EU and competition in Latvia

Cobalt

Cobalt's EU and competition practice provides a 'high level of expertise'. The firm acts on cross-border competition matters, particularly abuse of dominance cases, in industries such as banking, waste management and energy. Dace Silava-Tomsone heads the team and specialises in cartel and merger control work; in a recent highlight, she assisted Kesko Senukai Latvia with obtaining merger clearance for the lease of retail premises in Cēsis. Senior associate Ugis Zeltins advised BaltCap Infrastructure Fund on securing merger clearance from the Competition Council of Latvia regarding its acquisition of 70% of the shares in Energia Verde. Associate Ivo Maskalāns is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Dace Silava-Tomsone

Testimonials

‘The team offers a high level of expertise that meets the highest expectations. Experts from Cobalt dig deep into issues to deliver the best result.’

‘Dace Silava Tomsone is to my mind the best competition lawyer in Latvia’

‘Zeltins is great in EU and competition law and great in litigation.’

Key clients

Eco Baltia Vide

Roche

Akzo Nobel

AS Kesko Senukai Latvia

AS Luminor Banka

Work highlights

  • Represented Kesko Senukai Latvia in an appeal against the decision of the Latvian Competition Council to impose a fine for alleged vertical and horizontal agreements aimed at resale price maintenance on the Latvian plasterboard market.
  • Advised BaltCap Infrastructure Fund on obtaining merger clearance in relation to the acquisition of 70% of shares in Energia Verde, a biomass combined heat and power plant in the Riga region, from Latvian company Energoeco.
  • Advised Roche Latvija, a subsidiary of Roche Group, on securing merger clearance in relation to the acquisition of the Roche diagnostics solutions and Sysmex haematology solutions distribution business from Medilink.

Ellex

Ellex’s strong EU and competition practice is active in matters before the Competition Council as well as the national and European courts. The firm acts on antitrust, state aid and merger control cases, including representing clients in litigation and providing compliance advice. Managing partner Liga Merwin heads the team. The 'practical' and 'reliable' Merwin is representing Maxima Latvija in four merger control cases where the client acquired retail space previously used by competitors. 'Top competition law expert' Martins Gailis  represented TD Trans and Maksims Znotēns as co-defendants in a private damages action for the alleged violation of an employee non-compete clause and unfair competition brought by CF&S Latvia. Senior associate Edvijs Zandars advises on EU law compliance matters and competition issues in the Latvian market.

Practice head(s):

Liga Merwin

Testimonials

‘Liga Merwin, managing partner, and Martins Gailis stand out both individually and as a team. Reliable, trusted, practical and with a very personalised approach.’

‘Liga Merwin and Martins Gailis are top competition law experts with excellent knowledge of the finance industry and the ability to provide very practical advice and help. This is complemented with a client focus and a tailored approach to the service needed.’

Key clients

LG Electronics

SportsDirect

Connexus Baltic Grid

Japan Tobacco International

Forum Cinemas (Odeon Group)

Work highlights

  • Representing Forum Cinemas in an alleged dominance investigation by the competition authority of Latvia.
  • Advising Sportland on several contemplated transactions requiring merger filings in Latvia and potentially other Baltic states.
  • Represented Swedbank in an investigation into alleged abuse of dominance regarding pricing and access to banking services.

Sorainen

Sorainen's practice handles both contentious and non-contentious competition matters. The firm advises on trade relations, abuse of dominance cases and merger clearances. Ieva Andersone leads the team; in a recent highlight, she assisted Stena Line with a merger clearance in regard to its acquisition of control over Baltreiss. Rūdolfs Eņģelis has experience representing clients before the Competition Council in matters relating to alleged antitrust violations and merger clearances. Senior associate Marika Grunte advises on cartels and abuse of dominance matters.

Practice head(s):

Ieva Andersone

Key clients

Baltcom

HKScan Latvia

L’Oreal Baltic

Balta AAS

Tomega

Work highlights

  • Advised telecoms company Bitė on entering into a framework agreement with Tele2 to create a shared radio access network in Lithuania and Latvia. Network sharing will not affect product and services competition outside the scope of the cooperation agreement – both Bitė and Tele2 will continue to operate as completely independent entities.
  • Assisted Musado in preparation of an extensive application to the Competition Council (the CC) where we described the possible Competition Law infringements by Latvian Taekwondo Federation. The possible infringements involve both prohibited agreements and abuse of dominant position.
  • Assisting Stena Line AB, one of the leading ferry operators in the Baltic Sea, with a merger clearance. Stena Line AB was acquiring control over Baltreiss, a Latvian logistics company.

Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns

Eversheds Sutherland Bitāns' practitioners are active in cases before the Latvian Competition Council and the Latvian courts relating to infringement of competition law. The firm also advises on compliance, state aid and merger control matters. Edijs Poga heads the team; his recent work includes providing competition law compliance and merger control advice to the Vitol Group. Senior associate Zanda Zaļuma is a specialist in EU law and Latvian competition law and regularly acts on merger control matters. Senior associate Gunta Lokastova has experience in a variety of industries and is known for her advice in cases on abuse of dominance and prohibited agreements.

Practice head(s):

Edijs Poga

Key clients

Novalpina Capital Management International LLP

Scania

Liepāja Special Economic Zone

Adidas

Vitol Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Citadele banka, a leading Latvian commercial bank, on Latvian and EU competition law, including day-to-day competition law compliance issues, the merger control aspects of certain M&A transactions and matters before the Latvian Competition Council.
  • Representing Latvian news agency Leta and its shareholder, MM Grupp, in an investigation carried out by the Latvian Competition Council concerning certain aspects of the implementation of the merger of MM Grupp, its affiliates and Leta.
  • Advising Adidas on a review of its antitrust and competition law policy to ensure compliance with the requirements of local competition law.

Kronbergs Cukste Levin

Kronbergs Čukste Levin's practice handles competition law matters for private clients and state authorities, and often appears before the European Commission and the Latvian Competition Council. Valters Kronbergs heads the team. He and Zane Veidemane Bērziņa recently assisted DLA Piper with respect to the application of Latvian merger regulations to anticipated transactions involving several companies owned by Gazprom. Bērziņa is experienced in the rail and gas sectors and acts on antitrust cases. The firm also advises on the competition law aspects of corporate and finance deals.

Practice head(s):

Valters Kronbergs

Key clients

Reckitt Benckiser

Bridgestone

DHL

Linstow

Electrolux

Work highlights

  • Advised the Road Traffic Safety Directorate in relation to an investigation initiated by the Latvian Competition Council into the competition conditions on the market for vehicle checks.
  • Advised Electrolux with respect to the introduction of a sell out tracking system, including the co-ordination of competition compliance checks in more than six jurisdictions.
  • Advised the Latvian Competition Council regarding possible competition law abuses by banks in relation to fintech.

TGS Baltic

TGS Baltic's EU and competition practice is co-led by Andra Rubene and senior associate Māra Stabulniece. State aid, abuse of dominance and prohibited agreements cases are undertaken by the firm, in addition to competition law audits and training. Rubene represented Krūza in a hub and spoke cartel case initiated by the Competition Council of Latvia. Stabulniece has been notable on antitrust damages claims. Associate Vladlena Rudusāne-Simiča, who advises on regulatory and state aid issues, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Andra Rubene; Māra Stabulniece

Testimonials

‘The team perfectly understood the issues to be solved and their work was efficient and target-orientated.’

‘Excellent knowledge in competition law, great communication skills.

‘Mara Stabulniece is both attentive to the details and fast to react to new circumstances.’

‘The team consists of experts of their field who are able to offer a solution that is suitable to the client. The combination of competence, fast pace and connection with the client makes TGS Baltic good legal advisers.’

Key clients

SIA Apranga

SIA Krūza

SIA Tele2

AS Latvenergo

Volvo Trucks

Work highlights

  • Advising Tele2 on the competition law and telecoms regulatory issues related to potential network sharing with Bite in Latvia and Lithuania.
  • Assisted Augstsprieguma tīkls with obtaining merger clearance by the Competition Council of Latvia for the potential acquisition of a decisive influence over Conexus Baltic Grid.
  • Advised Apranga on ensuring clearance by the Competition Council of the expansion of its Zara store premises.

VILGERTS

VILGERTS’ full-service competition law practice is headed by Debora Pāvila and Jūlija Jerņeva. Pāvila represented Møller Mobility Group in litigation challenging the Competition Council's €7.4m fine for an alleged cartel. Jerņeva represented Rimi Latvia in two competition cases challenging the Competition Council's decisions regarding the acquisition of lease rights. Domestic and cross-border antitrust litigation, compliance advice and merger clearance matters are among the key areas of strength of the practice. Associate Jānis Sarāns departed in April 2019 for Cobalt.

Practice head(s):

Debora Pāvila; Jūlija Jerņeva

Key clients

Moller Auto Baltic AS

Lursoft SIA

Cido Grupa SIA

Latvijas Mobilais Telefons SIA

Air Baltic Corporation AS

Work highlights

  • Advised retail chain top! on the compliance of terms of contracts with competition laws.
  • Advised Firma Madara 89 on its acquisition of Lars Limited. Drafted a merger notification for acquisition by Firma Madara 89 SIA of control over Lars Limited SIA, another operator of grocery shops. The Competition Council cleared the merger on 30 August 2018.
  • Advised Rimi Latvia SIA on terms of contracts with suppliers. Regularly engaged by the client for advice on the terms of its agreements and daily operations with suppliers to ensure compliance with the Unfair Retail Trade Practices Prohibition Law.