There are currently over 5,000 bankruptcy proceedings in economic courts around Ukraine, with most of the entities involved undergoing the liquidation procedure. It means that most business entities that are the subject of bankruptcy proceedings have already been recognized as insolvent by the court and the liquidation procedure aimed at meeting creditors’ demands by selling the bankrupt’s property according to the Act of Ukraine On Restoring Debtor Solvency or Declaring a Debtor Bankrupt is under way.
According to the Unified State Register of Court Decisions and the official website of the Supreme Economic Court of Ukraine, in Q1 2016 local economic courts started 295 bankruptcy proceedings, with 42 cases being opened against business entities registered in Kiev, and Dnepropetrovsk and Kharkov Regions being second and third with 37 and 28 cases, respectively.
Taking the above-mentioned number of cases into account, the fact can be established that bankruptcy is and will be of great interest, requiring the involvement of highly-skilled crisis managers for a bankruptcy mechanism to be aimed not only at the liquidation of business entities and debt remission but, first and foremost, at restoring solvency and preserving business activity even of those entities which found themselves in a financial squeeze.
The strong team of Ilyashev & Partners is known mostly for representing clients related to complex insolvency proceedings and bankruptcy litigation. The firm’s long standing clients, BTA Bank and Nadra Bank, make up a significant caseload of bankruptcy matters. The firm regularly acts on high value cases, among others, continued to act during insolvency procedure of Sumykhimprom for over USD 165 million, where the sanation procedure is introduced. Other notable cases include supporting the bankruptcies of FSC More and Okean Shipyard. With the opening of its Moscow office in March 2015, the branch got instructions to support bankruptcies of Russian developers with claims valued at USD 319 million. The well positioned team is led by renowned insolvency practitioner Roman Marchenko, senior partner. The name of Vadym Kizlenko, another notable team member, is known on the market.
The domestic Law Firm Ario (previously known as Ario Capital Group) extended its scope of legal support with premier strength in bankruptcy. The firm was among the most dynamic market players in the past year and has been engaged in a number of large stake and resonant cases. The most widely known case is representing the Ukrainian state in litigation regarding recovery to state control over the State Enterprise Urkbyrshtyn and terminating 12-year long bankruptcy proceedings. Recently the firm showcased regional activity in bankruptcy litigation and added to its portfolio bankruptcy cases of significant Ukrainian enterprises. The firm’s clients include Terra Food LLC, Ukreximbank, Corporation VIP HOUSE. Partners Julian Khorunzhii and Iryna Serbin received strong market feedback for practical experience and profound legislative drafting contribution. Oleksii Voronko and Serhii Kyryshenko are the core partners and fully practice— dedicated practitioners.
The established local team of Alekseev, Boyarchukov & Partners is enlisted for handling complex bankruptcy matters. The firm is a point of choice by the major banks for a wide scope of insolvency proceedings and debt recovery work. Among the recent highlights of the firm is representing UniCredit Bank in a series of debt recovery litigations against the Autoland Dnepr group of companies in the course of its liquidation procedure and against PJSC Mostobud. The team is hired by creditors for developing comprehensive strategies for protecting creditors’ claims in many bankruptcies of debtors. Frequently referenced by market insiders, founding partner Sergey Boyarchukov is praised for his years of practical experience. Maksym Boyarchukov is another main practitioner.
Showcasing a strong track history of debt recovery cases, L.I. Group is an established team that confirmed its strong performance for banking clientele in a large number of multi-million bankruptcy cases. The group constantly represents OTP Bank, in particular, in bankruptcy proceedings of Quartzite PJSC, Ovruch Mining and Separating Factory, Private JSC Ukrmetalotor and other industrial enterprises. Clients include Ukrsotsbank, VAB Bank, Ukrsibbank, VTB Bank, as well as a number of distressed companies. Artur Megerya has been mentioned for his strength in complex bankruptcy and liquidation procedures. Managing partner Mykola Kovalchuk is another premier practice dedicated partner.
Liability management is one of the key practices of FCLEX. Given its sharp dedication to litigation work, the firm acts on insolvency litigation and distressed assets. representing both creditors and distressed entities in terms of insolvency proceedings. The firm continues representation of AIS Corporation as for five group members’ bankruptcies and represents Dutch investor Okean B.V. in the bankruptcy case of the Nikolaev-based Shipyard Okean. FCLEX is known for handling a huge bulk of litigation work for Finance and Credit Bank. Earlier 2015 the total claims value of bank’s claims to insolvent debtors was around USD 100 million. Other cases included the bankruptcy of JSC Svetlovodsk Maslosyrkombinat and PJSC Kherson Factory of Cardan Shafts. The practice team is led by partners Viktor Barsuk, Oleg Malinevskiy and Sergey Chuyev.
Khomenko, Pita & Partners is a well-versed boutique focused on corporate recovery and bankruptcy matters. In the outgoing year the team reached an out-of-court arrangement in bankruptcy proceedings on the Okey Ukraine supermarkets chain and accomplished advisory on out of court sanation of a regional producer of construction materials. A recent highlight of the team is advising State Concern Ukroboronprom and support in bankruptcy cases of several enterprises from the defense industry. The firm is presently involved in leading bankruptcy cases regarding a number of agricultural enterprises and some enterprises with assets in Crimea. Oleksandr Khomenko retains an established reputation in the insolvency market.
Integrites is an active counsel for debt collection andrecovery issues, asset tracing and bank insolvency. The firm acts on disputes with regard to intersection of obligations derived from a legal deadlock arisen from loan and credit disputes with financial institutions who are under a liquidation procedure. Integrites is currently a lead counsel to VTB Bank in carrying out a USD 950 million bankruptcy matter, where the firm set total control over the debtors before their liquidation and at present the firm acts simultaneously in 6 interconnected bankruptcies, and initiated court recovery from the main Westa Holding’s beneficiary’s assets. Partner Denys Kytsenko possesses solid expertise in a wide array of disputes, including bankruptcy litigation.
The highly-reputed team of Vasil Kisil & Partners represents clients in bankruptcies, being especially actively present in the real estate and construction, pharma, chemicals, transport sectors. The firm currently represents the Cypriot company Lessiron Commercial Ltd in a bankruptcy case involving a real estate developer, and also acts for an international shipping company in an insolvency case of the biggest state shipping company Black Sea Shipping Company (BLASCO). The firm handles representation of a major Latvian bank in a liquidation procedure of a Ukrainian bank. Oleg Kachmar, counsel, focuses on dispute resolution and insolvency proceedings.
Arzinger advises financial institutions and banks in the bankruptcies of debtors, acting on a range of recovery cases and liquidation appeal. Some assignments touch upon the complicated situation with the temporarily-occupied territories. Anton Molchanov is in charge of the practice and is singled out by the market sources for his recent performance.
Baker & McKenzie is referred for handling all aspects of complex cross-border financial restructurings and insolvency matters. The firm is regularly enlisted by foreign companies to represent their creditors’ interests and debt recovery in terms of bankruptcies of local borrowers. Ihor Siusel, partner, dispute resolution practitioner, leads the practice.
Given its well-diversified restructuring and insolvency practice, Dentons regularly advises clients on their debt and equity restructurings, reorganizations enforcement and insolvency matters. The firm has profound experience of supporting distressed debt and assets transactions, debt recovery in the course of bankruptcy proceedings. Natalia Selyakova, banking and finance head, is the lead partner.
Liability crisis management, restructuring and bankruptcy at all stages are among the core practices of Sokolovskyi & Partners. Work with distressed assets draws the expertise of other practices, namely tax and criminal law. The team’s portfolio includes representation in courts and liquidation proceedings. The practice is led by Vladyslav Filatov, reputed insolvency practitioner, bankruptcy administrator.
LCF Law Group, a leading litigation firm representing noteworthy banking clientele with insolvent debtors as well as in out-of-court corporate recovery. Recent cases include representing the interests of the Bank of Cyprus in a bankruptcy procedure, in a dispute regarding recovery of indebtedness under a lease agreement from Magicentr LLC. The lawyer team is led by senior partner Artem Stoyanov and counsel Olena Volianska. Oleksandr Biryukov, who joined the group as a counsel, is experienced in cross-border insolvency.
Asters broadens itslitigation expertise in the representation of clients in insolvency proceedings. Notably, the firm is profoundly active in debt recovery matters in bankruptcy proceedings, being engaged in supporting execution and enforcement stages. Asters is also often enlisted to advise on the general issues of liquidation, creditors’ claims, debts sale, etc. The firm is a point of choice by Ukrdebt and Crédit Agricole. Oleksiy Didkovskiy, Armen Khachaturyan and Yevgen Porada are lead partners.
Lavrynovych & Partners is involved in representing lenders and borrowers and recently focused on debt collection work within the framework of insolvency proceedings. The team represents the interests of creditors within liquidation procedures and insures property rights protection in courts. Partner Stanislav Skrypnyck, who is renowned for his litigation skills, is the main contact.
With its strong international litigation focus Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Ukraine is often enlisted to represent the interests of creditors in bankruptcies of domestic borrowers and acts onrecognition of foreign bankruptcy proceedings in Ukraine. Partner Gleb Bialyi, co-head of the litigation practice, is engaged in subsequent matters of the firm.
The restructuring and insolvency team of AEQUO advises on the full spectrum of insolvency work. The team, as led by banking and finance partner Yulia Kyrpa, is present in a big number of restructuring projects, while Pavlo Byelousov, counsel, handles assignments on bankruptcy litigation. In a recent highlight he represented a major Latvian financial institution in bankruptcy proceedings against debtor Upstar Continental in Ukraine and also acts for Ukrainian retailers in bankruptcy proceedings.
In 2015 Gramatskiy & Partners reported on 14 bankruptcy cases with the total sum of claims coming to about USD 54 million. The firm gained expertise of contentious bankruptcy proceedings and representation on different procedural aspects, acting for lenders, borrowers, shareholders and participants, insolvency officials. The most significant clients are domestic players. For example, PJSC Tomak, Dialir, Plant Quant, Verba 2004 LLC, Plant Keramic, Gordons Impex Ltd. Andrii Trembich is the practice head and primary contact.
IMG Partners supports restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings complicated with large debt obligations and raiding. The firm is engaged in different stages of the insolvency process, including assets alienation, reorganization or liquidation. Some significant work highlights include the bankruptcy of one of the leaders of Ukraine’s gambling industry and repayment of a bank’s credit claims; and bankruptcy of a large soya-processing factory with debt restructuring to the tune of more than USD 50 million. Mykola Struts is the lead partner and acts as a trustee in bankruptcy.
Wolf Theiss is enlisted by European clients mostly acting on behalf of creditors, acting in courts and inter-creditors negotiations, advising on debt settlement procedures. The Kiev office represents Cleanosol Trading Company LLC, a Ukrainian subsidiary of Geveko Industri Holding A.B., in a lengthy and complex insolvency case against a subsidiary company of the State Company Motorways of Ukraine. The firm remains a point of choice for Austrian clients, and advised an Austrian bank as a creditor in the course of the liquidation procedure of a Ukrainian bank. Oksana Volynets is the practice head.
AstapovLawyers* international law group is rapidly developing its new practice dedicated to distressed opportunities, recovering debt for financial institutions (commercial banks, insurance, leasing, factoring and other companies), as well as working with toxic assets in Crimea. The distressed assets practice in the CIS region is led by Aleksey Kovryzhenko, counsel.
In 2015 Pravochyn attorneys at law appeared to be visible in the bankruptcy field. Among the notable cases accomplished by the team of late is representing Ferrero Ukraine LLC in the loud case of the bankruptcy of the Okey supermarket chain, which resulted in an amicable agreement between the creditor, debtor and investor; and acting for pharmaceutical company Interfarm LLC in a case at the request of the prosecutor’s office on reviewing earlier court decisions regarding the recognition of the debtor as being bankrupt. Active domestic litigators Oleksandr Pashchenko and Oleksandr Onishchenko are the main contacts of this team.
Trusted Advisors, a new market player,became active in the insolvency arena and gained significant banking names as its clients. The firm acts for lenders in bankruptcy and debt enforcement issues. The firm supports distressed debtors and recently handled full support of the subsequent procedure of Technological Agricultural Company United. Ivan Mischenko, managing partner, is the main contact.
MORIS GROUP is especially focused on debt collection work and providing representation in bankruptcy litigation. The group is rapidly developing cooperation with Ukrainian banks and is actively involved inbankruptcy disputes. Partners Andriy Savchuk and Maryan Martynyuk lead the team.
In 2015 Jurimex Law Firm was active in representing creditors in insolvency proceeding in courts and throughout the course of sanation procedures. The firm is known for counseling enterprises from the public sector. In particular, it recently represented State Enterprise Kyiv Oblavtodor, State JSC Roads of Ukraine as a creditor in the course of a debtor’s bankruptcy. Sviatoslav Kibets, head of corporate and securities, is the main contact.
Domestic firm Legal Guarantees, headed by Alexei Kominarets and Leonid Kucherenko, showed its bankruptcy practice. The firm acted on transfer mortgaged assets in terms of initiation of bankruptcy procedure and currently supports the bankruptcy of a big corporate debtor in Volyn Region.
Law Offices of OMP, as led by Mykola Orlov, is engaged in complex support of Alba Ukraine’s bankruptcy. Attorneys’ Association Gestors under the guidance of Volodymyr Bobryk has been representing the interests of Koehler & Partner Handels as the creditor and the head creditors’ committee in the bankruptcy case involving PJSC Malyn Research Foundry and Mechanical Plant. WTS Tax Legal Consulting, guided by Alexander Minin and Maxim Oleksiyuk, provides comprehensive services in bankruptcy and liquidation. Debt recovery and bankruptcy falls into the remit of S.T. Partners and its founding partner, Sergiy Tyurin. Vitaliy Tytych & Partners, domestic bankruptcy boutique, while its founder Vitaliy Tytych is constantly referenced for market presence and extensive practice.