Italy: Press Release
Last Updated: 25 September 2001

Studio Legale Sutti has announced its merger with Varadinov & Co., a leading Bulgarian law firm based in Sofia and specialising in international trade, company law and intellectual property, and has welcome its partners and associates to its ranks.

The merger was discussed in a press conference held at the end of May in Sofia, which was followed by a dinner in the local office, attended by, among others, the Bulgarian National Bank, the Delegation of the European Commission to Bulgaria, the Embassy of Italy, the President of the Sofia Bar, the Bulgarian Court of Cassation, the Italian Consulate in Sofia the Sofia Office of the Italian Istituto per il Commercio Estero and the US Agency for International Development.

The new office of SLS in Bulgaria will offer the full range of Studio Legale Sutti's services to the local market, but above all shall represent the firm's Italian and international clients in the country, whose exchanges with the EU are steadily increasing. As a matter of fact, the exceptional political and economic stability of Bulgaria, and the country's inexpensive, first-class infrastructure and human resources make it also a target of growing interest for foreign investors. Moreover, the traditionally close relationship with Italy is likely to be further strengthened by the abolition of visa requirements with the countries of the Schengen area from March, 2001.

SLS's Managing Partner, Dr. Stefano Sutti, comments: "The mission of our office in Bulgaria will be dramatically different from that of the existing offices in London and Tokyo, which aim at providing local clients and above all local law firms with Italian legal services, and are never staffed by local lawyers. In this case, conversely, it will be for the rest of the firm to sell Bulgarian legal services to our current and prospective clients. From now on, from all practical aspects, Studio Legale Sutti is an Italo-Bulgarian law firm."

He adds: "Our decision to have a direct SLS presence in Bulgaria has been determined not only on the basis of our clients' interests and strategic considerations, but also by the opportunity presented by the interest of one of the main law practices in the area. In fact, several of the members of Varadinov and Co., besides their excellent reputation internally and abroad, have a very good command of Italian amongst other languages. Thus, the choice of becoming partners on an equal basis of an Italian firm instead of ending up as a local, secondary office of a global firm or alliance, makes perfect sense, as this is going to allow then to profit from an increased critical mass and international visibility without selling out and succumbing to colonisation".

It is no secret that this merger is for SLS only the first step of a more ambitious project involving in general the region of South-Eastern Europe. A similar announcement is expected soon with respect to Yugoslavia, and a later stage Romania and Albania. SLS plans in this regard are obviously based on the idea that Italy is likely to play a role in the future EU relationship with those countries similar to that currently played by Germany with the former middle-European members of the Eastern Block; and have already been discussed by the Italian financial press (see Il Mondo 14/01/2000), and the international specialist press (The Lawyer, 17/04/2000; The International Financial Law Review, May 2000; The European Lawyer, November 2000).

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