Firm profile submitted by Penkov, Markov & Partners
Chairman: Vladimir Penkov
Managing Partner: Svetoslav Dimitrov
Number of partners: 9 Number of lawyers: 30
Languages: Bulgarian, English, German, French, Russian
Established in 1990 Penkov, Markov & Partners is one of the first law firms in Bulgaria having nowadays the biggest and most significant client portfolios and being respected both domestically and internationally. The firm currently has approximately 39 partners and associated members, several external legal consultants, 10 trainees, 15 assistants and staff members.
The firm publishes its own newspaper Lega Interconsult News, circulation 2200 (published in Bulgarian, English and German languages) which is also available on its website.
Since 1996 PM&P is the exclusive member firm for the jurisdiction of Bulgaria of Lex Mundi – the world’s leading association of independent law firms.
PM&P is a member of Eurojuris and FLI Net and the first law firm in Bulgaria certified under the ISO 9001:2000 and later recertified under ISO 9001:2008 standards by Bureau Veritas Certification.
For their professionalism the experts from PM&P are frequently engaged not only in legal advice and procedural representation but also in the legislative process (e.g. the Commercial Register Act and the New Renewable Energy Sources Act as well as competition regulations).
In September 2007 and once again in 2015 the quality and the exceptional professionalism of the firm and its lawyers were acknowledged by Business Superbrands Bulgaria which based on independent business study recognised the trademark Penkov, Markov & Partners as Business Superbrand for the Bulgarian market for the years 2008/09 and 2015/16.
Banking & Finance:
The law firm has consulted, over the years, the EBRD, Oppenheimer & Co., the National Bank of Greece, Piraeus Bank and Kardan in the acquisition of three of the largest Bulgarian banks, including the merger of a bank branch into a bank (Piraeus Bank). Since Bulgaria’s accession to the EU and the implementation of the EU legislation, PM&P has completed the registration of some of the first non-banking financial institutions and has structured the innovative business of a major client providing distance financial services unknown earlier to the Bulgarian market. Along with the services provided to private business initiatives, PM&P has provided legal advice to the World Bank and the banking institutions of the EU and the European economic space. Recent notable transactions include PM&P’s advising 4finance Group in the cross-border acquisition of TBI Bank AD and providing ongoing assistance to leading provider of consumer credits on the Bulgarian market in respect to the provision of non-syndicated loan facilities.
Commercial, Company & M&A:
Ever since its establishment in 1990 the team of the law firm has taken part in almost all big mergers, acquisitions and privatisation deals in Bulgaria in the wake of the political and economic changes in 1989. Among the recent significant transactions advised by PM&P are related to the contemplated purchase of an industrial enterprise near Sofia through a bankruptcy procedure on behalf of Industrial Capital Holding (HIKA) listed on the Sofia Stock Exchange; DNV GL Group with regard to a Legal Entity Efficiency Project in terms of the group’s internal reorganisation process in different jurisdictions, including Bulgaria, as well as Vienna Real Estate EAD, a company from Willi Betz Group, holding the real estate portfolio of the Bulgarian operation, in connection with the restructuring of such real estate portfolio.
Competition, Antitrust & Consumer Protection:
Participation in numerous investment projects and investigations of competition authorities, such as global mergers like Hewlett-Packard/Compaq, BASF/ Cyanamid, as well as the most important ones on the Bulgarian national market like the privatisation and subsequent acquisitions of the Bulgarian telecom BTC AD, the restructuring of the cement market and others; in the investigations of cartel agreements and abuses by taking part in some major CPC investigations into the practices of retail trade chains, the association of cement producers and others, as well as investigations into the possible abuse of dominant position against worldwide known soft drink producers.
PM&P has also gained substantial experience in handling unfair competition cases, while the team currently represents Uber accused by the competition authorities of unfair competition practices through its taxi-hailing application provided to users located in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Recently, the team is gaining popularity with the performance of tailor made competition law trainings for existing and new clients.
Energy & RES:
Recently PM&P has successfully advised Mondi Stambolijski (part of Mondi Group) to benefit from the lately introduced Bulgarian-wide compensation mechanism aimed to boost the cost-efficiency for RES producers.
Since 2012 PM&P team successfully protected the legal interests of Bulgarian Photovoltaic Association and more than 200 renewable energy producers in the court processes for abolishment of Decision C-33/14.09.2012 of the regulatory commission. Currently representing a significant number of RES producers before the civil courts for returning the illegally collected access fees by the Energy Distribution Companies.
The acquired deep knowledge of the regulations in the specific sector of energy law allowed the successful appeal against the 2014 State Budget Act introducing a new access fee for RES producers resulting in the abolishment of the access fee by the Constitutional Court in 2014, which made PM&P the first legal office to substantiate the liability of the State because of adopting unconstitutional laws.
In the court proceedings PM&P are the first in Bulgaria to successfully defend the concept of ‘administrative’ agreements and thus creating the court precedent.
PM&P is among the most experienced law office in Bulgaria when it comes to all legal aspects of development, construction and commercialisation of shopping malls and shopping centres such as The Mall and Paradise Centre – two of the largest shopping malls in the capital city.
Amongst the recent clients advised by PM&P is Arteks Engineering AD (prime developer of major high-class residential) for which the team provides services related to the structuring and acquisition of new projects, their financing and practical realisation. Most of the top-rated and closely followed up by the market analysts boutique real estate projects to be realised in the capital are the result of the close cooperation established between PM&P and Arteks Group.
Litigation & Arbitration:
PM&P dispute resolution practice has expanded significantly within the last couple of years and the team is involved in a number of high-profile commercial law suits before civil courts and arbitration tribunals in Bulgaria performing in all spheres of civil litigation. Among PM&P’s recent notable litigation cases are the legal representation and defense of EMCO EOOD (leading local arms dealer and producer) in relation to the acquisition of the military factory Dunarit and the subsequent lawsuits instigated thereof, including before the Supreme Administrative Court; Alpha Bank/Chardash Trading EOOD in a lawsuit filed by the Bulgarian Science Academy with a matter value of EUR 30,000,000; of DNV GL SE and Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty against the claims of over 40 successors and relatives of deceased Bulgarian citizens during a tragic boat accident in 2009; of PAC Doverie in over 20 cases under various civil, commercial and administrative cases and the representation of Enertrag before the Arbitration Court of BCCI and before the Supreme Court of Cassation against National Electricity Company wining the lawsuit with a mater value of the investment of EUR 1 billion - nominated court case of the year.
One of the firm’s main activities is advising foreign clients on investment opportunities and ways to establish presence in Bulgaria advising on all aspects of law. Being the exclusive member firm for the jurisdiction of Bulgaria of Lex Mundi enables PM&P’s clients to access more than 21,000 lawyers worldwide from 160 top legal firms in more than 100 countries, whereas the firm is also in cooperation with partners in Vienna, Austria and Dortmund, Germany.