Chairman and Senior Partner: Vladimir Penkov
Number of partners: 8
Number of lawyers: 35
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 domestic and international respect. The firm currently has approximately 43 partners and associated members, several external legal consultants, ten trainees, 12 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 Lex Mundi, Eurojuris and FLI Net and the first law firm in Bulgaria certified under the ISO 9001:2000 and later recertified under ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 9001:2015 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, 2015/16 and 2017/18.
Main Areas of Practice:
Banking & Finance:
Over the years consulted 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). Completed the registration of some of the first non-banking financial institutions and structured the innovative business of a major client providing distance financial services unknown earlier to the Bulgarian market. Recent notable transactions include PM&P’s advising 4finance Group in the cross-border acquisition of TBI Bank AD, as well as acting as trusted consultant and intermediary to Profi Credit Bulgaria and Dairewa Finance B.V. in relation to the provision of cross-border non-syndicated loan 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 PM&P’s team 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 the advising of Vienna Real Estate and Balkan Star Group (former Mercedes-Benz distributor in Bulgaria) on the complex of transactions aiming at the transfer to Silver Star Group of equipment, other assets, software and real estate including two showrooms in Varna and Plovdiv as well as the lease of the a showroom in Sofia; the legal advice on the sale of the majority stakes of shares in Drujba Glassworks SA, leading producer of packaging glassware on the Balkans, a listed company on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange; the advice on the merger of Zlatna Panega Beton EOOD, a ready-mix centres operating company, 100 % subsidiary in Zlatna Panega Cement AD; in collaboration with Weil, Gotshal & Manges advice on the sale of CEZ a.s. 100%-owned Bulgarian subsidiary TPP Varna to the Bulgarian company SIGDA OOD.
Competition, Antitrust & Consumer Protection:
Participation in numerous investment projects and investigations of competition authorities, such as global mergers like Hewlett-Packard/Compaq, BASF/ Cyanamid, the joint venture of Daimler with the Russian KAMAZ, 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. Substantial experience in handling unfair competition cases; 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. Notable matters in recent months include the successful defence of Naturproduct in unfair competition proceedings against allegations for misleading TVc, advice on the cross-border merger clearance proceedings in Bulgaria affecting different markets in multiple EU and non-EU member states.
Energy & RES:
Successfully advising 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 successfully protecting 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. Continues representing a significant number of RES producers before the civil courts in their claims for return of 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. The first in Bulgaria to successfully defend the concept of the ‘administrative’ agreement, thus creating a court precedent.
Among the most experienced law offices in Bulgaria in 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. Significant current clients and projects continue to include Arteks Engineering AD (prime developer of major high-class residential) for which the team provides services related to the structuring and acquisition of numerous 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’s dispute resolution practice has expanded significantly in the last couple of years; 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 defence 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; the continuous defence 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; Red River Bulgaria EOOD and Red River Van Eck B.V. in civil, administrative and arbitration matters related to their main activity; 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.
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.