In 2021 Ukrainian law firm ADER HABER reinforced its competition practice, especially with antitrust litigation. The firm represented a big thermal energy producer in appealing against the decision of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) regarding violation of economic competition through means of anti-competitive concerted actions; acted for a Ukrainian developer of software in challenging the decision of the regulator on abuse of power and imposition of the subsequent fine. On the advisory front, the firm advised a leading producer of non-alcoholic beverages in Ukraine on the risks of violations in the development of product labeling. Aleksandra Fedotova acts as lead partner.

The formidable antitrust and competition practice of AEQUO commands the entire spectrum of offering, with distinctive strength seen in merger control, investigations, behavioral, cartels, state aid. The team is notably assigned for regulatory and competition compliance advice, unfair competition, vertical agreements. The enviable client roster includes major global and domestic corporations, while the team’s industry strength spans energy, retail, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals. The firm is traditionally approached for merger clearance instructions. In a recent highlight the team advised Vodafone Ukraine in seeking approvals from the AMCU in respect of intended no-compete arrangements and acquisition by it of control over Farlep-Invest PrJSC (the Vega brand) and Cable TV-Finance LLC; acted for Global Shipping Business Network on obtaining a merger clearance permit in Ukraine for a group of leading shipping companies to develop a joint shipping data platform. This past year the practice team experienced a substantial rise in the amount of competition investigation work at various industries. Another growing area is state aid, where the firm has precedent-setting experience, in particular, it assisted Philip Morris in getting a favorable state aid decision; advised Smart Investments, one of the largest investment groups in Ukraine, and developed a comprehensive package of state aid measures for regenerating the Ukrainian shipbuilding industry. On the litigation front, the firm represented Philip Morris and secured its victory in a dispute with the AMCU regarding a fine of USD 44 million in the Supreme Court of Ukraine; successfully represented state energy enterprise Derzhvuhlepostach in a precedent dispute with the AMCU and gained victory in the court of appeal. The practice has three partners on board. Mariya Nizhnik is focused primarily on competition investigation work. Sergey Denisenko leads some of the cutting-edge projects and is head of the consumer and retail industry group. Denis Lysenko has a strategic guidance role. The key senior team includes Yevgen Blok and Anna Litvinova.

The antitrust and competition expertise of Ante Law Firm is focused on two main industries of its established presenceaviation and pharmaceuticals. Being a longstanding legal counsel to the vast majority of international airlines which operate in Ukraine, and Danylo Halytskyi Lviv International Airport, the firm commands unrivalled experience of aviation antitrust. The team represented Danylo Halytskyi Lviv International Airport in the AMCU’s investigation of a possible violation of antimonopoly legislation by the airport, accusing it lacking entry for the ground services market for several companies; prepared and filed a complaint on behalf of Bees Airline with the Antimonopoly Committee in its appealing the decision to operate flights that were given to another airline. The firm is also engaged in cases regarding competition in the pharmaceutical market. Thus, the firm defends Zdravo in various criminal proceedings on competition issues in state procurement procedures for medical devices in various regions of Ukraine; advised Perrigo Ukraine on competition laws with regards to possible violations by competitors and the competition compliance of advertising materials. Managing partner Andriy Guck is the main contact.

ANTIKA Law Firm is particularly sought out by the FMCG, tobacco, automotive and construction industries. The range of mandates includes merger control work, antitrust compliance, protection against anti-competitive actions and unfair competition. The firm is noted for its presence in competition investigations in sensitive industries. Senior partner Dr. Oleksiy Kot leads the practice team. Alexander Tretiakov is the key senior associate.

Prestigious Ukrainian law firm Asters has the largest internationally recognized competition practice team, providing a full-service offering. The firm has an office in Brussels, and is a preferred Ukrainian counsel for merger control work in global transactions and significant domestic deals. The team also benefits from its versatile expertise, acting in virtually all high-profile antitrust probes and investigations, state aid practice, including court challenge of the first AMCU state aid recovery decision; growing number of public procurement review instructions, litigations and bid rigging cases. The firm historically secures the largest number of merger clearances, including multijurisdictional merger filings and Phase II clearances. The highlights included obtaining merger clearances for the merger of WarnerMedia, owned by AT&T, with Discovery, acquisition by AerCap of shares in GE Capital Aviation Services LLC; obtaining antitrust clearance for the Memorandum on interchange fee rates in Ukraine between Visa, Mastercard and the National Bank of Ukraine. The firm is proficient in litigation, lately representing Philip Morris Ukraine and Philip Morris Sales and Distribution in courts in connection with allegations regarding the creation of entry barriers to the cigarette distribution market by other companies (distributors of cigarettes) due to the existence of collusion between cigarette manufacturers and their common distributor, namely Tedis. Furthermore, the team actively participates in the law-making process, and has three partners on board – Igor Svechkar, Oleksandr Voznyuk and Alexey Pustovit. Pavlo Verbolyuk was promoted to counsel.

In addition to its traditionally strong portfolio of merger control approvals for high-profile M&A deals, AVELLUM expanded its scope with antitrust litigation and investigations of competition and market activity conducted by the Ukrainian competition regulator. The client roster covers the majority of business sectors, being particularly followed by FMCG and retail, finance and investments, construction and development, energy and renewable energy, IT and telecom, transport and infrastructure. This past year the firm acted as the main legal counsel to parties on obtaining merger control clearance in connection with the privatization of JSC First Kyiv Machine-Building Plant; advised Nemiroff Group on obtaining merger clearance for the privatization of some of the assets of Ukrainian State-Owned Alcohol and Liquor Enterprise Ukrspyrt; acted as Ukrainian legal counsel to Kaspi.kz on obtaining merger control clearance for the acquisition of the Portmone Group. The team successfully defended the interests of members of British American Tobacco Group in a dispute with the AMCU regarding the challenge of its decisions to impose fines for alleged violation of legislation on protection of economic competition in the form of anti-competitive concerted actions, which relate to restrictions of access of undertakings (buyers) to the primary sale market of cigarettes by manufacturers. As of January 2022, Mykyta Nota was promoted to partner and became head of the competition practice.

Being a part of global antitrust practice, the Kyiv-based practice team of Baker McKenzie works in a consistent manner on prominent global transactions where merger control assistance in Ukraine is required, and also represents its clients at the Antimonopoly Committee in various infringement cases. Competition compliance programs for multinational and local companies in Ukraine is another strength. In a recent highlight the practice team represented Caterpillar Inc. in connection with a multiple merger control and concerted actions filings in Ukraine related to the acquisition of Weir Oil & Gas business unit; represented Flügger group A/S in connection with merger control and concerted actions filings in Ukraine relating to acquisition of a 70% shareholding in Eskaro Group AB, an international paint group; represented Metinvest Holding, a vertically-integrated group of steel and mining companies, in connection with merger control filing related to the acquisition of integral property complex of Dniprovskiy Metallurgical Plant and Phase II initiated by the AMCU. It is worth noting that the firm successfully represented Tedis in courts in connection with a fine of UAH 3.4 billion imposed by the AMCU for anti-competitive concerted actions, which was later cancelled. Partner Oksana Simonova heads the Kyiv office competition and antitrust practice group. Olga Mikheieva, senior associate, is the key team member.

Ukrainian competition law boutique CLACIS provides for a full-circle offering, including merger control, competition law investigations and litigation, regulatory and compliance in Ukraine. The team acted on an international precedent of reducing the interchange fee on the market in a self-regulatory manner, and represented Mastercard in a project to cut domestic interchange fee rates in Ukraine involving, among other things, negotiating, drafting and executing the Memorandum on facilitation of competition on the payment market between payment systems and the National Bank of Ukraine and obtaining the AMCU’s concerted actions approval for Mastercard and Visa to reduce interchange fees in Ukraine, including the Phase II review. The boutique enjoys a consistent following of clients – British American Tobacco, COSCO SHIPPING, Group T.B. Fruit, InBev, Lifecell, PepsiCo and others. Managing partner Antonina Yaholnyk is a respected and experienced competition professional. Anastasiia Zeleniuk is another key figure at the firm.

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang is particularly noted for its well-established practice on cross-border merger control issues and concerted actions approvals, general antitrust compliance, public procurement, unfair competition, antitrust investigations. Being a legal counsel of landmark M&A and JVs, the competition team handles merger clearance assignments. For example, in obtaining all the necessary AMCU approvals in the course of advising the leading mobile operator Vodafone Ukraine and Neqsol Holding, its parent company, in relation to Vodafone Ukraine’s landmark acquisition of Vega Telecom from SCM Group; and for the transaction to establish a joint venture between Air Products with ArcelorMittal for the construction of a new modern air separation unit at the ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih steel plant. With the strengthening of its life science practice in Kyiv, the office expanded its workload with competition law advisory in the sector. For example, the team provided legal advice to Eli Lilly and Company and Takeda on commercial terms and conditions of collaboration with local distributors. Olga Belyakova is lead partner. Borys Danevych, lead partner of the life science and healthcare practice in the Kyiv office, guides competition advisory for clients in the sector. The senior team includes Nataliya Nakonechna and Mykola Heletiy.

As a member of Dentons’ global competition group, the Ukrainian office benefits from the network of offices around the world, enabling bespoke advice within multijurisdictional deals. Another strength is the firm’s proven track record in dealing with agreements or terminations of long-standing business relations as well as unfair competition (non-competition clauses, misleading advertising etc.), implementing complex compliance programs and specific competition law audits. The international clientele traditionally includes regulated industries such as pharma, retail, energy and tobacco. The firm recently advised Roku, a video streaming platform on competition and regulatory law matters within the auspices of their international expansion in Ukraine, as well as on streaming and media regulatory issues; advised Volkswagen AG on all aspects of antitrust and merger control law in connection with the formation of a joint venture with Italian energy supplier Enel X that will build and operate a high-power charging network in Italy. The team also provides continuous pro bono advice to the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine on harmonizing competition legislation with EU standards and requirements, as well as on developing legislation on the criteria for the evaluation of admissibility of state aid. Volodymyr Monastyrskyy is lead partner. Evgenia Prudko, senior associate, is the main antitrust practitioner.

EVERLEGAL ensures bespoke support with obtaining antitrust clearance for a wide range of mergers and acquisitions in the firm’s pipeline. The firm advises leading companies from a range of business sectors, particularly renewable energy, technology and IT, real estate and construction, chemical, investment industries. The team advised both UDP Renewables and a Ukrainian RES investor with regard to obtaining merger clearance in connection with creation of a joint venture for renewable energy projects. Furthermore, the firm started to represent clients in investigations carried out by the Antimonopoly Committee. Advice on competition controversy matters, public procurement, and unfair competition matters are other practice domains. The practice is co-led by two partners – Yevheniy Deyneko and Andriy Olenyuk.

Being active on the M&A arena, EY Ukraine provides transaction-related antitrust/competition legal support, handling merger and concerted practices filing support. EY also has a number of projects for review of historical compliance with antitrust regulations of a Ukrainian business group. The firm provided legal support to the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine on reviewing merger clearance for the Kherson seaport concession. The team also works on a comprehensive EBRD-funded project aimed at establishing the Airport Development Fund (ADF) and Railway Development Fund (RDF) and, among other things, analyzed the applicability of state aid rules to ADF and RDF models, also took into account state aid rules in the preparation of draft bills and conducted preliminary discussion of these models with the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine. Partner Borys Lobovyk is the main point of contact.

GOLAW reinforced its antitrust and competition in 2021 with the arrival of Pavlo Loginov as a partner and practice head. The firm acted on merger clearance queries and unfair competition cases. In particular, the firm advised Delta Plus Ukraine on unfair competition by circumvention of consumers, developing and implementing an action plan on elimination of unfair competition.

Long-standing market player Gramatskiy & Partners assists clients with merger clearance strategies within their M&A and joint ventures, handles competition compliance, and offers broad advisory on the competition aspects of agency and distribution, unfair competition cases. The firm represents Golden Mandarin LLC, a manufacturer of sidewalk tiles, in an unfair competition case against violators; acts on behalf of Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) at the AMCU in an unfair competition case caused by illegal use of its trademark. The firm obtained the AMCU’s approval for concentration in course of sale by Scorpio Real Estate of Global Space Management Limited and Hyden Investments Limited. Ernest Gramatskiy leads the most sophisticated projects.

Ilyashev & Partners has a well-established antitrust and competition practice team advising clients obtaining merger and concerted clearances, unfair competition, abuse of dominance cases, and traditionally handles regulatory disputes. Its clients include big domestic industry leaders and business groups, especially in the area of transport, real estate, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, agrarian, energy sectors. The firm advised Modern Commercial Real Estate LLC in obtaining merger clearance from the AMCU for the acquisition of three plants in the course of privatization of State-Owned Enterprise Ukrspyrt; represented the interests of PrJSC Plasmatec in drafting a complaint to the AMCU on abuse of monopoly position by the United Mining and Chemical Company, a seller of raw materials used by the client in the production of electrodes. The practice lead partner is Oleksandr Fefelov, who is an old-timer on the Ukrainian market.

INTEGRITES has developed a multi-faceted antitrust and competition practice, assisting clients in obtaining clearances for their M&A deals, representing them in unfair competition, concerted practices and abuse of dominance investigations and antitrust litigation. The firm has lately successfully represented InVivo, leading French agricultural cooperative group Soufflet Group, on obtaining merger clearance in three former Soviet Union jurisdictions for one of the biggest M&A transactions in Europe in 2021; advised Kovalska Group, a leading construction materials manufacturer and property developer in Ukraine, on obtaining merger clearance needed for the acquisition of two business centers at UNIT.City, one of the largest innovation parks in Europe located in Kyiv. Recent litigation highlights were representations like advising the Starokostiantyniv dairy plant on challenging the AMCU’s decision to impose a USD 3 million fine, which has been the biggest fine for unfair competition in Ukraine in the last few years. The firm also advised Wärtsilä on entering the Ukrainian market via public procurement instruments, namely through a negotiating procedure with the companies-buyers of equipment. The practice’s lead partner Serhiy Shershun became state commissioner of the AMCU in February 2022.  Vyacheslav Korchev, senior partner, is the main contact.

The antitrust and competition practice of Kinstellar was enhanced via its takeover of DLA Piper Ukraine in June 2021. The team possesses the full spectrum of competition law, particularly merger control advice in terms of multijurisdictional mergers and joint venture arrangements, antitrust aspects of commercial agreements and trade practices, complex investigations and litigation. The team’s clients operate within IT, telecom, consumer goods, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, manufacturing, aerospace and defense, as well as energy sectors. In 2021 the firm represented Radisson Hotels ApS Danmark in obtaining merger clearance for the unveiling of Radisson Hotel City Centre Odesa; assisted Wipro Technologies in obtaining merger control clearance for acquisition of METRO-nom and assets of METRO Global Business Services; advised 4i Capital Partners, a leading Ukrainian-based private equity firm, on obtaining merger control clearance within the sale of its controlling stake in the Ukrainian online payment platform Portmone.com to Kaspi.kz, Kazakhstan’s largest financial technology firm. Furthermore, the firm helped the OECD to analyze competition and state aid issues within its review of corporate governance of state-owned enterprises in Ukraine. The team is sought after for competition compliance, most recently advising Ukrposhta on establishing antitrust compliance and risk management functions, developing internal policies and procedures covering antitrust issues; advising Nobel Ilac Sanayii ve Ticaret A.S., a Turkish pharmaceutical company, on vertical concerted actions, assessing antitrust compliance matters related to commercial practices and distribution of pharmaceuticals in Ukraine. The practice is headed by partner Galyna Zagorodniuk, acting on merger clearance, investigations and representation before competition authorities. Partner Olexander Martinenko, head of dispute resolution, is a renowned general practitioner with unrivalled practice knowledge.

Known in the main for its strong litigation capabilities, LCF Law Group developed its advisory practices, reinforcing its presence in antitrust and competition with the arrival of renowned practitioner Nina Sydorenko as a counsel and practice head. The firm advised on merger clearance and acts in antitrust litigation. In particular, the firm represented the interests of Ostchem Holding Limited in appealing against the decision of the AMCU to impose a fine and compulsory division of the Ostchem Group due to abuse of monopoly position on the primary market of nitrogen fertilizers in 2014-2017.

Legal Alliance Company is a seasoned pharmaceuticals and healthcare sector focused law firm, which assists clients across antitrust and competition matters. The firm is one of the most visible counsel representing pharmaceutical companies in investigations conducted by the Ukrainian competition regulator. The team is called upon in unfair competition, to give advice on vertical agreements on the supply of pharmaceutical products, public procurement, competition compliance. The firm rendered legal support and development of models for the exclusive distribution of medicinal products, cooperation with the retail sector (pharmacy chains), legal risks associated with contract manufacturing of medicines in Ukraine. Andrii Gorbatenko is lead partner and the main point of contact.

Legrant Law Company is an Odesa-based law firm with a focus on maritime and shipping, port infrastructure and dispute resolution. The firm’s competition practice has an established caseload of representing clients in disputes with the Ukrainian Sea Port Authority, and most recently also appealed to the AMCU as to actions by the State Property Fund and the Ministry of Infrastructure. Being consistently retained by port operators and stevedores, the team also represents their interests in challenging monopoly positions by sector players within the Ukrainian competition authority. Tatyana Titarenko, managing partner, and Liudmila Sizonenko are visible legal practitioners in Odesa and the wider region.

Lexwell & Partners advises clients on merger control and abuse of dominance. The firm is historically hired by industrial corporations and continued advising CRH group on issues related to a conflict that arose with one of the CRH Group’s cement dealers in Ukraine, assisted with minimizing the risk of ungrounded complaints on abuse of monopoly position on the Ukrainian cement market; represented CRH at the AMCU during an investigation into the cement market. One example of merger control work included representing Financiere in the course of obtaining a concentration permit during acquisition of companies owning a hotel business in Ukraine. Managing partner Andrey Kolupaev is the main contact.

Ukrainian law firm Nobles renewed its antitrust and competition practice with the arrival of a dedicated team headed by Oleksandr Aleksyeyenko from Marchenko Partners in September 2021. This team possesses established expertise advising clients on compliance, merger clearance, state aid, unfair competition, matters which are at the intersection of antitrust with international trade and intellectual property. In addition, the team members are also pioneers of state aid complaints in Ukraine working on several significant mandates and continue to develop their respective niches. The firm continues to represent Ukrainian express delivery operator Nova Poshta in a pioneering state aid case against state-owned postal operator Ukrposhta; advises MHP, one of the leading poultry producers in Europe with one of the strongest food brands in Ukraine, as well as one of the largest grain producers in Ukraine, on unfair competition compliance matters. Oleksandr Aleksyeyenko is the main point of contact.

Pavlenko Legal Group boosted its merger control work, retaining clients from major business sectors – agrarian, pharmaceuticals, real estate and construction, infrastructure. The firm also handles antitrust due diligence, compliance and represented clients in investigations. The firm represented TAS Group in obtaining a permit for concentration by acquiring shares in PSP Chervonyi Mayak, Druzhba LLC and Polissya SL LLC; Agrolife Group on obtaining permits to concentration by acquiring shares in Astra and Arvid; NEST Group on obtaining a concentration permit by acquiring a share in Reytarske LLC. The practice is headed by Anna Hryshchenko.

Redcliffe Partners has a well-versed antitrust practice team that handles merger control work, unfair competition and misleading advertising issues, developing commercial and distribution policies, state aid advisory, competition compliance. The firm is consistently retained as a Ukrainian legal counsel for large-scale multijurisdictional M&A, recently assisted Louis Dreyfus Commodities and Energy Holdings N.V. in obtaining merger and concerted practices clearances in Ukraine for the sale of a 45% stake in Louis Dreyfus Company B.V. to ADQ; assisted CVC Capital Partners in obtaining merger and concerted practices clearances from the AMCU for the indirect acquisition of control over Unilever PLC’s global tea business – Ekaterra Tea. Anastasia Usova is lead partner of the antitrust practice. In 2021 Yuriy Terentyev, former chairman of the AMCU, joined the firm as a partner.

Sayenko Kharenko, being a constant legal counsel for international blue chips and prominent domestic businesses, houses one of the most experienced and sizeable full-circle antitrust and competition practices in Ukraine. The firm has for many years enjoyed a busy pipeline of merger clearance and filing work, handling representation in antitrust investigations in relation to unfair competition and probes into anti-competitive concerted practices before the competition regulator. During the past year the firm was traditionally busy with merger control mandates. Work highlights worth mentioning are representing Novartis in obtaining Ukrainian merger clearance for the acquisition by its division, Sandoz, of GSK’s cephalosporin antibiotics business; Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in obtaining Ukrainian merger clearance for the merger of FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) and PSA (Peugeot S.A.) to create a leader in sustainable mobility; APMT and ENNA on obtaining Ukrainian merger clearance in connection with the establishment of a joint venture in Croatia, and many others. It is worth noting that the team advised JTI in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Ukraine on invalidating the headline-making decision of the Antimonopoly Committee on anti-competitive concerted practices on the tobacco market. The practice is led by three partners – Maksym Nazarenko, Valentyna Hvozd and Vladimir Sayenko.

Ukrainian law firm Sytnyk & Partners is often preferred as a Ukrainian legal counsel for merger clearance in connection with multinational M&A. In 2021 the firm advised Saint-Gobain in connection with obtaining three merger control approvals from the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine for the acquisition of Chryso, a leading global player in the construction chemicals market providing differentiated and innovative solutions, from funds advised by Cinven, an international private equity firm. Denys Sytnyk, managing partner, is the main contact.

Wolf Theiss Kyiv is retained for transactional support, in particular, conducting of antitrust due diligence and merger control assessments, assisting clients in preparation of antitrust filings and obtaining merger clearances and concerted actions approvals in Ukraine. The firm is involved in regional M&A and benefits from its international network of offices. This past year the team advised FAREVA SA, an international contract manufacturer of household, industrial products, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals on antitrust issues related to the purchase of assets of Novartis AG, including preparation of antitrust filings for concentration and concerted actions and representing the acquirer in front of the Ukrainian competition authority; represented Karpaty Chemical B.V. in connection with merger clearance for the sale of the largest petrochemical producer in Ukraine to Techinservice Limited; Uniqa Real Estate Property Holding GmbH, a company from an international group of insurance companies, on its merger filing to the Ukrainian competition authority connected with sale of its Ukrainian company to a third party. The practice is headed by Olga Ivlyeva.

Arzinger is mentioned as a strong antitrust and competition practice, having been especially followed by clients from life science and tobacco industries.[1]

 

[1] The firm has not submitted information for the current research.