Firm Profile > CMS > Sofia, Bulgaria

CMS
14 Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd.
1000 SOFIA
Bulgaria

Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 1

CMS stands out for its cross-border capability and notably coordinates international deals out of Sofia, alongside advising on high-level domestic transactions. Strengths of the practice, led by dual-qualified UK/Bulgarian lawyer Elitsa Ivanova and office co-managing partner Gentscho Pavlov, include syndicated and bilateral secured lending, acquisition and leveraged finance, project finance and real estate finance. Third partner Dimitar Zwiatkow is recommended for banking M&A and large-scale portfolio transactions, including non-performing loans, while senior associate Katya Todorova  joined from DTT (Dimitrov, Tchompalov & Todorova) in August 2020 to head the capital markets practice.

Practice head(s):

Elitsa Ivanova; Gentscho Pavlov

Other key lawyers:

Dimitar Zwiatkow; Katya Todorova

Key clients

Black Sea Trade and Development Bank

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

SAREB

Leader 96 EOOD

ING Bank

UniCredit Bulbank/UniCredit Group

OTP Bank /DSK Bank and Expressbank

Nordea Bank Finland

Deutsche Leasing

Export-Import Bank of Korea

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

CMS is a heavyweight in the Bulgarian corporate and M&A market. Its large, 18 lawyer strong team is instructed by multinationals and major domestic companies on headline deals. The firm leverages expertise from its full-service offering in Sofia as well as regionally for sector-specific transactions, with notable capability in energy and IT. Atanas Bangachev co-heads the team alongside Gentscho Pavlov , Assen Georgiev and Dimitar Zwiatkow.  

Practice head(s):

Atanas Bangachev; Gentscho Pavlov; Assen Georgiev; Dimitar Zwiatkow

Other key lawyers:

Nevena Radlova

Testimonials

‘They have a very commercial and realistic approach, as opposed to strictly legal advisors.’

‘Excellent monitoring, tracking and advice on the related domestic and international legislation. Competent and timely support upon request.’

‘We always receive a competent, timely and exhaustive consultation and information by Nevena Radlova and her team.’

‘Knowledge of the regulatory environment is a strength. The lawyers are very diligent in responding to requests, proactive with their approach, and hard-working to help conclude issues. Good in negotiations and flexible in terms of billing and rates.’

‘Atanas Bangachev is excellent in leading the M&A process; he is able to use precise legal arguments to shut down unreasonable requests from counter parties; he is a hard working and strong moral character.’

‘CMS are very professional. They work to meet clients’ needs without raising continuous requests for additional payment in case of work performed out of scope. They are very efficient, they know the energy and M&A sector very well, they are very experienced in international transactions, and they assist the client in the best possible way.’

‘We work with several legal counsels and CMS is unique with the selection of experts on topics that are relevant to our business and they introduce us clearly to whom to reach out to.’

Key clients

ACF Renewable Energy/Acwa Power

SDN Company

Astronergy Solar

Global Biomet

NetEnt

Hyundai Electric & Energy Systems Co.

UniCredit Bulbank

Smartcom Bulgaria

SIG plc

Ewellix Bulgaria

Imerys France

IBM

60K

CHS

CofCo

Syngenta

Cargill

Kaolin

Chubb

Advent/Zentiva

Dispute resolution Tier 1

The disputes team at CMS has a strong presence in the market, attracting large clients and cases, such as defending a Bulgarian holding company in a €100m-plus confiscation claim brought by the Bulgarian Commission for Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Assets. Bulgarian National Bank, ZAD Allianz Bulgaria and Chubb European Group are also clients. Assen Georgiev is an experienced litigator and international arbitrator and leads the team alongside senior associate Antonia Kehayova, who is leading advice to EVN AG in the Supreme Administrative Court regarding two public tenders in the field of electricity supply and construction.

Practice head(s):

Assen Georgiev; Antonia Kehayova

Other key lawyers:

Anna Tanova

Testimonials

‘CMS provides highly-professional services from experienced lawyers having the expertise and motivation to meet the best criteria for quality of the work. They deliver timely, exhaustive and competent legal advice discussed from different perspectives and observing the highest standards in this area. We highly appreciate the professionalism and devotion of CMS Sofia and its employees towards their work.

‘Excellent knowledge of the industry. Excellent collaboration. 24/7 availability and very fast feedback. Extremely professional. ’

‘Assen Georgiev is very well respected and regularly involved in good quality litigation.’

Key clients

Bulgarian National Bank

Cargill

Syngenta

Pharmacros AD

ZAD Allianz Bulgaria

Chubb European Group Limited

Embassy of Portugal in Bulgaria

Hagleitner Hygiene International

ZTE Corporation Bulgaria

CenturyLink Communications Bulgaria

EVN AG/Elektrorazpredelenie Yug

SmartCom Bulgaria

UniCredit Bulbank

Energy and natural resources Tier 1

Energy is a key area of focus globally at CMS, including in its Sofia office. The Bulgarian practice acts for a host of leading oil and gas exploration companies, including Shell International Exploration and Development Italia, Petroceltic and SPM Bulgaria , with equal strength in renewables, nuclear, projects, mining and regulatory. Office managing partner Kostadin Sirleshtov  is 'the most knowledgeable energy lawyer in Bulgaria', according to a client, and steers the entire CEE-wide practice. Dimitar Zwiatkow co-leads in Sofia.

Practice head(s):

Kostadin Sirleshtov; Dimitar Zwiatkow

Testimonials

‘Kostadin Sirleshtov is the most knowledgeable lawyer in Bulgaria in regards to the energy sector. He is on top of all issues in the sector and makes sure to keep us informed regarding any changes. Takes a very helpful approach in legal proceedings.’

‘I would recommend working with Kostadin Sirleshtov and his team (especially Denitsa Dudevska and Raya Maneva). They supported us on the Bulgarian energy regulation and their knowledge and advice were really helpful for our activity.’

They are keen to answer in a timely manner and with a very pragmatic approach.’

Key clients

Shell International Exploration and Development Italia

Petroceltic

Global Biomet

SDN Company

SPM Bulgaria

Acwa Power

Corinth Pipeworks

Svilengrad Solar

Argos Energy

EVN Elektrorazpredelenie YUG

EU and competition Tier 1

CMS offers a sophisticated competition and antitrust service to multinationals and leading domestic companies, advising on merger control, investigations and cartels, abuse of dominant position, compliance and litigation. Counsel Nevena Radlova heads the CEE-wide competition practice at the firm as well as co-leading the Sofia team, and is lauded for her 'good knowledge of the latest competition law precedents in Bulgaria and at EU level'. Head of the firm's IP and IT practice areas Anna Tanova  is a key adviser.

Practice head(s):

Nevena Radlova

Other key lawyers:

Anna Tanova

Testimonials

‘CMS Sofia has provided highly specialised competition advice for us. Recent legal analyses were related to possible abuses of dominant position. We worked closely with Anna Tanova, senior associate at CMS Sofia, on these matters. Anna is highly qualified expert in competition law and is particularly focused in the media industry, TV distribution and IP. The CMS contribution is noticeable and valuable for us. CMS Sofia shows deep understanding and knowledge of the EU and Bulgarian jurisprudence in IP and Competition. ’

‘We work closely with Anna Tanova. She is a knowledgeable competition expert with focus on creative industries, IP and IT. She is also a knowledgeable expert in EU media, IP and communications regulation. She is part of all working groups to the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications and the parliamentary committees related to the amendments of media, IP and leectronic communications law. ’

‘I think that CMS stands out for their international capabilities and strong EU-wide competition team, combined with the excellent knowledge of the local competition law and practices by the lawyers here.’

‘I have worked closely with Nevena Radlova for many years. I think that she is very reliable and diligent, always keen to provide straight-to-the-point and comprehensible advice. She has good knowledge of the latest competition law precedents in Bulgaria and at EU level.’

‘Strict professionals with very large expertise.’

Key clients

Syngenta

The Sales House

Hyundai Heavy Industries, Korea

SmartCom Bulgaria

EVN AG/Elektrorazpredelenie Yug EAD

Telepoint

Kaolin EAD, part of Quartzwerke Gruppe

Bulgarian Association of Cable and Communications Operators – BACCO

Association for Protection of Legal Distribution of Programmes – TeRaPro

Association of Bulgarian Broadcasters – ABBRO

IBM Bulgaria

Projects and PPP Tier 1

With premier practices in energy, construction and finance, CMS is an obvious contender for advice on the largest projects in Bulgaria. Its full-service offering draws together the firm's heavyweight practitioners under the direction of managing partner and leading energy lawyer Kostadin Sirleshtov and public procurement and energy partner Dimitar Zwiatkow. The firm is playing a key role in the controversial €20bn PPP revival of the Belene Nuclear Power Plant  project, where it acts for Rosatom in its partnership with state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding. Repsol and Petroceltic are also clients.

Practice head(s):

Kostadin Sirleshtov; Dimitar Zwiatkow

Testimonials

‘The team is very well organised and works very efficiently. They are very responsive and are keen on finding a workable solution for both parties while attending to the interests on their client.’

‘Recommend: Gentscho Pavlov, partner; Dimitar Zwiatkow, partner; Ivan Gergov, senior associate.’

Client oriented approach, good team work, efficient collaboration within the team and with the client.’

Key clients

Rosatom

Balkantel

Global Biomet

SDN Company

EVN Toplofikazia

Repsol

SPM Bulgaria

Acwa Power

Corinth Pipeworks

Svilengrad Solar

Argos Energy

Petroceltic

Real estate and construction Tier 1

CMS draws together multidisciplinary expertise alongside the firm's real estate specialists, namely counsel Jenia Dimitrova  and senior associate Antonia Kehayova. The firm boasts an extensive caseload of real estate financing, leasing, zoning, construction and transactions, including the sale of Veliko Tarnovo shopping mall on behalf of Alpha Bank’s subsidiary AGI BRE Participations 3. Clients highlight the efficiency of the practice, 'deep market knowledge' and a 'very commercial and realistic approach'. The diverse client roster includes Cargill Bulgaria, UniCredit S.p.A./UniCredit Bulbank and developer Robul Bulgaria.

Practice head(s):

Jenia Dimitrova; Antonia Kehayova

Other key lawyers:

Atanas Bangachev; Dimitar Zwiatkow

Testimonials

‘We work with several legal firms and CMS is unique in the selection of experts on topics that are relevant to our business, and they clearly introduce us to whom to reach out to. They also have a very commercial and realistic approach, as opposed to strictly legal advisors.’

‘Speed, thorough approach, detailed and in-depth analysis, working out on solutions, efficiency.’

‘I have worked mainly with Jenia Dimitrova, who deeply impressed me with her professionalism, responsiveness, speed, thorough approach, detailed and in-depth analysis, working out of solutions and efficiency.’

‘First and foremost their team is highly specialised in each specific field. Having an expert with deep market knowledge and insight has a lot of added value and I consider it a competitive advantage.’

‘I am really content that they are always available for consultations. Even on their days off, we have been able to discuss certain matters and cases. They are open to collaborations and provide accurate and useful information in a timely manner.’

The specific associate whom we have been able to establish a productive relationship with is Jenia Dimitrova. She is specialised in construction activity and real estate and her knowledge far exceeds that of her competitors. She has been extremely helpful on a number of cases, even when our inquiries have been general and not specific to a certain project. She definitely puts extra effort into her work and this becomes obvious by the quality of her work.

‘CMS Team characteristics are: technical legal ability – expertise, experience specific to the practice area; client service – speed, responsiveness, clear business language, decisive opinions; diligence – rigorous attention to detail, standards of professional conduct, service levels and support in the growth strategies of their clients; and commercial vision/business understanding – awareness of the importance of these matters to a client. Dimitar Dimitrov & Jenia Dimitrova are individuals we have worked with.’

Key clients

Cordeel (through its subsidiaries Sofcor Logistics and Cordeel Bulgaria)

Cargill Bulgaria

Advance Business Center (a GTC subsidiary)

Saris Property

Ferrero

Nuvolo Technologies

Global Biomet

OTP Bank and DSK Bank

UniCredit Bulbank

UniCredit S.p.A./UniCredit Bulbank

OTP Bank

Robul Bulgaria

Hypoport

SKF Motion Technologies

Erste Bank

Healthcare and life sciences Tier 2

CMS fields a multidisciplinary team within its life sciences group which provides a comprehensive service to the industry comprising advice on clinical trials, distribution models, corporate matters and M&A, commercial contracts, competition, IP and data protection, regulatory issues and dispute resolution. Clients include some major names in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical devices industries, such as Johnson & Johnson, which the firm has been advising on the establishment of clinical trials in Bulgaria. Disputes partner Assen Georgiev  and senior associate Angelika Sedlackova lead the practice.

Practice head(s):

Assen Georgiev; Angelika Sedlackova

Key clients

Johnson & Johnson

Intellectual property Tier 2

CMS protects the brand portfolios of multinationals, offering a seemless cross-jurisdication service via its extensive network, as well as acting for domestic companies and media organisations. In Sofia, the team is led by experienced counsel Nevena Radlova, who also heads up the firm's competition pratice, and senior associate and litigator Antonia Kehayova, while fellow senior associate Anna Tanova  leads on copyright and media matters. Together, they are praised by clients for their timely and detailed advice that is 'beyond expectation'.

Practice head(s):

Nevena Radlova; Antonia Kehayova

Other key lawyers:

Anna Tanova

Testimonials

‘Quick response and detailed explanation beyond expectation.’

‘Very polite, and detailed in explanations. They are really appreciated.’

Key clients

Navigator PAPER FIGUEIRA

Hagleitner Hygiene International/Hans Georg Hagleitner

Area 52 Trampoline Parks

Treasury Intelligence Solutions Bulgaria

AlphaCo

Smartcom Bulgaria

Hyundai Heavy Industries

TMT Tier 2

The TMT practice at CMS shines in the media sector, where 'outstanding professional' Anna Tanova, a senior associate, is an emerging industry name. The IP lawyer has built an impressive media practice and acts for the Association of Bulgarian Radio and TV Broadcasters in all its regulatory and business matters. In other areas, a multidisciplinary team, including much-praised corporate partner Atanas Bangachev, provide full legal services to telecoms companies, advertising agencies, software developers, satellite providers and private equity houses, among others.

Practice head(s):

Atanas Bangachev; Gentscho Pavlov; Veliko Savov; Anna Tanova

Testimonials

‘CMS Sofia possesses excellent expertise in IP, media law and electronic communications. We work closely with Anna Tanova who is an expert, with deep knowledge of the media regulation and one of the most experienced IP lawyers in Bulgaria. CMS Sofia lawyers provide good, practical solutions for the business.’

‘We work closely with Anna Tanova, senior associate. We have been working with Anna for more than five years already. We highly appreciate her expertise in IP and media law and her understanding of the media industry, the business and regulatory matters. We value her suggestions and the way she puts into practice good ideas. She represents the media industry in all working groups for legal matters related to IP and media at the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications and the parliament. She also advises us in drafting general terms and conditions and agreements, in negotiations, and in regulatory matters. ’

‘My impression is that the firm provides high-quality legal services, especially in the area of copyright and media law as we need such kind of legal expertise for our content acquisitions license agreements covering multiple territories and a wide scope of acquired rights. CMS seem to understand international media business well and are in line with latest changes in media legislation on EU level. Best practices in copyright law are applied on a daily basis. The lawyer working with us is proactive in asking clarifying questions when necessary in order to do her job in the best possible way. There is a constant sense of improvement of the service – revisions in contract drafts are always in line with various considerations.’

‘We work with Anna Tanova only. She is an outstanding professional, trustworthy, smart, innovative and adaptable to client’s needs. She is quick to respond, qualified, detailed and reliable. However, I believe her biggest strength is that she tries to see the assigned tasks from a wider media industry perspective, not just to work on them on a pre-defined standard manner. ’

Key clients

Association of Bulgarian Radio and TV Broadcasters – ABBRO

60K

The Sales House

Bulgarian Association of Cable and Communications Operators – BACCO

Smartcom Bulgaria

CenturyLink Communications Bulgaria

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
Number of lawyers : 40
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