2016 rankings: Banking & Finance, Commercial, Corporate and M&A, Dispute Resolution, Tax, EU and Competition, Real Estate and Construction, Shipping and Transport
In April 2016, Primus, Attorneys at Law absorbed Law Firm Varul's Vilnius office to gain a presence in the Lithuanian market.
Banking and Finance
It has been noted that in Estonia Primus has ‘a small but very professional team’. Ermo Kosk heads the practice and is particularly strong in areas including acquisition finance, syndicated loans and structured trade finance, acting for domestic companies, equity sponsors and financial institutions.
In Latvia Primus lawyers ‘knows the financial system and the local players’. Kristīne Gaigule-Šāvēja and the ‘solution-oriented’ Sintija Radionova jointly head the practice. The practice advised KPMG Baltics, as administrator of insolvent bank Latvijas Krājbanka, on insolvency and loan restructuring.
Legal500 notes that Primus Lithuanian office ‘truly understands the market’. Associate partner Liutauras Baikštys chairs the practice and represented FIBO Group in an insurance pay-out dispute against Ūkio Bankas; managing partner Robert Juodka, who is ‘irreplaceable’ in banking disputes, also worked on the matter.
Commercial, Corporate and M&A
In Estonian office practice is headed by Gerli Kilusk, who has extensive experience in M&A and capital markets transactions. The team also covers corporate structuring and employment law matters.
Key figures at Primus in Latvia include department head Zane Eglīte-Fogele, Kristīne Gaigule-Šāvēja and Sintija Radionova. The team advised Graanul Invest on its acquisition of Latgran and assisted KVV Group with the incorporation of its subsidiary and enrolment into the Latvian Central Depository.
The firm's team in Lithuania ‘are outstanding strategic thinkers’. Managing partner Robert Juodka, who is ‘a true expert in commercial and corporate matters’, recently assisted Naturhouse with its entrance into the Lithuanian market. Tomas Venckus gives ‘advice which goes beyond simple legal opinion’ and Marius Devyžis is another key figure.
Primus, Attorneys at Law’s primary contact in Estonia is Anton Sigal, who has expertise in international arbitration and litigation concerning insolvency, energy and trade finance.
It has been noted that in Latvia Primus’‘professional and highly experienced lawyers’ are led by Sintija Radionova. Highlights included representing 26 Nordic Partners’ companies in a takeover dispute involving damages of more than €8m. Senior associates Mārtiņš Mežinskis and Konstantīns Teļakovs are noted.
Practice head of the Lithuanian office Marius Devyžis represented FlyLAL – Lithuanian Airlines in a civil dispute with a state enterprise. The department regularly handles complex employment, insurance and real estate disputes. Managing partner Robert Juodka ‘is always one move ahead’ and senior associate Martynas Kalvelis is a ‘rising litigation star’.
EU and Competition
Primus, Attorneys at Law covers a wide spectrum of matters, including cartels, restrictions on M&A trading agreements, and state aid. The practice defended Liepājas Metalurgs against Eisenberg Scrap Trading Recycling in an abuse of dominant position case. Zane Eglīte-Fogele heads the department in Primus Latvia. Robert Juodka, managing partner at Primus Lithuania, advised Lux Express on applying EU directives and regulations to the work and rest time of bus drivers.
Real Estate and Construction
Primus, Attorneys at Law covers matters including privatisation, land reform and construction. Kristīne Gaigule-Šāvēja heads the practice in Latvian office, which includes Sintija Radionova and Laura Zalāna. Advising DEPO DIY on a shopping centre development was a highlight.
Managing partner Robert Juodka heads the department in Lithuania and provides ‘valuable advice, quick responses and comprehensive legal opinions’. Tomas Venckus advised Kauno Tiltai on a major PPP transport infrastructure project.
Shipping and Transport
Primus, Attorneys at Law’s maritime law expert Sintija Radionova represented Liepājas Osta against the State Revenue Service in an import VAT dispute. Zane Eglīte-Fogele and senior associate Konstantīns Teļakovs are recommended.
The firm’s department at Primus Lithuania is headed by Robert Juodka, an adviser to Turkish Airlines on matters including carrier liability and opening new flight routes. The ‘reliable and competent’ Tomas Venckus supported Juodka on setting up an international shipment structure for BOD Group. Marius Devyžis is also recommended.
Primus, Attorneys at Law’s main contact in Estonia is Maret Hallikma, whose expertise includes tax litigation and transaction structuring. Highlights for Primus in Latvia included advising Coca-Cola HBC Latvia on selling premium spirits to tax-free areas and representing DEPO DIY in a VAT dispute against the SRS. Tax specialist Ingūna Ābele heads the practice in Latvian office.
Primus in Latvia is a maturing firm with a fast growing reputation in the banking market. Assists a client base of European banking institutions with a wide variety of local regulatory and non-contentious issues, including establishing domestic branches of international banks and loan restructuring advice. Also advises domestic clients on insolvency matters as well as project financing issues. Practice head in Latvian office Sintija Radionova advises international banking institutions on domestic regulatory issues. She assists international banks active in Latvia with insolvency and debt recovery as well as with establishing local branches of regional banks.
Well-regarded banking team at Primus Estonia advises banks and other financial institutions including investment banks. Proves particularly popular with Scandinavian and Baltic banks. Expertise includes acquisition, project and real estate finance. Also active on behalf of borrowers from the industrial and financial sectors. Ermo Kosk is head of the banking and finance and real estate departments in Estonia. He is typically engaged in syndicated loan, structured trade finance and debt restructuring matters. He is praised for being ‘easy to negotiate with, reasonable and practical.’
Quotes from clients:
‘The team is doing very well - the lawyers are good in loan documentation
‘Very proactive. The response is timely and reliable and the firm has industry expertise and experience.’
‘Service-minded and high quality at a very reasonable rate.’
Corporate and Commercial
Well-regarded group at Primus Estonia, advising clients on M&A deals and restructuring instructions, including in cross-border cases. Supports local and international clients in general corporate matters. Ermo Kosk is described by market sources as ‘knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with.’ He heads the firm's real estate as well as banking and finance teams. Gerli Kilusk leads the firm's corporate, M&A and capital markets team, providing clients with day-to-day support, and also assists with transactional matters.
It has been noted that in Latvia Primus is a well-respected team assisting with corporate advisory and transactional matters. Advises clients on a variety of issues, including corporate restructuring as well as sales and acquisitions and capital increase transactions. Sintija Radionova is a versatile lawyer, advising on financing, corporate and employment matters. ‘She is responsible and reliable,’ a source says. Zane Eglīte-Fogele focuses on corporate and transactional advice. ‘She is easy to work with, you can always reach an agreement,’ an interviewee says.
Broadly respected team at Primus Lithuania advising on M&A, corporate, commercial and restructuring instructions. Significantly knowledgeable of PPP issues. Advises a number of Estonian clients on their businesses in Lithuania.
Managing partner Robert Juodka is a well-recognised name in the Lithuanian corporate and commercial law market. He is also known for his strong experience in cross-border work involving Estonia. He is a native speaker of Estonian and chair of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania.
Quotes from clients:
‘In addition to the legal skills, we also have a relationship of mutual trust, confidence and understanding.’
‘The lawyers are quick.’
Well-regarded team with a notable track record in disputes regarding construction, bankruptcy and tax matters. Active in international arbitration. Anton Sigal advises on international arbitration matters and acts on insolvency disputes, predominantly representing banks.
Well-respected team assisting with corporate conflicts, as well as contractual disputes and debt recovery cases. Represents local and regional clients. Sintija Radionova is a key contact for clients.
Offers dispute resolution advice with significant experience in restructuring and insolvency, as well as contentious employment issues. Also known for its debt recovery work. New to the rankings, up-and-coming Marius Devyžis acts on a broad range of litigation cases in Lithuania. He is appreciated by clients for his considered approach.
Quotes from clients:
‘Quality, precision and creativity are the main features of Primus’ litigation team.’
Growing reputation of Primus’ Latvian team in the employment law field, acts on a wide range of instructions, including employee disputes and mass redundancies as well as contractual and regulatory advisory matters. Experienced in assisting with trade union negotiations. Represents a core clientele of large domestic and pan-Baltic companies. Practice head Sintija Radionova is known in the market for her involvement in employee disputes. Called ‘a good litigator,’ she is involved in contentious matters. She also specialises in employee terminations and representing firms in trade union negotiations.
Active advisory practice noted for its regulatory and due diligence instructions. Also assists clients with mid-market transactional and construction matters. Acts for domestic clients on lease agreement matters, transactions, construction projects and real estate development projects. Laura Zalana is a key contact for clients in Latvia.
Primus’ Estonian office is ranked as a well-recognised firm that assists with property sales and acquisitions, lease arrangements, real estate financing transactions and construction matters. Regularly advises domestic and foreign clients, including real estate funds, construction companies and government bodies. Has been particularly active, recently, on housing development projects. Team leader Ermo Kosk is a highly respected real estate practitioner who is active on significant M&A-related transactions.
Quotes from clients:
‘We would absolutely use them again.’
‘The team is really strong on banking and finance and real estate finance-related matters.’
It has been noted that active tax disputes practice at Primus Latvia coupled with solid general advisory and regulatory expertise. They act for a broad range of international and domestic clients before state authorities and in day-to-day consultative matters. Ingūna Ābele is the practice head and a key contact for clients in Latvian office.
INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL LAW REVIEW (IFLR1000) 2016
Financial and Corporate
‘Primus have a highly competent and flexible team,’ says one international partner. ‘Their qualifications and work habits are often higher than of those firms that are considered being market leaders.’
‘During our long-term cooperation, the team of the law firm has demonstrated its profound knowledge and gained practical experience,’ says one client. ‘They are constantly evolving and all work is performed precisely and always on time. Several lawyers with diverse specialisations are engaged in all transactions and together they form a perfect team.’
Energy and Infrastructure
It has been a good year for the firm, with the team expanding into Lithuania for the first time to create a fully pan-Baltic operation. The team at Primus has strength in different areas in the Baltics. For example, the Riga office is particularly active in the shipping sector, working with a number of significant clients in that area. On the other hand, the strength of the Vilnius team could be said to be more on the energy side of things, especially nuclear and renewables.