CMS > Sofia, Bulgaria > Firm Profile

CMS
14 Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd.
1000 SOFIA
Bulgaria

Bulgaria > Legal market overview

Bulgaria > Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 1

The finance team at CMS leverages the firm’s global network to handle cross-border matters, as well as domestic transactions, and is well-placed to coordinate international deals out of Sofia. International financial institutions, commercial banks, private equity firms, financial service providers and fintech companies feature in the practice’s client roster. Dual qualified Bulgarian and English lawyer, Elitsa Ivanova, leads the team alongside Dimitar Zwiatkow, who focuses on real estate financing, and co-managing partner Gentscho Pavlov. Senior associate and capital markets head Katya Todorova is a key contact in the practice.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘High disposability and strong availability, good understanding of the energy market.’

‘High precision, attention to details and client focused.’

Key clients

OTP Bank and DSK Bank

Oliva/Buildcom

Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A.

The Export Import Bank of Korea

UniCredit/Allianz Bank Bulgaria

Work highlights

  • Assisting OTP Bank and DSK Bank in relation to the syndicated refinancing of Business Park Sofia and assisting the clients in relation to the provision of a new development financing regarding the construction of a new Class A office building.
  • Acted as lead counsel to Oliva/Buildcom as the borrowers in relation to a syndicated secured uncommitted borrowing base and prepayment facilities for a large Bulgarian agri-business arranged by BNP Paribas (Suisse) SA.
  • Advising the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) on the refinancing of Grain Terminal Holdings, a Singapore-based joint venture between Posco International and the Orexim Group.

Bulgaria > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

With one of the largest corporate and commercial teams, which houses some of the ‘most experienced lawyers in the Bulgarian market’, CMS is well-placed to leverage the expertise of other teams across the firm, in addition to its global office network, to handle multi-jurisdictional transactions and cross-border matters. Atanas Bangachev, who is noted for his experience in M&A deals across multiple industry sectors, jointly leads the practice group alongside Assen Georgiev, Gentscho Pavlov and Dimitar Zwiatkow. Nevena Radlova, who focuses on commercial mandates, is another key contact in the team.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The CMS team is highly responsive and motivated to assist in any deal and process. A really well prepared team and probably the most experienced lawyers in the Bulgarian market.’

Key clients

ACF Renewable Energy/Acwa Power

Enel Green Power

Zentiva

Alpha Bank and its affiliate AGI BRE Participations 3

Axpo Bulgaria

Ewellix

PCC

Pontus Partners

IBM, 60K

Cargill, Syngenta, CHS, Cofco

Kaolin

Work highlights

  • Advised Malta-based ACF Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of ACWA Power, BlackRock and Crescent Capital, on the sale of its 60.4 MWp photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Bulgaria – the Karadzhalovo power plant – to Enery Development.
  • Advising Ewellix on a range of corporate and commercial matters.
  • Advised Advent International and its portfolio company Zentiva on the acquisition of the CEE business of global generic and over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceuticals manufacturer, Alvogen.

Bulgaria > Dispute resolution Tier 1

CMS continues to field ‘one of the leading litigation practices’ in the market and is noted for its particular expertise in IP, insurance and employment disputes. Assen Georgiev, who advises on out-of-court settlement arrangements, mediation and arbitration proceedings, jointly leads the practice alongside senior associate Antonia Kehayova, who focuses on commercial banking, IP and public procurement litigations. The team’s impressive client roster includes Bulgarian National Bank and UniCredit Bulbank, among others. Anna Tanova and ‘promising litigatorYana Antonova are also key members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Assen Georgiev; Antonia Kehayova

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘CMS’ litigation practice is one of the leading litigation practices. They are involved in major commercial, energy and administrative disputes. Our impression is they are considered by the international investors as a good option to go to when it comes to significant disputes. We know that they are knowledgeable, experience and approachable.’

‘Assen Georgiev has a practical approach. He is business oriented and thinks strategically. Further we know that Assen is often supported on complexities of cases by Yana Antonova, who is a promising litigator and is very efficient and hard working. Both of them make an excellent team.’

‘Very good professionals, extensive knowledge in the legal area, excellent communication, fast in resolving the legal issues and a very reliable partner.’

Key clients

Bezmer Energy

Bulgarian National Bank

CenturyLink Communications Bulgaria

Hagleitner Hygiene International

CHS

UniCredit Bulbank

ZAD Allianz Bulgaria

Work highlights

  • Representing Bulgarian National Bank in more than 50 litigation proceedings, regarding damage claims brought by former depositors of insolvent Bulgarian Corporate Commercial Bank.
  • Representing two Bulgarian holding companies on a confiscation claim worth in excess of €100m, brought by the Bulgarian Commission for Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Assets in connection with pending criminal proceedings.

Bulgaria > Energy and natural resources Tier 1

CMS handles a broad range of significant mandates arising out of the energy sector, such as advising ACF Renewable Energy on the sale of its 60.4 MWp photovoltaic power plant in Bulgaria, the Karadzhalovo power plant, to Enery Development. In addition to renewable energy, the team is also noted for its expertise in upstream oil and gas, nuclear, mining, regulatory and projects. CEE head of energy and climate change Kostadin Sirleshtov, who has notable experience in the conventional power and electricity sectors, jointly leads the Sofia team alongside Dimitar Zwiatkow.

Practice head(s):

Kostadin Sirleshtov; Dimitar Zwiatkow

Testimonials

‘Excellent professional law firm, very focused and connected at local level and interaction with local authorities. We were provided with very good advice in relation to difficult and complex interpretation of local agreements’ clauses and practice of the local authorities.’

Key clients

OMV Petrom

ACF Renewable Energy / Acwa Power

Enel Greeen Power

Rosatom

Axpo Solutions

Vier Gas Transport

PCC

Enery Development

Axpo Bulgaria

Eiffel Energy Transition Fund SLP

UniCredit Bulbank

KP-Imobilien

Briabuild Solar

CEZ

Astronergy

First May

USTDA/GEA

PPC

SolarAccess

Trace Holding / Galini

Saxenergy Power GmbH & Co. KG

ZMM Bulgaria Holding

SC CIGA Energy

Work highlights

  • Advised Acwa Power on the sale of its 60.4 MWp photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Bulgaria, the Karadzhalovo power plant, to Enery Development.
  • Advised Enel Green Power, the renewable energy arm of Italy’s Enel Group, on the sale of a 42MW wind park in Bulgaria to the Switzerland-headquartered energy company MET Group.
  • Assisted Vier Gas Transport and its subsidiaries in the preparation, application and bid processes of a public procurement procedure held by ICGB AD.

Bulgaria > EU and competition Tier 1

The competition and antitrust team at CMS advises a varied roster of leading domestic companies and international clients on a broad range of mandates, ‘starting from compliance, merger control and antitrust procedures and litigation’, as well as abuse of dominant position and investigations and cartels. Praised as ‘knowledgeable and confident in advising on various competition matters’, counsel Nevena Radlova heads the CEE-wide competition group and co-leads the Sofia team alongside banking and finance partner Dimitar Zwiatkow. Recently promoted counsel Anna Tanova acts for clients in the media sector on competition mandates.

Practice head(s):

Nevena Radlova; Dimitar Zwiatkow

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Top quality services and a business oriented firm. They cover very broad areas in competition practice starting from compliance, merger control and antitrust procedures and litigation.’

‘We work with Anna Tanova. She has ability to draft, advise and negotiate in relation to complex transactions. Anna has strong academic background and demonstrates high level of intellectual analysis. Also she has excellent client relationship skills. Anna has ability to develop and work in a fast paced, intellectually challenging environment. She can work under pressure and has ability to manage multiple deadlines.’

‘Very knowledgeable of their respective industries and areas of specialisation, up-to-date with the trends and developments, client orientated.’

‘The attention we receive makes Nevena Radlova maybe the best counsel that we can wish. She is very attentive, very careful to provide the best solution for every topic raised. From a commercial side point of view, Nevena is the best counsel that we could have.’

‘The team is always on time with prompt expertise and advice to in-house legal and business. The key strength of the team is international expertise gained from the legal offices in the other countries and jurisdictions which gives us the advantage to find solution in matters which are not solved by local legislation and practice.’

‘The team is highly competent, responsive, follows the latest legislative requirements and market practices and will tailor the advice to best fit your business needs. Nevena Radlova is a proven expert in the field, she is very knowledgeable and confident in advising on various competition matters.’

Key clients

Gazprombank

Michelin

Syngenta

The Sales House

Kaolin EAD, part of Quartzwerke Gruppe

Association of Bulgarian Radio and TV Broadcasters

EVN AG/Elektrorazpredelenie Yug EAD

Work highlights

  • Advising Michelin on competition law issues involving the compatibility prizes and add-ons to end-customers and vendors’ dealers with competition law.
  • Advising Syngenta Bulgaria on various commercial and litigation matters, including on compliance of their promotional programmes, various projects and commercial practices with competition laws.
  • Providing ongoing assistance to Kaolin on compliance with competition law; review of contracts and terms and conditions from competition law perspective; running trainings on competition law topics.

Bulgaria > Projects and PPP Tier 1

CMS has demonstrable experience in advising on the largest projects in Bulgaria, notably in the energy sector, where the team covers upstream oil and gas, renewables, nuclear energy and mining, among others, as well as construction and infrastructure matters. Managing partner and energy specialist Kostadin Sirleshtov jointly leads the team alongside Dimitar Zwiatkow, whose focus lies on the renewable energy sector. Elsewhere, the practice group's caseload includes PPPs and public procurement projects across the defence, transport and environment sectors. Key clients include Rosatom, OMV Petrom and Svilengrad Solar.

Practice head(s):

Kostadin Sirleshtov; Dimitar Zwiatkow

Key clients

Rosatom

Balkantel

OMV Petrom

Acwa Power

Axpo Solutions

Vier Gas

Repsol Han Kubrat Bulgaria

SPM

Svilengrad Solar

Ib vogt

USTDA

ELL – European Locomotive Leasing

Work highlights

  • Engaged by Rosatom on the structuring and the implementation of Belene Nuclear Power Plant project, where the company will be partnering with the state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding.
  • Advising EVN Elektrorazpredelenie YUG EAD on the execution of public procurement proceedings regarding electricity and excavation works on the whole license territory.
  • Assisting Svilengrad Solar with all regulatory elements of the development of the Bulgarian photovoltaic green-field project.

Bulgaria > Real estate and construction Tier 1

Praised for its ‘in-depth knowledge and experience in the realm of corporate real estate’, CMS focuses on acquisitions, sales and financing of transactions, involving land, hotels, retail, office and mix-used developments, as well as leasing, zoning and construction matters. Counsel and ‘dedicated professionalJenia Dimitrova leads the practice alongside senior associate Antonia Kehayova, who also heads the firm’s litigation team. Key clients include CTP, Robul Bulgaria, in addition to OTP Bank, DSK Bank and Eurobank Bulgaria, to name a few.

Practice head(s):

Jenia Dimitrova; Antonia Kehayova

Testimonials

‘I am very pleased with the service provided by CMS. During our cooperation in the last few years, they have proven to be very client-oriented, providing outstanding legal support and advisory in complex office space transactions.’

‘The multi-party communication and the entire process of ensuring legal compliance with all applicable international regulations has been conducted in a very proficient manner.’

‘CMS’ team, and in particular – Jenia Dimitrova, who I have been closely working with, has shown in-depth knowledge and experience in the realm of corporate real estate.’

‘Jenia Dimitrova is a very dedicated professional who is able to work well within tight timeframes and is always providing us with very in-depth legal analyses. To me, she is the leading expert in the legal aspects of real estate in Bulgaria due to the versatility of her skills and competences that are not matched by any other lawyers whom I have met.’

Key clients

Alpha Bank (Subsidiary)

CTP

Trans Vision Ltd

OTP Bank, DSK Bank, Eurobank Bulgaria

Weir Minerals Europe

Arco Vara Bulgaria Ltd

ING Bank Bulgaria Branch

OTP Bank and DSK Bank

Robul Bulgaria

Masco Europe

Ocado

Pontus Partners

Radger

Work highlights

  • Assisted AGI BRE Participations 3 Ltd., an affiliate of Alpha Bank, on the sale of Veliko Tarnovo Mall.
  • Assisted CTP in an intended package deal on the acquisition of two real estate properties in the Czech Republic and one real estate property in Bulgaria under a sale-and-lease-back transaction.
  • Assisting OTP Bank, DSK Bank and Eurobank, in relation to the refinancing of Business Park Sofia, the largest office real estate project in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria > Healthcare and life sciences Tier 2

The multidisciplinary team at CMS acts for clients across the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical devices industries on a range of matters, including corporate and M&A transactions, commercial contracts, IP and data protection and regulatory issues, among others. Counsel Anna Tanova jointly leads the practice alongside partner Assen Georgiev, following the departure of senior associate Angelika Sedlackova in April 2021 to Kyowa Kirin International. The team provides ongoing commercial advice to key client Johnson & Johnson.

Practice head(s):

Assen Georgiev; Anna Tanova

Key clients

Johnson & Johnson

Work highlights

  • Advising Johnson & Johnson on a wide range of commercial matters, including personal data protection, regulatory law, commercial, review of contracts as well as on the setting up and conduct of clinical trials and non-interventional studies in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria > Intellectual property Tier 2

The IP team at CMS benefits from the firm’s global network and acts for domestic and multinational clients across the media, telecoms, life sciences and healthcare sectors on a range of matters, from registration of trademarks to licensing, franchising and copyright issues. Counsel Nevena Radlova leads the team, as well as the competition practice group, alongside senior associate and litigator Antonia Kehayova. Counsel Anna Tanova is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Nevena Radlova; Antonia Kehayova

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘We work with Anna Tanova from the Sofia office. She is an expert in the field of media and copyright law. She is an exceptional professional with considerable experience in license agreements always offering useful and elegant solutions. Anna has demonstrated flexible thinking and in-depth understanding of the needs of a small media company operating in multiple markets.’

Key clients

Association of Bulgarian Radio and TV Broadcasters

Bulgarian Association of Cable and Communications Operators

Hagleitner Hygiene International/Hans Georg Hagleitner

Work highlights

  • Advising Association of Bulgarian Radio and TV Broadcasters on legal matters relating to all aspects of the Association’s activities, including all matters related to the implementation of copyright directives and other amendments of the copyright legislation.
  • Advising Bulgarian Association of Cable and Communications Operators in relation to copyright issues and providing legal analysis concerning copyright and legislative amendments.
  • Representing Hagleitner Hygiene International GmbH/Hans Georg Hagleitner in several IP litigation procedures related to violation of rights on EU patent and EU industrial design.

Bulgaria > TMT Tier 2

CMS’ expertise in the media sector is noteworthy, as the team advises its roster of key clients, including the Association of Bulgarian Radio and TV Broadcasters, on regulatory, licensing, contract design and outsourcing matters. Counsel and head of the IT and media practice Anna Tanova is supported by corporate partner Atanas Bangachev, who is heavily involved in TMT transactions, co-manager of the Sofia office Gentscho Pavlov and counsel Veliko Savov. The practice group’s diverse client list also includes advertising agencies, software companies, satellite providers and private equity houses, among others.

Practice head(s):

Atanas Bangachev; Gentscho Pavlov; Veliko Savov; Anna Tanova

Key clients

Association of Bulgarian Radio and TV Broadcasters

Sixty K

The Sales House

Bulgarian Association of Cable and Communications Operators – BACCO

Smartcom Bulgaria

Gilat Satellite Networks and RaySat Bulgaria

HMD Global Oy

CenturyLink Communications Bulgaria

Work highlights

  • Advising Association of Bulgarian Radio and TV Broadcasters on legal matters relating to all aspects of the Association’s activities.
  • Providing legal support to BACCO in the day-to-day work of the association and legal analysis concerning copyright and media law issues.
  • Advising Smartcom on its day-to-day operations, including the participation in multiple public procurement procedures, the conclusion of servicing agreements with third parties in Nigeria, Egypt, England, and Germany, on various employment matters, as well as issues related to the licensing of the products used by the client.