Firm Profile > CMS > Sofia, Bulgaria

14 Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd.
1000 SOFIA

Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 1

CMS employed its ‘well established cross-border practice’ to advice on a number of major regional deals in 2019, including assisting OTP Bank with its €600m acquisition of Société Générale’s subsidiaries across the CEE region. Within Bulgaria, it advises chiefly on large-scale real estate financing, acquisition financing and project financing on for local and regional lenders and borrowers, drawing on the experience of Dimitar Zwiatkow, who jointly heads the team. Gentscho Pavlov and Elitsa Ivanova are the other practice co-heads, and have been active in the sale of NPL portfolios and cross-border financings respectively.

Key clients

UniCredit S.P.A.

UniCredit Bank Austria

OTP Bank

Black Sea Trade and Development Bank


Erste Bank

UniCredit Bulbank

Nordea bank


Europa Capital


Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

The ‘exceptionally business-oriented’ team at CMS is well placed to advise on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, as well as handling compliance, regulation and corporate governance for clients active within Bulgaria and the wider CEE region. The team is experienced in assisting foreign companies with entering and exiting the Bulgarian market, having advised on Hungarian bank OTP’s purchase of Société Générale’s Bulgarian subsidiaries in 2019. IBM and Cargill are among its other clients. The practice is jointly led by litigation specialist Assen Georgiev, Gentscho PavlovDimitar Zwiatkow and Atanas Bangachev. Counsel Nevena Radlova advises on suppliers' and distribution contracts, as well as the competition aspects of merger clearance.


‘On corporate and M&A: incomparable.’

‘Excellent knowledge of the industry. Availability.  Tailored approach.’

Key clients

OTP Bank Group

Europa Capital

Fresh and Food Logistics

UniCredit S.p.A. and UniCredit Bulbank

UNIVERSALE International Realitäten GmbH

CA Immo International Holding GmbH

CEE Realty Beteiligungs GmbH

Revetas Capital Advisors

Scholz Recycling GmbH

Management Financial Group


Cofco International

The Sales House



Energy and natural resources Tier 1

The team at CMS draws on its ‘long-term experience’ to advise clients on the full spectrum of energy and natural resources work, including nuclear and conventional energy production, oil and gas exploration, renewable energy, waste management, and regulatory consultancy and litigation. The team is especially prominent in exploration, having assisted Shell, SPM, Repsol and Petroceltic with obtaining onshore and offshore licences. The firm’s strong corporate and commercial practice also allows the team to advise on financing, agreements and restructurings of energy projects. The practice is jointly led by Kostadin Sirleshtov, who is a former board member of several key energy companies and highly rated by peers in the sector, and Dimitar Zwiatkow, who specialises in the financing and real estate aspects of projects.


‘CMS Sofia provides highly-professional services from experienced lawyers having the expertise and motivation to meet the best criteria for quality of the work.’

‘They have a deep understanding of local energy law specifics and global trends in the sector.’

‘The professionalism and devotion of CMS Sofia and its employees towards their work are impressive.’

Key clients




ACWA Power/Blackrock/Crescent Capital

Scholz Recycling GmbH

Global Biomet

SDN Company Ltd. / RES Technology



EU and competition Tier 1

The ‘hands-on’ EU and competition practice at CMS is highly experienced in the field of merger control, using its regional offices to co-ordinate simultaneous applications across jurisdictions in the EU. The team acts for clients in heavily regulated sectors including telecoms and banking, notably having obtained clearance for the major merger of OTP Bank and the subsidiaries of Société Générale in 2018. Nevena Radlova leads the practice, which also has a core focus on disputing and appealing antitrust and abuse of dominance sanctions, as well as counselling market-leading clients in compliance on an ongoing basis. Former practice head David Butts retired.

Practice head(s):


‘Professionalism, attention to detail, availability.’

‘They perfectly co-ordinate the job and always suggest a full range of solutions, exceeding the usual service of law firms.’

Key clients

OTP Bank Group

Edenred Bulgaria



K.Ludwig GmbH (Calzedonia)

The Sales House

Healthcare and life sciences Tier 1

The healthcare and life sciences practice at CMS is well placed to advise large pharmaceutical companies active across the European Union. The Sofia team handles regulatory compliance, reimbursement procedures, employment issues, and import authorisations for market-leading pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson. Notably, in conjunction with its other offices, the Sofia team assisted with the Bulgarian compliance of Advent International’s €1.9bn acquisition of Zentifa. Senior associate Angelika Sedlackova leads the team, and has experience of advising on medicine and medical device reimbursement procedures through Bulgaria’s National Health Insurance Fund.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Johnson & Johnson




Eli Lilly




Bristol-Myers Squibb

Advent International

Projects and PPP Tier 1

CMS advises major energy producers, including electricity suppliers, upstream oil and gas companies, and energy investors, on large-scale projects and on their participation in bidding and tendering processes. The firm has advised participants in major tender procedures to build airports, roads, railways, and pipelines. Kostadin Sirleshtov, joint practice head, also leads the firm’s energy practice, while co-head Dimitar Zwiatkow has experience in public procurement procedures, structuring of consortia, and advising winning bidders on the implementation of their projects. Denitsa Dudevska and Antonia Kehayova are key contacts for mining and real estate projects, respectively.

Key clients


EVN Elektrorazpredelenie YUG EAD


Robert Bosch

EVN Toplofikazia


Bombardier Transportation

Sofia Municipality

China Communications Construction Company

Scholz Recycling

The largest PV producers in Bulgaria including RES Technology, ASM-BG Investicii, SDN Company Ltd./Korean South East Power Company, Wind Force BG, and Eco Farm


Wind energy producers including Iberdrola, Green Power Development Holding B.V. (Mitsubishi Corporation), Efacec

HNA Airports Ltd.

UniCredit Bulbank, Societe General Expressbank



Revetas Capital Advisors

Real estate and construction Tier 1

CMS advises clients on both the buyer’s and the seller’s sides in transactions related to the sale of property portfolios including agricultural land – covering all aspects of the transactions including financing, tax, and share purchase and shareholders’ agreements. The team also advise on leasing arrangements, having drafted agreements for Tesla, GTC and Saris Property Ltd. The team is jointly led by Jenia Dimitrova and Antonia Kehayova, who specialise in contracts and transactions respectively. Atanas Bangachev, co-head of the corporate and commercial practice, and Dimitar Zwiatkow, co-head of banking and finance, also provide their expertise to the real estate and construction practice.

Key clients

UniCredit Bulbank

UNIVERSALE International Realitäten GmbH, CA Immo International Holding GmbH and CEE Realty Beteiligungs GmbH

DSK Bank / OTP Bank


Revetas Capital Advisors

Fresh and Food Logistics Ltd.


Scholz Recycling GmbH

Saris Property Ltd./Philicon – 97 AD


Europa Capital

TMT Tier 1

The TMT practice at CMS draws on the strength of its corporate and commercial expertise to advise on M&A deals in the sector, draft general terms and conditions for media, tech and telecoms companies, and provide ongoing consultancy on regulatory compliance for major companies. The team has expertise in IT and outsourcing law, data protection and privacy regulation, and IP law. Atanas Bangachev, Gentscho Pavlov and Veliko Savov (who has previously worked at a telecoms company) jointly lead the team. The arrival of Anna Tanova has bolstered the firm’s experience – an expert in IT and media law, she is also the executive director of the Association of Bulgarian Broadcasters.


‘CMS Sofia team has profound knowledge and exceptional expertise in Media and IP law.’

‘CMS senior associate Anna Tanova has solid knowledge in Media and IP law and is one of the best media lawyers in Bulgaria.’

Key clients

Association of Bulgarian Radio and TV Broadcasters

Sixty K EAD

Communicorp Media

The Sales House

Dispute resolution Tier 2

CMS acts for creditors in insolvency and liquidation procedures, cross-border commercial disputes, general debt recovery, and public procurement award litigation. Assen Georgiev, who jointly leads the practice alongside Antonia Kehayova, is a certified mediator with extensive experience in employment disputes, while Antonia Kehayova has expertise in IP litigation, civil, and commercial litigation. Senior associates Maria Lazarova and Nevena Radlova are key contacts - they represent clients in employment and insurance disputes, respectively. The firm acts for major clients, including Skoda, Burger King, and UniCredit Bulbank.


‘Amazingly responsive, concise and targeted legal advice which is clear, unambiguous and of tremendous value.’

‘Assen Georgiev is very experienced and commercially-oriented. Proactive and pragmatic, he builds trust with clients and longstanding relationship. I would strongly recommend him for litigation.’

Key clients



UniCredit Bulbank



Skoda Transportation


Hagleitner Hygiene International GmbH/ Hans Georg Hagleitner, Austria



Burger King Europe GmbH

Intellectual property Tier 2

CMS advises on IP transfers, trade mark registrations and oppositions, and patent applications for clients in a range of sectors. A key strength of the firm is litigating in matters concerning the infringement of intellectual property including patents. Joint practice head Antonia Kehayova has experience advising international companies on protecting their IP rights in Bulgaria, while counsel and joint practice head Nevena Radlova is a registered trade mark attorney with expertise in patent and domain name registrations; he advised Wizz Air on winning back a domain name from a cyber squatter.

Key clients

United States Polo Association


Sky International AG

Maison Saint-Herem Ltd.

Hagleitner Hygiene International GmbH/Hans Georg Hagleitner

backaldrin International The Kornspitz Company GmbH

AlphaCo LTD

Area 52 Trampoline Parks AD

Legal market overview

Despite macroeconomic trends indicating an imminent global slowdown, growth in Bulgaria continues at a brisk pace: at 3.7%, it remains one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe. This growth is driven by three key sectors – energy, real estate, and the IT sector. Plans for the construction of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria pipeline (ICGB) has created opportunities for domestic and international property developers, infrastructure, and logistics firms, while energy companies are once again investing in the development of new hydroelectric and photovoltaic power plants. Bulgaria’s electricity exchange, Ibex, continues to attract investors, and the planned natural gas exchange, operating under similar principles, is likely to spur further market growth. Real estate markets in Sofia and Varna are buoyant, due partially to an increase in tourism, but principally due to the astonishing growth of the Bulgarian IT sector, primarily based in and around Sofia. A key growth market is IT outsourcing, as well as software-as-a-service, fintech, and cloud computing firms, which has led to greater demand for high-tech office space. In the corporate and commercial space, foreign direct investment is slightly lower than previous years, and although there have been some high-profile market exits, major companies including Uber are seeking a foothold in the Bulgarian market. The banking sector has seen significant consolidation in recent years, with Eurobank Bulgaria having bought the Bulgarian subsidiaries of Piraeus Bank, and Société Générale selling its subsidiaries to OTP. Non-bank consumer lending is also on the rise. Most of the country’s high-profile legal work is carried out by a handful of key firms, roughly divided between Bulgarian and international firms. Boyanov & Co., Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov, Dimitrov, Petrov & Co, Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski, Penkov, Markov & Partners and Kambourov & Partners are among the most prominent generalist Bulgarian firms, while Andonov & Radinska Law Firm and Jordanov, Ignatov, Ivanov Law Firm provide top-level expertise in real estate and energy respectively. Of the international firms, CMS, Deloitte Legal Law Firm and Wolf Theiss are expanding their operations both within the country and across the region, while Kinstellar, which has offices across central Europe and central Asia, is an increasingly major player in public procurement and infrastructure matters.

CMS is a top 10 global law firm with over 4800 lawyers working in more than 70 offices across 40+ countries worldwide.

The CMS offices are in Europe:
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Republic of North Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom
and outside Europe:
Algeria, Angola, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Kenya, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Peru, Singapore, South Africa and United Arab Emirates.

CMS Sofia is the largest international law firm on the local market. It was established in 2005 and currently over 40 lawyers work in our Bulgarian office. Our Sofia office deals with all topics related to commercial law, offering comprehensive consulting services for all legal questions that can arise when doing business in Bulgaria. The legal advice we offer our clients focuses on M&A, corporate and real estate law, we advise banks and financial institutions and deal with issues relating to IT, media and telecoms, labour and tax law. Moreover, we represent our clients’ interests at local courts. Our clients are major companies from various industries, in particular energy, construction, banking and finance, media, telecommunications, consumer products, retail. CMS Sofia is the go-to legal advisor for major international companies, doing business in Bulgaria, and local businesses.

Department Name Email Telephone
Banking and finance Gentscho Pavlov
Banking and finance Elitsa Ivanova
Banking and finance Dimitar Zwiatkow
Commercial Assen Georgiev
Dispute resolution, Commercial Desislava Anastasova
Real estate and construction Jenia Dimitrova
Dispute, Resolution, Real estate and construction Antonia Kehayova
Dispute resolution and litigation Assen Georgiev
Dispute resolution and litigation Antonia Kehayova
Employment Iveta Manolova
Employment Maria Harizanova
Energy Kostadin Sirleshtov
Energy Dimitar Zwiatkow
Competition Nevena Radlova
Competition Dimitar Zwiatkow
IP Antonia Kehayova
IP Nevena Radlova
Insurance Nevena Radlova
Insurance Antonia Kehayova
Corporate and M&A Atanas Bangachev
Corporate and M&A Gentscho Pavlov
Corporate and M&A Dimitar Zwiatkow
Tax Alexander Rangelov
Tax Dimitar Zwiatkow
Photo Name Position Profile
 Desislava Anastasova  photo Desislava Anastasova Associate
 Atanas Bangachev photo Atanas Bangachev Head of Corporate
 Jenia Dimitrova photo Jenia Dimitrova Counsel, Head of Real estate and Construction
 Marin Drinov  photo Marin Drinov Associate, CMS Sofia
 Denitsa Dudevska  photo Denitsa Dudevska Senior Associate
 Assen Georgiev photo Assen Georgiev Head of Litigation, Arbitration, Insurance, Employment
 Ivan Gergov  photo Ivan Gergov Associate
 Maria Harizanova  photo Maria Harizanova Associate
 Elitsa Ivanova photo Elitsa Ivanova Partner
 Antonia Kehayova  photo Antonia Kehayova Senior Associate, CMS Sofia
 Maria Lazarova photo Maria Lazarova Senior Associate
 Iveta Manolova  photo Iveta Manolova Senior Associate
 Gentscho Pavlov  photo Gentscho Pavlov Managing Partner and CEE Partner
 Nevena Radlova photo Nevena Radlova Counsel, Head of Competition and IP
 Alexander Rangelov  photo Alexander Rangelov Senior Associate
 Veliko Savov photo Veliko Savov Senior Associate, Head of TMT
 Angelika Sedlackova photo Angelika Sedlackova Senior Associate
 Kostadin Sirleshtov photo Kostadin Sirleshtov Office Managing Partner of CMS Sofia, CEE Head of EPC and CEE…
 Anna Tanova photo Anna Tanova Senior Associate
 Katya Todorova  photo Katya Todorova Senior Associate, Head of Capital Markets
 Dimitar Zwiatkow  photo Dimitar Zwiatkow Partner, CMS Sofia
Number of lawyers : 40