Russia

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body:  Федеральной палате адвокатов РФ (FPARF)

Competition authority: Федеральная Антимонопольная Служба (FAS Russia)

Financial regulator: Центральный банк Российской Федерации (CBR)

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:

Financial and corporate (published October) – Banking, Capital markets: Debt, Capital markets: Equity, M&A, Project finance, Restructuring and insolvency

Energy and infrastructure (published June) – Energy, Mining, PPP/PFI

Jurisdiction overview

The Russian legal system is in the process of undergoing radical change. For several years now the government has been implementing significant changes to the Civil Code, with a view to modernising Russian law. These are wide-ranging, covering many different practice areas, and are central to the government’s goal of making Moscow a global centre for business and finance. The changes will mean more work can be done using Russian legislation, as opposed to the presently-preferred UK law. Alongside that, it has been involved in an ongoing process of deoffshorisation, bringing Russian money back to the mainland and limiting the outward flow to places such as Cyprus.

That whole process has stalled in recent years as the country faces a perfect storm of political and economic troubles. US and EU sanctions, coupled with persistently low commodity prices, have left the economy imperilled. The legal system has had to adapt to a ‘new normal’ and the nature of the work being done has shifted significantly.

Traditionally, the Russian market was dominated by international firms, with all the most significant financial and corporate matters dealt with by teams connected to the UK, the US or Europe. The changes to the legal system, however, have necessitated more Russian language documentation being included on deals, making it often necessary to have a native Russian speaker on each team. That being the case, the domestic Russian firms that had previously largely focused on arbitration or litigation matters are increasingly being seen on more significant financial and corporate ones. Particularly on large-scale projects, where the federal government has eased restrictions on regional government procurement, these domestic firms are picking up an increasing slice of the pie.

The other ongoing trend in the Russian market is the pivot away from the West towards China and the East. High demand for raw materials and expedient political motives have seen that move happening at a faster rate in recent years and China can only expect its influence in Moscow to grow. At the highest political level trade agreements have been secured by the leaders of the two countries, and commercially there is increasing interest from Chinese companies in investing in Central Asian or Siberian projects and facilities. 

However, while Western teams have shrunk and domestic influence has grown, it has merely closed what was a very wide gap. Major UK, US and European firms remain the biggest players in Moscow and will likely be so for many years to come.

Jon Moore – Journalist EMEA

Financial and corporate
Alliance Legal Consulting Group

Alliance Legal Consulting was founded in 2010 by former officials of Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Justice. The firm is based in Moscow and has branches in Ekaterinburg and Dubai.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The specialises in advising government agencies and is active in project development and restructuring and insolvency.

 

Key clients

Some recent key clients of the firm include Energomost, a high-voltage power lines constructor, Bulk Material Plant and Ventprom. It also advised Avers, an information technology center, and energy company Gazprom Mezhregiongaz.

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

During the research period in project development the firm advised on investment land development projects, as well as providing legal support for reconstruction work and software implementation. The firm also acted for the media producers in a share sale transaction, advised sell-side company owners on sale purchase agreements in waste processing and supported loan portfolio acquisitions.

In restructuring work the firm mainly advised the shareholders and managers of large corporations. It advised on behalf of creditors, contractors, developers, and the insolvency officers in bankruptcy cases.

 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

Alliance Legal bankruptcy  

N Sats Moscow State Academic Children’s Musical Theatre redevelopment

Alrud

Founded in 1991, Alrud is a full-service Russian firm based in Moscow. 

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is strong across the board in the areas of work covered by the rankings but particularly within M&A and restructuring and insolvency.

The firm is known for working with Asian investors on Russia-related deals.

 

Key clients

Some recent key clients for the firm include Russian Direct Investment Fund, ELKO Grupa an IT product distributor, China National Gold Corporation, Trafigura PTE, Taisho Pharmaceuticals Co, VimpelCom, Accel, Rockwell Automation and Schlumberger, Monnalisa, as well as financial institutions like VTB Capital, Munch RE and CFC Management.

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

During the research period in banking the firm has worked for funds, borrowers and lenders in acquisition, concession project finance and refinancing mandates. The firm also advised on regulatory matters in the payment systems sector, working closely with Mastercard, and cryptocurrencies. 

In capital markets the firm advised a mix of issuers, underwriters, banks and asset managers on bonds and securities. In equity work the firm advised on a listing and IPO on the Italian Stock Exchange and secured ICO advisory work.

In M&A the firm saw an increased intake in IT sector mandates, as well as transactions in pharma and telecommunications. It advised large companies on joint venture agreements, and buyers in takeovers. It also acted for purchasers for grain terminals.

In projects recently the firm has advised on public-private partnerships and transport infrastructure, coal and gold mining and grain terminal mandates. A notable deal in the period was advising an investment fund in the construction Central Ring Road PPP in the Moscow region. 

The restructuring team acted on behalf of creditors, debtors and shareholders in bankruptcy matters. It advised a range of financial institutions, industrial and trade companies, and automotive businesses. 

Staffing changes saw Alexandrer Rymkojoin the firm as head of banking and finance in the research period from Harneys. 

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

Central Ring Road Moscow PPP 

Ctrip Group Project acquisition of stake in Avia Center Group

Monnalisa IPO and listing on Italian Stock Exchange

Sib Trading $200 million restructuring 

TXJ Companies $225 million acquisition of 25% of Familia

VTB Capital $550 million acquisition of Novorossiysk region grain terminal

 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

Banking

“Provides what’s needed.”

 

Financial and corporate

“Professional.”

 

Restructuring and insolvency

“Hard working, professional, top quality of procedural documents and filings. Attention to detail. Persistence in defending the client's interests.”

 

Boris Ostroukhov

“Experienced, hard-working, professional. Always available, great responsiveness.”

Borenius

Borenius is a well-known Finnish firm with an office in Moscow.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm’s Russian arm has a focus on corporate and M&A work.

 

Key clients

Some recent key clients of the firm include CVC Capital Partners, Neste Corporation, Sever Minerals, IDAVANG Group, Stada, Norebo Holding and Tensar.

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

During the research period, the firm advised sellers and buyers in divestments and takeover deals in a range of sectors including oil refining and pharma. It also worked on multi-jurisdictional restructuring mandates. 

 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

Tatneft €155 million acquisition of Neste St Petersburg

 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

“All of the staff is high professional and very responsible. The have deep knowledge of subject and expertise in all cases in which they are working.”

 

Andrey Gusev

“He has excellent knowledge of subject and brilliant communication skills. Combination of these features provides him additional rating in the client's eyes.”

FBK Legal

Based in Moscow, FBK Legal is a Russian audit, tax consultancy and law firm that has been part of Granton Thornton International since 2014.

 

Focusses / specialisms

Project development and restructuring and insolvency.

 

Key clients

Some of the recent key clients of the firm include Gazprom, Mosavtogaz, Transneft and Tuva Energy Industrial Corporation. In M&A, it worked with Kronospan, Yamaha Motor CIS, Alfa bank, Diasoft, Sberbank Group, Gazprombank, Biblio-globus, Absolute Hotel Services, Scholle IPN and Evraz. 

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

During the research period in M&A the firm saw mandates in IT and technology, transport and pharmaceuticals, advising investors and companies. It also advised on the sell-side, in due diligence for a financial institution selling non-core assets, and on the buy-side in a publishing house transaction.

In project development the firm advised companies and investors on concession agreements, EPC contracts and joint ventures and framework agreements across a wide rand of sectors, including software, oil and gas, thermal power and energy and social infrastructure.

In restructuring the firm represented a range of creditors, distressed companies, and administrators in bankruptcy proceedings. It also advised on company re-organisations and company debt and corporate restructurings.

In staffing changes Levon Grigorian joined the firm in regulatory and compliance during the research period, hired from Magnusson Law Firm, and the restructuring and insolvency head of practice Marina Balandina left the firm in December 2019.

 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

Kozhukhovskava-Invest $150 million debt restructuring 

 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019 / 2020) 

Restructuring and insolvency

“Very impressed with quick responses and flexibility in working with our requests. The deliverables we received were all of the highest quality, well-structured with thorough and detailed analysis of the issues raised by us and understandable for people who are not lawyers by profession.”

 

Natalia Gerasimova

“Client focussed and manages client relationship.”

Ilyashev & Partners

Ukrainian firm Ilyashev & Partners established a Moscow office in 2015. The firm also has a branches in Kiev and Tallinn. 

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a focus on M&A and restructuring work.

 

Key clients

Some of the major and recent key clients of the firm include Alfa-Bank, Mars Media Entertainment, The Kraft Heinz Company and UralATI.

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

During the research period in M&A the firm advised the buyers in the purchasing of manufacturing assets, gasfields and maritime assets. It also advised sellers in the sale of oilfield. 

In restructuring work the firm advised major creditors in bankruptcy cases and disputes. It also saw mandates in insolvency and debt restructuring, advising 

 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

UralATI $5.5 million corporate restructuring 

 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

Banking

“They are able to work fast in complex issues demonstrating efficiency, options to choose at the expected clear price policy.”

“Quick and responsive.”

 

Investment funds

“Atypical ways to solve tasks.”

 

M&A

“The law firm provides attentive and knowledgeable service. Among firm's main strengths are authoritative, organised and forward thinking, practical and proactive approach.”

 

Restructuring and insolvency

"The firm combines cross-border expertise and profound knowledge of Russian regulation. One of the key strengths is its exceptional experience in real estate and construction, banking sectors. This particular combination of skills makes them one of the most sought-after lawyers."

 

Dmitry Konstantinov

“Prompt feedback, understanding our needs and strategic thinking.”

 

Ruslan Mannapov

“Creative; sense of duty.”

“Prompt feedback, understanding our needs and strategic thinking.”

 

Vladimir Zakharov

“Vladimir Zakharov is a very solid team leader. Vladimir provides precise and straightforward advice, offering solutions in situations where progress doesn't seem possible.”

“The firm combines cross-border expertise and profound knowledge of Russian regulation. One of the key strengths is its exceptional experience in real estate and construction, banking sectors. This particular combination of skills makes them one of the most sought-after lawyers.”

Infralex

Infralex, founded in 2014, is a full-service firm located in Moscow.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is active in cross-border deals in M&A, restructuring and project development deals. It has acted for some of the largest Russian companies, often in international mandates that involve China, Singapore or the UK.

 

Key clients

Some of the key recent clients of the firm include United Aircraft Corporation, CNOOC Limited offshore crude oil and gas company, RZD-Nedvizhimost, Ural High-Speed Railway, RG-Development and Sberbank.

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

During the research period in M&A the firm advised investors, including pension funds, in the purchase of stakes in projects and brokerage sectors. It also performed legal due diligence on the behalf of buying Russian entities and advised Russian sellers across strategic share acquisitions in the tourism and construction sectors. 

In projects the firm’s lawyers advised on public private partnerships in railway infrastructure and for educational digital platforms. It also advised on the construction on a former cargo yard, the development of a digital transit tracking system and the reconstruction of a military airport.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm worked on the corporate reorganization of large companies, including United Aircraft Corporation. In bankruptcy cases, the firm mainly represented, creditors, advising hotel and sport facility developers, Russian banks, real estate owners and investment and construction companies.

Staffing changes include Ekaterina Kalinina, formerly from Noerr, join as counsel during the research period. 

 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

ANO The New School Platform PPP 

Chelyabinsk-Yekaterinburg High-speed railway PPP

CNOOC $2.55 billion stake in Arctic LNG 2 project

Ctrip $5 million acquisition of 25% share in AVIA CENTER

RZD-Nedvizhimost $1.2 billion HQ construction on Moscow-Tovarnaya-Rizhskaya cargo yard

United Aircraft Corporation of Russia $17.7 billion reorganisation

 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

Financial services regulatory

"Professional lawyers, not standard approach to regular situations with tax authorities."

 

M&A

"Best attributes are: response time, cost and quality of advice." 

"Client service and responsiveness. Deployed a team at short notice over a bank holiday weekend."

"High reliability and knowledge of the Russian market, very professional skills with foreign investors."

"Practical, efficient and swift responses; very knowledgeable and professional; reasonable billing."

"First of all, we appreciate Infralex for depth of analysis of the situation and focus on the practical applicability of advice. They are always oriented on maximum results and take a responsible approach to the quality of their performance on the tasks. Infralex has always responded promptly to the tasks set and characterized by flexibility of approaches and the ability to find solutions to complex, non-trivial problems.”

"Consistently excellent work product at reasonable rates; very reactive and proactive; excellent commercial sense."

 

Project development

"Infralex lawyers are not only legal experts. They provide a strategic view of the business model and suggest very effective solutions."

 

Restructuring and insolvency

"The firm proved itself to be the well-coordinated responsive and reliable team of professionals who can deal with the complicated issues. The positive attributes of the firm are the professionalism that supplemented by the many years of successful practice and the promptness of the provision of the qualified legal support."

"Able to communicate effectively in English. A strong ability to provide advice on complex cross-border issues involving different legal systems and the interaction between insolvency law and other legislation."

 

Anna Sytina

“Very responsive and adjusted her style and delivery to integrate with the work we were doing.”

 

Artem Kukin

“They lead the team in a positive way and have fantastic insight into legal issues. They ensure the tam delivers.”

“Professional, experienced, pleasant.”

“Artem is well connected very responsive and very authoritative.”

“Effective, efficient, knowledgeable, accessible.”

“Smart, sensible and a pleasure to work with.”

 

Dmitry Ivanov

“Dmitry has strong management skills and always organize creative work to find the best solution for the project.”

 

Stanislav Petrov

“Stanislav Petrov, the head of practice, is proved to be a qualified and responsive lawyer with the extensive experience in the field of restructuring and bankruptcy, attentive to detail, meet deadlines and overall are a pleasure to work with.”

 

Yulia Eremenko

“Yulia perfectly organizes the work of the project team, as well as takes care of the most complex issues, which gives value to the advice provided by Infralex.

Liniya Prava

Founded in 2000, Liniya Prava is a full-service Russian firm based in Moscow. 

 

Focusses / specialisms

One of the leading domestic firms on the market, Liniya Prava is a good performer across the board in the financial and corporate space. Capital markets is a particular strength. 

 

Key clients

Some of the key recent clients of the firm include Citibank, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, UniCredit Bank, VTB Group, Gazprombank, Natixis Bank, Transneft, Russian Railways and China Development Bank.

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

During the research period in banking and finance the firm mainly advised investment banks on multiple aircraft leases financings.

In capital markets work the firm notably advised on the placements of government bonds of the Republic of Belarus, the first in the Russian debt market in almost 10 years. In other debt work the firm advised on bond financing for infrastructure projects and on securitisations.

In M&A the firm advised buyers and investors on acquisitions and share-buyback offers, particularly within the electronics, grain terminal and telecommunication sectors. It also advised on joint venture agreements.

In restructuring and insolvency the firm represented creditors, debtors, and bankruptcy managers in cases.

Staffing changes saw Alexandra Fasakhova join the firm from Allen & Overy as head of banking and finance and Vadim Konyushkevich, a partner in M&A, join VK Partners.

 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

Aeroflot Russian Airlines $650 million 16 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft lease financing 

Central Ring Road

CTP restructuring 

Mobile TeleSystems acquisition of Green Point Group of companies

Moscow Hliboproduct $65.8 million bankruptcy

Nastyusha $50.4 million bankruptcy

VK Partners

VK Partners is a relatively young firm established in February 2019 by former Lidings' partner Vadim Konyushkevich. It has alliances with independent firms and associations including Cathay Associates and Global Business Lawyers' League.

 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm has a focus on banking and M&A work.

 

Key clients

Some recent key clients for the firm include Sky Power Construction Engineering, Skywind International Limited, Raiffeisen Bank Hungary and Pravocard.

 

Research period review: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

During the research period the firm has advised on loan facility agreements, supported lessors in aircraft lease agreements and assisted borrowers with credit financing for asset acquisitions. 

In M&A the firm advised on the structuring of joint ventures and provided due diligence on target companies.

Staffing changes included the hires of Natalia Danilova and Ilya Kudryashov from Alrud and Russian Direct Investment Fund respectively. Ekaterina Larens, an M&A and real estate partner, left the firm this period.

 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

VivaTakarmány Befektetési KFT €30 million acquisition financing 

 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019 / 2020)

Real estate

“Efficient and reasonable.”

 

Project development

“Reactive, client-oriented, flexible, knowledgeable about the constraints of dealing with several legal systems and the practicalities of inbound investment.”

 

M&A

“They have strong consultant skills in Chinese desk and IT.”

 

Vadim Konyuskevich

“Very responsive and business savvy, able to understand the needs of foreign clients and offer the best solution for atypical clients.”