The dispute resolution law firm EQUITY is one of the key market players dealing with distressed assets, particularly in the field of bankruptcy and insolvency litigation, while its strong criminal practice is often involved in violations at various stages of bankruptcy procedures. The firm has a solid clientele out of major industrial financial groups, which determined its involvement in complex large-scale cases. The recognized strength is acting for distressed debtors. The largest long-lasting project in the market is ongoing bankruptcy cases of enterprises belonging to the Azovmash Group of Companies, the largest engineering company in Ukraine with the total amount of creditor claims for two enterprises coming to about USD 1.3 billion. Another long-lasting complex case is acting for a large Ukrainian car service provider, AIS Corporation, on bankruptcy proceedings of its five enterprises with creditors’ claims totaling USD 900 million. The firm handles representations of debtors’ interests in the bankruptcy cases of PJSC Rosava, LLC Belvedere Ukraine, Kyiv Ship Repair Plant, Kherson Plant of Cardan Shafts, Wholesale Network 2011 (Optova merezha) and others. Noteworthy experience includes insolvency of banks and liquidation disputes. Work on the creditor side expanded in 2019, as seen by a bench of instructions from PJSC UkrInCom in proceedings with its debtors. The practice has three partners on board. Oleh ­Malinevskyi is known for proficient debt recovery and insolvency disputes. Serhiy Chuyev, leads litigation proceedings involving banks. Victor Barsuk carries out strategic guidance. The senior team includes Dmytro Tylipskyi, Olexiy Stepanenko and Andrii Ivaniv.

A sizeable Ukrainian firm with a chain of offices, Ilyashev & Partners is focused on large complex bankruptcy cases involving many episodes of litigations, as well as bankruptcies and episodes of large scale cross-border disputes. The firm’s experienced practice team possesses particular expertise in handling the bankruptcies of distressed debtors. The firm provides full legal support to the USD 660 million bankruptcy of the agricultural enterprise Creative Group; supports the bankruptcy cases of AvtoKrAZ, FSC More, Ukrprominvestgroup, JSC Kyiv Meat Processing Plant, and sanation (financial rehabilitation) of Sumykhimprom. The firm has a solid portfolio of banking clients ensuring the lender-side practice. In particular, the firm acted for Unex Bank in the bankruptcy of the Oil and Fats Alliance; represented an Austrian firm in the bankruptcy of State Joint Stock Company Khlib Ukrainy. The bankruptcy practice of the Moscow office, headed by Dmitry Konstantinov, demonstrated rapid expansion and success in precedent-setting cases. This team is involved in significant bankruptcies of developers and infrastructure companies. Vadym Kizlenko, counsel, received strong market feedback for being a proactive and knowledgeable expert. Experienced Andriy Konoplya is another key figure. Revered Roman Marchenko is the lead partner.

Bankruptcy is one of the milestones of Alekseev, Boyarchukov and Partners. The firm’s recognized strength is representing banks in bankruptcy proceedings of local corporate debtors and debt recovery litigation against distressed companies. The team quite recently represented Sberbank in the bankruptcy of PJSC Kyiv Jewelry Factory in appealing against the auction to sell the debtor’s assets. Acting on the debtor’s side, the firm represented PJSC Lugcentrokuz N.A. S. Monyatovsky before its creditors and resulted in the development of an amicable settlement. The team often supports the insolvency procedure on the side of insolvency officials. For example, acting in developing the sanation (financial recovery plans) of Private JSC Ukrgaz-Energo to meet the claims of creditors and restoration of commercial activities. Sergey Boyarchukov, managing partner, is named by peers as a talented strategist. Maksym Boyarchukov leads the practice team, and plays a central executive role in the firm’s projects.

The sizeable bankruptcy practice of ARIO Law Firm is known for its participation in resonant cases, acting on both sides of bankruptcy matters, handling liquidation procedures and resolving arising criminal aspects within its practice. The firm currently acts on a wide range of liquidation procedures and liability management matters, bad debt recovery, assets sales, development of restructuring plans and insolvency disputes. The bankruptcy practice works closely with the criminal defense team, handling sophisticated cases involving criminal violations at different stages of a procedure. The recognized strength of the team is representation of distressed debtors. In 2019 the resonant case of bankruptcy of the Ocean Shipyard in Mykolaiv, coupled with criminal proceedings, continued with satisfaction of over USD 3 million worth of creditors claims by its former employees. This past year the firm continued to be retained by banks to represent their interests in ensuring the claims of creditors. In addition to three dedicated partners — Oleksii Voronko, Julian Khorunzhyi and Iryna Serbin, referred to as a motivated and responsible team, Andriy Fylyk was promoted to partner. In Autumn 2019 the practice was strengthened with the arrival of Ruslan Sydorovich (previously a member of the Ukrainian Parliament) as a partner.

L.I. Group has a stable roster of banks and financial companies enlisting the firm for representation in insolvency proceedings and debt recovery litigation. The firm’s client list takes in Alfa-Bank, DCH group of companies, Tascombank, Financial company Investohills Vesta, Svarog West Group Corporation. The firm supported the bankruptcy procedures of big Ukrainian industrial companies retained for representing both creditors and debtors. The practice has two partners on board. Artur Megeria is endorsed for his extensive practice of representing creditors. Mykola Kovalchuk is an active litigator involved in insolvency cases.

Absolute Law Agency is called upon to handle representation of creditors in bankruptcy proceedings of local debtors. The firm enjoys an established following among commercial banks and financial companies, inter alia, VTB Bank, First Ukrainian International Bank, Financial Company Mustang Finance. For example, VTB Bank enlisted the agency to handle representation in the course of bankruptcies of Industrial Power Systems (currently under liquidation procedure) and Dnipro Plant Mineral Fertilizers (asset disposal stage). The team also acts for debtors: supports insolvency procedure of PJSC Locomotive Repair Plant and its recent sanation, and Plant of Gas Discharge Lamps and its current liquidation. Oleksandr Bondarchuk is noted for his good technical knowledge. Oleksandr Hladii is another key contact.

ADER HABER is rapidly developing its bankruptcy and restructuring practice, grabbing support of the bankruptcy and financial recovery procedure of regionally important enterprises. The firm advised major banks on debt recovery procedures from their debtors, amicable settlements and restructuring, as well as liquidation procedures. The firm currently supports the bankruptcy procedures of agrarian, industrial and energy corporate debtors. In a recent highlight the firm advised JSC Kyivgaz on effective mechanisms for the protection of creditors rights in terms of the bankruptcy procedure of JSC K.Energo (previously — JSC Kyivenergo). Oleksandr Udovychenko, practice head, enjoys the praise of peers and good market visibility.

The full-service firm Arzinger has a well-versed standalone bankruptcy practice. The team acts regularly on the side of creditors, representing banks and financial institutions in insolvency proceedings of Ukrainian corporates. For example, the team represents the multilateral developmental investment bank as a secured creditor in an insolvency case involving former leading Ukrainian pharmaceutical distributor Alba Ukraine; representing a major international hedge fund as the non-secured creditor in insolvency proceedings of the Dneprovsky Iron & Steel Integrated Works. Liquidation is another area of recent focus. In particular, the firm advised a leading Swiss-based compressor equipment manufacturer and wholesaler on the winding up of its Ukrainian subsidiary. Anton Molchanov, counsel, heads the firm’s bankruptcy practice and received praise for his experience of cross-border insolvency projects.

Gramatskiy & Partners possesses a full-circle of litigation work in terms of bankruptcy procedures, being retained by different stakeholders — creditors, shareholders, insolvency officers. Further expertise includes work in creditors’ committees, appeal against stakeholder’s actions, support of liquidation procedures and amicable settlements, exits from bankruptcy procedures and post-procedure disputes. Clients come from the construction, engineering, industrial manufacturing, technology sectors. The firm renders support of the PJSC Plant Keramic on restoring commercial activities and out-of-court settlement. Some other public clients include Plant Quant, Gordons Impex, Yust-Service, LKO LLC, Zolotoy Mandarin Group, Vinotex. The practice is led by Andrii Trembich.

The Ukrainian bankruptcy boutique Khomenko, Pita & Partners shifted from its niche of supporting the bankruptcies of state enterprises to proceedings involving the corporate sector — the agrarian, energy, manufacturing, hospitality, technology sectors. The firm is increasingly often hired by commercial banks to handle representation against their corporate debtors. Another notable feature of 2019 is involvement in complex bankruptcies of groups of companies, supporting financial rehabilitation and liquation procedures. Long-lasting professional Oleksandr Khomenko is highly regarded for his effective performance. Ivan Zakharko is another key practitioner, referred to as the new generation of insolvency professionals.

The Ukrainian litigation firm LCF Law Group expands its bankruptcy practice. The firm is called to handle complex resonant bankruptcies, with a series of related litigations in Ukraine and foreign jurisdictions and corporate conflicts. The group is praised historically for its experience of creditor-side practice, and is retained by major commercial banks and financial companies. The group currently acts for TNT Express in the initiation of a bankruptcy procedure of its debtor. Over the last couple of years the group is increasingly preferred by significant domestic borrowers. The large-scale highlight of the team was support for the bankruptcy procedure of eleven enterprises, members of Mriya Agro Holding group, with a total value of creditors’ claims of around USD 800 million within the framework of cross-border debt restructuring. Other significant work was acting on behalf of companies from AVK Group in terms of bankruptcy procedures with a total value of creditors’ claims of around USD 246 million. In addition to acting in courts, the firm has practice of out-of-court and amicable settlements. Public clients include Alfa-Bank, Prominvestbank, the state-run Deposit Guarantee Fund, Autosojuz, NSP Ocean. Partner and practice head Olena Volianska demonstrated tremendous activity in regulation of the profession. Counsel Oleksandr Biryukov contributed to changes in bankruptcy and insolvency legislation.

Sokolovskyi & Partners has an established market niche for supporting bankruptcy proceedings and handling liability crisis management in Ukraine. With the focus on local clients, the firm regularly acts for both debtors and creditors, being equally present in recognition of creditor’s claims and their representation in terms of bankruptcies, and appealing against claims on behalf of debtors. In 2019 the administration of insolvency and corporate recovery, bad debt advice, restructuring, asset disposition and liquidation procedures were all part of the practice’s workflow. The firm’s criminal practice contributes to avoiding violations at different stages of bankruptcy procedures, while the tax practice deals with risks and compliance within liability management matters. Ivan Balytskyi, counsel, heads the practice in the firm.

AVELLUM rapidly develops its litigation practice, which entails bankruptcy cases. In the main the team works for creditors supporting their claims against Ukrainian companies undergoing bankruptcy proceedings. The firm represents some of the world’s leading investment funds as owners of the majority of notes issued by Mriya Agro Holding in the insolvency proceedings of the Mriya Group of Companies, where claims were governed by English law. The dedicated team’s caseload includes debt recovery litigations. Partner Vadim Medvedev took over the role of head of litigation. Senior associate Andriy Fortunenko is a key practitioner involved in bankruptcy cases.

Baker McKenzie is the port of call for solid international clientele facing the need for representation in Ukraine. The office acts principally for creditors, significant international banks on insolvency proceedings of Ukrainian borrowers. Ihor Siusel, partner of dispute resolution, manages subsequent representations.

In 2019 the bankruptcy practice of the full-service firm Eterna Law was reinforced with the arrival of a new lead partner in the guise of Denys Kytsenko. The firm represented creditors in bankruptcy proceedings of non-resident banks, assigning of creditors’ claims, advising on settlement agreement and financial rehabilitation.

GOLAW has a dedicated corporate recovery and insolvency practice with particular experience in representing creditors. The firm acted for the Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation (EGAP), handling comprehensive support of the bankruptcy case of a debtor, Kuzmyntsi Brick Factory, of a leading Czech Bank. The team also acts on out-of-court settlements and possesses particular experience in preventing fictitious bankruptcies and preventing unfair actions of distressed debtors. Anatoli Grabovy is a lead partner.

Bankruptcy practice is very new at KPMG Law Ukraine. The office supported clients in matters related to bankruptcy proceedings, and advised on the possibility to recognize foreign bankruptcy proceedings in Ukraine. The team advised BNH Ukraine on the possibility of initiation of bankruptcy procedure; Herbovital 2 S.R.L. on the possibility of recognizing and enforcing in Ukraine an Italian court judgment on recognition as a bankrupt. Yuriy Katser, director, head of legal services, is the main contact.

Nobili is a domestic bankruptcy boutique known for representing borrowers — local industrial, energy and transport companies. The firm renders legal advice to Rompetrol Ukraine, an oil trading company, in connection with its ongoing bankruptcy. Other clients include Uzhhorodskyi Turbohaz PJSC, Raben Group Ukraine. Natalia Tyschenko, managing partner, is the main contact.

Having one of the strongest and top recognized banking and finance teams on the market, Sayenko Kharenko receives instructions from international clients in complex cross-border bankruptcy proceedings. The team represents the interests of international funds, financial companies and other creditors in the main within bankruptcy proceedings in Ukraine and debt collection litigation. The workload is, to a great extent, handled by the firm’s arbitration team — Olexander Droug and Volodymyr Yaremko. The firm has prominent expertise in financial restructuring, bad debts and liability management.

Illia Komlyk, insolvency officer and founder of Law Firm Illia Komlyk, received praise from peers for bankruptcy knowledge and input in professional development. Insolvency officer Grygoriy Shevchenko is commended as an experienced expert.