Banking, finance and capital markets in Latvia

Cobalt

Cobalt's banking, finance and capital markets team advises on project finance, cross-border lending, restructuring, securitisations and e-payment services. Girts Lejins heads the practice and has represented governments, international banks and corporations. Andrejs Lielkalns  has expertise in cross-border transactions, lending and syndicated financing. Specialist counsel Edgars Lodzins has handled financing and capital markets transactions in Latvia and the Baltics at large. The team also advises on the implementation of EU directives in relation to the financial services sector.

Practice head(s):

Girts Lejins

Key clients

European Investment Bank

ING Belgium NV/SA

JP Morgan

Luminor Bank (Latvia), Luminor Bank (Estonia)

Nefco (Nordic Environmental Finance Corporation)

Work highlights

  • Advised Luminor Bank and DNB Bank on a €1bn majority stake acquisition by Blackstone.
  • Advised the European Investment Bank on providing a €10m financing facility to electronic system development and manufacturing company HansaMatrix.
  • Advised airBaltic in relation to the issuance of €200m bonds on the Euronext Dublin stock exchange.

Ellex

Ellex's banking, finance and capital markets practice advises domestic and international clients. Foreign investment, project and acquisition finance, M&A transactions and regulatory work are key areas of strength for the firm. Zinta Jansons and Valters Diure co-lead the team; Jansons is noted for leading on transactions in the finance sector and Diure has advised international financial institutions on cross-border structured and project finance transactions. Senior counsel Raivis Leimanis is experienced in financial restructuring, financial contracts and inter-creditor litigation. The firm is also notable for its work on aircraft financing.

Practice head(s):

Valters Diure; Zinta Jansons

Key clients

Export Develoment Canada

Bloomberg Finance LP (USA)

Citigroup

Deutsche Bank

Providence Capital

Work highlights

  • Provided pan-Baltic legal advice to Blackstone on the acquisition of a majority stake in Luminor Bank for €1bn.
  • Advising the State Treasury of the Republic of Latvia on the possibility of offering additional issues of eurobonds in Latvia under the global medium-term note (GMTN) programme.
  • Advised Inbank on its cross-border merger with Mokilizingas.

TGS Baltic

TGS Baltic's banking, finance and capital markets practice assists its clients with regulatory advice, syndicated facility agreements and matters relating to financial technologies. The 'experiencedInese Hazenfusa leads the team and acted for Russian commercial bank Expobank in relation to a financing transaction in Latvia, which was entirely subject to Latvian law. Senior associate Alise Eljašāne is a certified anti-money laundering (AML) specialist and 'has a unique knowledge' of capital markets. She has also advised on alternative investment funds matters. The team was also bolstered by the arrival of Sandis Petrovičs and Harijs Lielvārds, who joined the firm from Triniti, as partner and associate respectively, in June 2019.

Practice head(s):

Inese Hazenfusa

Testimonials

‘The plus of this team is their great experience and co-operation at the Baltic level. Compared to other Latvian firms their experience in asset management is much wider.’

‘Sandis Petrovics’ team consists of many people with lengthy and good experience. They are always available and result driven.’

‘They are fast, professional and easily accessible. I value the fact that I can trust them to do the work very fast and their advice is always on point. The team consists of many professionals with experience in various finance firms, which helps us.’

‘Excellent legal expertise in finance law. Great ability to provide tailored solutions for clients.’

‘Alise Eljasane has unique knowledge in finance, capital markets and funds. Her knowledge and interest in helping us as a client has been invaluable. Alise is a professional in her field and I definitely recommend her to my other partners.’

‘Inese Hazenfusa is an experienced banking leader in Latvia.’

‘Sandis Petrovics has a great sense of responsibility, and he is very professional.’

‘Violeta Zeppa Priedate’s knowledge is outstanding.’

‘Alise Eljasane is very professional and accurate. Working with her is always easy. Alise’s experience in the capital markets and banking fields is very helpful to our business.’

Key clients

Admiral Markets UK

Credit Value Investments

European Federation of Energy Traders

European Investment Bank

AON

Work highlights

  • Advised the European Investment Bank on the financing of the electrification of a section of the Latvian railway network.
  • Advised the European Federation of Energy Traders on the issuing of a legal opinion regarding the enforceability of close-out netting and the validity and enforceability of collateral arrangements under the EFET General Agreement concerning the delivery and acceptance of natural gas.
  • Advised 4finance on the restructuring of products due to new restrictive terms for consumer lending.

Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns

Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns' practice advises on AML regulation and compliance, asset management and fintech. Māris Vainovskis and Mikus Freimanis head the team; both recently advised HansaMatrix, an electronics and manufacturing company, in relation to a €10m financing agreement with the European Investment Bank. Freimanis displays 'expertise' in banking, securities and compliance work. Associate Justīne Ignatavičute is an expert in international finance law, acting on licensing matters and banking transactions.

Practice head(s):

Maris Vainovskis; Mikus Freimanis

Testimonials

‘Excellent local legal knowledge combined with international expertise.’

‘Positive communication and able to handle projects with many stakeholders in a very professional manner.’

‘Maris Vainovskis and Mikus Freimanis are experts in their field.’

Key clients

HansaMatrix AS

Monea OÜ

UPP Olaines OU

Meridian Trade Bank AS

SEB Banka AS

Work highlights

  • Advising Latvian fintech company Monea on corporate and regulatory compliance in relation to the FCMC.
  • Advising Meridian Trade Bank on varioys KYC/AML regulatory and compliance matters involving the FCMC.
  • Advised SEB, as a senior lender, in respect of a loan portfolio refinancing project for manufacturing company GroGlass.

Sorainen

Sorainen's banking and finance practice advises banks, financial institutions and credit agencies. Rūdolfs Eņģelis heads the team, advising on compliance, legislative initiatives, restructuring and financial transactions. In a recent highlight, Engelis advised Nordea and DNB, as lenders, on changes to the funding provided to Luminor Group following the sale of 60% of the shares of the group to a consortium led by private equity funds managed by Blackstone. Senior associate Santa Rubina  is 'very impressive', advising lenders on security interests, loans and regulatory matters. Senior associate Inese Heinacka, who has extensive knowledge of electronic money institutions, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Rudolf Engelis

Testimonials

‘The team is exceptionally smart, knowledgeable and client oriented. They react so quickly and provide absolutely fantastic advice. It is real pleasure to work with them.’

‘Santa Rubina is a real driver of projects in the team, focusing on timely delivery and outstanding quality.’

Key clients

Baltics Credit Solutions Latvia

RiskPoint A/S

ABLV Bank

Nasdaq CSD SE

CNA Insurance

Work highlights

  • Acted as Latvian law adviser for joint lead managers JP Morgan and SEB bankas on the issue by Air Baltic Corporation of €200m five-year bonds.
  • Advising on the regulatory aspects of the cross-border merger of Nasdaq CSD, a central securities depository (CSD) incorporated and licensed in Latvia and operating in Estonia and Lithuania via branches, and Nasdaq CSD Iceland, a CSD incorporated in Iceland.
  • Advised Aon Baltic and Balto Link on their cross-border merger.

BDO Law

BDO Law's practice advises on alternative investment funds, AML matters and venture capital funds. Senior associate Anda Beinare leads the team, specialising in finance law and assisting clients with AML compliance, regulatory matters and licensing. Vita Liberte, one of the founders of the firm, is an AML specialist; she is representing Altum, a state-owned institution which develops and administers state aid programmes, in a dispute with the previous shareholders of Citadele Bank related to recovery proceedings. Janis Zelmenis, who has experience acting for commercial banks, is conducting a review of Bilderlings Pay's AML systems and controls.

Practice head(s):

Anda Beinare

Key clients

VIA SMS Group

Altum

Bilderlings Pay Limited

Transact Pro LLC

Work highlights

  • Representing Altum, legal successor of Hipoteku Banka, in a complex dispute against two companies which were beneficiaries of aid granted by the client, concerning fraudulent schemes implemented by one of the aid beneficiaries.
  • Advised VIA SMS Group, an alternative financial services provider operating across Europe, concerning the restructuring of business to comply with demands of the Latvian regulator – the Financial Capital and Market Commission (FCMC).
  • Performed a comprehensive review of Transact Pro’s processes and internal control system to comply with AML, counter-terrorist financing (CTF) and economic sanctions requirements.

FORT

FORT's banking and finance practice advises private equity funds, credit institutions and crowdfunding platforms. Ramona Miglane heads the practice and has experience acting for alternative investment funds; she advised Mintos Marketplace on the first loan-based crowdfunding platform in Latvia, which has facilitated more than €2bn in investments. Senior associate Edgars Turlajs has a focus on consumer lending services and cross-border work. Senior associate Laura Erkske handles regulatory and corporate credit matters.

Practice head(s):

Ramona Miglane

Testimonials

‘FORT is a one-stop shop to get not only legal but also business advice. They are always able to provide us with the necessary legal advice, not only in various matters on a daily basis, but also in exceptionally complex cases. FORT’s team consists of very talented and enthusiastic lawyers, who are capable of providing fast, efficient and business-minded legal and other advice.’

‘FORT is our trusted adviser. We are very happy to work with FORT because of the team’s ability to consult and assist us in all issues and matters that are relevant to us. FORT fully satisfies and exceeds our needs!’

‘The team’s in-depth understanding of our business model is an asset.’

‘Sandis Bertaitis, attorney-at-law Roberts Prusis and associates Ieva Balcere, Vita Rancane and Laila Pudule are all very proactive, competent and provide advice not only based on their legal knowledge, but also considering the practical and business aspects. They all think several steps ahead.’

‘We highly value Janis Lakops’ fast, business-oriented, practical, efficient and well-grounded advice.’

‘Roberts Prusis has great knowledge and practical experience.’

‘Associates Ieva Balcere, Vita Rancane, Liene Lazare and Laila Pudule are always very fast, precise and proactive in helping us.’

‘The team stands out for its flexibility and understanding of our business needs.’

Key clients

AS Mintos Marketplace

Association of Alternative Financial Services of Latvia

SIA AIFP ZGI Capital

SIA ExpressCredit

AS mogo

Work highlights

  • Represented the Association of Alternative Financial Services of Latvia in drafting the country’s new crowdfunding services law.
  • Represented ZGI Capital in BaltCap’s €3.35m investment in Kool Latvia.
  • Represented Loango in obtaining a consumer lending licence issued by the Consumer Rights Protection Centre.

Kronbergs Cukste Levin

Kronbergs Čukste Levin's banking and finance practice advises on structuring financial projects, loan agreements, and the registration of and trade in securities. Valters Kronbergs heads the team. The 'responsive' and 'professionalVineta Cukste-Jurjeva is experienced in consumer credit matters and the surrounding regulatory issues. Zane Veidemane Berzina has expertise in fintech matters, with a 'unique and outstanding knowledge of payment services regulation', as well as strength in AML work. Senior associate Normunds Orols, who specialises in regulatory issues, is 'very clever, judicious and accurate'

Practice head(s):

Valters Kronbergs

Testimonials

‘Kronbergs Cukste Levin is a very professional, experienced, responsive, knowledgeable and honest law firm which is highly recommended.’

‘They have in-depth knowledge of matters related to payment services, including the innovative elements brought about by the Payment Services Directive (PSD2). They also have an exceptional understanding of AML matters.’

‘Vineta Cukste-Jurjeva is very experienced, professional, responsive and pleasant to work with. She has perfect communication skills and is very good in the representation of the client’s interests in court.’

‘Senior associate Normunds Orols is very clever, judicious, accurate and pleasant to work with.’

‘Zane Veidemane Berzina has unique and outstanding knowledge of payment services regulation and AML requirements.’

Key clients

European Central Bank

Sun Finance

Latvian Alternative Finance Association

4Finance Holding

SIA Monetizator

Work highlights

  • Advised Extra Credit on the impact of legislative amendments on its commercial activities and corporate governance structure.
  • Successfully represented the European Central Bank in a case in the European Court of Justice against the Republic of Latvia regarding the suspension of the governor of Latvijas Banka, Ilmārs Rimševics.
  • Advising the Financial and Capital Market Commission on the liquidation of VEF Bank.

Primus Derling

Primus Derling's practice advises on a range of banking and capital markets matters, including personal financing, bond issuances, investment funds and international finance. Kristīne Gaigule-Šāvēja and Sintija Radionova jointly lead the team; Radionova is representing Uctam Baltics, a subsidiary of UniCredit Group, in several banking and finance matters. Senior associate Konstantīns Teļakovs and associate and certified AML specialist Kristīna Markeviča, who joined the firm in May 2019, are also key members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Kristīne Gaigule-Šāvēja; Sintija Radionova

Key clients

Jyske Bank AS

LSEZ Dan Store SIA

Energia verde SIA

Luminor Bank AS Latvijas filiāle

Uctam Baltics SIA

Work highlights

  • Advised Luminor Bank on a case-to-case to basis regarding dispute resolution in banking matters.
  • Advising Energoecon the sale of 70% of its shares to BaltCap Infrastructure Fund.

VILGERTS

VILGERTS' banking and finance practice is particularly strong on the transactional side, including advising on leveraged buyouts, escrow accounts and bank guarantees. The firm also undertakes project finance work and banking sector litigation. Gints Vilgerts heads the team and has 'vast experience' in this area, with knowledge of project finance and transactional matters. 'Very professional' associate Vairis Dmittrijevs is noted for project finance work.

Practice head(s):

Gints Vilgerts

Testimonials

‘Vilgerts has a compact team, but it is able to cover all key areas. Due to its small size, information moves quickly inside the office.’

‘Vairis Dmitrijevs is very professional, and is also good negotiator and is able to find a compromise with other side.’

‘Gints Vilgerts has vast experience from very different fields, and he is excellent at brainstorming and coming up with out-of-the-box solutions in complicated situations.’

Key clients

BPM Capital

Ministry of Economics of the Republic of Latvia

Balcia Insurance SE

Expobank AS

GroGlass SIA

Work highlights

  • Assisted Briežu Invest on two apartment building construction projects, including advice on various amendments to the construction and financing agreements.
  • Assisted Air Baltic Corporation with the acquisition of an aircraft maintenance hangar located in the territory of Riga International Airport.

Deloitte Legal in Latvia

Deloitte Legal in Latvia has advised clients on syndicated loans, leasing facilities and AML matters. Maris Liguts, one of the team heads, advises domestic and international clients on issues such as debt restructuring, syndicated loans and financing transactions. Managing associate Aleksandra Mejertale has expertise in assisting national and international financial institutions with compliance issues. Managing associate Ivita Samlaja  has acted for financial institutions and corporate clients on loans, debt collection and financial transactions.

Practice head(s):

Maris Liguts; Aleksandra Mejertale; Ivita Samlaja

Key clients

SIA Monify

SEB banka

Amenda Markets AS IBS

Polipaks

SIA Lampl

Work highlights

  • Assisted the Alternative Financial Services Association of Latvia with non-bank lender-performed customer identification and due diligence processes.
  • Advised on the compliance of Monify’s internal AML and CTF procedures for customer due diligence processes with Latvian laws and regulations.

LEADELL Fogels, Vitols & Paipa

LEADELL Fogels, Vitols & Paipa's practice counts banks, governmental financial entities and private individuals as clients. Karlis Vitols and Ilze Jankevica co-head the team; Vitols is a specialist in the sector and has advised on debt recovery matters and acted for clients in cross-border cases, while Jankevica has experience representing banks in the Supreme Court of Latvia and knowledge of financing agreements.

Practice head(s):

Karlis Vitols; Ilze Jankevica

Key clients

North American Fur Auctions Inc.

ROD Solutions

Swedbank

The Payment House

Luminor Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised The Payment House on the requirements imposed by the Financial and Capital Market Commission of Latvia to become a payment institution.
  • Representing Luminor Bank, Swedbank, Altum and ROD Solutions in debt recovery matters before the courts and arbitration panels.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal's banking and finance practice provides advice on syndicated loans, investments, real estate funds and the implementation of regulatory frameworks. The firm has public and private sector clients. Managing senior associate Maris Butans and senior associate Janis Gavars jointly lead the team; Butans is experienced in compliance and regulatory matters and is noted for AML work, and Gavars advises clients on banking regulations, corporate finance and securities. Associate Anastasija Slobodenuka is an AML specialist who is likewise recommended.

Practice head(s):

Maris Butans; Janis Gavars

Key clients

West Kredit AS

PlusPlus Capital AS

SEB Lizings SIA

YIT Latvijas SIA

WESS Motors AS

Work highlights

  • Advised 4finance on an early loan repayment and its impact on permissible credit levels.
  • Performed a gap analysis on the AML internal control system for West Kredit.
  • Assisted Liplat Holding with regard to the mandatory bid provided to the minority shareholders of Grindeks. (AM CHECK – would it be possible to clarify the banking and finance aspects of this?)