Known as the largest market-leading team, Asters possesses vast experience of the entire spectrum of antitrust issues, including merger cases, concerted practices, abuse of dominance, unfair competition, state aid and public procurement. Historically, big multinationals and their local offices made up the vast majority of the firm’s practice portfolio. The team has an international reputation for handling merger control work, acting as a Ukrainian counsel in global transactions alongside international law firms. For example, the firm ensured receipt of merger clearance from the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) for the USD 71.3 billion acquisition by The Walt Disney Company of 21st Century Fox; acquisition by AbbVie Inc. of Allergan Plc; obtaining merger clearance for the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot S.A.; acquisition by London Stock Exchange Group plc of a 100% holding in Refinitiv Parent Limited shares. The firm also opened an office in Brussels for its further strategic development. Asters is retained for representation in key regulatory investigations. In addition to its active practice in pharmaceuticals, retail and FMCG, agrochemicals and the tobacco industry, the firm is also increasing its presence in the energy, automotive and transportation sectors. In 2019 Asters became even more vivid in antitrust litigation. One recent highlight is successful representation of Sanofi with its appeal against the AMCU’s decision in the investigation on the market for distribution of pharmaceutical products, when the relevant court annulled a multimillion fine. The firm is also known for representing Socar in courts with respect to alleged anti-competitive concerted practice with other major petroleum operators through alleged setting of very similar gas and diesel oil retail prices. The firm’s practice is led by three partners. Igor Svechkar has been a recognized leader among Ukrainian antitrust practitioners for many years. Highly regarded Oleksandr Voznyuk acts on the most complicated investigations. Alexey Pustovit remains active on merger control and investigations, also developing the trade remedies practice.

Sayenko Kharenko houses one of the largest antitrust and competition teams on the market, which offers full-circle advice in this space. This reputable team handles sophisticated projects acting on the Ukrainian competition aspects of multijurisdictional deals and landmark domestic M&A, inter alia, this past year obtained 147 merger clearances and 11 concerted practices clearances. Recent highlights include obtaining merger clearances for the merger of Wabtec Corporation with GE Transportation; for the merger of Widex Holding A/S and EQT VI Limited, which resulted in the creation of WS Audiology; represented Horizon Capital regarding acquisition of a minority stake in Dobrobut and many others. The firm is currently representing several multinational corporations in relation to unfair competition and anti-competitive concerted practices investigations. In particular, its noteworthy industry specific expertise embraces the pharmaceutical, healthcare, telecom, transport and infrastructure, energy, automotive, IT sectors. The big team has three partners on board. Vladimir Sayenko, who heads the team, leading both the competition and corporate and M&A practices, is noted for overall promotion of competition law and legislative initiatives. Maksym Nazarenko leads involvement in high-level merger clearances and abuse of dominance. Promoted to partner in January 2020, Valentyna Hvozd is known for her practice in merger control work. Counsel Oleksandr Nagorny is endorsed for his good performance in investigations.

The versatile antitrust and competition practice of AEQUO is assigned by major multinationals and domestic industry leaders for sophisticated projects across the full spectrum of offering. The team is equally present in complex merger control mandates, investigations, regulatory and competition compliance. Key highlights in obtaining merger and antitrust clearances of late were advising MTS, the leading telecommunications group in Russia and the CIS, for the sale of its Ukrainian telecom division operating as Vodafone Ukraine; representing Posco Daewoo with respect to the acquisition of a majority stake in the grain export terminal in Mykolaiv Sea Trading Port and the establishment of a joint venture for the terminal business; continuous representation of Dragon Capital in a dozen standalone transactions related to the acquisitions of various commercial real estate as well as shares in Idea Bank. The firm takes in the first deal of its kind in Ukraine by representing Novus, in unison with two other regional retail chains, in merger clearance regarding establishment of an “alliance” for the joint purchase of products. The strong side commands broad experience in investigations, with the latest focus on anti-competitive concerted actions, abuse of dominance as well as other anti-competitive practices in such key industry sectors as agriculture, DIY and food retail, as well as pharma. For example, the team advised Epicentr K, a large Ukrainian DIY retailer, in an antitrust investigation defending allegations of misleading advertising in the promotion of goods in its retail chain; successfully defended Novus against allegations of dissemination of misleading information. The team is sought after for ongoing regulatory and compliance advice, including reviewing distribution and marketing agreements, discounting and bonus programs, compliance assessments for advertising. Denis Lysenko, managing partner, is present across acquisition of Ukrainian strategic assets and establishment of joint ventures. Sergey Denisenko, recently promoted to partner, is an accomplished practitioner, managing projects across the entire competition law spectrum. Yevgen Blok, senior associate, is another key executive figure.

Given its international presence and the advantages of a global network, DLA Piper Ukraine is a point of choice for significant national and multijurisdictional M&A and joint venture arrangements, commercial practices and competition compliance. The practice team operates across the pharmaceuticals, energy, IT, manufacturing, FMCG, hospitality, aviation sectors. It represents clients in a number of investigations related to unfair competition and anti-competitive concerted actions. Recent highlights include representing Perion Network on obtaining merger control clearance from the AMCU for the contemplated acquisition of a Ukrainian IT company; advising NEQSOL on acquisition of one of the largest Ukrainian telecom companies. Another recent highlight was advising Volvo on issues related to the application of AMCU regulations on vertical concerted actions to the existing distribution agreement of Volvo in Ukraine. Partner Galyna Zagorodniuk focuses her attention on competition, corporate and M&A practices.

The antitrust and competition practice of Arzinger commands even more versatility, with its diverse offering, encompassing merger clearances, including multijurisdictional filings, alleged abusive dominance and unilateral practices, concerted actions, cartels, compliance, vertical and horizontal restrictions, regulatory investigations and litigation. The firm is retained by pharmaceutical majors to represent their interests in merger control matters and probes by the AMCU as to anti-competitive concerted actions. The firm also has a strong international following from the automotive, energy, food and beverages, transport, FMCG, technology sectors. Significant practice workflow is made up of litigations against decisions adopted by the AMCU that are challenged by clients. Recent highlights include successful representation of Roche Ukraine in court, challenging the decision accusing the client of engaging in anti-competitive concerted actions related to pricing of medicines sold at public procurements, which led to imposition of a UAH 9 million fine. Managing partner Timur Bondaryev supervises the practice, with special focus on automotive, energy and retail industries. Lana Sinichkina is customarily focused on advising life science clients in a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Oleksander Dyakulych, counsel, another key team member, received recognition from peers for his knowledge and proficiency in investigations and litigation against the Antimonopoly Committee.

ANTIKA Law Firm came back rapidly to the antitrust market, and is consistently instructed by companies from the energy, construction, tobacco industries. The core focus of the team is unfair competition, competition compliance and representation in high-profile investigations. This past year the firm actively represented clients in challenging the results of procurement, as well as competition aspects of marketing and advertising. Dr. Alexey Kot, managing partner, enjoys legacy from his good reputation. Senior associate Alexander Tretiakov is another important team member.

AVELLUM is best known for merger control work, as it is involved in the landmark transactions of leading domestic and multinational companies. In 2019 the team obtained merger clearance from the AMCU on a number of high-profile deals, in particular Cartamundi acquiring The United States Playing Card Company division from Newell Brands Inc.; acquisition of Blam! Games Studios by Nordcurrent; advising UFUTURE on obtaining merger control clearance for the partial sale of its stake in LvivTech.City. The firm continues advising on unfair competition and concerted practices. For example, the team acted for Vitmark-Ukraine, one of the largest Ukrainian producers of juices, on matters related to unfair competition and Ecomed, a distributor of such health brands, on concerted practices. The industry expertise of the team spans banking and finance, heavy industry, energy, real estate and construction, transportation and retail. Of counsel Yaroslav Medvediev is the key executive, and is named a very technical practitioner in terms of M&A related competition work.

In 2019 the Kyiv team of Baker McKenzie worked with other numerous offices on several prominent large-scale and multijurisdictional transactions, where merger control assistance in Ukraine was required. Notable highlights took in representing Smart-Holding in a merger control filing relating to the acquisition of a Ukrainian company active in the area of real estate leasing; Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group in connection with two merger control filings tied to acquisition of shares in Sumisho Aero Engine Lease and joint control over the latter along with Sumitomo Corporation; De Heus Animal Nutrition in connection with merger control and concerted actions filings relating to establishment of a joint venture with a Ukrainian producer and distributor of animal feed products; Tieto Oyj in relation to Tieto’s global merger with EVRY ASA, another IT company. The office is called upon by big multinationals for handling internal antitrust compliance investigations for their offices in Ukraine. The team’s sectoral experience includes pharma, agribusiness, consumer goods, IT services, pumping equipment, heavy industry and automotive. Other areas of expertise include vertical arrangements with Ukrainian customers and regulatory investigations. Oksana Simonova, lead partner, is noted for her expertise with AMCU clearances and diverse competition compliance issues. Senior associate Olga Mikheieva is the key executive with positive endorsements from market participants.

Domestic competition law boutique CLACIS possesses a full-circle practice offering with a special focus on investigations and litigation. The firm maintains a sustainable workload of merger control mandates, contracts and commercial practices, compliance in Ukraine and the CIS region. Most recently the firm represented COSCO and Glencore Groups in obtaining merger clearance for the acquisition of shares in Terminales Portuarios Chancay from Glencore Group; advised T.B. Fruit, the largest juice concentrate producer, on competition law issues in distribution. The team is sought after by prominent multinationals, for example, British American Tobacco, Inbev, PepsiCo, Terex Corporation, MasterCard, Lifecell, Glencore. Founding partner Antonina Yaholnyk is highly regarded by peers for her top knowledge of EU law and practice. Another key executive is Anastasiia Zeleniuk, who focuses on antitrust investigations and litigation.

СMS is represented through two offices in Kyiv.

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang often works across other practice groups in the CEE region on mandates involving multiple jurisdictions. The firm is adept at supporting merger control issues, distribution agreements, public procurement, state aid, general antitrust compliance and unfair competition. The firm represented OTP Bank in connection with a number of applications for merger control approvals regarding a series of transactions for the acquisition of several banks in Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Moldova, and insurance companies in the CEE region. Olexander Martinenko has built up a strong reputation through years of experience and building up a strategic client relationship. Olga Belyakova is known for running merger control work. Mykola Heletiy, associate, was noted for being practical and technical in clearances procedures.

CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz advises on merger clearance in the course of M&A and restructuring, distribution and unfair competition. The office advised Steiermärkische Sparkasse und Bank AG (part of Erste Group) on merger clearance in connection with acquisition of Societe Generale’s shares in Ohridska Banka; acted for a world leader in the development and production of plastic packaging solutions, on the merger clearance filing in connection with an anticipated joint venture with BillerudKorsnäs with the vision to develop a fully bio-based and recyclable paper bottle. The team continued providing advice to the EBRD on a project aimed at capacity building of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine. Maria Orlyk is the lead partner.

The Kyiv-based team at Dentons handles merger control filings in the course of M&A transactions, investments and joint ventures, state aid, implications of sanctions and compliance, unfair competition, competition aspects of agency and distribution. Latest mandates include advising Acciona Energia Global on complex competition and antitrust matters in connection with its investments in the development of a solar power plant in Dymerka; acting for SMIS regarding implementation of an e-health system in Ukraine. This past year the office was retained by international clients for consultancy on dawn raids. For example, it acted for Henkel regarding the simulation of a mock dawn raid by the AMCU. The sectoral breakdown of clients spans FMCG, retail, pharmaceutical and healthcare, energy, automotive, IT. Oksana Franko, senior associate, is the most recognized practice team member. Volodymyr Monastyrskyy is the lead partner.

Ilyashev & Partners is well-versed to render non-contentious and contentious advice, being particularly popular among prominent domestic clients. The firm is well adept for obtaining merger and concerted clearances, unfair competition and abuse of dominance cases, antitrust litigation and public procurement. Its recent merger control workload includes representing Solteks Capital on obtaining a permit from the AMCU on the acquisition of the Respublika shopping mall; representing the interests of sellers of shares in PFTS Stock Exchange in connection with WOCE Co., Limited (Hong Kong) acquiring a 49.9% shareholding. The landmark representations of Ukrrichflot JSC in the case of abuse of a dominant position by the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority in connection with the provision of services for the organization of safe operation of port infrastructure facilities, and in case of abuse of the dominant position by state rail operator Ukrzaliznytsia in connection with the provision of services for raising railway bridges across the Dnipro River, including following an appeal in court, were successfully resolved in the client’s favor. Another noteworthy case is advising OmniFarma Kyiv in the case on termination of unfair competition by Bovios Farm, a Ukrainian manufacturer of the OLISID bio-additive. Oleksandr Fefelov, partner, demonstrates stability and a diverse portfolio of projects. Oleksandr Padalka, who recently joined the team as a counsel, is another important figure in this practice.

In 2019 the antitrust and competition department at INTEGRITES was strategically aimed at increasing the share of competition enforcement projects in the total volume of antitrust client instructions. The firm rapidly increases its market presence across many regulated industry sectors and markets. These include pharmaceuticals, tobacco, fuels, mineral fertilizers, energy. The firm has a solid portfolio of representations in unfair competition cases, among others, advising VALAGRO on infringement and unauthorized usage of signs, advertising materials, packaging of goods by competitors; representing Panasonic in respect of unauthorized usage of trademark and protection of IP rights. The past year’s highlight was support to Ukrzaliznytsia on forming a system of public procurement in accordance with competition law. Recent examples of merger control work include giving assistance to Sibelco on obtaining merger clearance in which the participants have a significant share of the market; NBT AS on obtaining merger clearance in connection with acquisition of a project company holding rights for development of a wind farm in Ukraine. The team is constantly retained to handle representation in investigations carried out by the AMCU. For example, it represented Gals Agro in an abuse of dominance investigation. Among noteworthy regulatory assignments was giving antitrust advice to WÖRWAG Pharma related to developing the medicine distribution scheme and advising KFC regarding franchise agreements for a franchisor in Ukraine, particularly with regard to retail price maintenance. Vyacheslav Korchev acts as a relationship partner. Promoted to partner in January 2020 Serhiy Shershun is endorsed for his state office experience and extensive practice over the past year.

The Kyiv competition team of Kinstellar enhances its clients’ loyalty, encompassing sectors like agriculture, aviation, defense, financial institutions, food and beverages, energy, industrials, infrastructure, telecommunications and tobacco. The team has a sustainable inflow of merger control work arising from M&A and corporate restructuring mandates. The firm most recently acted for Nemiroff Vodka Limited in connection with obtaining approvals for corporate restructuring. The firm is particularly commended in competition litigation. For example, the firm represents a minority shareholder of a large Ukrainian agricultural company in long-lasting landmark ICC arbitration for breach of non-competition covenants and compensation of antitrust damages; acted for Lifecell in Ukrainian courts in connection with challenging the decision of the AMCU which fined the mobile operator almost UAH 19.5 million for misleading advertising. Recent projects included advice on abuse of dominance, state aid, commercial practices and investigations. Counsel Mykyta Nota heads the practice and is also seen vividly in dispute resolution.

Marchenko Partners advises clients on abuse of dominance, cartels, merger clearance strategies, unfair competition, state aid and competition compliance. The firm actively uses certain legal instruments that are new for the Ukrainian market, using private antitrust litigation including double damages claims, and is considered a pioneer of state aid complaints. Thus, the firm continues to represent Ukrainian express delivery operator Nova Poshta in a pioneering state aid case against state-owned Ukrposhta, and ensured a steady flow of state aid mandates from a whole variety of industries. Furthermore, the firm continued advising NEXT Retail on unfair competition by a local online and brick and mortar shop, which illegally used the former’s  trademark; advised B Braun Medical on competition issues of its distribution agreements; advised Carlsberg on competition compliance. In terms of sectors, the team’s clients come from infrastructure, logistics, e-commerce, construction materials, food and beverages, software development, investment advisory, private equity and banking. Oleksandr Aleksyeyenko has diversified competition experience and is praised by peers for unrivalled state aid expertise.

Redcliffe Partners is known for transactional advisory within the framework of cross-border M&A and corporate restructuring, and recently expanded its presence in unfair competition, investigations and compliance of commercial practices. Selected highlights include advising the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation on competition law matters as to the acquisition of the firm’s client by Saudi Arabian Oil Company; CVC Fund VII on obtaining merger clearance for its acquisition of Recordati S.p.A.; Charoen Pokphand Foods in connection with acquisition of the entire share capital of HyLife Investments Ltd by CPF Canada Holdings Corp. The key practitioner and practice head, Anastasia Usova, was promoted to partner.

ADS Legal Group, a domestic competition law boutique, is sharply focused on public procurement and state aid. The firm typically assists with preparations on tender proposals for participation in public procurement procedures, answering the requests of the AMCU and advises on compliance with unfair competition. Managing partner Olexandr Bondarchuk is the main contact.

Ante Law Firm is primarily focused on the aviation and pharmaceutical markets, which traditionally fall under monitoring and investigations of the AMCU. For example, the firm represents Qatar Airways, British Airways, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines with regard to the AMCU investigation on airport fees and discounts at Boryspil Airport; acted for Danylo Halytskyi Lviv International Airport in an investigation regarding access to the market of ground services for several companies. The firm is also engaged in cases regarding competition on the pharmaceutical market. Ante succeeded in representing Sanofi- Aventis Ukraine in the unfair competition practice when another Ukrainian company used the brand “Sanofi” as part of its registered name of “Sanofi Pharm”. Zdravo LLC, a distributor of exclusive products, receives constant support with its participation in public procurement, including claims proceedings at the AMCU, litigations and inquiries of law-enforcement bodies. The firm currently represents Zdravo in a court case regarding contesting the decision of the Luhansk department of the AMCU which decided to fine the company for possible violation of antimonopoly legislation. Andriy Guck is the practice head.

ECOVIS Bondar & Bondar runs representation in antitrust investigations and disputes on violations of competition in aviation and infrastructure sectors. Recently, the firm was especially active in a number of litigation cases, challenging violations that affect the Ukrainian aviation industry. The main clients are Ukraine International Airlines, INTERAVIA, Aerohandling. Oleg Bondar and Oleksandra Nikitina are dedicated practitioners.

Given the sustainable growth of its M&A track record, EY Ukraine regularly renders transaction-related competition legal support. In 2019 the team advised NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine in connection with obtaining merger clearance for the sale of Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine by Ukrtransgaz to the Main Gas Pipelines of Ukraine. Recent landmarks included acting as the legal advisor to the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine, EBRD and IFC on preparation of a special submission from the public side to the AMCU to enable bidders to the Olvia and Kherson concession tenders to obtain merger clearance for sea ports concessions. EY also leads a number of projects for review of historical compliance with antitrust regulations by a Ukrainian business group. Albert Sych and Bogdan Malniev are the key figures.

In 2019 KPMG Law extended its legal advice to antitrust and competition. The team consulted Abryl Pharm on antitrust and currency legislation along with legislation on state regulation of pharmaceuticals prices; advised Husqvarna Ukraine on the antitrust implications of contemplated restructuring; conducted independent analysis of the system of distribution discounts, as well as intragroup financial support mechanisms for multinational pharmaceutical company. Yuriy Katser, head of legal, is in charge of the practice.

Legal Alliance Company advises a number of leading international and national companies, mostly from the pharmaceutical sector. The firm’s mainstay is probes by the AMCU in relation to anti-competitive concerted actions and unfair competition. Further expertise includes competition clauses in distribution, marketing and cooperation agreements. In 2019 the team successfully represented the interests of leading pharmaceutical companies on obtaining AMCU conclusions regarding competition compliance of marketing agreements concluded with pharmacies and pharmacy chains; developed agreements on cooperation with retail pharmacy chains, including obtaining conclusions adopted by the AMCU; provided legal support in the course of investigations on possible anti-competitive concerted actions. Among publishable clients are GSK, Reckitt Benckiser, Boehringer Ingelheim, Orion Pharma, Santen, Takeda, Ferring, Servier. Dedicated partner Andrii Gorbatenko is a narrow-focus practitioner with a wealth of experience in representing pharmaceutical clients.

Along with the sustainable growth of corporate and M&A over the last few years, Pavlenko Legal Group has raised the profile of its antitrust and competition practice. Thus, the team advised on unfair competition, merger clearance, handled representation at the AMCU and advised on antitrust issues with regard to contracts. This past year the team represented Goldman JSC in a case of violation of antimonopoly legislation in relation to the purchase of shares; Eridon on obtaining merger clearance for acquisition of two agricultural companies; PAEK Group on obtaining permission for concentration regarding the lease of an elevator. The firm also represented SOBI LLC at the AMCU on its complaint regarding violations in the course of public procurement and elimination from an auction. The team also acts in investigations regarding abuse of monopoly position and provision of unreliable information. Anna Hryshchenko and Veronica Shyrman are the core force of this practice.

The Kyiv office of Peterka & Partners focuses on the antitrust aspects of cross-border and multijurisdictional deals. The firm advises on obtaining merger control clearances from the AMCU, including elaboration of merger control strategies in cases involving multijurisdictional filings; vertical and horizontal agreements; unfair competition issues. The lead partner is Taras Utiralov, director for Ukraine.

Domestic firm Sytnyk & Partners regularly handles merger clearance in connection with multinational M&A. In 2019 the team represented Société Générale S.A. in a series of merger clearances in connection with the acquisitions of banks and insurance companies in the CEE region. Denys Sytnyk, managing partner, is the main contact.

SDM Partners advised a European chain of medical laboratories during the merger of two laboratory chains and obtaining the permit for M&A and permit for mutually-agreed actions. Dmytro Syrota and Serhiy Dzis are the key figures.

In 2019 the Kyiv office of Wolf Theiss was actively involved in advising clients on competition clauses in commercial agreements, compliance and obtaining merger clearances in Ukraine. Selected highlights include advising ALSO Holding AG on antitrust issues connected with its planned acquisition of ABC DATA business; Alvogen group of companies, a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry, on antitrust issues in vertical agreements. Other areas of recent activity include distribution, non-compete arrangements in services agreements with IT specialists. Clients come from manufacturing, retail, energy, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, banking and IT industries. Olga Ivlyeva is the practice head.