonials

‘The practice is a balanced mixture of experienced senior lawyers and ambitious young professionals, dedicated to banking and finance consulting. They are competent, diligent and have excellent client communication skills. The practice has notable understanding of the business side of the issues in addition to their perfect legal knowledge, as opposed to law firms focusing only on the legal side of the matters. It is a pleasure working with such a team.’

‘Partner Katerina Kraeva has an excellent understanding of the legal and business side of the matters. She is dedicated to providing legal advice and assistance taking into consideration not only the strictly legal aspect of the issue. She is always available for discussions, which is convenient and helps in establishing a good relationship. The entire team stands out with competence and deep understanding of the banking and finance sector. ’

Key clients

European Investment Bank

TPG

Rabobank

UniCredit

Micronix

Deutsche Bank

Raiffeisen Bank Bulgaria

Software Group

BNPP Cardiff

Atradius

Arco Capital Corporation

Visa Europe

Work highlights

  • Advising the initial purchasers, inter alia JP Morgan Securities, on the Bulgarian law aspects of the issue and sale of high yield notes for financing the acquisition of Vivacom by United Group.
  • Acting for the European Investment Bank in respect of financing to the Bulgarian Energy Holding for development of the Bulgarian-Greek gas interconnector, whereas a guarantee will be provided by the Bulgarian Government.
  • Representing Rabobank in respect of the securitisation of trade receivables originated by Bulgarian sellers forming part of Huvepharma Group, owning from various obligors, including Bulgarian companies.

Deloitte Legal Law Firm

Managing partner Renata Petkova at Deloitte Legal Law Firm advises on some large-scale matters on behalf of domestic and international banks, insurers and finance houses, including syndicated facilities on behalf of lenders and the regulatory aspects of corporate reorganisations, such as that of Allianz Bank Bulgaria. She is supported by experienced managing associate Adelina Mitkova, who has international experience and co-leads the practice, which includes a well-resourced and stable bank of associates. Of note is the firm's financial compliance capablility.

Practice head(s):

Reneta Petkova; Adelina Mitkova

Key clients

Allianz Bank Bulgaria

Work highlights

  • Acted for Allianz Bank Bulgaria on its corporate reorganisation, including regulatory aspects and financial arrangements with shareholders.

Dimitrov, Petrov & Co

Dimitrov, Petrov & Co scoops some prestigious instructions, such as the restructuring of Telenor Bulgaria and working alongside the UK's Allen & Overy LLP in representing the lender to a bidder for the €3.5bn concession for Sofia Airport. Typically, the firm acts for borrowers and recently gained a major internet company as a new client. At the helm, Hristo Nihrizov combines his banking and finance and TMT expertise to bring specialist digital finance know-how to the market. Alexander Todorov is a strong number two.

Practice head(s):

Hristo Nihrizov

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Todorov; Boyana Milcheva

Testimonials

‘The firm maintains a relationship with me, communicating recent changes in the legal environment directly applicable to my particular niche without my company being on a retainer with them.’

‘The DPC team is famous for its hard work and devotion to each project. They constantly raise the bar of legal expertise. The team works in important fintech projects thus shaping the contemporary legislative landscape in the evolving financial sector. They are involved in the restructuring of a well-known company and advise both lenders and borrowers in project finance across different industry sectors. ’

‘Hristo Nihrizov is successfully leading the practice with a lot of enthusiasm and dedication. He possesses in-depth industry knowledge gained in his work for many banks and financial institutions. Hristo is an impeccable legal expert in the field and I know that he is often invited as a lecturer in banking and finance training seminars. Alexander Todorov also deserves recognition for his high-level work in various finance projects. ’

‘DPC are true market leaders, with unmatchable expertise in the banking, finance, and capital markets practice area. They demonstrate versatile insight in the sector, interdisciplinary knowledge, and business-oriented approach. What we find most valuable is the team.’

‘The whole team has been doing an excellent job, with our key contacts being two of the partners Hristo Nihrizov and Alexander Todorov, as well as senior associate Pencho Stanchev. Apart from having a proven competency in banking and finance law, they all stood out as extremely reliable and dedicated and with an impeccable response time.’

‘Dimitrov, Petrov and Co is a highly reliable partner to collaborate with or give mandates on banking and finance projects, especially if they involve international elements. The team is highly versed, intelligent and experienced. Their command of the English language is close to native speakers.’

The team is very responsive and stands-out in the Bulgarian market with their expertise. Partner Hristo Nihrizov is the expert to contact. He is leading the banking and finance practice. Hristo is regularly leading experts’ seminars and training on various professional teams.’

Key clients

Excelion Development Group

Manchester Airport Group

Telenor/PPF

Dalmatika

DMV

Evrotrust Technologies

ProCredit Bank

Monolitstroy

New Vision 3

VM Petroleum/Tradenet Varna

DJM Trust

Work highlights

  • Advised Telenor on the structuring and successful implementation of the spin-off of infrastructure from its retail business.
  • Advised Excelion Development Group on acquisition finance for the purchase of a significant hotel and seasonal properties in the winter resort of Bansko.
  • Acted for DMV on the restructuring of a large portfolio of credits provided by a leading Bulgarian bank.

Georgiev, Todorov & Co

Boasting a significant following among banks, financial services suppliers and asset and wealth management firms, Georgiev, Todorov & Co advises on a broad range of transactions, regulatory and dispute resolution issues. Arno Mamasyan leads an expanding team, boosted by the promotion to partnership of Mariya Derelieva and Tsvetelina Dimitrova, and hire of senior associate Dobrina Pavlova  from Gugushev & Partners Law Office. Dimitrova, in particular, plays a key role in the practice and led advice to Alfred C. Toepfer International on the restructuring of its Bulgarian business.

Practice head(s):

Arno Mamasyan

Other key lawyers:

Mariya Derelieva; Tsvetelina Dimitrova

Testimonials

‘Georgiev, Todorov & Co. has been our trusted legal advisor for several years. We have decided to work with the law firm due to their extensive experience in multiple fields, their work with major banks and financial providers and their high success rate both in administrative and regulatory proceedings. Some of their key strengths are in-depth knowledge of the local market, sound judgement and capacity to be part of consortiums with other local partners or manage international teams on cross-border projects efficiently and effectively. The lawyers of Georgiev, Todorov & Co. always put the client first.’

‘The team is extremely competent in this field with a perfect eye on the detail. The firm is very reliable and the client can always be sure that the assigned job will be done on time and in a highly professional manner.’

‘All members of the team are extraordinary professionals who are capable of finding a solution to every legal problem. Every individual is exceptionally motivated and diligent to resolve the case assigned in the best possible manner for the client.’

‘Georgiev, Todorov & Co. has worked for us for around five years already. The experience of the lawyers in working with various public institutions, as well as their assistance to key banks and the high success rate in litigation proceedings, makes them a preferred choice for us.’

Key clients

Alfred C. Toepfer International

AG Capital

BlackPeak Capital

BORICA

Bulgarian-American Credit Bank

Bulgarian National Bank

Bulgarian Posts

Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC)

Central Depositary

Dolna Mitropoliya Municipality

Entrea Capital

Fleet Services

International Asset Bank

Piraeus Bank Bulgaria (now Eurobank BulgariaAD)

Sliven Municipality

Water Supply and Sewerage, Smolyan City

Work highlights

  • Advised Alfred C. Toepfer International, part of ADM International, on the restructuring and capital increases of its Bulgarian business, including the sale of ADM’s subsidiary operating the Port ADM Silistra silo on the Danube river.
  • Provided legal assistance to Fleet Services on the purchase of all shares of the capital of GPS operator Mobiliz Bilgi ve İletişim Teknolojileri Anonymous Şirketi, Turkey, the execution of a credit agreement and on an increase of capital.
  • Protecting the interests of Sliven Municipality in court proceedings for financial corrections amounting to over €7m for projects subsidised by programmes of the European Union for the modernisation of the sewerage grid in the city.

Kambourov & Partners

Kambourov & Partners excels in financial regulatory issues, but also handles a broader scope of matters mainly on behalf of borrowers; it acted for Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC)/Vivacom on the refinancing and discharge of debt prior to its sale to United Group. Name partner Yavor Kambourov heads the practice and is noted for his deep experience in insolvency, asset tracing, cross-border restructuring and financial disputes, while Vladimir Rangeloff leads much of the corporate finance and capital markets work. Bank of New York Mellon and Spain's Bankia are client gains.

Practice head(s):

Yavor Kambourov

Other key lawyers:

Vladimir Rangeloff; Hristina Kirilova

Testimonials

‘Kambourov & Partners law office is one of the best companies in Bulgaria in terms of banking and financing. Our joint cases are related to different forms of corporate financing, loans, syndicated facility arrangements, securities and related pledges, as well as questions about the tax and banking issues. The team provides prompt and high-quality services where the motivation of the lawyers and their level of expertise are constantly expressed.’

‘We assess the level of service as excellent and we emphasise that the answers to the legal questions were provided by Kambourov & Partners law office in due time. Responses were accurate and always provided in close cooperation with in-house lawyers of the company.’

‘We can mention Vladimir Rangeloff because his knowledge and experience are exceptional on the field of banking and financing law and commercial legislation. He also obtains a broad expertise in the regulatory legislation applicable to the credit institutions, investments and banks.’

‘The practice is unique with its experience, insight and culture. They have been present on the local market for over 30 years, which translates into unrivalled expertise and deep sector insight. The team has worked with almost all Bulgarian banks, many foreign financial institutions and knows the inside outs of the sector. They are especially proficient in terms of big financial restructurings.’

‘The person I mostly work in banking and finance with partner Hristina Kirilova. She is an authority when it comes to restructuring and insolvency procedures, and knows the banking sector like no-one else. Her professionalism and knowledge are superior and her experience makes her an invaluable advisor. Hristina is engaged in many projects for revision of the Bulgarian legislation in the field of restructuring, stabilisation and insolvency, as well as for the transposition of EU directives. Besides the legal expertise and business notion, Hristina is a great person to communicate with which makes any work project much easier to complete.’

Key clients

Bulgarian Telecommunications Company/Vivacom

Bank of New York Mellon

DS Smith Group

Bulgarian Industrial Engineering and Management

Bulgartransgaz

Bulcredit and Finance

Petroceltic Group/Worldview

Bankia

International Investment Bank

Crowdcredit Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised BTC/Vivacom on the refinancing of debts, as well as on existing financial liabilities and their discharge with regard to the change of control following its sale to United Group.
  • Advised Bank of New York Mellon on finance regulatory matters in Bulgaria.
  • Advised DS Smith on the Bulgarian finance aspects of the €450m sale of its plastic packaging division to flexible packaging producer Liquibox.

Penkov, Markov & Partners

Penkov, Markov & Partners provides a comprehensive service to lenders, borrowers and investors, with an active practice in niche disciplines, such as e-money, financial compliance and fintech. The firm is sole adviser to MoneyGram in Bulgaria, and also lists the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development among its clients. The strong team comprises name partners Vladimir Penkov and Ivan Markov, while Nikolay Cvetanov takes the lead in many of the key mandates and there is a talented pool of associates in support.

Practice head(s):

Vladimir Penkov; Ivan Markov; Nikolay Cvetanov

Other key lawyers:

Asen Apostolov; Smilena Hrusanova

Testimonials

‘We have been working with the Penkov, Markov & Partners’ team on a number of financing deals for our ongoing real estate development projects. They proved to be very efficient, focused and knowledgeable of the market, the positions of the different banks on key issues for us and on the good structuring of securities for the loans, so we do not unnecessarily block assets that might be used as collaterals for other loan facilities. In the last year we had a number of rounds of negotiations with major banks, and we have always relied on the competence of PM&P.’

‘Milena Gaidarska, who is rendering services for all our real estate transactions and project development of our buildings, has been the key advisor in the negotiations with the banks. She was very professional and commercially-oriented, maintained good relations with the counterparties and always sought to resolve the impediments before the completion of the deals in a partner-like manner. Vladimir Penkov, with his vast experience in the banking sector, has also been of great help on a number of occasions mediating with the banks and their managers or providing alternative solutions.’

‘I recently worked with the PMP team on an M&A and financing transaction. The team included associates Asen Apostolov and Vyara Tomova, supervised by partner Nikolay Tsvetanov. Asen and Vyara are young but have a good level of experience and good command of lawyering and business skills. Nikolay participated and had input in talks and negotiations but Asen and Vyara had sufficient skills to work independently.’

‘They balance legal knowledge with business insight. Very calm under pressure. They have the ability to communicate effectively with various players involved in the transactions. They could manage well foreign counsel who was involved for corporate registrations in another country. Asen Apostolov was leading, very good skills, conscientious, up to the deadline, not too legalistic, recommend him. Vyara Tomova supported him well. They are at the forefront of the game. Trustworthy.’

‘Asen Apostolov  and Vyara Tomova were really good and can carry out a complex transaction rather smoothly and efficiently.’

‘Associate Asen Apostolov is calm, serious but also fun to work with. Intelligent, broad-minded. Builds effective working relationship with the client. I would recommend him. Good business approach to problems. Not too legalistic but not overlooking details. Can work under pressure and tackles it. Can tackle matters of foreign law and manage. I have seen people on higher positions in other law firms who cannot do the job in the way he does it. Well schooled to be a counsel on a high level. ’

Key clients

INSA Ltd (Colibra)

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Enikom-M

MoneyGram International

ARTEKS ENGINEERING

4finance

Paynetics

Finance Center

Work highlights

  • Advising Colibra on the second financing stage of their start-up project with investment provided by a significant Bulgarian investment holding, including capital participation in Colibra, simultaneously financing the development of the company and its expansion on the market.
  • Official legal counsel to MoneyGram in Bulgaria, advising on all aspects of regulation, anti-money laundering, anti-bribery, data protection, corporate governance and other compliance and commercial matters.
  • Acted for Arteks Engineering on financing for the luxury residential development of Zlaten Vek, one of the highest buildings in Bulgaria.

Andrey Delchev and Partners - Eurolex Bulgaria

Andrey Delchev and Partners - Eurolex Bulgaria advises both domestic and overseas clients on a range of financings, most notably project finance for infrastructure and public procurement matters. Clients include the Bulgarian Development Bank, National Trust EcoFund and the World Bank. Practice head Stoyan Barzakov is particularly experienced in utility PPPs, especially water. He leads a small team of associates with input on key matters from managing partner Andrey Delchev.

Practice head(s):

Stoyan Barzakov

Other key lawyers:

Andrey Delchev

Key clients

American University in Bulgaria

Bulgarian Development Bank

Eurohold

Manchester Airport Group

National Trust EcoFund (NTEF)

Nova City Group

World Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Manchester Airport Group on participation in the Sofia Airport concession bidding procedure.
  • Acted for Bulgarian Development Bank in collecting its receivables arising out of bank guarantees paid out to beneficiaries of the Guarantee Fund for Micro Credit.
  • Represented National Trust EcoFund in matters related to environmental projects financed under NTEF’s grants scheme.

CERHA HEMPEL Gerginov

Regional firm CERHA HEMPEL Gerginov has a distinct international client base, including some global heavyweights, such as HSBC Bank UK and The Walt Disney Company. Typical work includes national and cross-border financings and facility arrangements on behalf of both lenders and borrowers. Office managing partner Boyko Gerginov heads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Boyko Gerginov

Other key lawyers:

Kalin Bonev; Gergana Antonova

Key clients

The Walt Disney Company

HSBC UK Bank

Mirova Eurofideme IV

Generali

William Hill

Euronet

Work highlights

  • Advised HSBC UK Bank on a large-scale revolving credit facility to be provided to Miss Group Holdings Limited.
  • Advised Mirova Eurofideme IV in relation to equity financing.
  • Advised Generali in relation to internal restructuring.

Dinova Rusev & Partners

Dinova Rusev & Partners acts for companies and investors in a variety of finance transactions, security-related work and regulatory matters, including some high-value and complex debt restructuring. Practice head Diana Valkova is experienced in the field and leads a capable team that includes fellow partner Georgi Vladov, who has project finance, syndicated loan and financial compliance expertise.

Practice head(s):

Diana Valkova

Other key lawyers:

Georgi Vladov; Anelia Dinova

Key clients

3M

Economou Shipping

Terna Energy (GEK Terna group)

AP Retail I

Northrop Grumman

Kaliakra Wind Power

Cash Advance Bulgaria

Imerys Minerals Bulgaria

House Market Bulgaria

Trade Estates Bulgaria

Work highlights

  • Acted for AP Retail I in respect of the refinancing of its €90m existing term-loan facility.
  • Advising House Market Bulgaria/Trade Estates Bulgaria (part of Fourlis Group) on corporate restructuring and the refinancing of exisiting facilities, total deal value: €43m.
  • Ongoing counsel to financial services company Cash Advance Bulgaria, including corporate restructuring.

Stoeva, Tchompalov & Znepolski

Banking, finance and capital markets is a core area of practice at Stoeva, Tchompalov & Znepolski, where Iordan Tchompalov brings many years' experience of cross-border transactions to the market, and both Irina Stoeva and Peter Znepolski stand out for their insurance expertise. Natalia Yordanova is a key advisor for capital markets, including FSC investigations.

Practice head(s):

Iordan Tchompalov; Irina Stoeva

Other key lawyers:

Peter Znepolski; Natalia Yordanova

Testimonials

‘The team of Stoeva, Tschompalov & Znepolski have excelled in all aspects of of non-banking financial industry regulation, such as asset management. Their immediate response, proven track record and in-depth competence have assisted and guided us in the past few years in all relevant areas.’

‘Natalia Yordanova stands out among the team members specialised in the non-banking regulations industry. Her profound and up-to-date expertise have assisted our team on a daily basis in all aspescts of asset management. Her professionalism and timely manner to all business issues, including court proceedings, make her an outstanding legal professional.’

‘The law office is amongst the very few on the Bulgarian legal services market that provide in-depth expertise on capital markets, regulatory compliance, licensing and litigation on matters in the sphere of financial institutions. The combination of practical knowledge and experience, both from previous work in the regulatory authorities and in the regulated subjects, enables the team to provide overall insight to the extensive and dynamic legal framework in the sphere of capital markets.’

‘My experience includes collaboration on capital markets legal matters with Iordan Tchompalov and Natalia Yordanova – regulatory matters, licensing procedures, MIFID, MIFIR and AML compliance and litigation. They are both long-term, experienced professionals in the sphere of financial institutions – investment and asset management companies, pension funds and insurance companies.’

‘Being previously also part of a national regulator team, Iordan Tchompalov and Natalia Yordanova have unparalleled expertise and understanding on the practical application and establishment of the extensive legal framework on capital markets, thus ensuring compliance of everyday business in a sphere where the regulations on an EU and national level progressively have a tendency of increasing the obligations and requirements towards the investment companies.’

‘I have worked with Peter Znepolski and Irina Stoeva for several years and throughout this time they have proved themselves as loyal and hard-working professionals. They have always been open for a consultation and always ready to provide the necessary information, while also giving the best advice and performing an extensive analysis on our mutual cases. I think their determination and devotion to work, expressed through always striving to fully dedicate themselves to the working process, is what differentiates them from their competitors. They pay attention to detail and have never left me disappointed.’

‘My impression from this relatively new law firm is that the partners are quite experienced and with deep understanding of the work they do. I personally have known Iordan Tchompalov for more than 20 years, when he led his previous law firm.’

‘Professional and quick. We work with Iordan Tchompalov, who is an excellent professional with great experience and people skills.’

‘We have been using the services of Stoeva, Tchompalov & Znepolski for years and we work equally well with both partners and associates. If we have to point out someone personally, we will highlight IordanTchompalov. He is a highly-trained lawyer with encyclopedic knowledge, including the field of finance, with vast practical experience.’

Key clients

Eurohold Bulgaria

Central Cooperative Bank

Alfa Finance Holding

The Bulgarian Association of Insurance Brokers

SDI Group

Global Invest Holding

Expat Asset Management

Axion Swiss Bank

Dealing Financial Company

Investment Firm Bulbrokers

Alfa Finance Asset Management

EuroFinance Investment Firm

Paysera

Invest Capital Asset Management

Work highlights

  • Local advisor to Eurohold in the financing phase of its acquisition of the CEZ Bulgaria group.
  • Acted for a Dutch issuer of bonds in the amendment of certain terms of its €65m 4.5% secured bonds.
  • Acted as local counsel to a Swiss financial services company in a €22m loan restructuring.

Tokushev And Partners Law Office

Tokushev And Partners Law Office's focus on banking and finance attracts a number of banks as clients, such as Postbank, United Bulgarian Bank and Bulgarian Development Bank. The firm has enjoyed a busy year acting for key client Fund Manager of Financial Instruments, which is state-owned, on establishing multiple new funds. Viktor Tokushev heads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Viktor Tokushev

Other key lawyers:

Boris Teknedzhiev; Stilian Nedev

Testimonials

‘We find the services of Tokushev and Partners very helpful and useful. As strengths and key capabilities, we could name their strict professionalism, ability to deal with a high volume of work and flexibility.’

‘I would like to point out the work of Boris Teknedzhiev who really stood out with his work on the particular project. It is a pleasure working with people who have such professionalism and make it easy for one to trust their services.’

‘The team is very professional in capital markets and property. Probably Viktor Tokushev is the best for REITs in Bulgaria. The whole team is providing probono services for non-profit organisations.’

‘Recommend: Viktor Tokushev – for capital markets, SEC and courts; Boris Teknedziev – for capital markets, SEC and courts; Stilian Nedev – for property, banks and courts; Bogdan Karadjov – for banks. They all are very fast and 24/7 available.

Key clients

Postbank (Eurobank Bulgaria)

United Bulgarian Bank

Bulgarian Development Bank

UD Invest Fund Management

IP Intercapital Markets

Fund Manager of Financial Instruments

Capital Investments Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised the Bulgarian state-owned Fund Manager of Financial Instruments on establishing the €23.2m alternative investment fund New Vision 3 for collective investments, of which €19.1m are public funds.
  • Advised the Bulgarian state-owned Fund Manager of Financial Instruments on establishing the €15.6m alternative investment fund Innovation Accelerator Bulgaria Fund for collective investments, of which €14m are public funds.
  • Represented Capital Investments Fund on its €1.6m equity investment in an SME which produces designer furniture.

Ernst & Young Law Partnership

Ernst & Young is growing its profile in Sofia, attracting work from domestic and international lenders and borrowers. Clients include OTP and UniCredit Bulbank. Experienced manager Rebeka Kleytman    heads the practice under the guidance of associate partner Svetlin Adrianov  , while the hire of manager Yura Mincheva   from Penkov, Markov & Partners is a boost to the team.

Practice head(s):

Rebeka Kleytman

Other key lawyers:

Svetlin Adrianov

Key clients

OTP

K Development Construction

UniCredit Bulbank

Work highlights

  • Advised OTP on an assignment of €106m loan receivables under a cross-border financing agreement.
  • Advised K Development Construction in respect of a  €6.6m refinancing agreement.
  • Advised UniCredit Bulbank in the field of data privacy in the specific banking sector.

Gugushev & Partners Law Office

Gugushev & Partners Law Office has been in demand during the past year, advising on the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as more usual financing and refinancing transactions. Practice co-head Dimitrinka Metodieva advises key client Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, among others. Managing partner Stefan Gugushev is another key banking and finance contact.

Practice head(s):

Stefan Gugushev; Dimitrinka Metodieva

Testimonials

‘Gugushev & Partners has been advising us since the establishment of our company. During that time they have proven to be thorough and competent professionals, solid lawyers with excellent analytical skills and ability to formulate an effective strategy for each case, practicing the best customer service. That is why we will continue to trust them as our partners for years to come.’

‘We work primarily with Stefan Gugushev, the managing partner of the firm. He has exceptional experience in banking and finance law. He is practical, analytical and outgoing, with exceptionally good judgment on situations and quickly finds an effective solution.’

‘Gugushev & Partners advised me on the acquisition of bank credit for the purchase of real estate. I chose Gugushev & Partners as my legal partner because they are renowned in the market with excellent customer service that delivers comprehensive legal advice.’

Key clients

Morgan Stanley Senior Funding

Arkel

Helios Projects JSC & BCI Cherganovo

El Bonus

Legal Partners

Sunshine Group

Medra

Dilyana Ivancheva

Veronica Panova

AgroTime

Promehanica

Work highlights

  • Acted as local legal advisor to Morgan Stanley Senior Funding as administrative and collateral agent in the amendment to a credit facility agreement between lenders and Sensata Technologies Group.
  • Advised real estate developer Arkel on a credit facility provided by Unicredit Bulbank, including related collateral.
  • Represented both Helios Projects JSC and BCI Cherganovo in obtaining explicit permits by the Bulgarian Energy and Water Regulatory Commission in relation to the execution of amendments to the collateral documents of loans provided by China Development Bank.

Kinkin & Partners

Kinkin & Partners advises companies and individuals on a broad range of dealings with banks and other financial businesses, including e-money and other digital platforms. Matters range from project finance and loan restructuring to debt recovery. Adriana Nacheva brings 20 years' experience to the practice and is supported by associates Nikolay Radev and Dilyana Tsoleva.

Practice head(s):

Adriana Nacheva

Other key lawyers:

Nikolay Radev; Dilyana Tsoleva

Testimonials

‘We are fully satisfied with the legal service and support provided by Kinkin & Partners. They support us in various matters concerning our business activity. The team proved to be competent in successfully dealing with and solving various matters not only in the field of banking and finance, but also in real estate, corporate and commercial law. As a strength of the firm, we would point out that they are results oriented but at the same time manage to pay attention to important details.’

‘Nikolay Radev, senior associate, stands out with his ability to come up with many strategies and to present more than one possibility of achieving the main objective. He can be trusted with taking into consideration all relevant information and taking actions in regard to it. ’

‘We have worked with this team for years. They are irreplaceable. They are educated professionals with a great practice. I feel secure when they are helping and supporting our business.’

‘We are working with Adriana Nacheva, partner and Dilyana Tsoleva and Dilian Kolev, both associates. The three of them are great professionals, great personalities, always available for help and support.’

‘The strengths and capabilities of this team are many. Our company is instructing them on a complicated situation with a cross-border element. Due to their professional qualities, dedication and perseverance they have managed to negotiate successfully with the bank and solve our arduous case.’

‘The team’s work is very creative, constantly on a high level, and they, as individuals, are very flexible and client-orientated.’

Key clients

Association of the Depositors harmed by the Corporate Commercial Bank JSC, Karifert International, Trans Balkani, AST Sofia, Linex and Paladium

Bibar Aset

Chuchuline Trading

Laurea

Tengri 2001

JLB One Power Team

Marc Roos

Millenium Gate Bulgaria

Zenith Crop Sciences Europe

Work highlights

  • Acting for the depositors in insolvent Corporate Commercial Bank JSC in the Supreme Court of Cassation.
  • Successfully represented JLB One Power Team in a claim against the subsidiary of an e-money operator, including regulatory and debt recovery issues.
  • Acted for Zenith Crop Sciences Europe (Dominicana) in a shareholder dispute concerning the distribution of loans and uncollected receivables.  

Popov, Arnaudov & Partners

A 12-strong team at Popov, Arnaudov & Partners advises both borrowers and lenders on secured loans, debt collection and regulatory matters, among others. Clients include Bulgaria's largest bank, UniCredit Bulbank. Sibina Eftenova, Desislava Tsvetkova and Emiliyan Arnaudov welcomed Bozhko Poryazov to the team in April 2020, who was recruited from Delchev & Partners.

Practice head(s):

Sibina Eftenova; Desislava Cvetkova; Emiliyan Arnaudov

Other key lawyers:

Bozhko Poryazov

Key clients

UniCredit Bulbank

UniCredit Consumer Financing

Finance Direct

MD Immobilien

Hauni Machinenbau

WSS Pleven

Europapier Bulgaria

odelo Bulgaria

Brenntag Bulgaria

Tech Huddle

Work highlights

  • Ongoing advice to UniCredit Bulbank, including large-scale debt collection and regulatory advice concerning consumer protection.
  • Advising MD Immobilien – part of XXXLutz group in respect of amendments to a €40m secured loan with Raiffeisenbank International.
  • Ongoing advice to Finance Direct in respect of debt collection.