Energy and natural resources in Bulgaria
CMS demonstrates ‘excellent capabilities, strong ethics and a personal approach’ in its long-term relationships with major local and international clients, including big names from the conventional energy (Sofia District Heating Company), oil and gas (Shell and Petroceltic), waste management (Veolia) and renewable energy (Biomet and EcoEnergy) sectors. Kostadin Sirleshtov heads the energy, projects and construction department for both Sofia and the CEE region and is ‘very responsive and knows the market inside out’; he recently advised OMV and Repsol on exploration rights. Angel Bangachev, who has ‘solid professional capabilities’, and recently promoted partner Dimitar Zwiatkow, who co-heads the public procurement and energy departments, are also recommended.
Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov regularly advises on the setting up of energy businesses in Bulgaria, and is noted for its ‘flexibility, effectiveness and deep knowledge’ and 'loyal partnerships' with clients including CEZ Electro Bulgaria, Contourglobal Maritsa East 3, Emerson and Gazprom Marketing & Trading. The practice is led by Georgi Goudiniski and the ‘highly qualified’ Milan Pandev, who focuses on oil and gas projects; senior associates Anton Krustev, who is ‘a recognised expert in the field’, and Yassen Spassov, who has experience in advising on the construction of new power facilities, power generation, and gas distribution and trading, are also noted. The team represented Citigroup Global Markets, as sole bookrunner and lead manager, in relation to Bulgarian Energy Holding’s third eurobond issue, in the amount of €400m, to be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange.
The 'logical, analytical and technically excellent' team at Jordanov, Ignatov, Ivanov Law Firm counts some of the biggest state-controlled companies in the renewable, oil and gas, and power sectors as its clients. The team is ‘client-centric and performance-driven’, has ‘deep local expertise’ and is ‘focused on providing a quality service, applying a great deal of creativity in its problem solving’. ‘Impressive and knowledgeable' team heads Ivan Jordanov and Rumen Ignatov have ‘vast experience of big international projects’; along with Dimitar Ivanov, they acted for the Ministry of Energy on various legal and regulatory matters relating to the resumption of efforts to build the Belene Nuclear Power Plant, a project worth €600m. Senior associate Cveta Muleshkova joined from Spasov & Bratanov, and has expertise in gas pipeline and photovoltaic power plant projects as well as natural resources concessions.
Kambourov & Partners offers the full range of legal services in the sector, including advising on energy generation, transmission, distribution and supply, regulatory regimes, project finance, and litigation. Clients include investor-owned utilities, energy project developers and government entities. In a recent highlight, the team advised Salp on its participation as main contractor in the public procurement for the design and construction of the Dobrich-Silistra gas pipeline, which would allow for natural gas distribution in the region. Stefan Tzakov heads the practice, and Atanas Shopov is also noted.
Andrey Delchev and Partners - Eurolex Bulgaria
Andrey Delchev and Partners - Eurolex Bulgaria regularly represents clients in the oil and gas sector, and advises on the financing, construction and tendering of domestic and international power projects; it has also assisted with the drafting of new legislation relating to the environment and the energy sector. Clients include government and international institutions such as the Bulgarian Petroleum and Gas Association, the Ministry of Environment and Water and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as private companies such as Lukoil and the CEZ Group. Andrey Delchev and Magdalena Valova lead the team, which acted for Lukoil and Gastrade in an investigation by the Commission for Protection of Competition into a possible abuse of dominant market position; it successfully proved there was no violation, allowing the clients to avoid a €100m penalty.
The 'capable' team at Boyanov & Co. ‘provides the best advice possible' on projects in the nuclear, oil and gas, renewable and electricity sectors, and is regularly instructed by major international players such as White & Case LLP. Alexander Chatalbashev heads the energy and natural resources department; Damian Simeonov advises on major local energy financing transactions; and Svetlina Kortenska has experience of acting on high-profile energy projects in the renewable, nuclear and natural gas sectors. Major clients include EVN Bulgaria and Sunowe Solar; the team is acting for the former in an appeal before the Supreme Administrative Court against high-value fines imposed by the competition authority.
Georgiev, Todorov & Co ‘provides excellent advice on every issue’ to clients including electricity and co-generation plants, oil refineries and oil producers, and natural resources companies. The ‘precise and hardworking’ Mariya Derelieva is ‘always capable of finding the perfect solution’ in complex cases; she and Arno Mamasyan represented Brikel thermal power plant in an arbitration case seeking compensation for damages caused by restrictions on the energy production of the plant imposed by the Electricity System Operator.
Gugushev & Partners Law Office
The 'responsive and organised' team at Gugushev & Partners Law Office is noted for its ‘expertise and solid background in the energy and utilities sector’, and offers ‘valuable co-operation and an exceptional attitude’. The key contacts are Stefan Gugushev, who has ‘wide expertise in energy law and an exceptional understanding of the objectives set by clients’, and senior associates Dobrina Pavlova, who has 'excellent knowledge' of licensing, contracts and trading procedures, and the 'very helpful’ Kostadinka Deleva. Clients include Alpiq and China Development Bank; the team is advising the former on new laws relating to the sale of electricity produced by wind power plants.
Wolf Theiss covers all segments of the energy market, including natural gas, nuclear energy, conventional and renewable power generation and trade, and acts for international client such as ExxonMobil and Aurubis. The key contacts are Anna Rizova, who advises on the Bulgarian and EU regulatory framework, financial incentive mechanisms, and project-related contractual arrangements and transactions, and Radoslav Mikov, who has experience in advising clients in the electricity and natural gas sectors. In a recent highlight, the team advised energy management company Edison Trading on its high-value merger by incorporation into Edison, effected under Italian law in Bulgaria and Greece.
The 'loyal, efficient and highly motivated' team at Dimitrov, Petrov & Co is noted for its 'customer-oriented and pragmatic approach and excellent knowledge', as well as for providing 'thorough advice' to clients such as Alpiq, VM Petroleum and Windkraft Simonsfeld. The practice is led by Bogdan Petrov, who mainly advises on launching and running energy businesses in Bulgaria, and Zoya Todorova, an ‘exceptional professional with deep knowledge of her field’, who advises on licensing. Boyana Milcheva and senior associate Pencho Stanchev, who are 'experts in the oil and gas retail sector', are also recommended. The team advised the Mareshki Group on the establishment of a petrol station chain in Bulgaria, and recently represented the client in a case before the Commission for Protection of Competition based on allegations of below-cost sales.
Dinova Rusev & Partners's team is led by Iliya Grozdanov, who advises on renewable and conventional energy matters; he recently defended Kaliakra Wind Power against a €3m claim by the National Electricity Company relating to the payment of balancing charges, which set a precedent in Bulgarian case law. Litigator Konstantin Stambolov and recently promoted senior associate Radoslav Zahariev, who specialises in electricity issues, are also key contacts. Other major clients include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Bulgarian Energy Holding.
Penkov, Markov & Partners
Penkov, Markov & Partners advises companies, NGOs and public authorities on M&A deals in the energy sector, and on all aspects of electricity trading. The practice is led by Vladimir Penkov, Roman Stoyanov, who represents power generation and distribution companies, as well as financial institutions and investment firms active in this area, and Ivan Markov. The team advised electricity distribution and grid-operating company CEZ Group on the cross-border sale of its subsidiaries in Bulgaria, which was the largest M&A transaction in the energy sector in the last decade.
Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) handles work in the electricity, oil and gas, and natural resources sectors. Team head Stefana Tsekova advises on major energy projects, M&A transactions, restructurings and joint ventures, and has clients such as OMV, EVN Bulgaria and the European Commission in her portfolio. In a recent highlight, Tsvetan Krumov advised some of the leading banks in Bulgaria on an LMA-style financing of €60m to be extended to seven national companies operating solar parks in the country.
Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski's 'expert, meticulous and reliable' team advises electricity and downstream and upstream oil and gas companies on power production, transmission, distribution and trade. Renewable energy specialist Irina Tsvetkova and senior associate Aleksandar Aleksandrov, who recently joined from Overgas, lead the practice. In the utilities sector, Nikolay Bebov and Damyan Leshev advised Energo-Pro on the issue of €370m debut bonds. Changes in the team included the departure of Angel Bangachev to CMS and the promotion of Eleonora Mateina to senior associate.
Arsov Natchev Ganeva
Arsov Natchev Ganeva advises large energy groups, private investors and government institutions in the gas, nuclear power, water, electricity, mining and renewable energy sectors. Team head Jivko Rokov has expertise in M&A, project finance and development transactions in the sector and is supported by senior associate Tsvetelina Lazarova, who advises on the acquisition, construction and development of wind, hydro and solar plants and gas pipelines. The team advised Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (ICGB) on the high-profile project for the construction and operation of a natural gas pipeline between Bulgaria and Greece.
Atanassov & Ivanov Law Firm
Atanassov & Ivanov Law Firm advises multinational companies such as Enel and Entergy on oil and gas projects, environmental disputes and corporate energy sector transactions. Department co-heads Stoyan Atanassov, who acts for several major electricity firms, and oil and gas sector expert Iliyan Ivanov are key contacts. The team acted for new client Elton in a dispute with an electricity distributor over the improper implementation of connection to the grid.
The ‘creative and determined’ team at Deloitte Legal Law Firm is praised for its ‘responsiveness and flexibility’ and ‘in-depth knowledge of the law’. Managing associate Pavlin Stoyanoff, who recently joined from CMS, heads the team; he has ‘profound knowledge of the market' and is noted for his 'up-to-date advice on legislative developments' and 'practical and business-orientated thinking’, particularly in the oil and gas, mining and environmental sectors.
The team at Kinstellar offers ‘spot-on advice, timely delivery and great communication skills’, and has acquired clients such as Novenergia and Old Mutual Property in the past year. The ‘smart and well-organised’ Diana Dimova advises on corporate transactions in the sector; she co-heads the practice with ‘extremely smart’ managing associate Mladen Minev. The team advised Novenergia on the acquisition of all shares in the capital of Budeshte Agro, a Bulgarian company which owns and operates a 4.118MW photovoltaic power plant.
Popov & Partners
Popov & Partners has ‘rich experience and in-depth knowledge’ and pays ‘attention to even the smallest details’; it also has a 'diverse' offering, acting for both state institutions and private businesses. ‘Communicative and reliable’ practice head Desislava Tsvetkova; Eleonora Sergieva; Sibina Eftenova, who ‘understands the specifics of the client's business’; and the ‘precise and hardworking’ Maria Derelieva are recommended. A consortium led by the team was chosen by the Council of Ministers to carry out a project aimed at transforming administrative governance in the sector, including conducting an analysis of the national legislation regulating the energy and water supply to consumers.
Tocheva & Mandazhieva Law Office advises on all aspects of energy projects, including due diligence, risk assessment, licensing plans, finance structuring, and construction and grid interconnection, as well as drafting agreements. The team has particular expertise in environmental issues in the energy sector such as conventional pollution, carbon capture and storage, hazardous and radioactive waste, noise disturbance and liability for environmental damages. The key contacts are Tanya Tocheva and Ivana Bliznakova, as well as Stanimira Hristova and Dimitar Kaldamukov (both counsel).