Firm Profile > Penkov, Markov & Partners > Sofia, Bulgaria

Penkov, Markov & Partners
IZTOK DISTRICT, TINTYAVA 13B
FLOOR 6
1113 SOFIA
Bulgaria

Bulgaria > Real estate and construction Tier 1

Penkov, Markov & Partners is 'one of the best and most recognisable firms in Bulgaria regarding real estate transactions and development'. Its strong client portfolio comprises active developers, construction companies and investors, such as ARTEKS Engineering Group, Artstroy Holding Group and Phoenix Capital Holding. Head of the practice Milena Gaidarska is widely praised by clients for her 'business-oriented practical solutions' and respected standing in the market. Urban development is a niche strength of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Milena Gaidarska

Other key lawyers:

Atanas Valov

Testimonials

‘The Penkov, Markov team is one of the best and most recognisable in Bulgaria as regards real estate transactions and development of real estate projects. We have been working with them for a number of years and they have been constantly reliable, with good knowledge of the market and the participants in it; they are business-oriented and able to combine excellent legal expertise and negotiation skills. Also, they are very accessible and always available for assistance in any urgent developments, being able to deal with huge volumes of work and projects at the same time.’

‘Milena Gaidarska assists us on all our projects and leads the most complex negotiations. She is very experienced in urban development legislation and real estate law in general, with great recognition throughout the market which helps her to find common ground, both with the legal counsel and the managers of the counterparties, and to achieve business-oriented practical solutions of every deadlock we have been into.’

Atanas Valov is one of their notable practitioners who mainly assists us on real-estate related litigations, as well as in some more specific negotiations or in the planning of the structure of future deals; he has vast experience in commercial real estate and development of big commercial real estate projects, like shopping malls.’

‘They are very proficient in real estate matters and especially in urban planning and administrative regimes of construction. This helped them coordinate and quickly understand the specifics of similar Greek legislation and help us with proposals of respective solutions, instructing the legal team from Greece how to approach a number of obstacles during the development. Milena Gaidarska and Atanas Valov coordinated the matter from the real estate side.’

Key clients

ARTEKS Engineering Group

Nedvizhimi Imoti Sofia SIPJV

B&B Hotels Group

Artstroy Holding Group

Investicionna Companiya Galata

Zagorka AD (part of Heineken Group)

Stitching Beleggers Novi Han

A group of private investors in Thessaloniki, Greece

Kamsar

Phoenix Capital Holding

CCB Real estate Fund REIT

Pension Insurance Company Doverie

Kontrol Engineering

Bulgaria > Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 2

Penkov, Markov & Partners provides a comprehensive service to lenders, borrowers and investors, with an active practice in niche disciplines, such as e-money, financial compliance and fintech. The firm is sole adviser to MoneyGram in Bulgaria, and also lists the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development among its clients. The strong team comprises name partners Vladimir Penkov and Ivan Markov, while Nikolay Cvetanov takes the lead in many of the key mandates and there is a talented pool of associates in support.

Practice head(s):

Vladimir Penkov; Ivan Markov; Nikolay Cvetanov

Other key lawyers:

Asen Apostolov; Smilena Hrusanova

Testimonials

‘We have been working with the Penkov, Markov & Partners’ team on a number of financing deals for our ongoing real estate development projects. They proved to be very efficient, focused and knowledgeable of the market, the positions of the different banks on key issues for us and on the good structuring of securities for the loans, so we do not unnecessarily block assets that might be used as collaterals for other loan facilities. In the last year we had a number of rounds of negotiations with major banks, and we have always relied on the competence of PM&P.’

‘Milena Gaidarska, who is rendering services for all our real estate transactions and project development of our buildings, has been the key advisor in the negotiations with the banks. She was very professional and commercially-oriented, maintained good relations with the counterparties and always sought to resolve the impediments before the completion of the deals in a partner-like manner. Vladimir Penkov, with his vast experience in the banking sector, has also been of great help on a number of occasions mediating with the banks and their managers or providing alternative solutions.’

‘I recently worked with the PMP team on an M&A and financing transaction. The team included associates Asen Apostolov and Vyara Tomova, supervised by partner Nikolay Tsvetanov. Asen and Vyara are young but have a good level of experience and good command of lawyering and business skills. Nikolay participated and had input in talks and negotiations but Asen and Vyara had sufficient skills to work independently.’

‘They balance legal knowledge with business insight. Very calm under pressure. They have the ability to communicate effectively with various players involved in the transactions. They could manage well foreign counsel who was involved for corporate registrations in another country. Asen Apostolov was leading, very good skills, conscientious, up to the deadline, not too legalistic, recommend him. Vyara Tomova supported him well. They are at the forefront of the game. Trustworthy.’

‘Asen Apostolov  and Vyara Tomova were really good and can carry out a complex transaction rather smoothly and efficiently.’

‘Associate Asen Apostolov is calm, serious but also fun to work with. Intelligent, broad-minded. Builds effective working relationship with the client. I would recommend him. Good business approach to problems. Not too legalistic but not overlooking details. Can work under pressure and tackles it. Can tackle matters of foreign law and manage. I have seen people on higher positions in other law firms who cannot do the job in the way he does it. Well schooled to be a counsel on a high level. ’

Key clients

INSA Ltd (Colibra)

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

Enikom-M

MoneyGram International

ARTEKS ENGINEERING

4finance

Paynetics

Finance Center

Bulgaria > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 2

National firm Penkov, Markov & Partners has the geographical spread to provide high-calibre advice to a broad range of industries. Ivan Markov, co-head of the practice alongside firm managing partner Nikolay Cvetanov, is leading advice to ČEZ on the protracted sale of its Bulgarian subsidiaries to a Bulgarian investment company, the largest transaction in the energy sector in a decade. Departures within the team include associate partner Yura Mincheva to Ernst & Young and partner Alexander Stefanov to his own practice.

Practice head(s):

Nikolay Cvetanov; Ivan Markov

Other key lawyers:

Atanas Valov: Roman Stoyanov

Testimonials

‘Penkov, Markov & Partners has a very motivated team with specialists in different areas capable to work with local and multinational companies. They have expertise in variety of subjects I needed advice for – like M&As, corporate governance legislation, specific energy legislation and many others.’

‘The individuals I have worked with are very fast at responding, well experienced and highly committed to the tasks assigned.’

‘The law office has vast experience in cross-border M&A and with working with common-law based contracts. This proved invaluable in the structuring of our recent deal, both from a Bulgarian and international (Greece, Macedonia) point of view. All pending problems with the sellers have been resolved smoothly and in a business-oriented manner, and that gave us the comfort that we are doing a deal that will be beneficial for us.’

‘The project was managed by their managing partner Nikolay Cvetanov, who is an excellent negotiator and experienced in cross-border M&A. Atanas Valov also significantly helped the finalisation of the contracts, smartly resolving some deadlocks we reached at the very end.’

‘Very professional, have good knowledge of the law and are very good working with international clients.’

‘Penkov, Markov & Partners are aiming to have specialised lawyers in many different legal fields. The team supplements one another when there is need. They are aiming to provide their clients with quality, overall legal services. The team works well even with short deadlines and is always trying to provide multiple solutions to clients. They have strong expertise in several fields and are concentrated on work with corporate clients.’

Key clients

Unilink

ConverterTec Holding

ČEZ Group

Basildon Holding

Mondi Stambolijski

International private equity group

Insa (Colibra)

Stitching Beleggers Novi Han

Tiger Technology

Zlatna Panega Cement

Integrated Food

BA Glass Bulgaria

Temple Translations

YNV Holdings

Maillis Holdings

Xella Bulgaria

Bulgaria > Dispute resolution Tier 2

Penkov, Markov & Partners continues to grow market share under practice head Atanas Valov, who is noted for his 'good presence and standing in the court room'. The firm handles some market-critical and high-value cases, such as a €15m action on behalf of Toto Costruzioni Generali in the Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassation against a Polish public body. Experienced senior associate Pavel Tsanov was a key hire recently, but partner Yura Mincheva departed for Ernst & Young.

Practice head(s):

Atanas Valov

Other key lawyers:

Pavel Tsanov

Testimonials

‘The Penkov, Markov team is our preferred choice in the field of dispute resolution, whereby we have assigned to them our penal administrative cases, administrative disputes, commercial litigations, ownership disputes and tort litigations. They have a well-structured, responsive and experienced team, with very good success rate and ability to strategically plan the development of the cases in advance. Penkov, Markov are very practicable, do not waste time on unnecessary, purely theoretical, problems or solutions and concentrate on the practical risks and their counter-measures. They are also quite precise in their legal writing.’

‘Atanas Valov, their head of litigation, is our main contact in the field and defends us under all of our cases. He has good presence and standing in the court room, fast reaction and responses to the counterparties, and combines profound knowledge, both of the procedural specifics of the civil and administrative litigation and the substantive law under our disputes. We shall definitely continue to rely on his expertise in the years to come and consider him as one of the very professional litigators in the field.’

We have good impressions from their new addition, Pavel Tsanov, who started representing us on a number of our penal-administrative cases and has a calm and cool presence in the court room; and of their younger litigator Boris Strijlev, who also commands good knowledge of the administrative proceedings and substantive administrative law.’

‘The PMP team is very strong in communication, both with the client and the government institutions. Cooperation is another distinctive feature to be noted – they are always available. Coordination is also an extremely important aspect, especially when it comes to large and important cases, wherein more than two parties are involved. Their team leads and coordinates the entire processes from the beginning until the end.’

‘The strength of their team comes from supporting each other, communicating well, and doing their share – teamwork. They are a great collaborative team – their lawyers have differing skill and expertise sets which make them able to see and to propose an approach and solution that takes into account all the different aspects of the situation.’

Key clients

Komercijalna Banka Skopje

Arteks Engineering

Toto Costruzioni Generali

Nedvizhimi Imoti Sofia SIPJSC

Consorzio Agrario Terrepadane

EMCO

DNV GL SE (former Germanischer Lloyd SE)

Arteks Zlaten Vek

Minstroy Holding Group

RES producers appealing the new SP1-SP6 decisions of CEWR

Zagorka

ČEZ and CEZ Bulgarian Investment

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Bulgaria (CCHBCBG)

Obzor Development

PRO AGRO 2000

Haskovo Municipality

Gravel and Sand Pits Bulgaria

Zlatna Panega Cement

EBRD

Adella Clinic

Fund for Guaranteeing of Deposits in Banks

Global Biomet

Evrohoteli

Glorient Investments BG

Bulgaria > Energy and natural resources Tier 2

Penkov, Markov & Partners demonstrates full-service capability in the energy sector and handles high-stakes litigation and corporate matters for some key industry players. The latter include Czech electricity distributor CEZ, which the firm continues to advise on the protracted sale of its Bulgarian subsidiaries. The firm also handles regulatory issues and project development of new electricity and gas capacities and supply sources, among other matters. Vladimir Penkov , Atanas Valov and recent hire Nikolay Voynov comprise a versatile leadership team.

Practice head(s):

Vladimir Penkov; Atanas Valov; Nikolay Voynov

Testimonials

‘They have quite the name in the renewable energy sector and are the most recognisable office there in our opinion. Being veterans from many previous cases against the regulatory bodies and the State (from 2010 onwards), they have acted adaptively to the legal situation and dedicatedly defended our interests and that of the whole sector in these series of cases.’

‘The combination of their excellent knowledge of the business particularities and the financial side of the sector, great knowledge of the substantive law in whose creation they have actively participated, and having very good litigators in their team gave us the feeling that they are the ones to work with on our investments in that sector.’

‘Atanas Valov leads the litigation team and is very effective in our cases. We have worked with him since 2011/12 and he knows quite well the specifics of the functioning of this sector, which is very valuable in the preparation of an effective defence strategy.’

‘They demonstrate in-depth knowledge and constant monitoring of amendments in legislation.’

‘Ralitsa Tihova always responds to the challenges and specifics that we put in our inquiries to the practice. She demonstrates a wide range of knowledge and in-depth analysis in the field of her work. She stands out with her desire to consider issues and possible solutions in different contexts.’

Ivan Markov stands out.’

Key clients

CEZ

Mondi Stambolijski

Zlatna Panega Cement

More than 60 RES producers

Markan Holding

Knauf Bulgaria

EnergiMidt Renewables

Minstroi Holding Group

Aenerg Group

Solar group

Gastrade

BA Glass

Tractebel

Bulgaria > EU and competition Tier 2

Penkov, Markov & Partners has a track record of top-end transactions, disputes and compliance for a high-calibre client base. Notably, it acted for energy giant CEZ in the headline sale of its Bulgarian assets to Eurohold, which finally received competition approval from the CPC in October 2020 following two in-depth enquires by the regulator. Vladimir Penkov and Smilena Hrusanova both provided competition advice to CEZ. Senior associate Hrusanova replaced Yura Mincheva as joint head of the practice after the latter moved to Ernst & Young.

Practice head(s):

Vladimir Penkov; Smilena Hrusanova

Testimonials

‘The PMP team is very strong in communication, both with the client and the government institutions. Cooperation is another distinctive feature to be noted – they are always available. Coordination is also an extremely important aspect, especially when it comes to large and important cases, wherein more than two parties are involved. Their team leads and coordinates the entire processes from the beginning till the end. The strength of their team comes from supporting each other, communicating well, and doing their share, teamwork from a high class. They are a great collaborative team – their lawyers have differing skill and expertise sets which make them able to see, and to propose, an approach and solution that takes into account all the different aspects of the situation.’

‘Vladimir Penkov is an extensively experienced attorney and a great strategist. Ivan Markov is an extremely experienced specialist who is aware of the nature of the business and is always able to make an adequate resolution. Smilena Hrusanova demonstrates an exceptional level of professionalism and dedication to the client.’

Key clients

ČEZ (Czech Republic)/CEZ Bulgarian Investment (The Netherlands)

EMCO

ENICOM-M

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Bulgaria

Correct Consulting and SM Control

Klett Bulgaria (Bulgarian subsidiary of Klett Lernen und Information)

Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmetique Bulgaria

Heineken Group and Bulgarian subsidiary Zagorka

Mania Shops

Mexon

Bulgaria > Healthcare and life sciences Tier 2

Penkov, Markov & Partners provides regulatory, licensing, contractual, corporate and restructuring advice to domestic and international pharmaceuticals, healthcare companies and medical device manufacturers and wholesalers. Roman Stoyanov has more than 17 years' experience in the healthcare and life sciences sector, including representing various market authorisation holders (MAHs) before government authorities and the courts. Other names to note include associates Ivo Nickolchev, recruited from a clinical research organisation (CRO), and Ana Krusteva. Everty Group and Bless Medical are client gains.

Practice head(s):

Roman Stoyanov

Other key lawyers:

Ivo Nickolchev; Ana Krusteva

Key clients

Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmetics Bulgaria

InnoPharma/InnoPharma International BG

Berlin-Chemie AG/Berlin-Chemie/A.Menarini Bulgaria (part of Menarini Group)

Everty Bulgaria/Everty Group

NaturProdukt, affiliate of Dr. Theiss Naturwaren

Bless Medical

Zlatna Panega Cement (part of Titan Group)

Medical Center Mona Lisa

Bulgaria > Intellectual property Tier 2

Penkov, Markov & Partners supports its tier-one corporate and commercial practice with strong IP capability. Senior associate Smilena Hrusanova 'provides outstanding service with regard to IP' and co-leads the practice alongside name partner Vladimir Penkov, who has expertise in trade mark enforcement and protection. Beyond transactions, the firm handles significant investigations and disputes in relation to patent and copyright issues, and industrial design. The team is noted as 'very proactive and efficient, and always willing to go the extra mile.'

Practice head(s):

Vladimir Penkov; Smilena Hrusanova

Other key lawyers:

Ana Krusteva

Testimonials

‘The team of PMP is always able to understand our business needs and to provide comprehensive advice and support. Additionally, the lawyers are always available and provide timely advice and reports on ongoing matters, as well as discuss with us any difficulties in the procedures and help us orient how to best protect our interests by registering the respective IP rights.’

‘Vladimir Penkov is an extensively experienced attorney and a great strategist, who prevented us from making a few mistakes and omissions along the way. Smilena Hrusanova demonstrates an exceptional level of professionalism, as well as in ability to clearly understand our needs and to provide us the answers to our questions in a comprehensive way.’

‘I would highly recommend engaging Penkov, Markov & Partners. Their team has been providing continuing assistance to the companies, which I represent. They are very proactive and efficient. Always willing to go the extra mile.’

‘As head of the department, Smilena Hrusanova provides outstanding service with regard to IP and competition matters. Ana Krusteva is efficient and innovative. ’

‘They have versatile specialisations with a highly-professional approach to clients and entrusted matters. A reliable partner.’

‘Vladimir Penkov combines experience with a fresh look at the handled cases with a very good responsiveness.’

Key clients

Karelia Tobacco Company

TBI Bank AD/ 4 Finance Holding

Jos H. Lowenstein & Sons

MAN SE/MVB Truck & Bus

Arteks Engineering

Georgi Iliev

Innovative Camping Gora

Tiger Technology

Klett Group

Mitak

Naturprodukt/Dr. Theiss Naturwaren

Dr. Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co. KG

Charcast

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Bulgaria

Zlatna Panega Cement/TITAN

Pension-Insurance Company Doverie

Bulgaria > TMT Tier 2

Penkov, Markov & Partners acts for international companies and start-ups in the fields of e-commerce, Fintech, AI, cybersecurity and software and hardware development, among others, as well as significant players in the telecoms sector. Clients include Bulgaria's first virtual telecom, V Mobile, Booking.com and Uber; the firm advised the latter not only on corporate matters but also on its software development entity. Managing partner Nikolay Cvetanov heads the practice with a strong focus on digital matters. Associate Asen Apostolov is another key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Nikolay Cvetanov

Other key lawyers:

Asen Apostolov

Testimonials

‘I worked with PMP team on an M&A and financing transaction. The team included associates Asen Apostolov and Vyara Tomova, supervised by partner Nikolay Tsvetanov. Asen and Vyara are young but have good level of experience and good command of lawyering and business skills. Nikolay participated and had input in talks and negotiations but Asen and Vyara had sufficient skills to work independently.’

‘They balance legal knowledge with business insight. Very calm under pressure. They have the ability to communicate effectively with various players involved in the transactions. They could manage well foreign counsel who was involved for corporate registrations in another country. Asen Apostolov was leading, very good skills, conscientious, up to the deadline, not too legalistic, recommend him. Vyara Tomova supported him well.’

‘The firm is at the forefront of the game. Trustworthy. I have advised as in-house counsel on many transactions and I can spot whether the people on board have the skills or are actually gaining knowledge on the back of the client. Asen Apostolov and Vyara Tomova were really good and can carry out a complex transaction rather smoothly and efficiently.’

‘Asen Apostolov, associate, is calm, serious but also fun to work with. Intelligent, broad-minded. Builds effective working relationship with the client. I would recommend him. Good business approach to problems. Not too legalistic but not overlooking details. Can work under pressure and tackles it. Can tackle matters of foreign law and manage. I have seen people on higher positions in other law firms who cannot do the job in the way he does it. Well schooled to be a corporate counsel on a high level.’

Key clients

UBER

V Mobile

Booking.com

Getti

Phyre

Paynetics

Teletek

Depository Network

Novatel

Cable Internet Systems

Secure Group Lab /Delatek

Mnemonika

SiteGround

GDPR Project

Colibra

Established in 1990 Penkov, Markov & Partners is one of the first law firms in Bulgaria having nowadays the biggest and most significant client portfolios and being respected both domestically and internationally. The firm currently has approximately 40 partners and associated members, several external legal consultants, 12 trainees, 12 assistants and staff members.

The firm publishes its own newspaper PMP Legal News, circulation 2200 (published in Bulgarian, English and German languages) which is also available on its website.

Since 1996 PM&P is the exclusive member firm for the jurisdiction of Bulgaria of Lex Mundi – the world’s leading association of independent law firms.

PM&P is a member of Lex Mundi and FLI Net and is the first law firm in Bulgaria certified under the ISO 9001:2000 and later recertified under ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 9001:2015 standards by Bureau Veritas Certification.

For their professionalism the experts from PM&P are frequently engaged not only in legal advice and procedural representation but also in the legislative process (e.g. the Commercial Register Act and the New Renewable Energy Sources Act, as well as competition regulations).

In 2019 PM&P was awarded Superbrand of the year award for a fourth time (2007, 2015, 2017) as recognition for exceptional reputation of the trademark Penkov, Markov & Partners among its current and potential clients, partners and investors.

Department Name Email Telephone
Commercial and company Vladimir Penkov
Mergers and acquisitions Vladimir Penkov
Mergers and acquisitions Ivan Markov
Litigation and arbitration Vladimir Penkov
Litigation and arbitration Atanas Valov
Public procurement Milena Gaidarska
Taxation Radost Georgieva
Labour Radost Georgieva
Labour Maria Pashalieva
Real estate and project development Milena Gaidarska
Real estate and project development Atanas Valov
IT, media and telecommunications Nikolay Cvetanov
Competition and antitrust Smilena Hrusanova
Insolvency and bankruptcy Ivan Markov
Banking, finance and insurance Vladimir Penkov
Banking, finance and insurance Ivan Markov
Banking, finance and insurance Nikolay Cvetanov
Concessions Vladimir Penkov
Concessions Ivan Markov
Energy, RES and natural resources Roman Stoyanov
Energy, RES and natural resources Boris Lazarov
Intellectual property and trade marks Vladimir Penkov
Customs Roman Stoyanov
Pharmaceuticals Roman Stoyanov
Immigration Maria Pashalieva
Immigration Vyara Tomova
Commercial and company Nikolay Cvetanov
Consumer protection Nikolay Cvetanov
Photo Name Position Profile
 Asen Apostolov photo Asen Apostolov Attorney-at-law, Practice areas: Corporate and Commercial Law; Contract Law and Commercial Contracts,…
Mr Nikolay Cvetanov  photo Mr Nikolay Cvetanov Managing Partner; Practice areas: Commercial law, Banking & Finance, Litigation, Corporate Law,…
 Dimitar Dimitrov  photo Dimitar Dimitrov Senior Associate, Practice Areas: Securities Law and Capital Markets, Company law, Listed Companies…
Mrs Milena Gaidarska  photo Mrs Milena Gaidarska Partner; Practice areas: Real Estate Transactions, Development and Construction, Commercialisation of Retail,…
Ms Radost Georgieva  photo Ms Radost Georgieva Attorney at law; Practice areas: Company and Commercial law, Tax and Labour…
Ms Smilena Hrusanova  photo Ms Smilena Hrusanova Attorney at law; Practice areas: Banking & Finance, Regulatory Permissions (CPC, FSC,…
Ms Ana Krusteva  photo Ms Ana Krusteva Lawyer; Practice areas: Corporate and Commercial Law, Intellectual Property, Copyright
 Ivo Lazarov photo Ivo Lazarov Attorney at law; Practice areas: Administrative Law and Process, Consumer Protection, Pharmaceutical…
 Boris Lazarov  photo Boris Lazarov Attorney-at-law, Practice areas: Corporate and Commercial Law, Mergers & Acquisitions, Banking and…
Mr Koycho Marinov  photo Mr Koycho Marinov Lawyer
Mr Ivan Markov  photo Mr Ivan Markov Partner; Practice areas: Company Law, Commercial Agreements, Banking and Finance Law, Regulatory…
 Angel Panorov  photo Angel Panorov Lawyer
Ms Maria Pashalieva  photo Ms Maria Pashalieva Attorney at law, Practice areas: Labour law, Real Estate, Public Procurement, Corporate…
Mr Vladimir Penkov  photo Mr Vladimir Penkov Chairman of the Consultative Board and Senior Partner: Banking & Finance, Corporate…
Mr Lachezar Raichev  photo Mr Lachezar Raichev Attorney at law; Practice areas: Bankruptcy and Creditors Rights, Company and Commercial Law,…
Mr Vencislav Semkov  photo Mr Vencislav Semkov Attorney at Law, Practice areas: Corporate and Commercial Law, Administrative Law, Protection…
Mr Roman Stoyanov  photo Mr Roman Stoyanov Partner, Practice areas: Administrative Law, Commercial and Corporate Law, Pharmaceutical Law, Customs…
 Boris Strijlev  photo Boris Strijlev Attorney-at-law, Practice areas: Corporate and Commercial Law, Competition Law, Intellectual Property and…
 Pavel Tsanov  photo Pavel Tsanov Attorney at Law; Practice areas:Corporate and Commercial Law, Banking & Structured Finance,…
Mr Plamen Valkanov photo Mr Plamen Valkanov Attorney at law, Practice areas: Contract Law, Labor Law, Company Law, Commercial…
Mr Atanas Valov  photo Mr Atanas Valov Associated Partner, Practice areas: Real Estate Law, Commercial Contracts and Corporate Law,…
 Nikolay Voynov  photo Nikolay Voynov Attorney at Law; Practice areas: Energy, Public Procurement, PPP and Concessions, Infrastructure, Transport,…
 Rumyana Yordanova, CIPP/E  photo Rumyana Yordanova, CIPP/E Attorney-at-law, Practice areas: Personal data protection, Corporate and Commercial Law, Mergers &…
Number of lawyers : 50+
Bulgarian
English
French
German
Russian
Exclusive Bulgarian member of Lex Mundi
Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria
Austrian Business Club
Bulgarian Business Leader Forum
German-Bulgarian Industry and Commerce Chamber
French-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce
Bulgarian-Swiss Chamber of Commerce
Vienna Economic Forum
ICC Bulgaria
Hellenic Business Council in Bulgaria
Bulgarian-Japanse Economic Council
First Law International (FLI)
Other offices : Burgas
Other offices : Lovech
Other offices : Pleven
Other offices : Russe
Other offices : Stara Zagora
Other offices : Varna

Atanas Valov, Associate Partner

Associate Partner Atanas Valov comments on the challenges of Bulgaria’s legal market in the year ahead

What do you see as the main points that differentiate [law firm name] from your competitors?

Penkov, Markov & Partners is a renowned brand on the Bulgarian legal market (this year we are celebrating 30 years from our establishing). During the years we have created a name for innovation and dedicated approach to the problems of the clients, diversity of services, strong support of entrepreneurship and investors including via participation in the legislation process, as well as constant defense of the rule of law and its principles in the courts, where we have represented throughout the years a number of clients whose rights have been violated by acts of the public authorities incompatible with the Constitution, EU Law and the ECHR. We have a competitive advantage from the mix of generations in the firm, with the experience, wisdom and organizational skills of the founders of the company supporting my generation’s eagerness to expand our market shares and presence and strong wish to prove our own merit as the persons before us.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Our Data Protection and AML practices will definitely continue their expansion as these spheres become more and more important worldwide in the light of the new legislation and continuous measures of the governments to reduce and prevent money laundering. With some strong new additions to our PPP, Energy and Litigation departments in the end of 2019 and first half of 2020 we have reasonable expectations for strengthening and expanding our practices in these spheres as well, whereby a significant driver for our Litigation practice was the newly formed practice of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court on matters regarding the “constitutional tort”, which led to breakthrough in the decades old practice of the Bulgarian courts and acknowledgment of the positions we have stood for in the past 5 years or so.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

As organization we are constantly evolving, whereby in the latest months a strong emphasis was put on the organization of smoother distant communication between team members and possibilities for effective home office, as well as additional coordination with our working groups in order their members to become even more interchangeable. Also, we have formed specific teams dealing with the constant changes in the legislation in the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as reformed our communication to the clients concerning any hot topics that might affect their business and increased its volume and specific highlights quite drastically.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Absolutely. And this became all the more evident during the months of 2020 when Bulgaria was in a state of emergency. The constant Zoom meetings and webinars hosted by us on various topics and forums became a new standard for fast and interactive communication with our client base and for updating them on the dynamic changes in may spheres.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

As my core activity is the ADR and litigation, these are not strictly legal branches that accumulate “added value” for a business. But we always strive to give practical and business-oriented advice to our clients on these matters in order to optimize their costs and give them a fair evaluation of the potential gain at the end of a court trial against the benefits of a settlement under certain conditions before the trial or through it.

Our AML, Data Protection, Consumer Protection and Competition teams constantly work with clients advising on the structuring of their advertising messages, promotions and sales policies, relations with partners and employees, so we ensure not only the regulatory compliance of our clients, but also give them a valuable side glimpse on the markets they are operating and what might or might not work given our extensive history of deals, disputes, ups and downs of businesses in different economic situations.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

Definitely, the clients look for diverse advice on the development of their activity and long-term relationships with reliable partner in the face of their law firm. So, we aim at establishing long-lasting partnerships with our clients, whereby some of our core ones are with us more than 15-20 years already. As I said above, we are also in constant evolution and that impacts a lot of our practices, the way we engage the modern technology for facilitation of our work and the expansion of our activities in new and fast developing sectors through seminars, webinars, simulations of dawn raids, audit of the internal processes of our clients and activity in the legislation process through the NGO sector and the commercial chambers. Thus, our vision in 3 years’ time is one of a diverse legal practice, following the best international standards and forging its own ones, where practitioners from several generations co-exist in a creative and stimulating environment and where we are even stronger factor and continue to be recognized as one of the pillars of protection of the investments of foreign and local entities and avid fighters for the principles of rule of law and safeguarding of the legitimate interests of the private sector in its dialogue with the State.

Milena Gaidarska, Partner

Partner Milena Gaidarska comments on the challenges of Bulgaria’s legal market in the year ahead

What do you see as the main points that differentiate [law firm name] from your competitors?

Penkov, Markov and partners unite the knowledge, experience and vision of three generations of lawyers – the founders of the company, who are direct participants in building the modern legal system of Bulgaria after 1989, but at the same time who have preserved the knowledge and understanding of legal institutes from the old socialist legislation; the second generation of lawyers who grew up professionally during the transition period and the youngest generation of lawyers building up as professionals in a globally digitalized society.

This symbiosis between the experience of the elder generation, including in the understanding of legal institutions that have operated in the past, but in many cases have to do with the proper resolution of today’s cases, with the excellent training of younger staff in the current legal regulations in real estate and construction, is undoubtedly a prerequisite for providing high quality legal service in complicated legal cases.

Especially in the field of real estate and project development the fruitful collaboration between the legal, technical and sales teams working on a particular project is a condition for its success. Therefore, we work actively with architects, engineers and leasing managers thus accumulating knowledge and understanding of notions relevant for other professions; we strive at going beyond the purely legal framework of the problems and to offer workable legal solutions that are pragmatic and entirely business-oriented.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Taking into consideration the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and the fact that this crisis has not passed at all, we may reasonably assume growing of our labour law practice in the next 12 months in connection to the introduction by the employers of new organisation of the work, including work from home, regulating the possibilities for the employer to impose measures to limit the spread of the infection, which the Bulgarian legislation does not regulate so far.

The strong litigation team we have built and the success that this team has already achieved for example in series of lawsuits against the Bulgarian state instigated by owners of assets for the production of electricity from renewable sources make us believe that in the next 12 months we can expect a growth of our litigation practice.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

In connection with the COVID-19 crisis, we have formed teams to monitor all legislative initiatives and acts of the administration, aimed either at introducing restrictive measures to stop the spread of the infection, or at introducing measures to overcome the social and economic crisis. Our clients can count on us to both bring their operations in compliance with the restrictive measures that are constantly and dynamically changing in line with the development of the pandemic situation, and assist in the preparation of documentation for applying for the use of financial tools included within the government program dedicated to the overcoming the consequences of the crisis.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Yes, undoubtedly.

The digitalisation of the main public registers in Bulgaria has greatly facilitated the swift registration of new companies, immediate access to legal information related to the corporate history of legal entities, as well as the collection and analysis of information on the real estate and urban status of real estate. All this opened the possibility to offer standardized legal services within predictable cost-saving budgets and in significantly shorter terms.
In the context of the COVID-19 situation the meetings in person were replaced by zoom and other video conferences, thus ensuring the personal element in the communication, but avoiding the health risk, and saving time and expenses.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

A key client of ours, one of the major construction companies operating on the Bulgarian market, has entered into a preliminary agreement for sale and purchase of real estate property, whereby an escrow mechanism has been involved. Significant amount representing part of the purchase price has been deposited to an escrow account and blocked there until closing of the transaction. Due to COVID-19 restrictive measures it became impossible to close the deal in time. In this complex and sensitive situation we managed to convince the seller to accept the release of part of the deposited escrow account to be used by our client for its current projects, and to amend the preliminary agreement by introducing more flexible terms for closing the deal in line with the everyday changing regulations related to COVID-19, and the practical complications arising thereof.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

We have always strived to build a loyal clientele. We have a lot of clients to which we provide complex legal service for more than 20-25 years. We know their history, we understand the challenges their business faces and together we build the strategy for further development, which of course has a direct impact on the strategic planning of our business as well. Indeed, our loyal clients expect from us a much more extensive care, going far beyond the performance of specific legal assignments, and including information on an ongoing basis about all legislative changes and initiatives that could be relevant to the business, initiating such changes through appropriate legal instruments, and strategic planning of the business based on both legal and economic arguments.

Within the next three years, I see our law firm as a stable organization of highly qualified, well-trained and experienced lawyers, unreservedly committed to the work and sharing our common values, with optimally functioning working groups in various legal fields. In addition to the stable development of the traditionally strong practices of the company, in which we are established as one of the market leaders, I expect a planned expansion of our practices in the field of labour and transport law.

Nikolay Cvetanov, Managing Partner & Asen Apostolov, Attorney-at-Law

Managing Partner Nikolay Cvetanov and his colleague Asen Apostolov comment on the challenges for Bulgarian business and how the law firm meets clients’ expectations

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Penkov, Markov and Partners from your competitors?

Penkov, Markov and Partners is one of the oldest and most experienced law firms on the Bulgarian legal market which unites the legal practice of expert lawyers ever since 1990. The vast experience in various national and international transactions and other legal exercises accumulated in all those years allows us to better understand the business of our clients, to help them realize their goals and thus to provide much more comprehensive and results oriented service. We believe that the strong business sense, the well-prepared and analyzed strategy, along with the perfectionism of the professionals part of our team, distinguish our firm as one of the leading in the country. Furthermore, our commitment to always strive for even higher standards and job performance motivates us to build on our achievements and tradition and drives us to always look for ways to develop our practice and the way we provide legal services.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Speaking about the local Bulgarian environment, we could foresee significant development in a few sectors in the coming year.

Firstly, this is the new regulatory framework and development in the AML/CFT field in Bulgaria. This is a topic which concerns large parts of the locally presented business and it is related to the implementation on EU level of the 4th, 5th and 6th AML directives. Ensuring compliance with the AML/CFT requirements represents a considerable challenge for the obliged companies, respectively sufficient support should be provided in order for the latter to comply with the new set of regulations. Our law firm is definitely the leader on the local market in providing comprehensive legal assistance in this field by preparing respective internal company AML/CFT policies and procedures, individual risk assessments, etc., as well as by assisting various international NGO organizations.

The Bulgarian TMT sector is also rapidly growing which is evident from the recently launched ranking – the FinTech locations of the future where Sofia was given number one position in the cost effectiveness field. This landmark sign of growing market opens new legal niches to be filled by experienced and new technology oriented law firms, such as Penkov, Markov and Partners.

Another sphere where we expect the practice to develop significantly is the Energy field where the Green Deal shall have significant overall impact on the export oriented Bulgarian economy and in particular – the energy sector.

Here could be mentioned also the new EU whistleblowing regulations, as well as the initial discussions on the adoption of Payment Services Directive 3 – again on EU level.

As a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis as well, large EU funding has been agreed and is expected to be distributed through various programs in order to stimulate the EU economy (along with innovations, creativity and digitalization). We have been supporting many of our clients (existing and new ones) and various NGO’s in identifying the proper funding programs and to get them prepared for applying for financing which allowed us to generate significant additional experience in working with those new, extraordinary financial instruments. Naturally, most of the new EU programs are expected to be opened in the next 12 to 24 months so this field is expected to generate added value for both the clients and the legal market.

Last but not least, as a consequence of the pandemic situation many producers have decided to shorten their distribution and supply channels. Thus, Bulgaria being one of the countries in the EU with highest cost effectiveness indicators, should potentially benefit from these trends. Respectively, we are expecting increased dynamics in the new investments of international manufacturing companies operating locally, opening large opportunities for our legal team, being well known and ranked for its dominant legal expertise and experience in supporting legally new investments.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

Expectedly, in recent time the main changes have been related to the mechanisms for facing the unprecedented COVID-19 challenge. Our main priority during the pandemic was to promote sustainability and to continue providing our clients with high-quality legal services that correspond to the standards set by our team and the demands of our clients. As a “Law Firm of the Future” (we were awarded with the prestigious award last year in a competition organized by the European Bars Federation), in the recent months we focused our efforts on optimizing the processes of providing digital services, working remotely, as we were fully committed to meeting our clients’ needs with the same level of service, security and care. In order to respond to COVID-19’s near-term challenges, we have formed a specific working group dealing with the constant amendments in various legislative acts related to the new global business environment. Our team is also actively engaged in organizing webinars concerning any hot topics that might affect the business of our clients, thus keeping our partners informed of any significant developments in the legal framework. We have been also supporting our clients, on the one hand, in developing various optimizations of services and on the other, in digitalizing such services, so that we meet the new needs.

Further, we are trying to support those clients of ours whose business has been influenced the most by the crisis, by adjusting our standard applicable fee rates or even by providing pro bono services when it comes to legal assistance related to attracting financing from EU/governmental anti-crisis programs. We genuinely believe that such approach could only strengthen the synergy with our long-term partners and lay the foundations for future joint initiatives and collaboration.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Absolutely, having in mind especially the new reality related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The in-person communication with clients which many practitioners were used to, had to be “transferred” to the virtual world. This starts with the use of technology, including video conferencing tools for face-to-face communication and client portals for online collaboration. With the support of technology and at the same time “despite” the technology, during the state of emergency we were strongly focused on providing legal services of the highest level and it is our firm belief that we succeeded in this challenge.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

In view of the fact that the needs of each client are strictly individual, we aim to offer an adaptive and innovative approach to each case, however, always united around the idea of maximum precision in providing the service. Having said this, we make ourselves familiar with the clients’ values and corporate governance, so we could “feel” the way a particular company, for instance, is doing business and interacts with partners.

What we also focus on is to provide as comprehensive assistance as possible (which, in some cases, is not particularly and explicitly required by the client), resulting sometimes in opening new topics, matters and potential issues which initially have not been considered at all by our partners.

As a practical example of adding value to a business, just recently we managed to arrange a huge financing to a client of ours by connecting him with a very large foreign investment fund which we work with on other projects. This gave the client the opportunity to practically open a new market for its services, i.e. something that, without the ensured financing, could not have been possible.

On a separate note, we have been closely monitoring all possible state and EU financing programs opened to support the economy in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis and proactively exchanged exhaustive information for all opportunities which, in turn, resulted in being assigned with large amount of assignments for assistance on preparation of legal applications for such financing.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

Definitely. In our practice we strive to focus not only on the attorney-advisor and counselor role, but also on connection, deep understanding of the clients business and synergy building, which is key for any long-term relationship. The faster adaptation to the clients’ real needs is clearly fostered also by the continuous expansion of our team’s expertise in new legal spheres which are of utmost importance to our partners. For instance, ever since the beginning of 2016 the compliance topics of personal data protection and measures against money laundering demanded provision of very specifically designed services, incl. in collaboration with technological companies.

Potentially, in the next three years we will put even more focus on digitalization when it comes to providing legal services, of course, in line with the quickly flowing societal and economic changes. Our law firm is structured in a way which gives us the opportunity to adequately get in-line with the fast-paced changes worldwide, as saying that the present year is the perfect example in this regard.