Ukrainian law firm AVELLUM is at the top of the market, handling sophisticated financing transactions, landmark restructuring, as well as the majority of capital markets work throughout 2019. Renowned for its broad corporate finance expertise, the team is equally often hired by lenders as well as major Ukrainian “blue chips”. The firm has for many years confirmed its confident standing at the forefront of public finance law work in Ukraine. This past year AVELLUM acted as the Ukrainian legal counsel to the Ministry of Finance in connection with two syndicated EUR-denominated facilities arranged by Deutsche Bank for a total sum equivalent to approximately USD 1 billion. In 2019 the team demonstrated a proliferation of work, as it was enlisted by EBRD, and accomplished over 10 significant projects, in particular renewable finance transactions. The team’s landmark work was representing J.P. Morgan Securities Plc and Raiffeisen Bank International AG in connection with USD 464 million worth of financing of the acquisition of Vodafone Ukraine telecommunication company by Azerbaijan mobile operator Bakcell, which is part of the NEQSOL group. The law firm is highly regarded for cross-border restructuring mandates working alongside big international law firms. The year of 2019 was noted for the finalization of the USD 1.25 billion general debt restructuring of Interpipe (including both loan and capital market instruments), where the firm acted as a counsel for the borrower, also advising on parallel working capital facility restructurings. The superb reputation of Glib Bondar, senior partner, and his versatile track record from year to year, makes him the eminent market leader with deep involvement in the practice.

The most sizeable multidisciplinary team with four partners on the board of Sayenko Kharenko is extremely active in major cross-border financing and large restructurings, liability management, regulatory banking matters and fintech. Known especially for representing lenders, the team is constantly preferred by international and local commercial banks, international financial institutions, investment banks, funds, exchanges, asset managers, securities traders, insurance companies and investment advisors. The dedicated team is known for its constant work in public sector lending, and most recently represented Deutsche Bank on a EUR 529 million facility extended to Ukraine under a guarantee from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The team has been instructed by the EBRD on a loan of up to EUR 80 million to state-owned Ukreximbank in support of green investments in Ukraine, and on a EUR 116 million loan to Kronospan UA, a manufacturer of wood-based panels, to finance its capital expenditure. The firm is highly active in the energy sector, currently advising the OPIC guaranteed financing of construction of a wind farm. On the restructuring front the firm acted as Ukrainian legal counsel to the creditors of Interpipe in the course of its main debt and working capital facilities debt restructuring, which ran to over USD 1 billion. Recently-promoted partner Igor Lozenko performed a busy year with an extensive track record of EBRD loans support. Renowned partner Nazar Chernyavsky is active on public sector deals and restructuring, with significant input to regulatory and fintech. Anton Korobeynikov developed advisory on non-performing loans and derivatives. Michael Kharenko moved rapidly to GR in evolving development of the banking sector.

Baker McKenzie has a strong market standing, with the versatile practice covering transactions in complex lending, debt restructuring, distressed assets, payment services, fintech, and advising on financial sector reforms. This past year the team worked on a number of new financing rounds to significant Ukrainian borrowers. For example, the firm acted as Ukrainian law counsel to the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank in connection with a loan of up to USD 70 million to Epicentr K and Renvior Trading Limited. The team is involved in energy industry financing projects. In particular, it advised Bayerische Landesbank in connection with two multimillion loan facilities of EUR 90 million each purporting to finance the construction of two stages of a wind power plant at the Primorskaya-1 and Primorskaya-2 Wind Electric Plants; advised a major international bank in connection with funding for construction of a wind power plant in Zaporizhzhia Region. The office has a vivid portfolio of restructuring projects of significant corporate borrowers to international and domestic lenders. With respect to financial services and fintech, the practice team accumulated great experience of regulatory advice, including, among others, data protection and cross-border payments issues. The firm most recently advised foreign technology provider NeoPay on the regulatory and contractual aspects of a cross-border outsourcing transaction with a local technology provider acting for financial institutions originating remote P2P transactions. Co-managing partner Serhiy Chorny has for many years headed transactional financing, debt restructuring and capital markets. Maksym Hlotov, senior associate, coordinating fintech and digitalization sub-practice, received good appraisal from peers for his expertise in payment services.

Given the sizeable practice team co-led by three dedicated partners, Asters possesses a diversified transactional practice covering a broad range of financing, debt restructuring and regulatory matters. The team acts on both sides, representing solid domestic borrowers and lenders, being especially highly regarded for its long-lasting preference by the EBRD and IFC, Black Sea Trade and Development Bank. In recent public highlights the firm acted as a legal counsel to the Bank of China Limited on its EUR 362 million financing to the State Mortgage Institution in relation to the Project of Housing Provision; acted as a legal counsel to the EBRD in connection with its financing of a project of up to EUR 15 million to PJSC Farmak, one of the largest medicines manufacturers in Ukraine. Large-scale restructuring is another significant part of the firm’s recent portfolio, where the team represents significant borrowers and lenders in both local and international restructurings. The team also receives regulatory instructions, being experienced in electronic banking services and payment systems on the territory of Ukraine. Backed by his strategic contribution, senior partner Armen Khachaturyan supervises the practice and is particularly involved in debt capital markets and restructuring mandates. Iryna Pokanay is praised for her well-established advice to international financial institutions and development banks. Roman Stepanenko is referred as a sound lawyer with a good reputation among international law firms. The practice has two counsel on board, Gabriel Aslanian and Kateryna Oliynyk, with both referred for being proficient and very technical.

Redcliffe Partners enjoys an established following of prominent clients — foreign and local lenders, corporate and investment banks, international financial organizations, project sponsors on complex cross-border financings. This past year the firm was among the busiest Ukrainian firms in supporting financing of the renewable sector of Ukraine. Among landmark representations is the largest renewables project financing in Ukraine, where the team represented lenders in connection with a EUR 262 million secured term loan to Ukrainian project company SyvashEnergoProm. Another notable representation includes advising Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank on up to EUR 430 million worth of Bpifrance Assurance Export-covered export credit facilities to Ukraine to fund the acquisition by the Ministry of Interior Affairs of 55 helicopters from Airbus. The firm regularly acts for the EBRD on its transactions with Ukrainian corporate borrowers, and most recently advised on a loan of up to USD 56 million made to Kernel for the construction of 4 biomass plants in different regions of Ukraine. The firm acted as a legal counsel to Ferrexpo plc in connection with a committed revolving pre-export finance facility of up to USD 500 million. Cross-border debt restructurings involving various types of finance and capital markets liabilities are another strong side of the team. Olexiy Soshenko, managing partner, is a point of reference for peers in Ukraine and abroad. The key members of his team are Olena Polyakova, Olesia Mykhailenko, Evgeniy Vazhynskiy.

Being a part of a global law firm, the Kyiv-based banking, finance and capital markets practice of Dentons is in a good position to handle cross-border lending, trade finance, purchase of distressed debt and NPL investment, as well as fintech advisory, currency control and regulatory issues. The firm is known for undertaking mandates predominantly from lenders in large cross-border restructurings when the borrowers came from the agricultural, energy and real estate sectors. The multijurisdictional team advised a syndicate of international banks jointly led by BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank on the extension and increase to USD 400 million of a pre-export secured revolving facility to Ferrexpo; advised a reputable international fund manager on the extension of the maturity of a bilateral loan to Royalty-Rent, secured by the Aladdin Shopping Centre in Kyiv. Notably, the firm advised BCP Securities, a US-based multinational investment bank, which focuses on emerging markets, in connection with the launch of its commercial activity in Ukraine. Another notable piece of work was advising the National Bank of Ukraine on legislation and best international practice involving derivatives. With longevity in the banking sector, Natalia Selyakova, partner, had a busy practice team. Nadiya Shylienkova, counsel, is equally strongly involved in transactions and regulatory work.

СMS is represented through two offices in Ukraine.

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang is historically enlisted for cross-border work and stands out for its advantage of English law capability on the ground. Being a part of the CMS CEE regional banking practice, the Kyiv-based team is especially active in equity and senior debt financing, syndicated transactions, export finance and project finance. With regard to this sector, the firm is present in transactions in the agricultural, infrastructure real estate, energy and natural resources sectors. This past year was marked by a new wave of construction finance deals when the team advised Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego on a EUR 41.1 million loan for the purposes of financing RC Retrovil construction. Another important mandate was advising a syndicate of banks led by ING and UniCredit as mandated lead arrangers on the extension and USD 100 million increase of a pre-export credit facility to Ukraine’s Kernel Group. Backed by its top position in the energy sector, the team regularly renders legal support in project finance for the renewable sector. In a recent highlight, the team advised EuroCape Ukraine I LLC, a subsidiary of independent renewable energy company LongWing Energy SCA, as lead borrower and sponsor in relation to equity and senior debt financing, for the construction of a wind farm in Ukraine. The EBRD and IFC consistently hire the firm to support funding of municipal projects. Other workflow encompasses restructuring and NPLs sale. Further expertise includes derivatives, payment services and regulations. The team was expanded through a number of recent hires and the arrival of the new practice partner, Ihor Olekhov, from Baker McKenzie. Warsaw-based partner Mark Segall, also head of banking and finance in CEE, leads significant cross-border mandates. Kateryna Chechulina, who was promoted to counsel, is another key figure of the practice.

CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz enjoys a well-established following of German-speaking clients. The office often acts for lenders in the course of export credit facilities, debt assignment and debt recovery proceedings, banking regulation. Another niche expertise includes aviation finance. Anna Pogrebna, partner, is the practice head.

AEQUO has a remarkable client base featuring local and foreign industrial leaders, private equity funds and banks. The firm is well-regarded in regulatory and banking M&A, and demonstrates growing transactional capabilities. The firm’s team recently advised Epicentr K, a leading Ukrainian DIY retail chain, on the receipt of a USD 70 million loan from the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank; advised Raiffeisen Bank International on extending a loan to Epicentr K. The team is regularly enlisted for domestic restructuring. For example, it advised TMM on USD 50 million restructuring under the new Financial Restructuring Law; advises Industrialbank in the course of ongoing financial restructuring of Herson Greenhouse Facility LLC indebtedness. The landmark project of the team is advising the state-run Deposit Guarantee Fund (DGF) on matters of restructuring its debt to the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance under the relevant promissory notes issued by the DGF. The firm is often referred for its strong regulatory expertise and rich experience of handling fintech projects. Among recent highlights to note is providing advice to PrivatBank on its regulatory matters; advising Magyar Nemzeti Bank (National Bank of Hungary) on issues pertaining to information exchange and confidentiality regulations applicable in the context of bank resolution proceedings in Ukraine. On the banking M&A front, the firm advised Dragon Capital and other private investors on matters regarding execution of an agreement for the purchase of a 100% shareholding in Idea Bank. Yulia Kyrpa is lead partner, noted for spending 2019 very busily in developing her practice and the team. Bohdan Dmukhovskyy, counsel, was involved in the majority of practice projects. In 2019 the practice added Denys Kulgavyi and Mariya Tsabal (previously — AVELLUM) to its capacities.

DLA Piper Ukraine advises leading banks, financial and development institutions, key export credit agencies, project sponsors and investors on international and domestic banking transactions, acquisition finance, project finance, restructuring. The sectors of the firm’s recent presence in financing matters include agriculture, aviation, renewable energy and infrastructure. In a recent highlight the practice team represented Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in relation to a USD 150 million secured senior facility to finance the construction of a wind power farm in Zaporizhzhia Region. Another notable project in 2019 was support for NEQSOL on a USD 464 million secured syndicated facility to finance the acquisition of Vodafone Ukraine with contemplated bond takeout. The long-lasting project when the firm acted as transaction counsel to GIZ (German agency for international development and cooperation supporting the German government) and BMU (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany) Energy Efficiency Fund of Ukraine on establishment of an energy efficiency multi-billion trust fund by international donors and IFC as trustee and the State of Ukraine as co-financier with a view to fund Ukrainian banks under a funding agreement, was closed in December 2019. The Kyiv office is actively involved in advising cross-border multimillion debt restructuring, and is often mandated to represent lenders. In addition, the office is regularly instructed to handle projects in respect of international payment systems and financial services as well as financial leasing. The practice of finance, projects and restructuring is led by the firm’s partner Oleksandr Kurdydyk, supported by legal directors Illya Muchnyk (focus on project finance in the energy renewables projects and regulatory) and Dmytro Pshenychniuk (secured loans and NPLs).

Possessing solid expertise in general banking, trade and project finance, regulatory issues and debt restructuring, Arzinger is especially proficient in representing creditors and their syndicates. The team was notably active in recent years across large-scale debt restructuring of Ukrainian corporate borrowers. This past year the firm advised Raiffeisen Bank International AG in connection with provision of a loan facility covered by an Euler Hermes guarantee to one of the largest European producers of paper-based products; advised SID Bank on provision of a USD 5 million loan facility to Ukrtelecom. The firm enjoys the following of international financial institutions, most recently advising the International Finance Corporation on provision of a loan of up to USD 50 million by OTP Leasing for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy sub-projects. The portfolio of debt restructuring projects encompasses borrowers from the agro, financial, pharmaceutical, energy, IT sectors. The practice, as led by Oleksandr Plotnikov, demonstrated enhanced following by foreign lenders, as well as a growing Asian clientele, like China Development Bank, China Machinery Engineering Corporation, Shanghai Electric Corporation.

In 2019 Ukrainian law firm EVERLEGAL expanded its banking and finance practice, being involved in both domestic and cross-border financial transactions, restructuring and NPLs advisory, regulatory issues. Given the firm’s strong focus on renewables, the team is instructed for subsequent project finance of solar and wind power projects in Ukraine. The team is also a popular choice for banks on their trade finance facility transactions, particularly with Ukrainian agrarian corporate borrowers. In a recent highlight, the firm advised a major agricultural holding, Louis Dreyfus Company Ukraine, on raising a loan from the EBRD to finance a railcar logistics business in Ukraine. The two-partner practice continues to grow its capacities. Vsevolod Volkov has been active in advising banking clients and handling project finance work. Andriy Olenyuk remains dedicated to transactions regarding financing renewable projects.

In 2019 INTEGRITES possesses a strong track record of banking lending, project finance, restructuring, regulatory and currency control matters. The firm was most recently mandated by project sponsors for a significant number of renewable project finance deals. For example, it advised NBT on all aspects of financing of the first stage of the Zophia wind farm in southern Ukraine, and on a EUR 262 million secured term loan to SyvachEnergoProm to fund the construction of a wind power plant near Syvash Lake. The firm has established relations with international financial institutions, rendering representation on corporate loans and restructuring. In particular, the firm advised the EBRD and IFC on restructuring a USD 50 million corporate loan extended to the Globino group of companies. The team advised FC LeoGaming Pay LLC, an international payment processor provider, on a transaction connected with transforming the local electronic payment system Leo into an international one. In April 2019 Igor Krasovskiy joined the firm as a partner and new head of the banking and finance practice. Oleh Zahnitko is another partner in this practice.

The Kyiv office of Kinstellar extended its banking and finance practice, which included both transactions and regulatory advice. In addition to existing experience on loan assignments and secured financing, NPLs, the team possesses expertise in derivatives. In 2019 the firm advised DEG, a subsidiary of KfW Bank, on financing to Ukrainian agriculture companies Astarta and Nibulon; acted as Ukrainian law counsel to FMS Wertmanagement AöR, a German federal institution established for winding up the risky positions of Hypo Real Estate Holding, in relation to a USD 140 million loan extended to a major Kyiv shopping mall. Given the boom in the renewable sector in 2019, the team acted on finance assignments in the sector, having represented EBRD borrowers West Solar LLC and Snyatinenergoinvest LLC, which are renewable energy producers. In October 2019, the Kyiv office was appointed as one of the companies of the EBRD legal panel of outside counsel to advise on various Ukrainian law matters till October 2022. Andriy Nikiforov, counsel, heads the practice.

In 2019 the legal team of EY continued to develop its profile of financial restructuring instructions acting both as an independent expert and as an advisor to debtors. Under the Financial Restructuring Law EY assisted a group of agricultural companies of UkrLandFarming and AvangardCo IPL in the course of financial restructuring of their USD 159.6 million debt to Oschadbank, and assisted the Agency of Office Construction, a major Ukrainian developer, on financial restructuring of its debt to the State Export-Import Bank of Ukraine. The core team includes Bogdan Malniev and Daria Tkachenko, and is guided by Albert Sych.

GOLAW enhances its relationships with banks and export agencies. The firm acts on regulatory matters, representation of banks in insolvency proceedings with their debtors and assets foreclosure. ProCredit Bank is regularly represented by the team, and was most recently advised regarding foreclosure on a grain elevator, dairy farm, corporate rights of operational companies and other agricultural facilities under credit default conditions from Rostock Holding. Sergiy Oberkovych, Max Lebedev and Iryna Kalnytska guide the workflow of the practice.

Given its historically strong standing in the real estate and construction sector, Gramatskiy & Partners supports the financing of industrial borrowers and developers, including intra-group transactions, tax and regulatory aspects. For example, the firm represented Panorama Invest, an investment and developer group, on obtaining finance for the construction of solar power plants in Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk Regions provided by White Green Energy; represented Novyi Complex LLC in a loan facility from OTP Bank for construction of the second line of TEC Chocolate. The team advises on currency restrictions and regulatory matters, and broadened its expertise in financial monitoring and anti-money laundering, international procedures for banking operations and regulatory compliance. Restructuring and refinancing work covered projects in cross-border trade. For example, the firm acted for a borrower, L.K.O., a distributor of beer and alcohol, on financial restructuring of debt owed to Raiffeisen Bank Aval. Other areas of activity covered management of bad debt. The practice is led by Igor Reutov.

Ilyashev & Partners is a premier dispute resolution firm regularly enlisted by banks to handle debt recovery matters, insolvency and restructuring work. On the regulatory front, the firm is present in financial services, especially online payment and insurance. The firm most recently advised Alfa-Bank on structuring the transfer of securities as collateral. The group’s current portfolio includes  representation of agricultural holding Creative Group on its ongoing restructuring of debt, which exceeds USD 730 million. Managing partner Mikhail Ilyashev is the main figure.

Jeantet, a French law firm with an office in Kyiv, has strong relations with international financial institutions which keep providing work. The firm has experience in secured lending, project finance, banking regulatory and currency control matters. This past year the firm advised the European Investment Bank on providing a secured loan for Astarta and Kernel Group. Olga Babiy and Bertrand Barrier are the key figures.

Ukrainian law firm Jurvneshservice has a niche standing in aircraft financing. This past year was notable for development of ABS transactions (attraction of financing through issue of notes secured with certain assets that generate permanent income — aircraft and their leases), and involving them in a subsequent number of aircraft owners and lessors. In particular, the firm acts for Carlyle Aviation Partners and BOC Aviation as originators and service agents in ABS transactions with a pool of aircraft, some of which are leased to national carrier UIA. The firm has an extensive flow of aircraft lease transactions to airlines like Windrose, SkyUp, Jonika. Dr. Ganna Tsirat is lead partner to the firm’s aircraft finance practice.

Konnov & Sozanovsky advises on regulatory matters, and considers financial leasing as its core area of focus. Caterpillar Financial Ukraine, a long-term client of the firm, is supported in financial leasing transactions and risk analysis. Alexey Ivanov, managing partner, is the key contact.

In 2019 Marchenko Partners gained in its banking finance practice with admission of the practice team from Nobles. The firm is known for its work on classical debt finance and restructuring of financial indebtedness as well as regulatory advice. In particular, the team advised Western NIS Enterprise Fund in connection with financing of Smachni Spravy, a social enterprise specializing in producing meat products, and Dnipro UVP UTOS, production of equipment for rolling stock of state rail operator Ukrzaliznytsia. The recent portfolio includes representing foreign banks in the course of lending deals with corporate borrowers from the agrarian sector. Roman Shulyar is a lead partner.

Market newcomer Quantum Attorneys supports development and rendering of financial services, regulatory matters, structuring currency transactions. Selected areas of the firm’s focus include payment systems, crypto-currency regulations, licensing and anti-money laundering. The new team is also visible in advising fintech companies. Oleksandr Vygovskyy is the lead partner.

SDM Partners is focused on financial leasing, debt restructuring as core activities. The firm’s recent projects include representation of a European bank regarding the provision of trade finance for the construction of a solar power station in the south of Ukraine; advice to a large US governmental financial institution during the restructuring and loan reissuances of Ukrainian companies. Dmytro Syrota and Serhiy Dzis are lead partners.

The Kyiv office of Wolf Theiss, renowned for its established CEE network, advises on currency control and securities regulations, as well as lending matters. In 2019 the firm completed the debt restructuring of a UniCredit Bank facility issued to finance construction of a large logistic complex in Ukraine and advised Vienna Insurance Group on corporate restructuring, namely the merger of its two Ukrainian risk insurance subsidiaries. Oksana Volynets is the practice head.

 

INTERNATIONAL LAW FIRMS

 

Being active in the CIS region, Allen & Overy has a constant presence in cross-border financing transactions and significant restructurings involving the Ukrainian corporate sector. The team, as led by Istanbul-based partner Joe Clinton and counsel Adam Fadian, acted for Natixis in connection with a USD 300 million amended and restated secured revolving facility agreement for Kernel.

Clifford Chance maintains its presence in banking and finance work involving Ukraine, and is renowned for representing major international banks and financial institutions as lenders. In particular, the firm acted as lead counsel to the EBRD, NEFCO, BSTDB, Proparco, Finnfund, IFU, FMO, Green for Growth Fund and J.P. Morgan Securities Plc on extension of EUR 262 million secured term loan to SyvachEnergoProm. The Amsterdam office advised lenders on the English law aspects of non-recourse debt financing to Scatec Solar for the construction of a solar PV power plant in Bohuslav. Jared Grubb, Istanbul-based partner, is the main contact.

With an established presence in the CEE region, Linklaters is present in large-scale finance matters and significant restructuring, often representing international lenders. The London-based team, led by partners James Martin and Richard Levy, advised JP Morgan and Raiffeisen Bank on the USD 464 million financing of the acquisition of Vodafone Ukraine telecommunication company by Azerbaijani mobile operator Bakcell, part of the NEQSOL group. Mirthe van Kesteren heads the emerging markets banking and structured trade finance practice in London and co-heads the firm’s CIS desk.

In addition to a vivid presence on international capital markets, White & Case advises on large scale financings. In particular, the team, guided by London-based partners Ian Clark and James Hardy, provided English law advice to the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine on an EUR 529 million facility extended to Ukraine under a guarantee from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Another mandate included being a French law counsel to the Ministry of Finance on financing the acquisition by the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior Affairs of 55 helicopters from Airbus.

Please see Tables 2 and 3 for more information about international law firms involved in banking and finance and debt restructuring projects.

 

 

Established practices
Listed in alphabetical order