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EU and competition in Estonia

Cobalt

The competition law team at Cobalt is known for handling a wide range of instructions including merger control, horizontal practices, dominant position, and compliance. Its local and international clients often operate in sectors including energy, waste management, and healthcare, and it is highly experienced in competition disputes, frequently representing clients before Estonian courts. Practice head and competition law specialist Elo Tamm focuses on cartel and abuse of dominance proceedings, while senior associate Mart Blöndal covers competition law and state aid matters. Additionally, specialist counsel Elena Hansov is dual qualified in both Estonia and England and Wales. She deals with merger control and vertical agreements, especially for clients in the life science industries.

Practice head(s):

Elo Tamm

Other key lawyers:

Mart Blöndal; Elena Hansov

Testimonials

‘The team is able to find reasonable solutions even in the most difficult situations.’

‘Able to find the right person for solving the particular topic. Very open for good discussions, timely responses.’

‘The company has competent specialists in various fields. Highly focused on clients interests. Good cooperation with the client.’

‘Highly dedicated and competent professionals, who have significant knowledge of EU competition law and the ability to see the customer’s interests more broadly.’

‘Strong and diligent team, we are very satisfied by how well they understand our industry dynamic.’

‘Mart Blöndal is a rising star – he is very proactive and an innovative young lawyer.’

‘Team’s confidence reflects their ability to handle tough cases with ease.’

‘I very much valued the services offered by Mart Blöndal. I think he gives great value to the company and I would suggest his services to any close business partner.’

Key clients

Alexela Varahalduse

Balti Gaas

BaltCap

Elektrum Eesti

European Commission

Huawei Technologies Oy (Finland) Co. Ltd.

Kapten Grant

KMG Inseneriehituse

Mid Europa Partners

Porto Franco

Port of Tallinn

R-S OSA Service (Ragn-Sells group company)

Wolt Estonia

Work highlights

  • Acted for Wolt Estonia in the supervision proceedings carried out by the Estonian Competition Authority in connection with the conditions of price parity, and in the respective communication with the Competition Authority.
  • Advised Porto Franco on ensuring initial compliance with general applicable state aid regulations in receiving and using the loan and advised the client during the review processes started by the relevant national administrative authority and the European Commission regarding the compatibility of the granted state aid.
  • Advised Mid Europa Partners, in cooperation with international law firm Dechert, on the acquisition of leading Baltics e-commerce platforms Pigu and Hobby Hall Group.

Ellex

The ‘dynamic, hands-on' team at Ellex is highly regarded for its work in merger control, abuse of dominance, and anti-competitive agreements. In recent years, it has seen an increase in work related to state aid, particularly regarding the consequences of the Covid pandemic. It is also experienced in dawn raids, compliance, and complex merger proceedings in the Baltics. Martin Mäesalu is noted for his ‘creative solutions' in criminal and quasi-criminal proceedings regarding anti-competitive agreements, as well as competition audits and state aid matters. Raino Paron deals primarily with regulatory work in the financial sector, while counsel Triin Frosch focuses on competition law for clients in the electricity and gas markets in the Baltics and Nordics.

Practice head(s):

Martin Mäesalu

Other key lawyers:

Raino Paron; Triin Frosch

Testimonials

‘A dynamic, hands-on, competent team.’

‘Martin Mäesalu is a very smart, young partner, with creative solutions.’

Key clients

Nestlé

Eesti Energia AS

Telia

Tallink Grupp AS

Henkel

Coca Cola

Skeleton Technologies Group OÜ

Bolt Technology OÜ

BaltCap

Sportland International Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for AS Tallink Grupp in court proceedings against AS Tallinna Sadam in the claim for abuse of dominance by applying excessive port fees.
  • Represented 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 Enefit Green in a dispute concerning the merger approval granted for the merger of Enefit Green and NeljaEnergia.

Sorainen

Sorainen is particularly strong in regulatory matters, abuse of dominance, state aid, and cross-border merger control proceedings. Of note, it has a unique sub-practice dedicated to infrastructure and regulatory work for clients in the rail, water, natural gas, and renewable energy sectors. Practice head Kaupo Lepasepp is an expert in competition law, including prohibited agreements, dawn raids, tariff regulation, and competition law-related court disputes. Head of the TMT team Mihkel Miidla is also noted for his work in regulatory and competition law, especially in the automotive and utilities industries. Additionally, merger control specialist Piibe Lehtsaar was promoted to counsel in April 2021.

Practice head(s):

Kaupo Lepasepp; Mikhel Miidla

Other key lawyers:

Piibe Lehtsaar

Testimonials

Exceptional commitment. Recognition of business needs.’

A very committed and pragmatic team, always delivers a high-quality output.’

Mihkel Miidla has a good combination of IT knowledge and a practical approach.’

Sorainen is a team of uniquely clever lawyers who complement each other. As lawyers they know what they are doing – starting from fundamentals of national and EU law to specifics of our sector-specific rules. As cooperation partners they are capable to see the big picture, and also notice details. This all makes working with them a great pleasure. They are innovative, both with their advice and also additional services (secondments, digital seminars and events).’

We use Sorainen as a one team for different types of matters. Sorainen always performs as one truly collaborative team, irrespective of exact team members. This demonstrates their collaborative culture, and truly stands out in the market.’

‘Kaupo Lepasepp – He was one of the first to specialize in utilities regulatory law, and these days is a prominent expert of EU and regulatory law, well known and highly regarded by the market, regulatory authorities and courts. He is orchestrating the marvellous team with whom we are working most frequently. Kaupo is an excellent lawyer, but truly stands out with understanding client’s expectations and offering exact solutions.’

A good team of professionals that cover all area of legal issues we need. They understand our activity, thus our collaboration is fluent and we are satisfied with the results.’

Key clients

Fortum

Vista Equity Partners

Splunk Inc.

Mehiläinen

AMC Entertainment Holdings

Fenner Dunlop

BaltCap

Toyota Baltic

Tallinn Airport

Bolt

Sunly

Work highlights

  • Advised AMC on the sale of Forum Cinemas to a major competitor in the Baltics.
  • Advised Mehiläinen on the acquisition of occupational healthcare provider Qvalitas Arstikeskus and dental care chain Unimed Grupp.
  • Acted for PharmaTwo in an administrative court dispute concerning the legality of an activity licence issued to the client for the provision of general pharmacy services.

Eversheds Sutherland Ots & Co

With strong links to other offices to provide international coverage, the competition team at Eversheds Sutherland Ots & Co primarily specialises in cross-border merger control and competition law investigations in the Baltics, although it is also experienced in advising on national competition law cases. Its clients often operate in the medical device manufacturing, media, aviation and waste collection sectors. Practice head Risto Rüütel is noted for his work in antitrust law and competition law investigations, while Toomas Pikamäe focuses on high-profile dispute resolution matters related to competition law.

Practice head(s):

Risto Rüütel

Other key lawyers:

Toomas Pikamäe

Key clients

Agron Haldus OÜ

Pharma Holding OÜ

AS Semetron

UP Invest OÜ

Verston Holding

Confido Healthcare Group

Megameedia Grupp

Eesti Eratervishoiuasutuste Liit

AS Eesti Keskkonnateenused

Ekogaisma Eesti AS

Work highlights

  • Represented Association of Estonian Private Healthcare Institutions in the European Commission’s lengthy investigation into potential illegal state aid which had been granted to Estonian public hospitals.
  • Successfully represented Ekogaisma Eesti OÜ in relation to the Estonian Competition Authority’s antitrust investigation into alleged abuse of dominant position.
  • Carried out, together with other offices in the network, a thorough multijurisdictional competition law analysis of one of the world’s largest airline’s commercial behaviour in more than 200 jurisdictions.

FORT

FORT is particularly strong regarding domestic and pan-Baltic competition and regulatory advice, state aid, and abuse of dominance matters in regulated sectors including media, energy and telecoms. It has also advised financial institutions on high-value acquisitions and securing merger clearances. Practice head Rene Frolov is noted for his expertise in antitrust investigations and state aid, as well as cartel investigations and merger control proceedings. Senior associate Liina Käis focuses on state aid, abuse of dominance and antitrust mandates in regulated industries.

Practice head(s):

Rene Frolov

Other key lawyers:

Liina Käis

Testimonials

‘Good knowledge of competition law.’

‘Rene Frolov has very impressive skills in competition law.’

‘Rene Frolov and Liina Käis were both very professional and helpful.’

‘Rene Frolov is very professional, has extensive experience and is very efficient and practical.’

‘Rene Frolov and his team are great in always meeting deadlines and combining business acumen with deep legal knowledge.’

‘Rene Frolov is friendly, helpful and smart. He understands business needs and manages to combine this with great legal expertise. Furthermore he can in an excellent way help you as a foreign client to navigate the Estonian regulatory landscape. I would not hesitate to recommend Rene for the most challenging job or undertaking.’

Key clients

Elisa

Neste

LHV Bank

Hansabuss

Tallinna Kaubamaja Grupp AS

Alfons Hakans

Tallinn Airport AS

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of the Republic of Estonia

East Capital

Eften Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised LHV Bank on its acquisition of Danske Bank’s Estonian loan portfolio of corporate and public sector clients (€270m) and inter alia obtained the merger clearance from Estonian Competition Authority in ten days after the notification.
  • Advised East Capital on its acquisition of SEB’s head office in central Tallinn from Laurus, a joint-venture collaboration between Partners Group and Northern Horizon and inter alia obtained merger clearance from the Estonian Competition Authority eight days after the notification.
  • Advised LHV Pension Funds on its acquisition of three stock office-type commercial buildings near Tallinn housing, the Tanker brewery and biotechnology device producer Artesyn and inter alia obtained merger clearance in 10 days.

NOVE

NOVE advises Estonian companies, universities, state audit offices, and governmental institutions on competition and procurement, as well as merger control issues. Its clients often operate in the healthcare, retail, road construction, energy and natural gas, and IT sectors. Practice head Mari Past focuses on merger control, business restrictions, and cooperation agreements, especially for healthcare clients. Veikko Puolakainen is noted for his experience litigating in both civil and administrative courts, as well as competition law-related alternative dispute resolution, while senior associate Veiko Vaske is an expert in public procurements, as well as construction and planning law.

Practice head(s):

Mari Past

Other key lawyers:

Veiko Vaske; Veikko Puolakainen; Maret Kruus

Testimonials

‘The team is very responsive and business-minded.’

‘Team head Mari Past has provided us with fast and clear legal advice. She is business-minded and thinks along how the legal solution can improve our business, not be merely compliant with competition law.’

‘Clever lawyers and competent.’

‘Mari Past is thorough, dependable, and trustworthy.’

‘It is not only solving the customers problem but actually really think what is best for the customer.’

Key clients

Danpower Estonia (Danpower Eesti AS)

Tulika Grupp OÜ

Estonian Gas (AS Eesti Gaas) and group companies

Tartu University (Tartu Ülikool)

EG Ehitus AS

Estonian Traders Association (Kaupmeeste Liit)

OÜ ADM Interactive

Solaris Centre (AS Solaris Keskus)

Fontakt OÜ

Medicum (AS Medicum Tervishoiuteenused) and its group companies

Work highlights

  • Advised Tulika Grupp OÜ on selling its taxi business to MOVE Group OÜ (a subsidiary of U.S. INVEST AKTSIASELTS).
  • Advised Medicum group on competition law related matters.
  • Advised Danpower Eesti AS (a subsidiary of the German energy company Danpower GmbH), on acquiring Väimela district heating system.

TARK

TARK is noted for its experience advising on cartel investigations and competition compliance audits. Its clients often operate in the energy, aviation, real estate, agriculture and retail sectors but also include state entities and local municipalities. Additionally, the team is particularly strong in state aid, complex mergers, and public procurements across the Baltics. Practice head Tanel Tark focuses on cartel investigations, state aid matters, and competition matters relevant to complex merger cases.

Practice head(s):

Tanel Tark

Testimonials

‘Small, but very competitive and competent team.’

‘Tanel Tark is a fast and proactive thinker and finding solutions to each and every problem.’

‘Tark Law office is a very good team, who supports each other every time.’

‘The team is very responsive – it is easy to get in contact with them and they act quickly on deliverables. If urgent matters come up, Tark is able to act on them quickly, which I find rare compared to other firms.’

‘Individuals are professional and always respect deadlines. They are able to explain complicated manners in a quick and understandable way. I feel like they go the extra mile when helping our team solve problems.’

Key clients

Enlabs

Baltic Horizon Fund

Linas Agro Group

Notorious

Ideal Baltic (Avis, Budget, Payless)

Adven

Lietuvos Energija / Ignitis

Rudus (CRH)

Ober-Haus

Bauhof

Haljala municipality

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications

Kesko Senukai

Tallinna Lennujaam (Tallin Airport)

Eesti Raudtee (Estonian Railways)

Optiwin

Work highlights

  • Advised Linas Agro Group on the complex merger proceedings concerning the acquisition of KG Group.
  • Advised Enlabs on the merger proceedings concerning the acquisition of Global Gaming 555.
  • Advised Notorious on different competition law aspects concerning the acquisition of several larger scale real estate development projects.

TGS Baltic

TGS Baltic is noted for court disputes related to state aid measures, state aid-related proceedings, and other complex competition and regulatory matters for clients operating in the manufacturing, retail, pharmaceutical and energy sectors. Practice co-head Katri Paas-Mohando specialises in competition law, particularly on behalf of clients in regulated sectors; she was promoted to the position of counsel in September 2021. Senior associate and fellow co-head Triinu Järviste represents clients in the implementation of state aid and competition-related court proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Katri Paas-Mohando; Triinu Järviste

Other key lawyers:

Trrin Kaurov

Testimonials

‘Good team of professionals that cover all areas of legal issues we need. They understand our activity, thus our collaboration is fluent and we are satisfied with the results.’

‘They work quickly and professionally, very correctly.’

‘Our partner has strong competition knowledge that we need to protect us from infringements. Their billing is honest and transparent which is the most important thing, as we pay only for what was served to us. They are available at any time we need, which is also important to us.’

‘Katri Paas-Mohando is our partner, she is very competent in competition regulations and her knowledge helps us to avoid violation or rules. She knows the business and helps with possible solutions asap. Trrin Kaurov and Triinu Järviste are also part of our team. Their help is very much appreciated as they are of great competence in the matters we need help with.’

Key clients

KredEx

City of Tallinn

Eesti Post

Multikino Lietuva

Operail

Elering

Kapitel

Kvare Invest

Baltic Ground Services

Tallinna Vesi

Milrem

PharmaEstica Manufacturing

Rimi

Rickman Trade

ERGO Insurance SE

Auto-Bon

TS Laevad (Tallinna Sadam)

Framm

Work highlights

  • Represented KredEx in several court disputes where companies have challenged the activities of KredEx in the implementation of state aid measures arising from the coronavirus crisis.
  • Successfully represented the City of Tallinn in state aid pre-notification proceeding before the European Commission regarding the financing of the construction of Tallinn City Hall (Linnahall).
  • Advised Eesti Post (Omniva) on a wide variety of complex competition and regulatory matters in all areas of operation of the company and represented the client in a civil action filed against it by a competitor based on an abuse of the dominant position decision of the Competition Authority.

RASK Attorneys-at-Law

The EU and competition law team at RASK Attorneys-at-Law is noted for its litigation work regarding alleged monopolies and unfair competition, as well as public procurements. It has particular niche expertise advising on issues concerning the pharmaceutical industry and other regulated markets. Practice head Tarmo Peterson focuses on EU, competition, and state aid disputes and litigation. He is also known for other contentious work in cartel disputes and market dominance cases. Marit Martens is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Tarmo Peterson

Other key lawyers:

Marit Martens

Key clients

Rannakalad MTÜ

Estonian Autosport Events MTÜ

Tallinna Teaduspark Tehnopol SA

Põltsamaa Uus Apteek OÜ

Kalatex MTÜ

Paide Vee Tänava Apteek OÜ

MTÜ Rannakalad

Work highlights

  • Acted for Põltsamaa Uus Apteek OÜ and Paide Vee Tänava Apteek OÜ in administrative litigation against the State Agency of Medicine.
  • Represented Rannakalad MTÜ and Kalatex MTÜ in a dispute with the Agricultural Registers and Information Board (ARIB) in a dispute over the use of the ARIB subsidy, financed by EU Structural Funds.
  • Advised the Rally Estonia organising team onthe first World Rally Championship event to be hosted by Estonia.

Triniti Estonia

Triniti Estonia focuses on abuse of dominance, merger control and state aid, and anti-competitive agreements. The team is noted for its work in complex state aid matters and has sector-specific expertise in the energy, mining, medical and pharmaceutical, transport, and infrastructure sectors. Tanel Kalaus is an expert in competition law and state aid. Senior associate Sandor Elias specialises in state aid, PPPs, and public procurements.

Practice head(s):

Tanel Kalaus; Sandor Elias

Testimonials

‘The staff of the law firm is very professional, committed to their task. Also customer friendly, benevolent. They always try to find a solution to even the most difficult problems.’

‘Our partners have always had a great deal of experience. They have dealt with similar issues in the past and have excellent knowledge. The office has very good knowledge of state aid, public procurement and business acquisitions. Despite the fact that we are staffed by very professional staff, their fees are very reasonable and competitive.’

‘Triniti provide superb value for money and also shine in terms of their client oriented approach. Their response times are quick, and the firm also employs legal experts with immense legal acumen and industry knowledge.’

‘Of the many outstanding specialists working at Triniti, we would especially commend Tanel Kalaus, who has personally advised and worked together with us for more than decade. In the area of competition law, Tanel is undoubtedly one of the foremost specialists in Estonia. In addition to his tremendous expertise, Tanel also possesses extensive experience in various judicial proceedings.’

‘Tanel Kalaus has super expertise and experience on competition law and court procedures.’

Key clients

Utilitas

OÜ Transpordi Varahaldus

AS Nordic Aviation Group

Tamro

KredEx

Eesti Energia

Enefit Power

Tallinna Vesi AS

Tallinna Sadam AS

Work highlights

  • Represented Tallinna Sadam AS in a civil court case (damages action related to the claim of over €15m) by Tallink Grupp AS on the basis of the alleged abuse of dominant position by the client (use of unfairly high prices for the harbour services for passenger ships).
  • Represented AS Express Post in a dispute with the state-owned postal service provider AS Eesti Post over abuse of dominant position regarding the pricing of forwarding advertisements.
  • Represented Nordica and the Estonian state in applying for state aid permission for €30m under the State Aid Temporary Framework (regarding the COVID-19 crisis).