EU and competition in Lithuania
Cobalt acts on competition matters in the banking and finance, energy and infrastructure sectors. Led by the 'quick-witted and hard-working' Rasa Zaščiurinskaitė the team acts for a mix of major domestic and international companies. Zaščiurinskaitė and managing partner Irmantus Norkus advise Lithuanian Railways on competition law compliance matters related to possible abuse of dominance, anti-competitive agreements, and state aid matters. The firm also generates work from clients in industries such as energy and infrastructure, telecoms, banking and finance, construction and life sciences, among many others.
‘A wide range of professionals. Plenty of experts of different fields allow them to provide the highest quality of services.’
‘I have been communicating with Ms. Rasa Zaščiurinskaitė, lawyer and partner of the law firm for 5 years. She’s a very experienced lawyer not only in EU and competition law field, but also in energy law. She is a quick-witted, hard-working, keen to learning and caring lawyer, always providing action plans, strategies and necessary information or other feedback in due course.’
‘Partner Rasa Zaščiurinskaitė does not only manage her team very well, but also demonstrates great deal of personal involvement (and deep knowledge of the subject), whenever necessary. Partner Irmantas Norkus is an excellent strategist, capable of seeing the big picture in complex matters.’
Air Baltic Corporation
- Advised Reitan Convenience AS (operator of one of the largest chains of convenience stores in Europe) on the competition aspects of its acquisition of UAB Keturi Kambariai (owner of the leading chain of coffeehouses in the Baltic States). The firm obtained unconditional clearance following a complex phase two investigation, despite objections being raised by some market participants.
- Defending security company G4S Lietuva (G4S) in civil litigation initiated by competitor Eurocash1, which claims damages on the basis of anticompetitive agreements allegedly concluded between G4S and three major commercial banks in Lithuania.
- Assisted the INVL Baltic Sea Growth Fund, one of Lithuania’s leading asset management companies, with its indirect purchase of a 70% stake in the InMedica chain of primary health care centres.
Jaunius Gumbis, Dovile Greblikiene and Marius Juonys jointly lead Ellex's team, which excels in merger reviews, high-profile abuse of dominance cases and matters involving anticompetitive agreements. Karolis Kacerauskas acts for clients at all levels in state aid matters, including the national courts, the European Commission (EC) and the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Juonys and Gumbis represented the Lithuanian Basketball Federation in a case launched by the European Commission against FIBA over the restriction of competition among basketball clubs.
‘Marius Juonys makes this practice unique.’
‘The team is very strong and has a professional practice in Lithuania and EU, therefore their legal advice is very beneficial and thorough. They are unique in reacting promptly, in advising several solutions, they also have good communication with the institutions which makes their advice even more beneficial as they understand how the state authority thinks. I think their overall thinking makes them exceptional.’
‘Specific sector knowledge and insights in quite a small market (Baltic States).’
‘In my opinion, Marius Juonys is the best specialist in this field.’
‘There are several law firms that provide good legal services, but what I personally like about the Ellex team is that they are all (including the team leaders) involved in a matter from the very beginning, they are available when needed. This makes them trustworthy and close to the client’s needs.’
‘Specific sector knowledge.’
‘Partner to mention: Karolis Kacerauskas.’
‘Marius Juonys is exceptional!’
Ministry of Energy
- Represented Veolia Group at the the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania in an appeal of the decision by the Lithuanian Competition Council (LCC) to impose a €19m fine on the client for entering into an exclusive biofuel purchase agreement with Bionovus, which was deemed to be anticompetitive.
- Representing Panevezio statybos trestas at the the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania in an appeal of the decision by the LCC to impose an €8.5m fine on the client for entering into allegedly anticompetitive joint bidding agreements.
- Represented Lietuvos Keliai at the European Commission in relation to a its complaint about state aid granted to state-owned enterprise Keliu prieziura.
Motieka & Audzevicius
Motieka & Audzevicius 'always performs at a top-level' in regulatory investigations, merger control and competition litigation. It acts for clients in a wide range of sectors, such as aviation, energy and TMT. 'Innovative' and 'experienced' team head Ramūnas Audzevičius is acting for Caparol Lietuva in an investigation by the National Competition Authority into an alleged price- fixing cartel among suppliers and distributors of construction materials. Jovitas Elzbergas is also noted for his experience of disputes, as is associate Henrikas Stelmokaitis, who is 'the perfect counsel'. Associate Rita Paukštė is another name to note.
‘The firm’s antitrust team is very aggressive and flexible. They identify the less obvious strategies and implement them flawlessly. The attention to the business side of legal questions is very commendable.’
‘Motieka & Audzevicius is vigorous and provides results. The team we work with never gives up and finds a solution in at first glance predetermined cases. Attention to peculiarities of our business (and understanding of them) is the most distinguishing characteristic of the team.’
‘The team always performs on a top-level and provides a full and realistic strategy of a dispute or problem-solving steps at the initial stage taking into account every scenario. This allows being confident that there would be no surprises.’
‘The broad knowledge of the national, EU and worldwide competition case law and practical peculiarities of a number of industries enables the team to provide non-standard solutions. Even in situations that seem to bring no hope the team is always able to bring a strategy that is effective not only in legal but in business perspective as well.’
‘The team always presents a variety of individual business-oriented solutions that best matches our needs, whereas other law firms sometimes demonstrate a lack of industry knowledge.’
‘The practice is a one-window approach, i.e. input and output are supervised by one professional making it easy for the client to communicate its needs.’
‘Partners Jovitas Elzbergas and Ramunas Audzevicius are very experienced litigators who you can rely on in any circumstances. Senior associate Rita Griguolaite and associate Henrikas Stelmokaitis know their craft and always surprise with their out-of-the-box solutions for complex situations.’
‘If you are in a complex dispute or there is no clear solution for a dispute, Jovitas Elzbergas and Ramunas Audzevičius are the representatives you want to handle your case. They are both outstanding and complement each other perfectly. In antitrust disputes, Rita Griguolaitė and Mr. Henrikas Stelmokaitis are notable lawyers that do not play by opponents rules and find legal solutions at a first glance.’
‘The lead antitrust expert in the firm is Ramunas Audzevicius, supported by experienced associate Henrikas Stelmokaitis in antitrust disputes. Ramunas’ passion for his craft is of a kind to look up to and his experience in competition disputes is exceptional. Ramunas always comes up with innovative and well-prepared methods that result in legally and business-wise positive outcomes.’
‘Henrikas is a perfect counsel in antitrust disputes. He knows how to communicate with both the client and the court in a language that is most understandable and mesmerizing for them. The lawyer quickly understands the core issue of a problem and always presents effective solutions. From years of being represented by Henrikas, it is obvious that his legal preparation and on the ground experience of antitrust issues combines well with an understanding of industries’ peculiarities.’
‘Thinking outside the box is an essential point that credits the team. They dedicate themselves to finding the client-friendly solution.’
Kesko Senukai Digital
- Acted for Kesko Senukai Digital on the acquisition of a pan-Baltic e-commerce business, which involved obtaining merger clearance.
- Assisted Publicum Group with creating a joint venture with HAVAS by coordinating the necessary competition clearance.
- Representing Linas Agro in a dispute with Lithuanian customs authorities. The client imported chemical fertilisers from countries outside of the EU and the authorities challenged the classification of the goods. The issues in the case are two-fold: 1) violation of the fundamental right to legal defence as the authorities breached their duty of reasoning; and 2) declined repeated requests for the evidence and incorrect application of the EU law, namely Combined Nomenclature.
Sorainen's team is 'well-equipped with knowledge and business acumen.' The firm covers the full range of competition law matters, including those concerning state aid, anticompetitive agreements, abuses of dominance and merger control. 'Extremely professional' team head Daivis Švirinas is representing the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Commission’s investigation into allegedly unlawful state aid being granted to state-owned enterprise Keliu prieziura. Senior associate Monika Mališauskaitė-Vaupšienė has particular expertise in prohibited agreements between competitors and non-competing entities. Senior associate Edita Daukšienė, who is 'exceptionally dedicated', advises local and international clients on merger reviews and state aid cases across the Baltic region.
‘The team is well-equipped with knowledge and business acumen. We can always expect a robust and up to the point advice.’
‘l would describe the team as highly qualified, having a knowledge of recent case-law and legislation and who can advise on a variety of issues.’
‘In my opinion, the Sorainen’s competition team is one of the strongest in the market. We have been working with it for many years. We are happy that the services provided not only involve legal advice, but also business consultations as well. It is very important for a business to receive advice which covers the big picture.’
‘Dedication to the client, willingness to help, prepared and thoughtful solutions, quality of service in the first place and constructive communication makes collaboration a pleasure.’
‘Monika Mališauskaitė— and Daivis Svirinas promptly respond to enquiries, are always easily accessible, give full and detailed comments, have very good knowledge of competition.’
‘The team is led by Daivis Svirinas. He is extremely professional and has a deep knowledge of our industry. Monika Mališauskaitė is an experienced competition lawyer who provides the exact solutions we need and is very protective of our matters. He takes care of them as if they are her own.’
‘Daivis Svirinas has a bird’s eye view of every task.’
‘Edita Daukšienė is an exceptionally dedicated senior lawyer with deep knowledge and willingness to provide quality services.’
- Assisted Vienna Insurance Group AG Wiener Versicherung Gruppe with obtaining clearance from the Lithuanian Competition Council of its acquisition of Seesam Insurance.
- Assisted Bitė Lietuva with filing an abuse of dominance claim in relation to the dark fibre retail broadband market.
- Representing construction company Irdaiva in a landmark competition case in Lithuania concerning the assessment of consortia agreements under competition law requirements.
TGS Baltic, which covers all areas of competition law, has a particularly strong track record handling major competition investigations by the Lithuanian Competition Council (LCC) and other antitrust cases involving novel legal issues. Lauras Butkevičius is representing the Lithuanian Pharmacy Association in an LCC investigation into an alleged cartel among major Lithuanian retail pharmacy chains. Butkevičius leads the practice. Darius Miniotas left the firm.
‘TGS Baltic’s competition law team has strong knowledge of the subject. It can give you advice on competition law in cases when the question is related to other fields of law. The team is very good at identifying most important issues and delivering solutions for them.’
‘TGS Baltic’s competition law team sees the whole picture and its solutions are part of the whole strategy of the case. As a client, we feel that our issues are dealt with due diligence.’
‘We mainly work with Lauras Butkevicius, who is a working partner – you can always be sure that you will get personal touch from the partner and your matter will not be delegated so junior staff. If Lauras brings in associates, they always work together as team. Our main experience is in merger control field where Lauras is a top lawyer in the Baltics. His knowledge is not limited to Lithuania only – you can get reliable advice regarding both national and EU merger control matters. What we like specifically is that we always get advice that is not legalistic, meaning that Lauras tries to find solutions for real life situations and does not provide formalistic advice.’
‘Strong and exceptional knowledge of competition case law in EU and Lithuania. Strategic orientation in processes and prognosis institutions actions. Creation of effective compliance program orientated to the Company and market tendencies.’
‘Lauras Butkevičius has strong knowledge and abundant practice in competition law. He provides high level of service. Lauras Butkevičius makes in-depth analysis of the issue and delivers strategic solutions for it. We see Lauras Butkevičius as a top-expert in competition law in Lithuania, and we would highly recommend Lauras Butkevičius for competition law issues.’
‘Lauras Butkevicius is well known as expert of competition law with outstanding competence. All practical experiences also are supported by strong theoretical background and constantly updates from key events of competition law worldwide. Strong portfolio of wide practices in most famous and difficult Lithuania’s competition cases. Deep knowledge about specific market that company operates in.’
Avia Solutions Group
Lithuanian Chamber of Notaries
East Capital Explorer
- Advised Lithuanian postal services provider AB Lietuvos paštas on the LCCs investigation into allegations that the client abused its dominant position.
- Representing AB Klaipėdos nafta as the respondent in a circa €6m damages action brought by UAB Krovinių terminalas over an alleged abuse of dominance by the client in the market for loading and storing certain petroleum products.
- Representing EUROAPOTHECA group companies in an investigation by the LCC into an alleged cartel among major Lithuanian retail pharmacy chains operating in the framework of the Lithuanian Pharmacy Association.
GLIMSTEDT Bernotas & Partners
GLIMSTEDT Bernotas & Partners has a particularly standout reputation in highly challenging merger reviews, cartel investigations and competition litigation. Its team is led by Andrius Ivanauskas, who focuses on abuse of dominance cases and corporate competition compliance programmes. In one highlight, Ivanauskas acted for Dorkanas in an LCC cartel investigation. Senior associate Feliksas Miliutis is highly active in the state aid sphere.
Theatrical Film Distribution
- Assisted UAB APL Restaurants, which belongs to Apollo Group OÜ, in a merger filing concerning its takeover of full control of UAB OZO BOULINGAS.
- Advised Iron Wolf Capital on compliance with EU state aid regulations and raising public funding for its fund.
- Advised Business Angels Fund on compliance with EU state aid regulations and raising public funding.
WALLESS' team is noted by clients for its 'professionalism and flexibility.' In addition to acting for clients in behavioural investigations brought by the LCC, other work includes merger reviews and state aid cases. The team is led by the 'dedicated' Laura Ziferman, who is working with associate Giedre Banyte to advise Vilnius City Municipality Administration on the awarding of the concession for the construction and operation of a multifunctional health and sport complex; the work includes notifying European Commission of the state aid aspects of the project. Darius Miniotas joined the firm in early 2021.
‘Laura Ziferman and Giedre Banyte have showed an outstanding results in delivering with very strict deadlines and with a high quality. Doing a very complicated case (73 in-house companies were involved), they have showed their professionalism and flexibility in understanding customer and regulator specific needs. Their dedication and accountability helped achieve perfect results on time.’
‘‘Laura Ziferman is very dedicated leader and reliable person. She has experience of various sectors and she has showed it with full involvement, responsibility and professionalism. Giedre Banyte, her team member, worked very hard and with high accuracy to the details. She was always delivering with high speed, which makes them unique.’
‘Senior associate Giedre Padaigiene and partner Laura Ziferman. Both are proactive and competent in their field.’
Baltic Horizon Fund
Kaunas City Municipality
- Represented Luminor Bank in the EUCJ preliminary ruling procedure, which relates to the mis-selling of index-linked bonds to individual investors.
- Advised Baltic Horizon Fund on the acquisition of the Business Centre Duetto.
- Acted for Affidea Lietuva on the acquisition of its rival Medicinos paslaugų grupė, which required a complex competition assessment.
Eversheds Saladžius (a member of Eversheds Sutherland), whose practice is jointly led by Rimtis Puišys and Tomas Rymeikis, is a strong performer in merger reviews and behavioural investigations. Rymeikis' recent work included assisting clients with multijurisdictional M&A, and related regulatory and merger clearance issues. Associate Manvydas Borusas is also noted for his expertise in antitrust regulations and competition clearances.
‘Cooperation, openness, trust and experience.’
‘Communication style is just fantastic. Jonas Saladžius is an exceptional partner with great attitude, knowledge and experience.’
Berlin Chemie Menarini
- Advising Circle K Lietuva on competition clearance matters.
- Advice to Fortum Heat regarding regulatory matters and CO2 emissions related to waste-to-energy power plant operation.
- Provided Fortum Klaipeda with energy sector regulatory advice.
Primus Derling is equally strong in cartel cases and public procurement matters, as well as merger control and state aid work. The firm also advises clients on the implementation of the GDPR and anti-money laundering directives. Team head Giedrė Dailidėnaitė has experience of acting for clients in a wide variety of sectors, including finance, real estate and IT. Tomas Venckus is noted for his strength in EU public procurement.
‘Excellent team work, never one person show.’
‘Fully dedicated to client’s cause, independently of the deal or matter size. Always fully committed to assisting the client. Very knowledgeable about the market and key players. Giedre Dailidėnaitė in particular is who we can recommend for corporate matters.’
‘Giedre Dailidėnaitė, superior specialist, very committed, looking for solutions.’
Blue Bridge Group
EMP Recycling UAB
- Assisted Rafako with the implementation of a major CHP plant development project, which included advice on the EU regulatory issues associated with the public procurement of a works contractor.
- Assisting Bunge Group in countering unfair competition practices by competitors.
- Assisting PKP Energetyka with an EU-funded public procurement project announced by Lithuanian railroads, including the EU regulatory aspects.