• Nazar CHERNYAVSKY|Sayenko Kharenko

    Last year was a very bumpy in the Ukrainian banking and finance sector. While 2018 started rather optimistically and we saw a number of new money transactions in the market, including new Eurobond issues for Ukrainian borrowers, optimism had dried op by the end of the year, and most transactions were put on hold in anticipation of coming political changes.  Even the EBRD, which has been the biggest lender in Ukraine over the last few years, scaled down its lending ahead of the election of the new President of Ukraine. The EBRD resumed active lending in 2019, but still withhold funding for any new projects in the renewable energy sector because of the absence of an efficient mechanism for holding energy auctions. In view of that, agriculture and infrastructure still remain priority areas.

    The cleansing of the domestic banking sector has now finished and all “bad banks” have been driven out of the market by the National Bank of Ukraine. However, we clearly see that the Ukrainian banks that remain still do not lend in sufficient volumes, unless it is a “rescue” loan from state-owned banks to state-owned entities. At the same time, work with distressed debt continues, and we have seen a number of transactions with loan portfolios involving international hedge funds, as well as local players. Nevertheless, such transactions usually involve private parties, while the vast majority of NPLs are concentrated in the hands of the state-run DGF (Deposit Guarantee Fund) and it is not yet clear how the DGF will be dealing with it. The Financial Restructuring Law and so called “Kyiv approach” introduced by it, resulted in a number of big debt restructurings where there were no dissenting creditors. At the same time, many restructurings did not go ahead because of the absence of the “cram-down” mechanism which has been eventually introduced by the new Bankruptcy Code signed into law by President Poroshenko only at the end of 2018. Accordingly, we expect to see many more restructurings going forward.

    The NBU has also been very prolific in terms of the new regulations aimed at fx liberalization. However, this process has largely helped individuals, while companies still struggle to find all the necessary papers to make their payments abroad (it now only relates to financial monitoring rules). I believe the both NBU and the Securities Commission will make further steps towards liberalization, and perhaps we will see more new instruments in local capital markets, as well as more instruments available to local investors on foreign capital markets.

    Following the successful placement of Euro-denominated Eurobonds by Ukraine in June 2019, which proves that investor confidence has returned, and they are prepared to work with the new President of Ukraine, we expect to see more cross-border transactions on the market. Furthermore, if the coming Parliamentary elections result in a coalition that would work together with the President, we expect many reforms would ensure progress faster and the launch of several new foreign investment projects (in addition to all the projects in the renewables sector, which has been booming due to 2019 being the last year when the most lucrative feed-in tariff can be obtained).

  • Olexiy SOSHENKO|Redcliffe Partners

    Debt restructurings became a hot topic in Ukraine back in 2014, when the banking and corporate sectors, which were heavily affected by the economic and financial crisis, searched for ways to stay afloat. Since then, we have seen a large number of restructurings involving a number of Ukrainian businesses.

    A common trend for large corporate holdings was to restructure debts at an offshore level with the Ukrainian assets used as security. Various complex multijurisdictional aspects had to be dealt with in such transactions. In a few cases the English law scheme of arrangements was used to reach a consensus with numerous foreign creditors and bind dissenting minority creditors. In other cases, where the debtor was not cooperating and the process was not consensual, creditors had to enforce their claims, enforce security and even commence insolvency and criminal proceedings.  As a result, the creditors took over the borrower’s assets and appointed a new crisis management team which readied the business for sale. This was how the debts of Mriya, one of the largest Ukrainian agroholdings, were restructured and sold to a new investor.

    Another type of arrangement used primarily by state banks (Oschadbank, Ukrgasbank, etc.) was financial restructuring on the basis of the Law On Financial Restructuring. Two years after adoption of the law the total amount of the restructured debt was already more than USD 1 billion.

    Many restructuring arrangements (including those we assisted with) were new for Ukraine and required some innovation and creativeness. Another important task for legal advisers was to identify legal risks the creditors were facing and to address them without putting too much stress on the already struggling borrower.

    Now, as the economic and financial situation in the country improves, the restructuring wave is slowly going away. Many Ukrainian businesses have successfully implemented restructuring and are now looking for new investments and new financings. We see that “new money” deals do return to Ukraine from foreign lenders, which is a positive sign for the economy.

AVELLUM is a prominent independent law firm with an unrivalled track record of cross-border financing transactions, big-ticket debt restructurings, and capital markets mandates in Ukraine. The practice team enjoys a well-diversified client base, being preferred by international and domestic banks, and key Ukrainian corporate borrowers. It also stands out for constituent representation of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine and the City of Kyiv. AVELLUM acted as the Ukrainian legal counsel to the Ministry of Finance for the EUR 349.3 million loan facility arranged by Deutsche Bank and backed by an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development policy-based guarantee, and on the state-guaranteed USD 250 million loan to State Enterprise Energoatom. The team is constantly instructed by international financial institutions on their lending corporate sector. In 2018 the team was especially active in supporting challenging renewable finance transactions on the market. For example, it advised the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Black Seas Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) on a senior secured loan to Rengy Bioenergo LLC to finance the construction and operation of a solar PV plant in Southern Ukraine. AVELLUM is involved in the most significant restructuring mandates. In particular, it advised the noteholders’ committee of Mriya Agro Holding on the restructuring of its USD 1.1 billion debt. As an eminent capital markets team, the firm advised all sovereign and corporate Eurobond offerings in 2018. Glib Bondar, senior partner, is a top lawyer managing the greatest portfolio on the market. The team was strengthened by the arrival of new counsel Maria Tsabal focusing on cross-border finance transactions.

Sayenko Kharenko is a top-market practice with a long history of advising landmark financing and debt restructuring projects, as well as extensive involvement in the work of capital markets. The team is constantly preferred by major investment, domestic and international banks, international financial institutions. This past year the team acted as Ukrainian legal counsel to Deutsche Bank as a lender and arranger of a EUR 394.3 million term facility extended to Ukraine under a guarantee from the World Bank; advised Societe Generale regarding extension of a revolving pre-export financing facility to Trans-Oil Group of Companies. The firm regularly acts for NEFCO on project financing to Ukrainian enterprises and municipalities aimed at the implementation of energy-saving technologies. Among the benchmark capital markets work accomplished this past year is the largest refinancing by a Ukrainian corporate: a successful USD 1.592 billion Eurobond issue and tender offer by Metinvest where the team acted for joint bookrunners; advising Bank of America Merrill Lynch and OPIC on the USD 250 million financing to State Enterprise National Nuclear Energy Generating Company Energoatom. The firm is the prominent counsel on large-scale restructurings, being a legal counsel to Mriya Agro Holding in a landmark USD 1.1 billion debt restructuring completed in 2018. The firm has one of the largest practice teams. Michael ­Kharenko is known for his well-established contacts in the banking sector and acts in complicated assignments involving special situations. Having spent a busy year Nazar Chernyavsky constantly demonstrates deep involvement in practice and strong support by peers. Anton Korobeynikov had a strong track record as a partner. Other key team members are counsels Igor Lozenko and Olexander Olshansky.

As it is closely integrated into the globally present practice, the Ukrainian office of Baker McKenzie houses one of the most reputable market teams with an industry-focused approach. The coverage includes lending transactions, financial restructuring, distressed assets management and sale of non-performing loans, financial services regulations, financial sector reforms and fintech area. The team advised the European Investment Bank on its EUR 136 million credit facility to the National Power Company Ukrenergo. The firm is traditionally active in project finance deals in renewable energy, most recently advised foreign banks on extension of a EUR 90 million loan facility purporting to finance the construction of a wind power plant with Primorskaya Wind Electric Plant (a member of the DTEK Renewables group). Baker McKenzie is among few active legal counsels handling capital markets work. In 2018 the firm advised National Nuclear Energy Generating Company Energoatom and Central Storage Safety Project Trust on a bond offering on US capital markets to finance a loan guaranteed by Ukraine and insured by OPIC; represented lead managers of the USD 550 million Eurobond issue by MHP Lux S.A., a member of the Myronivskyi Hliboproduct group. Another highlight is advising the Deposit Guarantee Fund (DGF) on reforming its legal framework and resolution of pressing issues with sales of non-performing loans. Co-managing partner Serhiy Chorny is recognized as the most experienced professional on the Ukrainian market. Ihor Olekhov1 is at the forefront of the firm’s banking regulatory practice, and actively develops its fintech offering. Hanna Shtepa, counsel, is another team member.

The banking and finance practice of Asters is one of the most sizeable market teams enabled to handle an extensive range of financing transactions, banking M&A, debt restructuring and insolvency, regulatory matters, as well as capital markets deals. The firm is known for established connections with international law firms, often present in big-ticket cross-border matters. Asters advised China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) on both the EPC part and supply of equipment on deferred payment terms, effectively representing a EUR 230 million trade loan from CMEC to DTEK. The firm has long-lasting relations with international financial institutions. This past year saw the firm act as Ukrainian law counsel to the IFC in connection with a USD 30 million loan to Astarta; advised Black Sea Trade and Development Bank on additional financing to Galnaftogaz. Asters team acted for GE Ukraine and GE Transportation in relation to execution of USD 1 billion Framework Agreement with Ukrzaliznytsia, the Ukrainian public railway company, and further financial lease transaction. The firm is mandated for large scale restructurings of Eurobonds and multi-million loan facilities, and is equally busy acting for big borrowers and lenders. For example, the team acted as legal counsel to Ukrzaliznytsia in respect of its USD 500 million Eurobond restructuring. The firm stands out for a number of nationwide important, unique in size and coverage projects. After the merger of two firms, Asters and EPAP Ukraine, the banking team has three partners on board: Armen Khachaturyan, Iryna Pokanay and Roman Stepanenko. Counsel Gabriel Aslanian is referred to by peers alike.

Redcliffe Partners is especially noted for its work in project finance and complex cross-border debt restructuring, with a vivid focus on representing lenders. The firm operates as an independent Ukrainian firm and maintains best friend ties with Clifford Chance. This past year the team was among the most active legal counsels of financing Ukrainian agrarian corporates, renewable energy, infrastructure and construction. To name a few, acting for Natixis in relation to a USD 100 million secured revolving PXF facility agreement from the syndicate of lenders to Kernel Group; advised JSC Citibank, a Ukrainian subsidiary of Citigroup, in connection with a USD 30 million short-term trade facility extended to Myronivsky Hliboproduct. Among unique infrastructure highlights of the team was advising the EBRD on a loan to the value of up to USD 50 million to Nibulon, a leading Ukrainian grain producer and exporter, to support the modernization of the company’s river logistic infrastructure. Another team highlight is supporting the EBRD on unfunded risk participation agreements with Ukrsibbank and Raiffeisen Bank Aval. The firm maintains a remarkable portfolio of cross-border restructuring mandates, being present in landmark multimillion projects of the key domestic borrowers. The team has most recently advised a group of creditors on restructuring more than USD 1 billion worth of Metinvest B.V. debt under pre-export facilities; represented the UK branch of Citibank Europe Plc on restructuring its loan facility for a total of USD 88 million provided earlier to the Rubizhne Cardboard and Packaging Mill. Olexiy Soshenko, managing partner, is the driving force of the firm, well regarded by the market for his direct involvement in projects. Olena Polyakova, counsel, is another key figure of the practice team. Olesia Mykhailenko, senior associate, received praise during the poll and was named a rising star.

The Kyiv banking, finance and capital markets practice of Dentons has a lengthy track record for advising premier clientele of international lenders on complex matters, including cross-border lending, trade finance, sovereign financings, insolvency, debt restructuring and distressed debt trading. The firm advised a syndicate of international banks, led jointly by BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank, on the extension and increase to USD 400 million of a pre-export secured revolving facility to Ferrexpo. Dentons has a flourishing energy practice and in 2018 it regularly acted as Ukrainian legal counsel on providing financing for several renewable energy projects. The office currently advises Grand Solutions in connection with the project to build the fourth metro line in the Ukrainian capital, among others, on financial matters. Traditionally enlisted for large-scale cross-border restructuring mandates on the lender’s side, the firm’s current portfolio has a number of significant projects involving high-profile Ukrainian corporate borrowers. One recent area of development is advising on fintech regulatory issues. The firm’s client list takes in VTB AG Deutschland, Goldman Sachs, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, EBRD, ­European Investment Bank, Export Development Canada, UniCredit, Sberbank, BlaBlaCar, Zeo Alliance, Arab Bank, John Deere Financial Services Inc. Seasoned lead partner Natalia Selyakova has an established name in the banking sector and currently develops the fintech area. Nadiya Shylienkova, counsel, the key team member, received praise for exceptional dedication to the firm’s practice.

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang advises international and local banks and financial institutions on finance transactions in agricultural, infrastructural, and energy and natural resources sectors. The firm advises on bilateral and syndicated transactions, including corporate loans, trade and commodity finance, project finance and restructuring. In 2018 the team advised ING Bank N.V. on USD 80 million financing to ­Nibulon, and on USD 30 million secured financing to Astarta Group. The firm carried out a series of projects for the EBRD financing municipal and infrastructure projects in Ukraine. It was notable this past year that the firm advised the EBRD on a EUR 13 million loan to the communal enterprise Mariupolske Tramvaino-Troleybusne Upravlinnya. The firm has strong expertise in supporting renewable energy projects. The team also advises on capital market regulations, including derivatives and different synthetic products. Mark Segall, Warsaw-based partner, head of banking and finance in CEE, and Kateryna Chechulina, senior associate and practice coordinator, are the key leaders of the team.

AEQUO develops its position on the banking and finance scene, being a preferred legal counsel for complex regulatory work and sectoral M&A, significant financing, restructuring, loan portfolio management issues. In 2018 the firm was vividly present in representing foreign lenders. It advised KfW (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau), a German government-owned development bank, on extension of USD 17 million loan to OTP Leasing LLC. The team advised the European Commission on disbursement of the first EUR 500 million of the new Macro-Financial Assistance program to Ukraine. In 2018 the restructuring portfolio included cross-border and local matters, where the firm represents both lenders and borrowers. AEQUO advised the EBRD on the restructuring of a multi-million dollar loan granted to one of the leading Ukrainian producers of cleaning and maintenance products; advised DebtX Ukraine, a Ukrainian subsidiary of the Debt Exchange, Inc., a leading global marketplace for non-performing loans purchase and sale transactions, on its qualification with the state-run Deposit Guarantee Fund. In 2018 the capital markets practice group received its development with instructions for supporting debt instruments. Partner Yulia Kyrpa is very active across regulatory and restructuring mandates. Bohdan Dmukhovskyy, promoted this past year to counsel, is present across key projects of the team.

DLA Piper Ukraine has a traditionally solid track record of asset finance and leasing, trade finance, project finance, restructuring and regulatory work. Over the last few years the firm was particularly noted for handling financing of energy, infrastructure and real estate projects in Ukraine. The team advises OPIC on financing in excess of USD 500 million financing of a wind farm in Central Ukraine. The office has established contacts with development institutions, most ­recently advising Black Sea Trade and Development Bank on a EUR 15.4 million medium term secured loan for the purposes of construction and operation of a Radisson branded hotel in Odesa. The firm also acts in the aviation sector, and advised Pegasus Aviation VI, one of the world’s largest aircraft lessors, on the leasing of the Aircraft Boeing 767-300 to Azur Ukraine, a major Ukrainian operator. The portfolio of restructuring projects extended to representing lenders and domestic borrowers in cross-border mandates. The firm regularly advises on regulatory and fintech issues, and acted as a legal counsel on phasing-in the SMART-MONEY service, an online payment service provided by Kyivstar. In 2018 the firm advised Citibank N.A. New York acting in its capacity as a depositary bank on different aspects of issue of the GDN program backed by Ukrainian government securities. The practice is led by Oleksandr Kurdydyk with substantial contributions from Illya Muchnyk and Dmytro Pshenychniuk.

Arzinger is revered for advising on a wide range of lending transactions, general banking and regulatory issues, and debt restructuring. Over the last few years the firm has expanded its client base to include international banks and international financial institutions, as its core focus is representing creditors. Arzinger advises Oikocredit in connection with providing loans to Interagrosystem, Zlatomed, Poltava Sad, and advised one of the biggest Chinese corporations on Ukrainian law issues on pledge agreements concluded with several Ukrainian banks. The team’s strong area is cross-border debt restructuring, where Arzinger demonstrates its presence in the biggest projects in Ukraine. The soundest projects of 2018 were completion of restructuring debt running to over USD 1.1 billion belonging to Mriya Agro Holding, where the team represented the coordinating committee of banks. Another significant project in the firm’s recent portfolio was representing a syndicate of banks in connection with the USD 700 million restructuring of Donetsksteel’s debt under a syndicated loan facility; and Bank Polska Kasa Opieki Spółka Akcyjna (Bank Pekao SA) in connection with restructuring of a USD 250 million debt belonging to a Ukrainian industrial company. The firm also performed a number of projects of voluntary debt restructurings for Ukrainian borrowers in accordance with new legislation. Oleksandr Plotnikov, a front-running lead partner, is among the busiest practitioners as he represents international lenders on restructuring mandates on the market.

INTEGRITES traditionally has German banks, international financial institutions and funds, as well as other lenders among its clients, supporting both financing transactions to Ukrainian corporates. With a distinctive recent focus on the energy, real estate and construction sectors, the firm is often enlisted to support significant project finance assignments. In 2018 the team acted on a landmark project supporting Norwegian wind farm developer NBT in the construction of a wind farm in the southern part of Ukraine, also working on the project financing side. Notably, the firm acts as a Ukrainian legal advisor to Kazakhstan-Ziraat International Bank in a deal to finance a Ukrainian oil producer; advised the EBRD on secured project financing to a major European retailer, Multi Veste Ukraine, for the construction and development of an international quality, inner-city Forum retail shopping center located in Lviv. Oleh Zahnitko acted as lead partner.

The Kyiv office of Jeantet traditionally housed large-scale lending transactions in its portfolio, being instructed by both lenders and borrowers. The ongoing highlight is USD 400 million OPIC financing for a wind power project, where the firm is acting for Eurocape Ukraine. The firm advised the European Investment Bank on a USD 250 million secured loan for Kernel Group. The banking team advised Scatec Group on a series of secured loans from EBRD and BSTDB to finance the construction of solar plants in various regions of Ukraine. Igor Krasovskiy is lead partner2.

Kinstellar rapidly develops the muscles of its banking and finance practice in Ukraine, advising on bilateral finance, financial services regulation, derivatives, non-performing loans and existing Eurobond documentation. The office regularly advises foreign lenders on their lending transactions with Ukrainian borrowers from agrarian, energy, mining and metals. The team counseled Investment Fund for Developing Countries, a Danish state investment fund, on a EUR 6 million loan facility to three projects companies (solar farms) of Kness Solar Group. As a legal counsel to the Supervisory Board of Naftogaz of Ukraine, the firm advises on finance matters, including on Naftogaz entering into loan facilities. The practice team is led by counsel Andriy Nikiforov.

NOBLES, a Ukrainian law firm with a vivid focus on corporate finance, has a significant following of foreign banks. The recent project portfolio is centered on cross-border lending and high-value restructuring. In particular, the practice team advised Amsterdam Trade Bank N.V. in relation to series of secured loan facilities for a total value of USD 60.5 million granted to an international agro-industrial corporation with assets in Ukraine; represented the Export-Import Bank of the United States as guarantor in connection with a USD 25.8 million secured loan provided by Citibank, N.A. to Ferrexpo Poltava Mining, and on restructuring the multimillion debt of major Ukrainian agricultural corporation Rise. The firm handles loan securities issues for IKB Deutsche Industriebank with a defaulting debtor in Ukraine. Roman Shulyar, partner, is referred by peers for extensive transactional activity in the past year.

ADER HABER is a mainstay in insolvency and restructuring matters, being often chosen by commercial banks and Ukrainian corporates. The firm is quite active in real estate and construction, being more involved in subsequent finance matters. The team’s highlights include advising one of the world’s largest electric power company on project financing within the construction of high-voltage lines as part of Ukrenergo’s power grid development strategy. Given the team’s strong focus on distressed debt matters and debt recovery, the firm possesses additional expertise in forensic, debt recovery and enforcement. The private clients practice deals regularly with regulatory matters on client assignments. The practice team includes partners Aleksandra Fedotova, involved in financing matters related to real estate and construction, alternative energy development projects, and Yuriy Petrenko, acting on loan portfolio restructuring and negotiations with banking and financial institutions on discount restructuring. Vitaliya Karhova, counsel, advises on domestic and outbound regulatory matters and project financing.

ARBITRADE acts mainly for borrowers in financial restructuring. Long-standing client Milkiland, a Ukrainian group of companies, instructed the firm to represent it to restructure its debt under a syndicated loan agreement. In 2018 the firm completed representation of Ukrainian payment services operator UKRCARD that defaulted under agreements for the licensing of software and related maintenance services with an international payments company, and reached successful conclusion of a ­settlement agreement. Pavlo Trytenichenko is the lead partner.

Ario Law Firm has a strong focus on bankruptcy and insolvency matters, representing clients in financial restructuring. The firm has a notable track of representing borrowers in restructuring loans to commercial and state banks, as well as intra-group restructurings. The recent representation is led by firm’s managing partner Oleksii Voronko, acting for Proletarii Lysychansk Glass Plant in its debt restructuring to Ukreximbank and Naftogaz of Ukraine.

CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz is a point of choice by European banking clients, advising on transactions in metallurgical, alternative energy, aviation, financial services and logistics sectors. The Kyiv office is experienced in regulatory matters, supporting credit facilities, leasing operations, loan assignments. Anna Pogrebna, partner, heads the practice.

ESQUIRES is focused on structuring private capital, introducing financial monitoring, securities transactions, converted bonds. This past year the firm had a busy M&A practice, representing, among others, the ICU group of companies in the acquisition of qualifying holding in a bank. Artem Saprykin is lead partner and focused on capital markets.

Ukrainian law firm EVERLEGAL is rapidly growing its banking and finance practice, adding to its portfolio project finance, asset finance, acquisition and real estate finance. The firm captured sound banking clients that provide finance to Ukrainian corporate borrowers, and borrowers attracting finance domestically and from abroad. The team is also instructed for financial services regulatory issues, exchange controls, compliance. Vsevolod Volkov, who joined the firm this past year as a partner from ­INTEGRITES, rapidly fostered the practice’s development. Andriy Olenyuk co-heads the practice.

The main focus of Ukrainian law firm GOLAW is project finance and regulatory work for its established clientele. Given the firm’s involvement in energy and industrial construction projects, the team is regularly enlisted to support project financing. Most recently the firm advised European Agro Investment Ukraine on project finance for construction of a transshipping complex on the territory of Chornomorsk Sea Port (Odesa Region). The firm has a strong litigation practice involved in pre-trial settlement of a debt recovery disputes on the side of banks. Representative clients include Česká exportní banka, a.s. (ČEB), Procredit Bank, Expobank a.s. Valentyn Gvozdiy, Max Lebedev and Iryna Kalnytska are the core practice leaders.

Gramatskiy & Partners is regularly enlisted by its broad clientele out of industrial companies and developers for a wide range of regulatory matters, financial monitoring and anti-laundering procedures, bad debt management. The team increased portfolio of projects on bank compliance procedures, trade financing and intra-group transactions. The firm often advises on currency control in terms of commercial activity of clients, the procedure of KYC and opening of corporate bank accounts and transfer of debt claims. The practice team recently advised SBTECH UA on the assignment of a loan to an Israeli company. Ihor Reutov leads the financial service practice, and Ernest Gramatskiy gets involved in more sophisticated matters. Andrii Trembich routinely works on restructuring and insolvency.

Well-known for its exceptionally strong dispute resolution practice, Ilyashev & Partners has experience of structuring financial transactions, regulatory advisory, and has a distinctive presence in the insurance and on-line payment fields. The firm develops its recent expertise in crypto-currencies, licensing and ICO. The firm advised French company Auchan Retail International while concluding French law governed intra-group term loan and revolving facility agreements (as lender) with its Ukrainian and Russian subsidiaries as borrowers. The firm has a very well-established insolvency and debt recovery practice, and is also instructed for restructuring mandates. This past year the firm represented BTA Bank in debt restructuring of LLC Halena, a project company for developing commercial property. International Air Transport Association (IATA) appointed the team as Ukrainian legal advisor on regulatory issues as to introduction of the EasyPay payment system between its member airlines and travel agents. Mikhail Ilyashev, managing partner, supervises the practice.

Jurvneshservice, a Ukrainian law firm strongly focused on aircraft financing, provides its aviation sector clients with legal support for secured lending, operating and finance leasing. This past year the firm represented Vallair Solutions S.A.R.L. on the leasing of aircrafts registered in Ukraine to Anda Air Airlines and WindRose Airlines; represented SkyUp on lease of five aircrafts; acted for Apollo Aviation on securitization of two aircrafts that are being leased in Ukraine. The highlight of Aircraft financing was a subsequent USD 30 million deal where the team acted for Skyways. Anna Tsirat occupies her unique market niche.

Konnov & Sozanovsky is focused on regulatory advice to its clients, as well as financial lease contracts, debt recovery. The firm recently supported a procedure on currency loan debt restructuring, and advised established client Caterpillar Financial Ukraine on obtaining a license for provision of financial leasing services. Alexey Pokotylo, Alexey Ivanov and Sergei Konnov are the primary contacts.

Ukrainian law firm SDM Partners acts on lending and restructuring mandates, as well as regulatory matters. The firm is skilled at representing lenders and recently advised an international financial corporation in providing a loan to a Ukrainian agricultural company; has acted for a major US investment fund on restructuring a loan of USD 40 million given to a Ukrainian retail network. The highlight of representing borrowers included support to a leading bank in one region of Ukraine in getting a loan from an international financial institution. Dmytro Syrota and Serhiy Dzis are lead partners.

Vasil Kisil & Partners is involved in supporting corporate financing arrangements, debt recovery and bankruptcy proceedings. The firm enhanced its workflow of advising asset finance and leasing matters in the aviation sector. For example, the firm advised international aircraft owner and lessor Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), as well National Australia Bank Limited (NAB), on DAE’s USD 34 million re-finance transaction with NAB, which involved new lease of an aircraft to Ukrainian International Airlines. Given the firm’s traditional strength in domestic and cross-border dispute resolution, it acts on the most sophisticated controversies involving banks and parties to financial transactions. Piraeus Bank, Sberbank of Russia, Matrix Insurance & Reinsurance Brokers S.A. are among sectoral clients to note. Alexander Borodkin and Anna Sisetska are the lead partners.

Wolf Theiss advises on banking and finance law issues in the course of M&A and joint-venture projects, Ukrainian currency control issues, including requirements on cross-border loans and their transfer, KYC and financial monitoring compliance. In 2018 the firm completed a large-scale transaction advising the EBRD on the sale of non-performing loans. Together with ­other offices the Kyiv team advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch, in connection with its global project relating to transaction reporting obligations. Oksana Volynets is committed to the banking practice in Kyiv.


International Law Firms

Historically Allen & Overy is involved in banking and finance, and significant restructuring mandates. This past year, under the guidance of Dubai-based partner Michael Diosi, the firm advised UniCredit S.p.A. and ING Bank in connection with an extension and upsizing of a USD 300 million facility for Kernel. The team led by London-based partners Tim Crocker and Kevin Muzilla currently acts for the co-ordinating committee of lenders in connection with the debt restructuring of the Interpipe group of companies. The key partners are based in the firm’s offices in UK, Slovakia, Poland, Russia and Germany.

Despite the fact Clifford Chance has left the Ukrainian market, it retains strong involvement in banking and finance work. The firm is known for its track record of representing international banks as lenders. Clifford Chance acted as English law counsel to Deutsche Bank on a term facility extended to Ukraine under the World Bank guarantee; advised the EBRD on extension of a loan to Nibulon. The firm acted as English law adviser to UK Branch of Citibank Europe in restructuring of a loan facility provided to Rubizhne Cardboard and Packaging Mill. Another recent project was amending and restating a USD 400 million pre-export credit facility agreement for the Kernel Group arranged by Unicredit and ING Bank. Istanbul-based partner Jared Grubb (previously — managing partner of the Kyiv office), is the main contact.

The well-established global firm of Hogan Lovells demonstrated involvement in significant financing and restructuring mandates. The London restructuring team, as led by partner Alex Kay, has acted as lead transaction counsel and adviser to the ad hoc committee of noteholders in the successful, landmark USD 1.1 billion restructuring of Mriya Agro Holding, a large Ukrainian agricultural firm.

In previous years Latham & Watkins has shown significant involvement in advising on debt capital markets transactions. In 2018 the firm advised banking creditors on the successful debt restructuring of Mriya Agro Holding. The team was led by London partner Helena Potts, Moscow partner Ragnar Johannesen, and Moscow counsel Edward Kempson.

For many years White & Case has been among the principal international legal counsels on capital markets and restructuring mandates. The firm acted as English and US legal counsel to the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine on a USD 2 billion dual-tranche Eurobond issue by Ukraine and USD 725 million private placement of short-term zero coupon notes by Ukraine. White & Case acted as English law counsel to state-owned Ukreximbank on its hryvnia-denominated Eurobond issue. London-based partner Stuart Matty is known for his involvement in Ukraine-related matters.

Please see Tables 1, 2, 3 for more information about international law firms involved in capital markets, banking and finance and debt restructuring work.

1 In June 2019 he joined CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang as a partner.

2 In April 2019 he joined INTEGRITES.