Commercial, corporate and M&a: St Petersburg and elsewhere in Russia

Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited

Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited’s ‘highly experienced’ team work ‘in close collaboration and has a solid understanding of the clients’ needs’. The firm has notable expertise in big-ticket domestic and cross-border transactions across the real estate, retail, manufacturing and automotive industries. Led by Maxim Kalinin, the practice advised Swedish food manufacturer Lantmännen on its acquisition of Orient Products, and Kesko Corporation on the €169m divestiture of 12 buildings and retail stores in Russia to a Russian division of French-headquartered Leroy Merlin. Counsel Olga Anikina is experienced in M&A transactions with a real estate and infrastructure element; Roman Ishmukhametov is ‘a very knowledgeable and committed associate’.

Capital Legal Services

Capital Legal Services is distinguished by its ‘practical and flexible client-focused approach’, ‘taking into account all the specific circumstances of the matter’. The department is led by Dmitry Churin, who ‘is deeply involved in all aspects’ and ‘sets out recommendations to include all the fine points in a very organised, clear and convincing manner’. Highlights included advising Perm Concession Company on corporate issues and shareholders agreements concerning a major transportation project in Perm. Pavel Karpunin has extensive expertise in investments and acquisitions made by foreign entities. Managing partner Vladislav Zabrodin is also of note.

Dentons

Dentons’ team demonstrates ‘great initiative and out-of-the-box thinking’ and has broad coverage advising on large-scale projects in the North West and other major cities in Russia, with a strong focus on cross-border M&A deals, the competition aspects of transactions and risk assessments related to sanctions. Recently promoted to head of the corporate department, Evgenia Teterevkova focuses on the structuring of local and cross-border M&A deals, corporate restructuring and joint ventures; in one recent example, she assisted AmRest with structuring the transaction to acquire a KFC franchise business in the Krasnodar region. Counsels Sergey Fedorov, Oleg Lovtsov  and Anton Poddubny ‘are extremely helpful and knowledgeable in all aspects of the transaction’. Artem Zhavoronkov is now with Borenius.

DLA Piper Rus Limited

The ‘very responsive and commercially oriented’ team at DLA Piper Rus Limited acts for a strong international client base, counting Avestra Group and Bank Saint Petersburg among its roster. The practice is praised for ‘coming up with solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems’ and has recently advised Philip Morris on the launch and expansion of the company’s new products line, including assisting with the commercial operations of the client's factories in St Petersburg and the Krasnodar region. Natalia Vygovskaya ‘is a very experienced transactional lawyer and is always focused on the business objectives of her clients’. Ruslan Vasutin is experienced in industrial investment matters, cross-border M&A transactions and tax structuring. Denis Sosedkin heads the practice. Senior associates Maria Alterman and Rostislav Strigalev are also noted.

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners

Elena Agaeva heads the corporate practice at the St Petersburg office of Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, and has a strong record advising Russian and foreign clients in the financial services, automotive, technology and mining sectors on restructuring, M&A and joint ventures. Client praise Agaeva for her ‘client-oriented approach and ability to explain difficult matters in an understandable way to a non-lawyer’. Recent highlights include assisting with the reorganisation of a major Russian bank, and advising on corporate issues concerning the opening of a plant in the Leningrad region by a major automotive supplier.

Borenius

Borenius has a strong track record in the St Petersburg region for handling major deals for major international and domestic oil and gas, real estate and private equity players. Standout mandates include acting as Russian counsel to CVC Capital Partners on the multi-jurisdictional sale of Paroc Group to Owens Corning for €900m. Recently promoted partner Alexey Nikitin leads on large and mid-sized M&A transactions and financings; his recent work includes advising Idavang Group on issuing bonds in Denmark. Managing partner Andrei Gusev is the key practitioner for acquisitions made by international entities. Artem Zhavoronkov was a new arrival from Dentons.

Castrén & Snellman St Petersburg

Castrén & Snellman St Petersburg provides ‘straight-to-the-point, concrete and practical legal advice’, and retains an ‘excellent relationship with Nordic clients and their Russian units’. Heidi Paalanen-Koev, who leads the Russian transactions department from the firm's Helsinki office, has extensive ‘experience in supporting major cross-border transactions’. Other key contacts include Sergei Lee, whose areas of expertise include M&A transactions, corporate and commercial agreements and private equity investment projects, and Anton Nakou, who ‘is a prominent expert in various areas of law relating to international trade and foreign investments’. The practice advised a company wholly owned by the Finnish government on the acquisition of the House of Finland, a multi-functional Finnish cultural centre and school in St Petersburg for $648m.

Eversheds Sutherland

The ‘very responsive and innovative’ commercial practice at Eversheds Sutherland is headed by Mikhail Timonov, who is highlighted ‘for his expertise in negotiations and exceptional legal experience’. Other key figures are counsel Anton Bakov, who is ‘efficient and always gives practical and legally sound advice’, and Anu Mattila, who focuses on international corporate law and cross-border M&A deals. The practice recently assisted Specta with the acquisition of a production company in Yekaterinburg. Other clients include Nordic & Baltic Property Group and SRV Russia.

Kachkin & Partners

According to one client, Kachkin & Partners has ‘one of the best qualified teams to handle commercial matters in the St Petersburg area and further afield’. The firm has notable expertise in acquisitions and corporate and commercial real estate matters; illustrative of this was key figure Dmitry Nekrestyanov's advice Seven Suns Development on the acquisition of a real estate corporate company, and a contraction company on development of a holding corporate structure. In other work, Kirill Saskov assisted the franchisee holder of Domino’s Pizza with franchise structuring and contracting and is advising Argentinian manufacturer Explosivos Tecnológicos Argentinos on entering the Russian market.

Maxima Legal

Clients value Maxima Legal's ‘prompt responses and ability to work to tight deadlines’ and its ‘expertise in commercial and corporate law’. The practice is notably active in assisting foreign and Russian clients with setting up joint ventures, M&A transactions and corporate restructuring. Key practitioner Natalia Diatlova and associates Maxim Ali and Anastasia Samusenko have handled a number of mandates relating to joint ventures and cross-border acquisitions in the healthcare and retail sectors.

Pepeliaev Group

Pepeliaev Group’s expertise covers joint ventures, M&A transactions, foreign direct investment, corporate governance and commercial disputes. Key partner Sergey Spasennov is assisting a client in the maritime industry with its long-term investment project in St Petersburg, and a major Russian retailer with the corporate and commercial aspects concerning its acquisition of commercial real estate premises. Sergey Sosnovsky advises on the tax aspects of transactions in the sports, construction and oil and gas sectors.

Prime Advice

Prime Advice’s commercial and M&A practice handles due diligence, the registration of new corporate entities and restructuring and insolvency. Clients include Renaissance Capital, Maxidom and PhosAgro. Managing partners Denis Khimilyayne, Inna Vavilova and Sergey Pupko are the key figures.

PwC Legal (PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal CIS B.V.)

PwC Legal (PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal CIS B.V.)'s expertise in the pharmaceutical sector saw the team advice Ipsen Pharma on the preparation of a new commercial policy and pharmaceutical regulatory issues in multiple CIS jurisdictions, and advise Grindeks on an IP asset structuring. Key contact Daria Tarasova has a strong track record in commercial ventures and competition issues, while key practitioner Evegeny Gouk specialises in contract and corporate law aspects within the IP and technology practice area.

Enforce Law Company

Yekaterinburg-based Denis Zhaychenko at Enforce Law Company has been involved in a number of commercial mandates concerning the oil and gas sector; recent examples include handling Nika-Petrotech's establishment of a joint Russian-Chinese enterprise.

GRATA International

At GRATA International, highlights included advising a European dairy producer on the acquisition of a domestic production company for €25m, and assisting an Italian manufacturer with various corporate matters relating to its entrance into the Russian market. Key practitioners Vladimir Komarov and Oleg Shevtsiv 'provide excellent support and know the commercial market very well'.

S&K Vertical

At S&K Vertical, key practitioner Luibov Duyko supports charitable and non-profit organisations with their commercial day-to-day issues, while also assisting the Stanislavskiy Electrotheatre Fund with setting up its commercial practice. Mikhail Ilin and Alena Bachinskaya are handling a corporate shareholder dispute.