Banking, finance and capital markets in Bulgaria
Boyanov & Co. advises banks and other financial institutions on finance transactions, debt restructurings, note issuances and regulatory matters. Practice head Damian Simeonov has experience in assisting with bank loans, bond issuances, NPLs and alternative funds; he is supported by senior associates Ralitsa Nedkova, who advises on finance, M&A and privatisation transactions, and Georgi Drenski, who specialises in asset management. Longstanding clients include Citigroup Global Markets, Deutsche Bank, Raiffeisen Bank International and UniCredit Bulbank. Headline work for the team included acting as Bulgarian legal counsel to the lenders, led by Société Générale, on the financing of PPF’s €3bn acquisition of Telenor’s business in four countries.
The team at CMS has ‘good knowledge of the commercial aspects of transactions’ and provides ‘smart and feasible solutions’; it is experienced in international banking and finance matters, equity and debt capital markets, restructuring and insolvency. Elitsa Ivanova, who has expertise in corporate, acquisition, real estate and structured commodity finance, co-heads the practice with Sofia office managing partner Gentscho Pavlov. Atanas Bangachev advises on debt and equity capital markets, and Dimitar Zwiatkow assisted OTP Bank and DSK Bank, as club lenders, with the €85m refinancing of a shopping mall, including structuring, due diligence and the signing and closing of the new financing. UniCredit Bulbank, Société Générale Expressbank, Bulgarian National Bank and Europa Capital are also major clients.
The 'helpful and knowledgeable' team at Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov is ’prompt and clear in its advice’ to major domestic and international clients on secured transactions, debt restructuring, stock exchange listings, and initial and secondary public offerings, among other matters. Nikolai Gouginski jointly leads the banking and finance group with Vessela Stancheva-Mincheva, and the 'capable and knowledgeable’ Georgi Tzvetkov advised PPF on the €3bn cross-border financing of its purchase of Telenor’s assets in the CEE region. Other clients include City Clinic, Etem, Barclays Capital and Citibank.
The team at Kinstellar offers 'spot-on advice, timely delivery and great client-adviser relations'; it advises on mainstream banking, project and structured finance, debt restructuring, non-performing loans (NPLs) and distressed assets. Firm-wide practice head Diana Dimova advised United Bulgarian Bank and Cibank on their merger, which resulted in the establishment of the third largest bank in Bulgaria. Svilen Issaev, who covers a broad spectrum of finance and investment issues, heads the banking and finance practice in Sofia. Both lawyers are 'excellent, capable and knowledgeable' and 'handle delicate and intricate matters extremely well'.
Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) works on high-end domestic and cross-border finance deals, including acquisition and project financing, enforcement of security interests and the sale of NPLs. Key contact Tsvetan Krumov has expertise in structuring securities from a regulatory perspective, drafting credit facilities documents, and advising on cross-border insolvency and corporate-related private international law issues. He advised Ares Management on the €75m financing of Kohlberg’s acquisition of the K2 Sports and Marker Dalbello Völkl businesses in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. Key clients include UniCredit Bulbank, Citibank Europe and Raiffeisen Bank International.
Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski's 'dedicated and proactive' team has ‘in-depth expertise’ and ‘a client-oriented and flexible approach’. Managing partner Nikolay Bebov has ‘profound expertise in capital markets’, is ‘an authority in banking and finance’ and is highly regarded for his ‘logical thinking, eye for detail and ability to build relationships of trust with his clients’. Damyan Leshev, who was recently promoted to managing associate, has ‘an ability to find connections between seemingly unrelated aspects of a case and to find the best solution under stress’, and senior associates Lidiya Shumkova is ‘a resourceful lawyer’ with ‘profound practical knowledge of capital markets regulation and compliance’. Highlights included Bebov and senior associate Victoria Tzonkova acting as Bulgarian counsel to US Bank Trustees on the refinancing of the €400m bond of Vivacom (Bulgarian Telecommunications Company).
Wolf Theiss provides the full range of banking and capital markets advice to clients including UniCredit Bulbank, Raiffeisen Bank International, Visa Europe and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Katerina Kraeva and Richard Clegg, who works across the CEE region and has expertise in the regulated sectors, head the practice; Kraeva advised a syndicate of senior lenders (a number of foreign banks) on the implications of the recapitalisation of the Bulgarian operations of Dundee Precious Metals due to accounting losses. Senior associate Jasmina Uzova, who advises mainly on cross-border transactions, is also noted. Rebeka Kleytman is now with Ernst & Young.
Andrey Delchev and Partners - Eurolex Bulgaria
Andrey Delchev and Partners - Eurolex Bulgaria acts for major banks and insurers, such as Allianz, Bulgarian Development Bank, the World Bank and the EBRD, on infrastructure finance, state aid analysis and financial mechanisms matters. Stoyan Barzakov is the key contact. The team advised Manchester Airport Group on its bid for the Sofia Airport concession, a 35-year contract with a value of €3.9bn.
Dimitrov, Petrov & Co’s team is ‘comprised of specialists in every aspect of the law’, with ‘excellent response times, quality service, ethics and morale’. Hristo Nihrizov, who regularly acts for banks in insolvency proceedings, heads the banking and finance practice. Capital markets team head Dimitar Karabelov assists clients with licensing, the listing and delisting of companies, tender offers and compliance matters.
The ‘highly professional and business-oriented’ team at Dinova Rusev & Partners acts ‘with real care for its clients’ needs’; it assists financial and payment institutions with debt restructuring, bond issuances and syndicated facility agreements, as well as providing compliance advice. Department head Diana Valkova, who focuses on financial transactions and security-related work; Anelia Dinova, who acts on complicated financing and debt restructuring agreements; and Georgi Vladov, who specialises in advising on syndicated loans and regulatory compliance, are recommended.
Georgiev, Todorov & Co acts for leading banks, such as Bulgarian-American Credit Bank and Piraeus Bank, and independent asset management companies, such as Expat Capital and Black Peak Capital, and advises on structuring, financing and regulation in capital markets matters. Managing partner Ivan Todorov and senior partner Alexander Katzarsky head the team; Katzarsky and senior associate Arno Mamasyan recently represented First Investment Bank in a series of disputes regarding the enforcement and execution of decisions issued against the client by the court of another EU member state, on Bulgarian territory, on the basis of bank guarantees.
Kambourov & Partners has ‘exceptional knowledge and experience in the field of banking and finance law’, and provides ‘prompt and high-quality services’ in insolvency proceedings, bankruptcy investigations and restructuring, among other matters. The managing partners are Yavor Kambourov, who advised BNY Mellon Corporate Trustee Services on the claiming of receivables from a debtor (the insolvent Corporate Commercial Bank), and Vladimir Rangeloff, who focuses on foreign and private equity investments, large-scale due diligence, restructuring and bond placements. Major clients include Vivacom, First Investment Bank, Visa Europe and Wizz Air. Rangeloff represented the hedge fund Worldview in its takeover of Petroceltic, and is currently assisting Petroceltic Group with ongoing matters such as the refinancing of a loan facility, which was initially extended by HSBC, Standard Chartered, Nedbank and the International Finance Corporation.
Deloitte Legal Law Firm acts for lenders and borrowers on high-value cross-border deals. The key lawyers in the team are managing partner Reneta Penkova and two recent hires from CMS – senior associate Yoana Zhechkova and Adelina Mitkova, who was recently promoted to managing associate and has experience in advising on banking and finance transactions and regulation at a local and international level.
DTT (Dimitrov, Tchompalov & Todorova)
DTT (Dimitrov, Tchompalov & Todorova) supports financial institutions and companies in transactions and regulatory matters. The firm is also active in the capital markets sector, where it advises on IPOs, dual stock exchange listings and asset management. Dimitar Dimitrov, Katya Todorova and Iordan Tchompalov are key contacts.
Gugushev & Partners Law Office
Gugushev & Partners Law Office advises clients on daily banking operations as well as financial transactions. Dimitrinka Metodieva, who heads the practice with Stefan Gugushev, focuses on syndicated credit facilities and project and corporate financing and refinancing. The firm advised Morgan Stanley, as the administrative and collateral agent under a credit agreement provided by a group of lenders to Sensata Technologies, on a $2bn renewal of the existing collateral provided by the borrower's Bulgarian subsidiary under the credit facility.
Penkov, Markov & Partners covers multiple regulatory issues on the banking side, including establishment and licensing, EU passporting and anti-money laundering, as well as handling bank M&As, spinoffs and insolvency procedures. Key individuals in the team are co-heads Vladimir Penkov and Ivan Markov, who advises on investment financing, and Nikolay Cvetanov, who specialises in capital markets. Milena Gaidarska advised Arteks Engineering on the financing of a project and the structuring of collateral.
Spasov & Bratanov advises banking syndicates and individual lenders on structuring, drafting transaction documents, and releasing security. The firm also assists issuers and investors with different capital markets matters, including entry to the securities market and ongoing compliance. Major clients include Citigroup, UniCredit Bulbank and Bulgarian Energy Holding.
Tocheva & Mandazhieva Law Office assists banks, insurance companies and non-banking institutions, such as investment firms, payment institutions and e-money issuers, with acquisition finance, syndicated loans, loan and security agreements, financial restructuring and regulatory issues. In addition, the team advises on the full range of capital markets matters, including IPOs, private placements and convertible securities.
Tokushev And Partners Law Office's team is led by Viktor Tokushev. Other key contacts include Ivan Antov, who advised Mellon Bulgaria on the review and analysis of a large NPL portfolio; senior associate Boris Teknedzhiev; and associate Elitsa Ivanova, a new arrival from the Financial Supervision Commission who has in-depth experience with regulated entities. Major clients include Piraeus Bank and United Bulgarian Bank.
Dobrev & Lyutskanov advises local and foreign banks and non-banking financial institutions, particularly on regulatory matters. The key points of contact are practice head Roumen Lyutskanov and senior associate Gergana Ilieva. Highlights included advising HSBC Bank Canada on signing a guarantee agreement with Bulgaria-based company Play Mart International.
The 'highly experienced' team at Kinkin & Partners advises investors, banks and other financial institutions on investment projects in Bulgaria with a focus on the agricultural, industrial and real estate sectors, offering clients 'fast responses with plenty of options'. Key contacts include team head Adriana Nacheva and senior associates Tsvetelina Stoilova - Valkanova and Nikolay Radev. Managing partner Vladimir Kinkin advised Kaliakria Property Management on the restructuring of debt after a debtor suspended payments under a loan agreement for the financing of a holiday complex.
Popov & Partners
Popov & Partners acts for the largest Bulgarian bank – UniCredit Bulbank – and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria. Nora Kyuchukova and Ivet Haralanova represented MD Immobilien in relation to the execution of a bank loan agreement with the Austria-headquartered Raiffeisen Bank International, as well as securing the obligations of the client amounting to €13m.
Sabev & Partners Law Firm advises corporate clients, banks, consumer credit companies and state authorities on banking matters, consumer credit issues, bank insolvency and project finance deals, as well as handling litigation. The firm is also active in the capital markets field, where it focuses on public offerings, tender offers, regulatory and compliance procedures, securitisation and out-of-court dispute settlements. George Sabev, Boryana Boteva, Iskra Neycheva and Maria Kutsarova are noted.
Stoeva, Tchompalov & Znepolski advises on public and private debt and equity offerings and listings, the regulation of listed companies, securities market infrastructures and regulatory actions. The firm is described as ‘efficiency at work’, and clients rely on the team’s ‘knowledge and dedication’. Practice head Iordan Tchompalov, who is valued for his ‘proficiency, exactness and ability to provide simple explanations’, and capital markets specialist Natalia Yordanova are key contacts. In a recent highlight, Tchompalov acted as Bulgarian counsel to Nomura International, as the dealer, on the update of the €200m euro medium-term note programme established by Eurohold Bulgaria and guaranteed by Euroins Insurance Group; Allen & Overy LLP acted as international counsel.
Varadinov & Co Attorneys-at-Law
Varadinov & Co Attorneys-at-Law acts for banks and financial institutions such as Eurobank Bulgaria, ERB Leasing, Bulgarian Development Bank and United Bulgarian Bank. The team handles litigation and assists with insolvency procedures and debt restructuring, among other matters. The practice is led by Yavor Varadinov, with the support of Galina Gergova and Yanislava Chankova.