Bernitsas Law

Athens Office

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Managing Partner: Panayotis Bernitsas

Number of partners: 11

Number of lawyers: 38

Languages: English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish


Firm Overview:

Bernitsas Law is a market leader in the provision of commercial law services in Greece and one of the largest firms in the country. The firm counts industry frontrunners, listed and private companies, supranational, global and national entities and corporations, as well as small and medium sized enterprises from all the major industry sectors among its clients.


Main Areas of Practice:


Banking & Finance:

4 partners, 10 associates

Avis Greece Trade Receivables €186.4m Securitisation: Athanasia Tsene and team advised Citigroup and Piraeus Bank as mandated lead arrangers on a securitisation of car lease receivables originated by Olympic Commercial and Tourist Enterprises Single Member SA (Avis Greece), the largest securitisation of non-bank trade receivables in the Greek market, involving Class A and Class B Notes, listed BBB+ by S&P and Fitch and listed on Euronext, Dublin.

PIMCO and Deva Participation in the Tender Process for Project Galaxy: Athanasia Tsene and team advised Pimco and Deva Capital on their joint participation in the process for Project Galaxy, involving three NPL bank portfolios originated by Alpha Bank, with a GBV of c.€10.8bn (for mortgage, retail secured and wholesale loans respectively) and the acquisition of a majority shareholding in Cepal, a licensed servicing company that is currently fully owned and controlled by Alpha Bank.

Piraeus Bank (PB) €400m and €500m Notes Issuances: Nikos Papachristopoulos and team advised PB on the issuance and offering to institutional investors of €400m and €500m principal amount of Tier 2 Notes, their listing on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, and PB’s submissions to the SSM for the recognition of the Notes as regulatory capital.

Piraeus Bank - Securitisation of Phoenix Portfolio of Non-Performing Loan Receivables: Athanasia Tsene and team have been advising Piraeus Bank on the securitisation of the c.€2bn (GBV) Phoenix portfolio of NPL receivables, with UBS as arranger and Alantra as financial advisor to Piraeus Bank, through the issue by the transferee SPV of senior notes intended to benefit from a Greek State guarantee under the Hercules Asset Protection Scheme introduced by the Hellenic Republic with the approval of the EU Commission, and mezzanine and junior notes, to be invested in by private investors.

Key Clients: Alpha Bank, Apollo Global Management, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Bank, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Credit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Eurobank, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Piraeus Bank, PIMCO, Societe Generale


Competition/European Law:

3 partners, 1 counsel, 2 associates

Skroutz SA Strategic Minority Stake Acquisition Clearance: Marina Androulakakis and team successfully represented CVC before the Hellenic Competition Commission in the acquisition by SAIGA Sàrl, a company invested in by funds managed or advised by CVC, of a strategic minority stake, granting it negative sole control in Skroutz SA, the leading e-commerce platform in Greece.

Andromeda Group Sole Control Clearance: Marina Androulakakis and team successfully represented Andromeda Group which already solely controlled the two major Greek fish farming companies Nireus SA and Selonda SA, before the Hellenic Competition Commission in its acquisition through Selonda SA of sole control over Perseus Specialty Foods Products SA.

Key Clients: Andromeda Group, Attica Group, Bristol Myers Squibb, BMW Hellas, CVC, Hellenic Fuels, Ocean Rail Logistics (member of the COSCO Group)


Corporate/Commercial:

6 partners, 1 counsel, 11 associates

Sale of Independent Portfolio Management: Lambros Belessis, Evi Kitsou and team advised Alvarez & Marsal in the sale of a majority stake in their local regulated loan servicing company, Independent Portfolio Management S.A.S.R.L.C.F (IPM), to Copernicus, an independent global Loan & REO Asset Management platform.

Piraeus Bank Demerger by Hive-Down of its Banking Activity: Nikos Papachristopoulos and team advised Piraeus Bank on the demerger by way of hive-down of its banking activity sector and its contribution into a new banking entity, to result in the existing Piraeus Bank becoming a financial holding company under the name Piraeus Financial Holdings, and the new entity, authorised as a credit institution by the ECB, being named Piraeus Bank.

Acquisition of a Controlling Stake in Vivartia: Nikos Papachristopoulos and team advise CVC on the acquisition by funds managed or advised by it of a controlling stake in Vivartia Holdings SA.

Key Clients: Alvarez & Marsal, Amerra Capital Management, Apivita, BMW Group of Companies, Ellaktor, Kosmocar, Hipoges Iberia, CVC, Diesel Hellas, Hygeia Group, Samsung, Space Hellas, the Saint-Gobain Group, Swatch Group, Värde Partners


Dispute Resolution:

5 partners, 8 associates

CNP Insurance Litigation: Christos Paraskevopoulos and team represent CNP Zois SA, a member of the CNP Cyprus Insurance Holdings Ltd Group, in insurance related matters and litigations involving insurance products sold in the Greek market on an ongoing basis.

Public Tender Dispute: Dimitris Roussis and team represent an SPV consisting of several other companies active in the waste treatment units sector in disputes, including arbitration, arising from the execution of a PPP project for the design, financing, setting into operation, maintenance and facility management of a waste treatment unit.

Key Clients: AMPNI, Apivita, BMW Hellas, CNP Zois, Diesel, Hellenic Petroleum, Japan Tobacco International, Orion Pharma, Viomes, Wind Telecommunications


Employment:

1 counsel, 2 associates

CVC Acquisitions: Katia Papantonopoulou and team advised CVC on the employment and immigration law matters arising from acquisitions through funds advised or managed by CVC of minority stakes in Skroutz SA and a controlling stake in Vivartia.

Key Clients: Bank of China, BMW Hellas, Bristol Myers Squibb, CVC, Monster Energy Europe


Energy:

2 partners, 4 associates

DEPA Infrastructure and DEPA Commercial: Yannis Seiradakis and team are advising an international consortium in their participation in the tender conducted by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) for the privatisation of DEPA Infrastructure, the owners and operators of the natural gas distribution network, and a consortium of two major Greek energy companies in their participation in the tender conducted by the HRADF for the sale of a majority stake in DEPA Commercial and its subsidiary EPA Attikis, the leading Greek natural gas retailer.

Alexandroupolis LNG Project: Panayotis Bernitsas, Yannis Seiradakis and team are advising Gastrade, the project company, in relation to the development of the Alexandroupolis Independent Natural Gas System (INGS) project.

Key Clients: Gastrade, Hellenic Petroleum, Motor Oil, Public Power Corporation, RWE Supply & Trading, Sino-CEEF


Real Estate:

1 partner, 2 associates

Crete Resort Development: Panayotis Bernitsas, Nikos Vouhiounis, Christina Zakopoulou and team are advising a leading luxury hotels and resorts owner and operator on the acquisition of land for the development of a new resort in Crete.

Hotels Management and Operation Agreement: Panayotis Bernitsas, Nikos Vouhiounis, Christina Zakopoulou and team are advising Rocco Forte Hotels, on their entry into an agreement for the management and operation of luxury hotels in Greece.

Key Clients: Rocco Forte Hotels, SMB Capital, The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund


Tax:

1 partner, 1 counsel, 1 associate

Tax Planning of Acquisition: Panayotis Bernitsas, Fotodotis Malamas and team are advising Thomas Cook Group Tour Operations Limited on the tax aspects of the sale of its shares in its English subsidiary Westfort Capital Limited to Westfort’s other shareholder.

Key Clients: Apollo Global Management, CVC


TMT:

1 partner, 1 counsel, 3 associates

BMW Hellas and BMW Austria Bank Advice: Marina Androulakakis and team advise BMW Hellas and BMW Austria Bank (Athens Branch) on data protection, including GDPR compliance and the contractual documents and privacy statements for BMW ConnectedDrive services.

Advice to Acun Media: Panayotis Bernitsas, Nikos Vouhiounis and team advise Acun Medya Turkey and Acun Medya Greece on a range of TV production agreements with tv broadcasters, contributors, participants and service providers in Greece and abroad, consulting, advertising and sponsorship agreements, employment issues and GDPR data privacy compliance steps.

Key Clients: Acun Media Group, BMW Group