Cobalt‘s EU and Competition Law team is well known for its wide range of experience in assisting local and international clients on the full array of relevant matters, from horizontal and vertical agreements, to merger control, public and private enforcement and dominant position proceedings. The practice is led by Elo Tamm, with over twenty years of experience advising a wide variety of industry sectors, and has represented local and international companies at the Estonian Competition Authority in cartel and abuse of dominant position proceedings. Rauno Ligi is noted having successfully defended clients in diverse misdemeanour and criminal proceedings concerning alleged economic crimes.
EU and competition in Estonia
‘Unique knowledge about competition law, experience in this field, proactive approach, very timely and thorough help.’
‘Elo Tamm – contact person across years who knows specifics of our business.’
‘Cannot express enough how good the teamwork is at Cobalt. I started with just one issue (competition law) and one lawyer, but now, 3 years later they are helping me with several issues. Every time I ask my main contact about a new matter, he already knows who the specialist is who will help me, and when that will be.’
Huawei Technologies Oy (Finland) Co., Ltd.
R-S OSA Service
Viru Keemia Group and group company VKG Oil
Port of Tallinn
- Represented the energy company Viru Keemia Group in a civil competition damages case against the incumbent state-owned energy company Enefit for applying abusive prices for oil shale sales.
- Advised Proto Franco in receiving state aid to mitigate damages arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In cooperation with the international law firm Dechert, advised the buyout investor Mid Europa Partners on acquisition of the leading Baltic e-commerce platforms Pigu and Hobby Hall Group.
The ‘creative and responsive‘ team at Ellex advises clients on all related issues at national and EU level including merger control, anti-competitive agreements and dominant position proceedings. The firm is most known in the energy and digital sector and have seen a rise of state aid related work, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and its ramifications. Martin Mäesalu leads the competition and state aid practice group and has been involved in high-profile precedent setting cases in Estonia. Mäesalu has wide experience in representing clients before the European Commission, also often advising public sector clients on state aid matters. Raino Paron focuses on regulatory matters.
Other key lawyers:
Raino Paron; Kevin Gerretz
‘Full trust that Ellex competition team will take care of any question addressed to them. They know the client and so they know what result is desired.’
‘Martin Maesalu is a great leader, professional and a person. Martin knows the market, his suggestions on further legal strategy is brilliant. As a competition law practitioner Martin is no 1 choice in Estonia.’
‘The team is very creative and responsive in the field of difficult auestions related to state aid.’
Eesti Energia AS
Tallink Grupp AS
Skeleton Technologies Group OÜ
Bolt Technology OÜ
Sportland International Group
- Advised AS Tallink Grupp in court proceedings against AS Tallinna Sadam in the claim for abuse of dominance via applying excessive port fees.
- Representing Elering, the Estonian national TSO for gas and electricity, before the European Court of Justice in preliminary ruling proceedings initiated by the Estonian Supreme Court and pertaining to the compatibility of the Estonian renewable energy support scheme with EU law.
- Represented Eesti Energia in a dispute against Elering AS over their refusal to pay renewable energy subsidies to Tootsi Wind Park. This is one of the most controversial cases that also gained significant media coverage.
Sorainen engages in domestic and Pan-Baltic merger control proceedings, abuse of dominant positions and state aid issues, with a large number of industry sectors covered from energy to TMT. Kaupo Lepasepp has experience in advising in issues ranging from prohibited agreements to representing clients in competition law related negotiations and proceedings. Piibe Lehtsaar has been involved in flagship merger control cases, while Lise-Lotte Lääne handles the full array of competition matters within the healthcare and life sciences industries. Kaspar Endrikson is likewise an integral member of the team, predominantly focusing on energy and infrastructure.
Other key lawyers:
Piibe Lehtsaar; Kaspar Endrikson; Lise-Lotte Lääne
‘The team has very wide spectrum of knowledge in different branches of public law.’
‘Sorainen has a great competition law team.’
‘Professionalism stands out.’
‘Service of Sorainen EU & Competition team has been accurate and to the point. They have worked within the agreed scope and the budget and I was satisfied with their work.’
‘Perfect combination of young associates with experienced partners, who provide great support and are encouraging their employees to perform on the top level. It is a great pleasure to work with a firm who treat their employees so respectfully.’
Apollo Global Management
Estonian Water Works Association
- Advised Luminor on acquiring 99% of the shares of Maksekeskus, a major e-commerce payment service provider in the Baltic region.
- Advised Klaasimeister on its merger with a competing glass processor, Polar Glass.
- Advised Gjensidige on competition law matters in relation to acquiring 100% of the shares in Falck Räddningskår.
Eversheds Sutherland Ots & Co is a specialised competition law firm with considerable experience in merger control matters and complex competition law investigations. The team benefits from its inclusion in the firm’s wider network, making it well-equipped to advise on cross-border issues. Risto Rüütel has vast knowledge in all aspects of competition law in contentious and non-contentious matters, having successfully represented clients in competition authority’s administrative investigations. Maarja Junti stands out for her work in advising clients on the European Union and competition law in matters involving blockchain and virtual currencies.
Other key lawyers:
Maivi Ots; Toomas Pikamäe; Artjom Luik; Maarja Junti
Transpordiamet (Republic of Estonia Transport Administration)
Ekogaisma Eesti OÜ
KNM Eesti OÜ
Estonian Basketball Association, Estonian Premium League basketball clubs
AS Eesti Keskkonnateenused
The Estonian Ministry of Finance
- The Estonian Transport Administration engaged the team to prepare a legal opinion on the state aid rules: the opinion concerned the public service provision agreement under which a private company ferry operator operates four ferries for transport between mainland Estonia and its larger islands.
- Advised the Estonian Basketball Association and represented the client in a competition law investigation which was, firstly, initiated following a complaint about alleged cartel activity between basketball clubs and the association as an umbrella for the cartel and, secondly, about the abuse of dominant position by a major media house in Estonia.
- Represented Eesti Keskkonnateenused in court after successfully opposing the merger between its competitor and a major landfill in Estonia.
FORT fields a prominent practice, offering a full range of EU and competition services including abuse of dominance/multilateral conduct probes, state aid matters and domestic and cross-border transactional competition and regulatory advice. Rene Frolov has experience with complex cross-border merger matters and landmark antitrust and state aid cases, while Liina Käis is a name to watch for her work across all areas of competition law, from abuse of dominant positions to compliance and private enforcement of competition law.
Other key lawyers:
‘The office has a great knowledge of our business, responds rapidly to our needs and can provide services that do not only support our legal and advocacy work but also our business development.’
‘Rene Frolov has a great legal mind and is also very service oriented. He is able to transpose his legal analysis into tangible legal advice.’
‘A dedicated and experienced team, oriented to the client’s interests, thinks along.’
Tallinn Airport AS
Ministry Of Economic Affairs and Communications
Tallinna Kaubamaja Grupp AS
- Advised IIZI, the leading insurance broker in Estonia, in an investigation by the Estonian Competition Authority into price relationship provisions between IIZI and some non-life insurers.
- Advised and represented six real estate developers before the European Commission in a state aid complaint vis-à-vis a preferential loan by Estonia to a residential real estate development project at the Port of Tallinn (Porto Franco).
NOVE offers a comprehensive service to Estonian companies and governmental institutions seeking specialised advice in competition and procurement matters. The frim engages in non-compete obligations in shareholder agreements, share purchase agreements, abuse of dominant positions and non-compete obligations. Mari Past advises clients in merger control, supply, sales, cooperation agreements and restrictions of dominant undertakings. Veikko Puolakainen is an expereinced litigator who focuses on civil and administrative litigation.
Other key lawyers:
‘The advice received has been very business-focused – we have received advice which has been easy to put into practice and the team has not overburdened us with legal theory, highlighting all potential theoretical risks etc. We have been very satisfied with all deadlines having been met and our questions have received great attention.’
‘Partner Mari Past has been excellent in delivering thorough and business orientated legal advice. She has been exceptionally accessible, up-to-date with the latest practices and very business minded.’
Medicum and its group companies
- Advising owners of a reputable private clinic on the sale of the clinic, including merger control and post-transaction competition restrictions on the seller.
- Advising Montonio Finance, a start-up that raised EUR 11 million for further investment from investors of Skype and Wise and is believed to be one of the fastest growing Estonian start-up, on competition compliance matters.
- Thorough revision of all standard agreements, including from competition law perspective, of CIVITTA Estonia, the headquarters of a leading consultancy firm in Central and Eastern Europe and the Nordics.
TARK is noteworthy for its work on contentious mandates, often defending firms in cartel investigations before the Estonian Competition Authority, in addition to its compliance advice to energy and real estate sector players. The team has a number of clients across a wide spectrum of industry areas, from automotive, logistic, agriculture, gaming and insurance, with an increasing work-flow from the regulatory sector including aviation regulation and PPP projects. Tanel Tark has extensive knowledge and experience in cartel investigations, complex merger cases and state aid matters.
‘Very proactive and hands-on team.’
‘Good knowledge of the business as such.’
‘The team consists mainly of partner-level individuals and this gives me a high level of confidence in the service. This is unique compared to other service providers I have worked with.’
Baltic Horizon Fund
Linas Agro Group
Ideal Baltic (Avis, Budget, Payless)
Lietuvos Energija / Ignitis
Vienna Insurance Group
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications
Tallinna Lennujaam (Tallinn Airport)
Eesti Raudtee (Estonian Railways)
- Advised Barrus in the purchase of a glass production unit from Saint-Gobain and its follow-on merger with Klaasimeister.
- Advised the merger of two Estonian building materials market leaders – Paekivitoodete Tehas and Saare Dolomiit-Väokivi.
- Advised a foreign state-owned company on the purchase of and Estonian solar park and the local regulatory framework (incl. feed-in tariffs).
TGS Baltic has a strong presence within state-aid matters, having represented and assisted numerous undertakings and public authorities in a number of matters this year relating to energy and sustainability. Triinu Järviste is the leading attorney and advises clients in various aspects of the legislative process, including companies in manufacturing, retail and wholesale, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Mari Anne Rohtla stands out as a specialist with the financial market.
‘The team is very well-functioning, fast and interacts well with clients.’
‘Triinu Järviste is a pleasure to work with as she always delivers on her promises and comes up with practical solutions.’
‘The team excels at putting themselves in clients shoes – they can see issues from our perspective and, thus, the solutions offered are always exactly what we need.’
‘Triinu Järviste is a go-to person in Estonia for competition law and state aid regulations. Her knowledge-base is always up-to-date and she can always deliver on-point answers.’
Estonian Authors’ Society
Environmental Investment Centre
Eesti Post AS
Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Estonia
Port of Tallinn
ERGO Insurance SE
City of Tallinn
Rimi Eesti Food
City of Tartu
SEB Pank AS / SEB bankas AB
Värska Vesi AS
Tallinna Kaubamaja AS
Merko Ehitus Eesti
- Advising and representing the Estonian national postal service provider AS Eesti Post in merger proceedings in which AS Eesti Post buys shares of AS Express Post, a home delivery service provider in major cities.
- Advising the Environmental Investment Centre in developing new state aid subsidy measure in support of the development of hydrogen full production and use chains in Estonia in the amount of 50 MEUR and preparing the respective state aid pre-notification to be filed with the European Commission.
- Advising and representing the Estonian electricity and gas transmission system operator Elering, who is in charge of issuing green energy state subsidies, in the European Court of Justice in preliminary ruling proceedings with regard to the payment of renewable energy state aid.
RASK Attorneys-at-Law has had a successful year defending clients’ rights in complex and high-volume state-aid cases. The firm continues to represent independent pharmacies in the implementation of pharmacy reform in Estonia within the Estonian Chamber of Pharmacists and Supreme Court of Estonia. Tarmo Peterson has represented clients in the preparation and validation of the legal analysis of major investment projects in Estonia, with knowledge of the competition law risks involved in cooperation projects between Estonia and the European Union. Birgit Aasa is a highly qualified advisor in EU, constitutional and international law, and stands out for her capability to offer comprehensive solutions to complex legal issues on civil disputes, public procurement and competition law.
Other key lawyers:
Põltsamaa Uus Apteek OÜ
Rally Estonia / Estonian Autosport Events MTÜ
Tallinna Teaduspark Tehnopol SA
Paide Vee Tänava Apteek OÜ
Triniti advise a diverse portfolio of private and public sector clients in all aspects of competition law, from anticompetitive agreements, to abuse of dominant positions, merger control and state aid. The firm engages in matters related to the energy, mining, pharmaceutical and medical, transport and infrastructure sectors. The ‘exceptional‘ Tanel Kalaus is recognised as a leading expert in state aid and competition law in Estonia, while Sandor Elias stands out for his experience within the energy sector in state aid and EU law matters.
Tanel Kalaus; Sandor Elias
‘Tanel Kalaus on exceptional professional regarding competition law, very experienced. We are very satisfied with his services.’
OÜ Transpordi Varahaldus
AS Nordic Aviation Group
Tallinna Vesi AS
Tallinna Sadam AS
AS Express Post
- Advising and representing Nasdaq-listed AS Tallinna Sadam (the port authority of the capital of Estonia) in a 20 million euro civil court case (damages action) by Tallink Grupp AS.
- Advised AS Express Post in a precedent dispute with the state-owned postal service provider AS Eesti Post (trademark “Omniva”) over whether AS Express Post should give Omniva access to its postal network for periodical means.
- Advising and representing the Nasdaq-listed Tallinna Vesi AS (the water undertaking of the capital of Estonia) in different civil disputes (damages claims) of up to 17 million euro initiated by the customers (legal entities) of the client on the basis of allegedly unfairly high prices for water and wastewater services.