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Asia Guide

Corporate & Finance — Kazakhstan

Band 1

第一等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: Aigoul Kenjebayeva and Abai Shaikenov 
- 6 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Market-leading team, excelling in corporate and transactional mandates, especially those in the natural resources and financing sectors. Also offers noted project financing capabilities, providing local and English law support to leading international financial institutions and corporates.

Strengths "They have a greater and stronger international network, especially with their Moscow, London and China offices."

"They have very good business acumen and a feeling for the market."

"One of the strongest firms in the market." 

Work highlights Assisted RBS with the sale of a Kazakh subsidiary.

Advised Shell on local merger control issues affecting its global acquisition of BG Group.

Significant clients Citi, EBRD, Halliburton, HSBC, Louis Vuitton.

Notable practitioners  

Abai Shaikenov is "a very experienced international banking lawyer," praised by clients for his "consistently good service." He acts prominently for Asian and European financial institutions involved in inbound financing projects as well as in domestic banking M&A projects.

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Band 1

第一等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Joel Benjamin
- 2 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Outstanding finance team, advising international financial institutions on inbound project financing and loan facility mandates as well as offering strong capital markets capabilities. Also provides cross-border corporate structuring and transactional support to regional telecoms and natural resources corporates. A leading choice of local counsel for international law firms lacking a local presence.

Strengths "Excellent technical ability, combined with top professionalism and responsiveness. They are the best in the market." 

"Really, really good. Very responsive and they have the best individuals in banking and finance law in Kazakhstan."

Work highlights Acting as local counsel to VTB Capital with regard to its EUR300 million financing of a Kazakh aluminium smelting plant.

Represented Tele2 in the development of a joint venture business with Kazakhtelecom.

Significant clients EBRD, Halyk Bank, KazMunayGas, Kcell, UniCredit.

Notable practitioners  

Managing partner Joel Benjamin receives high praise from international clients for his commercial and regional insight, with sources citing his "extensive experience in the region and ability to give extremely informed and practical advice" and "good judgement and strong communication skills." Clients also appreciate his responsiveness and availability. He frequently acts for international financial institutions and in co-operation with international law firms.

Adlet Yerkinbayev wins praise from clients for his local law knowledge and experience of working on cross-border projects. One interviewee reports: "He was very helpful, he has a lot of experience, speaks English and Russian and knows the peculiarities of the local legislation and how it can impact foreign law frameworks. He was critical to the success of the negotiations."

Of counsel Maksim Grekov is "a real expert in the nuts and bolts of Kazakh law and he translates that into very commercial advice." He focuses on project financing and restructuring mandates. Clients praise his problem-solving skills, one saying: "In my experience, any problem that comes up in a deal is never a problem when Maksim is involved; he'll always find a solution." 

Of counsel Kairat Baizakov enters the table with sources testifying to his increasing visibility in corporate structuring and M&A projects and his assistance with cross-border project financing matters. Interviewees speak of his "many years' experience" and "very good reputation." 

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Band 1

第一等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: Maxim Telemtayev and Pavel Kornilov
- 2 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Maintains impressive banking and finance capabilities and offers cross-border project financing and capital markets services to European and US-based financial institutions. Also assists regional and international banking institutions with corporate mandates, including M&A transactions. Also active on natural resource-focused corporate matters.

Strengths "They're international and they're responsive. We like their approach and their experience seems to be the widest in the region. They know how to solve every problem, which is great, and they can answer every question we come to them with." 

Work highlights Acted for Eurasian Bank in its acquisition of and subsequent merger with BankPozitif Kazakhstan.

Represented Kazzinc in its USD100 million purchase of Orion Minerals.

Significant clients Citibank, EBRD, Goldman Sachs, ING, J.P. Morgan.

Notable practitioners  

Maxim Telemtayev advises international clients on inbound project financing and M&A mandates and is highly praised for his negotiation skills. He is also described as "a very good lawyer with great common sense and very practically oriented."

Pavel Kornilov is attracting increasing attention in the market as a capital markets specialist who regularly assists domestic and state-owned organisations with bond and term note issuance projects. He also regularly advises international clients on Kazakh-bound project financing mandates. Clients praise his "very efficient, hands-on" style, and one reports: "He's good, responsive, we like his approach and he can answer all our questions."

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Band 2

第二等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: Nurlan Sholanov and Yelena Pestereva 
- 2 partners
- 10 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Leading domestic firm, assisting international clients on local law issues affecting cross-border mandates as well as representing domestic clients in local projects. Particularly well regarded for corporate law advice and M&A expertise, its domestic market position makes it a popular choice for many international law firms seeking local law advice in Kazakhstan.

Strengths "Aequitas give us action plans, details and advice."

"They have really good practitioners with outstanding academic backgrounds."

Work highlights Advised HP on complex Kazakh aspects of its global business separation programme.

Provided strategic advice to leading domestic bank Tsesnabank, supporting the conclusion of a framework loan agreement with a Western counterpart.

Significant clients CTC Media, Deborah Services, Kazkommertsbank, MasterCard, Visa.

Notable practitioners  

Valikhan Shaikenov is noted for his drive and praised for his enthusiasm and "great ideas," one source confidently predicting that "he's got a bright future." He provides local law support on inbound financing mandates as well as assisting clients with corporate structuring.

Head of the corporate practice Nurlan Sholanov assists international corporate clients with domestic structuring, M&A and joint venture matters, winning respect as a "good, very experienced lawyer."

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Band 2

第二等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Aset Shyngyssov
- 4 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Broad-based expertise encompassing corporate/M&A, banking, real estate and construction. Maintains a strong capital markets team, acting principally for major domestic and state-run institutions, supported by the firm's London office. Acts for a diverse range of international and domestic clients, including financial institutions, telecoms and manufacturing corporates.

Strengths "The team is very strong, the lawyers are very good and business-oriented, the quality is always there and they're always on time." 

"Very strong lawyers and partners who live up to their reputation."

Work highlights Assisted Kaspi Bank, with a USD44 million Eurobond self-tender offer.

Acted for Alstom in its acquisition of a 25% stake in local locomotives manufacturer TOO EKZ.

Significant clients Airbus, EBRD, GE, Lancaster Group, Teliasonera.

Notable practitioners  

Practice head Aset Shyngyssov specialises in corporate projects, including cross-border M&A, and regularly acts for major domestic clients in the energy market. He also represents leading European financial institutions and corporate clients. Sources call him "a very good lawyer, very technical with great communication skills," and also praise his "very strong negotiation skills."

Klara Nurgaziyeva provides support on corporate matters. Sources praise her handling of projects-related mandates, noting that she frequently "plays an important role" and emphasising the "common sense in her approach."

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Band 3

第三等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: Sofia Shaykhrazieva, Dinara Jarmukhanova and Ravshan Rakhmanov 
- 3 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Advises on matters related to construction, M&A, joint venture and project financing mandates, as well as providing local law due diligence and regulatory advice. Alongside a core clientele of Asian corporates, the practice is also frequently engaged as a local counsel by leading international law firms.

Strengths "They understand what international counsel are looking for and understand how to help foreign lenders and investors." 

"They're like an on-the-ground in-house counsel."  

Work highlights Provided PRC-based Bank of Communications with local law support for its financing of a Kazakh renewable energy company.

In conjunction with Pinsent Masons, advised a consortium of international investors and construction companies with regard to its involvement in a major PPP project in Kazakhstan.

Significant clients China Development Bank, Fieldfisher, Huaxin, Japan Tobacco International, Wengfu, Zhong Lun Law Firm.

Notable practitioners  

Uzbekistan-based Otabek Suleimanov advises international investors into Kazakhstan with local law issues affecting a wide range of industries. Clients appreciate his high levels of availability and local insight, one noting: "Whenever there is an issue I can go to him and he can sort it out, which is great." Sources also report: "He always provides quality services."

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Band 3

第三等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Victor Mokrousov
- 2 partners
- 4 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Corporate-focused practice with particular expertise in the handling of corporate structuring, joint ventures and large-scale transactional projects. Provides international and local law support on major cross-border corporate and financing projects and maintains the construction, PPP and natural resources sectors as key areas of expertise.

Strengths "They're ready to help and ready to support us in different areas."

Significant clients Alliance Bank, Kazkommertsbank, Tristan Oil.

Notable practitioners  

Victor Mokrousov is praised for his negotiation skills, one peer acknowledging that: "he has a good practice and makes a good impression on clients, he is non-confrontational but argues well." He acts extensively for clients in the oil and gas and financial services sectors.

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Band 3

第三等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: Bolat Miyatov and Shaimerden Chikanayev 
- 2 partners
- 5 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Particularly active in the energy and natural resources sector, where the firm advises prominent financial institutions as well as oil and gas corporates. Also provides local law support to inbound project financing as well as offering domestic corporate governance and due diligence services and regularly advises international clients and law firms on Kazakh issues.

Strengths "Very client-oriented in their services. They're creative, persistent and result-oriented."

"Efficient and pragmatic." 

Work highlights Provided local law support to China Development Bank with regard to its provision of a USD1.8 billion loan facility to the Beineu–Shymkent gas pipeline project.

Assisted Gazprombank in its secured financing of leading domestic transportation service provider Eastcomtrans.

Significant clients Bank of China, CITIC, EBRD, US Ex-Im Bank, Sberbank.

Notable practitioners  

Shaimerden Chikanayev provides international financial institutions with local law support on project financing and transactional matters. Sources describe him as "enthusiastic and thorough" and as "very good, very sensible."

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Band 3

第三等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Yerzhan Kumarov
- 2 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Especially noted for its experience in the natural resources market, the practice acts for a client base of regional natural resources corporates, financial institutions and industrial manufacturers assisting with M&A transactions, project financing deals and construction matters.

Strengths "A strong presence for Chinese clients." 

"The firm is staffed with individuals with excellent English language skills so nothing gets lost in translation when discussing issues." 

Significant clients Almex Group, Caspian Pipeline Consortium, Rosneft, Sberbank, Yildirim Group.

Notable practitioners  

Managing partner Yerzhan Kumarov acts principally for international natural resources clients on their inbound transactional and project-financing mandates. He is noted for his handling of EPC contractual and corporate structuring issues and is identified by sources as "well regarded" and "one of the most experienced lawyers in Kazakhstan." 

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Band 4

第四等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Andrey Artyushenko 
- 2 partners
- 3 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Domestic boutique specialising in construction and real estate matters. Assists clients with EPC contracts, construction project financing, real estate M&A and construction regulatory support.

Strengths "We like their tailored approach to each client, their professionalism and their effectiveness."

"The best real estate firm in Kazakhstan."  

Work highlights Acted for Marden Property with regard to the purchase of an office building in Astana.

Assisted Siemens in securing crucial amendments to its Kazakh construction licence.

Significant clients Development Bank of Kazakhstan, Harrison Clark Rickerbys, Ost Legal, Sembol Construction, Sheberbuild.

Notable practitioners Andrei Artyushenko is the firm's managing partner.

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Band 4

第四等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

What the team is known for Supports multinational corporations involved in transactions across a wide range of industries and business sectors, including real estate and aviation. Also provides local and international law advice on cross-border financing projects.

Strengths "The quality is always good, and if in the evening I ask for something tomorrow, they get it done and the quality is the same." 

Notable practitioners  

Curtis Masters advises European and US corporate and financial clients on local and regional issues. He wins praise both for his deep knowledge of the Kazakh scene and for his highly user-friendly communication of his insights. One source says: "He's been there 20 years, is very famous in the legal market and is always available to talk over the phone. He also understands the needs of his clients, not just quoting the law but addressing our particular situation."

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Band 4

第四等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Heads of department: Madina Sypatayeva and Yerzhan Manasov 
- 2 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Domestic practice, offering local law support on cross-border corporate mandates. Also assists with Kazakh corporate structuring, due diligence and compliance issues for prominent international and domestic corporates, servicing clients from such sectors as power, financial services, manufacturing and healthcare.

Strengths "Experienced lawyers who can solve problems."  

"They give very useful, effective and bold recommendations." 

Work highlights Advised chemical company Ecolab-Nalco across a comprehensive range of issues with a view to developing the optimal corporate structure for doing business in Kazakhstan.

Assisted the Development Bank of Kazakhstan with due diligence and risk analysis support in connection with the potential financing of a number of companies and projects. 

Significant clients Alem-Project, Elbit Systems, GlaxoSmithKline, PetroKazakhstan, Samruk-Energy.

Notable practitioners  

Managing partner Madina Sypatayeva is praised by sources as a "very knowledgeable and talented" practitioner and valued for her ability "to provide a quick and thorough response." She acts extensively on transactional and corporate mandates for domestic natural resources and industrial manufacturing companies.

Yerzhan Manasov acts principally for domestic industrial clients in transactions and project financing issues. Sources identify him as a potential "rising star" in this space. 

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Band 4

第四等

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Basic facts about the department
- Head of department: Arman Berdalin
- 8 partners
- 22 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Noted for its handling of mid-market transactional mandates and a broad range of corporate governance and antitrust issues. Acts for both domestic and international clients in the corporate and financial services sectors and regularly advises international law firms on local issues.

Strengths "They're the best choice in the Kazakh market for a smaller company like ours."

Work highlights Supported multinational pharmaceutical company Teva in securing local antitrust clearance for its global acquisition of Allergan Generics.

Advised KazNex Invest with regard to its involvement in the Single Co-ordination Centre project to ensure the compliance of Kazakhstan's special economic zones with the best international corporate governance practice.

Significant clients EBRD, Danone, Goldman Sachs, Halliburton, Sberbank.

Notable practitioners  

Practice head Arman Berdalin specialises in corporate matters. He provides local law support to regional and domestic clients on a range of corporate structuring, joint venture and M&A mandates.

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Eminent Practitioner

Baker McKenzie - CIS, Limited

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Curtis Masters advises European and US corporate and financial clients on local and regional issues. He wins praise both for his deep knowledge of the Kazakh scene and for his highly user-friendly communication of his insights. One source says: "He's been there 20 years, is very famous in the legal market and is always available to talk over the phone. He also understands the needs of his clients, not just quoting the law but addressing our particular situation."

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Band 1

Kinstellar

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Managing partner Joel Benjamin receives high praise from international clients for his commercial and regional insight, with sources citing his "extensive experience in the region and ability to give extremely informed and practical advice" and "good judgement and strong communication skills." Clients also appreciate his responsiveness and availability. He frequently acts for international financial institutions and in co-operation with international law firms.

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Band 1

Dentons

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Abai Shaikenov is "a very experienced international banking lawyer," praised by clients for his "consistently good service." He acts prominently for Asian and European financial institutions involved in inbound financing projects as well as in domestic banking M&A projects.

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Band 1

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Practice head Aset Shyngyssov specialises in corporate projects, including cross-border M&A, and regularly acts for major domestic clients in the energy market. He also represents leading European financial institutions and corporate clients. Sources call him "a very good lawyer, very technical with great communication skills," and also praise his "very strong negotiation skills."

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Band 1

White & Case Kazakhstan LLP

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Maxim Telemtayev advises international clients on inbound project financing and M&A mandates and is highly praised for his negotiation skills. He is also described as "a very good lawyer with great common sense and very practically oriented."

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Band 2

Kinstellar

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Of counsel Maksim Grekov is "a real expert in the nuts and bolts of Kazakh law and he translates that into very commercial advice." He focuses on project financing and restructuring mandates. Clients praise his problem-solving skills, one saying: "In my experience, any problem that comes up in a deal is never a problem when Maksim is involved; he'll always find a solution." 

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Band 2

Dechert LLP

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Victor Mokrousov is praised for his negotiation skills, one peer acknowledging that: "he has a good practice and makes a good impression on clients, he is non-confrontational but argues well." He acts extensively for clients in the oil and gas and financial services sectors.

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Band 2

Kinstellar

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Adlet Yerkinbayev wins praise from clients for his local law knowledge and experience of working on cross-border projects. One interviewee reports: "He was very helpful, he has a lot of experience, speaks English and Russian and knows the peculiarities of the local legislation and how it can impact foreign law frameworks. He was critical to the success of the negotiations."

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Band 3

Sayat Zholshy & Partners

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Practice head Arman Berdalin specialises in corporate matters. He provides local law support to regional and domestic clients on a range of corporate structuring, joint venture and M&A mandates.

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Band 3

Bolotov & Partners LLP

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Yuri A Bolotov of Bolotov & Partners LLP 

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Band 3

White & Case Kazakhstan LLP

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Pavel Kornilov is attracting increasing attention in the market as a capital markets specialist who regularly assists domestic and state-owned organisations with bond and term note issuance projects. He also regularly advises international clients on Kazakh-bound project financing mandates. Clients praise his "very efficient, hands-on" style, and one reports: "He's good, responsive, we like his approach and he can answer all our questions."

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Band 3

Norton Rose Fulbright

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Managing partner Yerzhan Kumarov acts principally for international natural resources clients on their inbound transactional and project-financing mandates. He is noted for his handling of EPC contractual and corporate structuring issues and is identified by sources as "well regarded" and "one of the most experienced lawyers in Kazakhstan." 

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Band 4

GRATA International

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Shaimerden Chikanayev provides international financial institutions with local law support on project financing and transactional matters. Sources describe him as "enthusiastic and thorough" and as "very good, very sensible."

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Band 4

Attorneys Group Zanger

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Aituar Madin of Attorneys Group Zanger 

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Band 4

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Klara Nurgaziyeva provides support on corporate matters. Sources praise her handling of projects-related mandates, noting that she frequently "plays an important role" and emphasising the "common sense in her approach."

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Band 4

Aequitas Law Firm

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Valikhan Shaikenov is noted for his drive and praised for his enthusiasm and "great ideas," one source confidently predicting that "he's got a bright future." He provides local law support on inbound financing mandates as well as assisting clients with corporate structuring.

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Band 4

Aequitas Law Firm

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Head of the corporate practice Nurlan Sholanov assists international corporate clients with domestic structuring, M&A and joint venture matters, winning respect as a "good, very experienced lawyer."

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Band 4

CENTIL

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Uzbekistan-based Otabek Suleimanov advises international investors into Kazakhstan with local law issues affecting a wide range of industries. Clients appreciate his high levels of availability and local insight, one noting: "Whenever there is an issue I can go to him and he can sort it out, which is great." Sources also report: "He always provides quality services."

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Band 4

Linkage & Mind LLP

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Managing partner Madina Sypatayeva is praised by sources as a "very knowledgeable and talented" practitioner and valued for her ability "to provide a quick and thorough response." She acts extensively on transactional and corporate mandates for domestic natural resources and industrial manufacturing companies.

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Up and Coming

Kinstellar

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Of counsel Kairat Baizakov enters the table with sources testifying to his increasing visibility in corporate structuring and M&A projects and his assistance with cross-border project financing matters. Interviewees speak of his "many years' experience" and "very good reputation." 

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Up and Coming

Attorneys Group Zanger

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Semion Issyk of Attorneys Group Zanger 

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Up and Coming

Linkage & Mind LLP

From the Chambers Asia-Pacific guide

Yerzhan Manasov acts principally for domestic industrial clients in transactions and project financing issues. Sources identify him as a potential "rising star" in this space. 

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