Competition/antitrust in Poland
Allen & Overy, A. Pedzich sp. k.
Allen & Overy, A. Pedzich sp. k. handles all aspects of Polish and EU antitrust law as part of the firm's integrated US and European practice group. Department head Marta Sendrowicz is co-ordinating merger approvals before EU, Macedonian, Serbian and Montenegrin competition authorities for Poland-based Generali CEE Holding in relation to its €245m acquisition of Adriatic Slovenica. On the contentious front, she acted for Cemex Polska in an appeal against a cartel decision before the Polish Competition Authority, leading to a significantly reduced fine. Senior associate Olga Wiśniewska-Łukasiuk is another key name on the team. Justyna Michalik left the firm in 2018.
Iwona Terlecka leads the department at Clifford Chance, which has expertise in all aspects of cartel and antitrust law, including litigation, compliance, economic analysis and state aid matters. The group also has significant experience in high-level consumer protection investigations Highlights for team head Iwona Terlecka included representing Lafarge at the Court of Appeal, following success in proceedings before the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection and the Competition Court in a major cement cartel case. In another stand-out matter (in conjunction with Luke Tolaini and Samantha Ward from the London office), Terlecka is acting for a bank in an ongoing investigation before the European Commission following accusations of a cartel arrangement relating to e-payment systems. Bartosz Targański is recommended for his expertise in merger issues, while Piotr Bogdanowicz specialises in state aid cases.
Dentons has experience providing antitrust advice to corporates across a number of sectors, including power, utilities, TMT, real estate and banking. The group is also often called upon to assist clients facing dawn raids. Agnieszka Stefanowicz-Barańska leads the team and also serves as chair of the Polish Competition Law Association. Highlights included successfully obtaining unconditional clearance from the Office for Compeition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) for Berry Global in relation to its takeover of Clopay Plastic Products Company. Anna Gulińska is another key name; she advised the Polish government on the implementation of the EU Private Enforcement Directive in 2017.
Greenberg Traurig Grzesiak sp. k.'s team is noted as 'professional and reliable' and particularly stands out for its 'international experience'. Department head Robert Gago, who clients rate for his 'deep insight, confidence and empathy', was promoted to partner in January 2018 and specialises in representing clients in administrative antitrust proceedings before competition enforcement authorities. Alongside Lejb Fogelman, Łukasz Pawlak and London's Stephen Horvath, Gago advised BNP Paribas Group on competition and antitrust matters regarding the structuring of its acquisition of the core banking business of Raiffeisen Bank Polska. Ewa Tabor-Maciejewska and Radosław Pawluk are other key contacts.
Linklaters' team of 'highly qualified' practitioners advises a range of local and international corporations on matters including merger control, behavioural and contentious competition matters. Department head Małgorzata Szwaj and Jonas Koponen acted for Scripps Networks Interactive on the merger control aspects of its acquisition by Discovery Communications; proceedings which were successful before the European Commission on the condition of the introduction of a price-controlling licensing remedy. Szwaj and Cezary Wiśniewski successfully defended Orange Polska in abuse of dominance proceedings and against an antitrust infringement damages claim brought by another mobile operator. Of counsel Agata Zawłocka-Turno is also recommended.
According to one client, the 'very commercial' team at WKB Wiercinski, Kwiecinski, Baehr delivers 'concise expert advice, with no irritating disclaimers or lengthy citations', putting 'risk at the centre' of everything it does. It is jointly led by Aleksander Stawicki, who 'has a business mindset and broad perspective', and 'excellent communicator' Bartosz Turno, who is noted for his expertise in disputes. In one stand-out matter, Stawicki successfully represented Goldman Sachs in merger control proceedings before the Polish Competition Authority (PCA) concerning its takeover of Robyg. Turno is defending ING Bank before the European Commission against allegations that it entered into an agreement restricting competition.
Baker & McKenzie Krzyżowski i Wspólnicy Spółka Komandytowa handles competition and consumer protection matters from both a contentious and non-contentious perspective. The team works closely with the firm's global competition and antitrust group, particularly in the Brussels office, to advise on multi-jurisdictional projects and transactions. It is also highly experienced in assisting clients before, during and after dawn raids. Department head Mikolaj Piaskowski successfully represented Sika Holding in merger control proceedings before the PCA concerning its acquisition of a controlling stake in Fidelio Holding and its subsidiaries. He is also advising Hewlett Packard Enterprise on state aid and other competition issues relating to its reorganisation. Katarzyna Manteuffel is another key name, with expertise in consumer protection, unfair competition regulation and product safety matters.
In addition to merger control and antitrust services, the team at CMS is also experienced in consumer protection, unfair competition, state aid and public procurement issues. The group also handles all aspects of PCA investigations into suspected anti-competitive activities, including in dawn raids and antimonopoly proceedings. Highlights for team leader Małgorzata Urbańska included successfully representing Bombardier Transportation in an appeal against the PCA's anti-competitive conduct decision pertaining to the client's participation in a public tender. She also advised Medtronic on a variety of competition compliance matters regarding the sale of its medical device products on the Polish market. Senior associate Agnieszka Starzyńska is also recommended for merger control and compliance matters, while Izabela Biernat is noted for her expertise in the competition aspects of distribution contracts and e-commerce.
Hansberry Tomkiel's 'efficient' team stands out for its 'ability to understand the specificities of a given market', drawing on 'diversified expertise in competition rules', which includes Polish, European and US competition law. Dorothy Hansberry-Bieguńska and Małgorzata Krasnodębska-Tomkiel have significant government experience having worked as a senior litigator at the Department of Justice and chaired the UOKiK respectively before founding the firm in 2014. Hansberry-Bieguńska represented a healthcare company in an investigation by the PCA into allegations of vertical price fixing. Antoni Bolecki is also recommended, and has experience representing claimants and defendants in competition litigation. Clients include Precon Polska, Veolia Energy Poland and CEE Equity.
K&L Gates LLP
The group at K&L Gates LLP is jointly led by Marcin Trepka and counsel Lech Najbauer, who are instructed in a number of major antitrust proceedings. Highlights for the duo included successfully representing Minova Ekochem before the court of the UOKiK, leading to the revocation of a fine imposed by the Polish Antitrust Authority. Trepka also advised Innogy on merger clearance rules relating to its acquisition of BTC Power. Counsel Elżbieta Buczkowska is another name to note for EU law matters. As of May 2019, the firm's Poland office has been taken over by DWF Poland Jamka Sp.k.
Boutique competition, litigation and regulation firm Modzelewska&Pasnik specialises in heavily regulated sectors, with particular expertise in merger control and antitrust matters. In a major victory for co-managing partners Małgorzata Modzelewska de Raad and Piotr Paśnik, the duo successfully represented PGNiG before the Supreme Court, leading to a substantial reduction of a fine imposed for abuse of dominance. Other clients include Orange Polska, Bose and WSiP.
Soltysinski Kawecki & Szlezak provides the spectrum of competition advisory services to domestic and foreign clients in relation to Polish and EU law. The team is led by competition law expert Krzysztof Kanton, who represented Swiss Krono in antitrust proceedings before the PCA over collusion allegations regarding wood products; a matter which concluded with a successful leniency application. He is also defending the Polish subsidiary of The Swatch Group in an appeal against a fine for alleged price-fixing before the PCA. Senior counsels Jarosław Łukawski and Marta Kupczak-Strzelecka are also recommended.
Traple Konarski Podrecki & Partners
Competition law is a key competency of the team at Traple Konarski Podrecki & Partners, which handles abuse of dominance, cartels, price-fixing, boycott, big-rigging and market sharing matters. The group has significant experience in representing clients in anti-monopoly and merger control proceedings before the UOKiK and European Commission, as well as competition-related litigation. The team is co-led by Paweł Podrecki and Tomasz Targosz. On the advisory front, Podrecki assisted the Polish Association of Ready Mixed Concrete Producers with the establishment of a competition law compliance programme. Jan Byrski is representing the Polish Trade and Distribution Organisation in antitrust litigation against various banks following the UOKiK's judgment that they had engaged in anti-competitive behaviour relating to interchange fees.
Wardynski & Partners
Paweł Ciećwierz leads Wardynski & Partners' team, which handles the spectrum of competition matters and has significant experience before the Polish courts. Ciećwierz represented Nikon in UOKiK explanatory proceedings regarding the client's operation of a selective distribution system in Poland. He also represents Grupa Ożarów before the Competition Court, in relation to allegations of price fixing, market allocation and exchange of information between Polish cement producers following a decision by the PCA to fine the client. Senior associates Sabina Famirska and Andrzej Madała are also recommended.
BWHS Bartkowiak Wojciechowski Hałupczak Springer Sp.k.
The competition and consumer protection department at BWHS Bartkowiak Wojciechowski Hałupczak Springer Sp.k. is led by Andrzej Springer and recently added Katarzyna Racka and Łukasz Wroński, both of whom held senior positions at the UOKiK before joining the firm in July 2018. The group has developed a significant practice in competition litigation. Springer is representing Magna Polonia in a private enforcement stand-alone action against Emitel.
Hogan Lovells (Warszawa) LLP
The 'business-oriented' team at Hogan Lovells (Warszawa) LLP consists of 'real experts in their area, with comprehensive experience'. 'Exceptional' team leader Piotr Skurzyński is 'distinguished by his vast knowledge in the field of competition law' and 'always focuses on creating solutions rather than just identifying the risk'. Alongside Washington's Logan Breed and Beijing's Adrian Emch, Skurzyński successfully represented Marvell in global merger control proceedings before the PCA, following its $6.1bn acquisition of its rival Cavium.
Kieszkowska Rutkowska Kolasinski Kancelaria Prawna sp. j.
Kieszkowska Rutkowska Kolasinski Kancelaria Prawna sp. j. predominantly advises clients in the pharmaceutical and medical sectors on regulatory and competition law. The group has particular expertise in public procurement and anti-monopoly proceedings. Name partner Marcin Kolasiński leads the team, which consists of 'seasoned experts with deep understanding of the market and legal environment'. Dariusz Aziewicz joined from SPCG sp.k. in June 2018 and has significant experience representing clients in administrative proceedings.
White & Case M. Studniarek i Wspólnicy - Kancelaria Prawna sp.k.'s team advises clients on the spectrum of competition law issues, particularly in relation to antitrust, mergers and state aid. The team is co-led by counsel Jakub Gubański and Katarzyna Czapracka, who divides her time between Warsaw and Brussels and was promoted to partner in January 2019. Gubański advised Coast2Coast Capital on the competition aspects of its acquisition of joint control over Stella Pack.
DLA Piper's department is led by Andrzej Balicki, who is representing Saltex Europa in appeal proceedings before the Competition Court against the decision by the UOKiK concerning alleged bid-rigging practices. The group has a strong competition advisory practice and handles compliance work for Philips Polska, Zakłady Farmaceutyczne Polpharma and Kesko Corporation.
FKA Furtek Komosa Aleksandrowicz
Gide Loyrette Nouel handles competition matters that arise out of business operations, proceedings before the authorities and compliance issues. Practice head Dariusz Tokarczuk is advising Auchan Polska on supply policy issues. Szymon Chwaliński is recommended for his expertise in competition, consumer protection and distribution law.
Kondrat & Partners
Healthcare and life sciences boutique Kondrat & Partners has a particularly active practice relating to unfair competition disputes and consumer protection in the pharmaceutical and food sectors, in which the team is noted for providing 'reliable advice and opinions'. Mariusz Kondrat and Justyna Stefańczyk-Kaczmarzyk are representing Novascon Pharmaceuticals in various competition and consumer law proceedings before the Chief Pharmaceutical Inspectorate.
Rymarz Zdort's team has vast experience in Polish and EU competition law matters, including merger control, cartels, abuse of dominance and state aid. Department head Iwona Her advised Argus Retail Holding, Elbrus Fundusz Inwestycyjny Zamkniety Aktywow and three private individuals on the competition aspects of the 100% sale of shares in Domelius. In a separate matter, she acted for Raiffeisen Bank International on antitrust issues relating to the disposal of the core businesses of Raiffeisen Bank Polska to BGZ BNP Paribas, and merger filings with the European Commission.