May 2020 – Kinstellar is delighted to announce the following promotions to Partner of: Zsuzsa Csiki (Romania), Karla Rundtová (Czech Republic) and Iryna Nikolayevska (Ukraine) and to Counsel of: Levente Hegedűs (Hungary), Zdeněk Kučera (Czech Republic), Jan Lehký (Czech Republic) and Mladen Minev (Bulgaria).
Zsuzsa Csiki, Bucharest
Zsuzsa has over 12 years of extensive experience advising Romanian and international companies on corporate mergers and acquisitions and other cross-border transactions/restructurings, including joint ventures and business transfers, covering various sectors such as financial services, banking, automotive, agriculture, forestry, retail, and technology, media and telecommunications. Her expertise also extends to capital markets transactions and financial regulatory matters, coordinating teams locally and cross-border.
Zsuzsa has a solid reputation as a go-to corporate and M&A lawyer due to her vast experience in implementing complex structuring mechanisms and drafting complex contractual structures. She has led and been instrumental to our most recent and acclaimed M&A transactions and has invested a great deal of dedication to develop, together with the team, some of the Bucharest office's main corporate clients, including:
- HIGHLANDER PARTNERS, a US private equity fund, on the acquisition of a majority stake in Sano Vita, one of the most reputable and trusted food brands and consumer products companies in Romania;
- BRISE GROUP, one of the most important independent grain traders in Romania, on the agreement with CEE Equity Partners (the Investment Advisor to the China Central and Eastern Europe Investment Co-operation Fund II) regarding the modernisation and development of its grain silos and logistics hubs, with Brise Group thus becoming a valued grain origination client of the first agriculture infrastructure platform in Romania, Bristol Logistics;
- the founders of PROMAT COMPIMPEX and AGROIND CAUACEU, two top entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector in Romania, on their joint venture partnership with Ameropa;
- LIBERTY STEEL on the Romanian segment of the EUR 740 million acquisition of ArcelorMittal's European assets, having acquired locally the plant formerly known as “Sidex Galati”;
- STADA ARZNEIMITTEL, a Bain & Cinven-backed pharmaceutical company, on the Romanian segment of Stada's acquisition of Walmark, a leading manufacturer of consumer health products in Central Europe, from Mid Europa Partners;
- CANAL+ GROUP on its acquisition of M7 Group, one of the largest independent pay-TV operators in Europe, with operations including in Romania through Focus Sat;
- INTEVA PRODUCTS on on-going corporate and related matters in Romania, and further, on the USD 755 million global sale of its roof business to CIE Automotive (including pre-sale restructuring), together with the Prague and Bratislava offices; and
- INTER CARS on on-going corporate and other day-to-day matters in Romania and supervision and coordination of numerous other jurisdictions.
Zsuzsa has been with the firm since day one. Her hard work, energy, enthusiasm and efficiency has contributed much to the growth of the Corporate team and the practice. Zsuzsa was promoted to Senior Associate in 2012, to Managing Associate in 2015 and to Counsel in 2017.
Iryna Nikolayevska, Kyiv
Iryna is the head of the Corporate/M&A and CRSI practices in our Kyiv office. Her practice focuses on advising local and international clients in M&A, corporate, private equity, capital markets, compliance and employment matters. Her industry expertise includes agriculture, aviation, financial institutions, FMCG, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, real estate, oil & gas, and IT / telecommunications.
Iryna has been advising on the market's most complex corporate transactions, including acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate finance, and equity and asset deals. She has extensive experience supporting clients through the entire lifecycle of their business, from establishing a legal presence and day-to-day operational issues, to major transactions.
Some of Iryna's recent representative matters include advising:
- QTERMINALS on negotiations and entering into of the Concession Agreement regarding one of the first in the modern history of Ukraine and the largest sea port concessions of the state-owned enterprise Stevedoring Company Olvia and various Ukrainian law corporate and employment matters
- EBRD on the corporatisation and enhancement of the corporate governance practices and regulatory frameworks, compliance and internal control functions of Ukrposhta, the Ukrainian state enterprise and the national operator of the postal services
- IFC/WORLD BANK on the project of Investment Barriers / Competitiveness Assessment & Investors' Perception Survey / Ukraine, targeted at improvement of investment climate and removal of investment barriers in Ukraine
- SUPERVISORY BOARD OF NAFTOGAZ OF UKRAINE on certain corporate, compliance and employment law matters including establishment of the compliance and internal control functions, anti-bribery obligations and duties of top executives etc.
- MAIS, a leading Ukrainian seed producer, on the establishment of a joint venture with a strategic investor, the US company Remington Seeds
- UMG INVESTMENTS on the acquisition of a minority stake in FeedNova LLC, a Ukrainian producer of feed additives for farm animals and pets and on the establishment of a joint venture
- UKRAINIAN DEVELOPERS on the sale of 500 MW wind power plant construction project in the Mykolaiv region, including conducting the vendor's due diligence and advice on deal structuring
- QTERMINALS, BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO, ZARA UKRAINE, MEXICHEM, GIZ and other multinationals on various general corporate, employment, compliance and data protection matters
- MAJOR US, UK AND EU-BASED MULTINATIONALS on various compliance matters, including FCPA and UK Bribery Act driven internal investigations, sanctions, data protection, establishment, localisation and enhancement of compliance programmes and policies, conflict of interest and anti-bribery obligations and duties of top executives etc.
Iryna is ranked by Legal 500 2020 in Commercial, Corporate and M&A in Ukraine, as a notable practitioner in Corporate and M&A according to Ukrainian Law Firms 2019 and TOP 50 Leading Law Firms in Ukraine 2019 by Yuridicheskaya Practika publishing house; and was nominated “Compliance Lawyer of the Year” at the C5's Women in Compliance Awards 2020.
Iryna joined Kinstellar as a Counsel with the launch of the firm's Kyiv office in 2016. Prior to joining Kinstellar she worked for major international and local law firms (Avellum, Baker McKenzie) and also served as in-house counsel with leading Ukrainian financial and industrial groups for over six years (Smart Holding Group, WOG Group, Foyil Securities New Europe and Prominvestbank). Iryna is a graduate of the Ukrainian Corporate Governance Academy and earned her LL.M. degree from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.
Karla Rundtová, Prague
Karla has over 20 years of professional experience in M&A and corporate law, in particular share deals, joint ventures, mergers and demergers, corporate restructurings and foreign direct investments. She also has significant, broad-based experience advising and representing leading Czech and foreign companies on a variety of greenfield investments and company establishment and joint-venture structures, including regulatory and licensing matters across various industry sectors.
In the 2020 edition of the leading international directory Legal 500, clients recommend Karla as "always available, can recognise the urgency of a matter and is fully briefed".
Recent highlights include:
- management of cross-border teams working on the acquisition by NN GROUP of the Czech and Slovak operations of Aegon Group (life insurance, pension funds), as well as the subsequent cross-border merger of the relevant life insurance companies;
- management of cross-border teams working for STADA ARZNEIMITTEL on the acquisition of Walmark, a leading manufacturer of consumer health products in Central Europe with a unique portfolio of well-established consumer health brands across multiple categories;
- advising INTEVA PRODUCTS, part of the Renco Group and a global top-tier supplier of engineered components and systems for the automotive industry, on the USD 755 million sale to CIE Automotive of its roof business in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania (including the pre-sale restructuring);
- advising CANAL+ GROUP on its acquisition of M7 Group, one of the largest independent pay-TV operators in Europe with operations in Benelux, Germany and Central Europe;
- advising NEXEN TIRE CORPORATION on its EUR 850 million greenfield investment in the Czech Republic (the third-largest foreign investment in the country's history), including on negotiations with the Czech government regarding the investment agreement and related documentation;
- advising DEUTSCHE EUROSHOP on the EUR 374 million acquisition of the Olympia Shopping Centre in Brno, the largest supra-regional shopping centre in the Czech Republic, from two funds managed by Rockspring Property Investment Managers and ECE Real Estate Partners, respectively;
- advising HYUNDAI MOBIS on a EUR 100 million greenfield investment in Mobis Automotive for a headlights production plant in the Czech Republic, including negotiation of the investment agreement with the Czech authorities and related documentation;
- advising FAURECIA, a global French automotive supplier, on a number of greenfield investments, acquisitions and divestments and other corporate matters;
- advising YOUPLUS INSURANCE INTERNATIONAL and MYLIFE LEBENSVERSICHERUNG AG, members of the Swiss Insurevolution Partners insurance group, on the acquisition of the Czech and Slovak life and non-life insurance contract portfolios from Basler Sachversicherungs-AG and Basler Lebensversicherungs-AG.
Karla joined Linklaters in 2002 and continued with the current team at Kinstellar's launch in 2008. She was promoted to Counsel in 2014. Karla graduated from Palacky University, Olomouc
Levente Hegedűs, Budapest
Levente has more than ten years of experience in banking and finance matters, particularly in acquisition, real estate, project finance and syndicated finance transactions, restructuring and insolvency matters, and financial supervision legislation. He also specialises in capital market transactions and has played a leading role in the advisory team of transactions related to bond and share issues, IPOs and complex capital market transactions.
During his career, Levente has been consistently ranked and recognised by the leading international legal directories Chambers and Legal 500 as a leading lawyer in his field. In the 2020 edition of Legal 500, Levente is singled out by clients as an "experienced lawyer with good negotiation skills", while in Chambers Europe, clients effuse that he ‘'knows the banking industry very well and deals with matters exactly in the way the client would like to see it''.
His recent experience includes advising:
- RAIFFEISEN BANK on the more than EUR 60 million financing of the acquisition of McDonald's Hungary Restaurant Chain Kft. together with its wholly owned subsidiary, McDonald's Promotion Kft.;
- A CONSORTIUM OF SIX BANKS (led by OTP Bank) on a HUF 120 billion (approx. EUR 340 million) club facility provided to state-owned Hungarian Development Bank (MFB);
- ERSTE on the financing of the development of four different photovoltaic power plant projects in Hungary;
- UNICREDIT on the financing of MET Hungary in relation to the development by MET Dunai Solar Park Kft of a 17.6 MWp (AC) solar power plant located near the site of Dunamenti Power Plant in Százhalombatta, Hungary;
- NITROGÉNMŰVEK, a Hungarian fertiliser company, as issuer, on the EUR 200 million 144A Eurobond issue with the joint lead managers of BNP Paribas, J.P. Morgan and Raiffeisen Bank International, for refinancing its 2013 EUR 200 million bond issue;
- CITIBANK and ING, as mandated lead managers, on an EUR 200 million equivalent syndicated facility agreement with RCS&RDS Group, relating to the financing of the acquisition of INVITEL Távközlési Zrt. by DIGI Hungary;
- M7 REAL ESTATE on its EUR 68.5 million senior debt facility and the financing of the acquisition of, among others, Aerozone Logistics Park, Liget Center and Gödöllő Logistics Park.
Levente joined Kinstellar in 2008 as a Legal Intern. He was promoted to Junior Associate in 2009, to Associate in 2013, to Senior Associate in 2017, and to Managing Associate in 2018. He graduated from the University Eötvös Loránd in Budapest, Hungary, with highest distinction (summa cum laude) and earned his LL.M. degree in U.S. and Global Business Law at Suffolk University Law School in Boston.
Zdeněk Kučera, Prague
Zdeněk is the head of the Dispute Resolution and TMT practices in Prague and is co-head of the firm-wide TMT sector. He specialises in technology contracts, cybersecurity, telecommunications, media law and data protection. He also advises on public contract issues, namely in the technology sector. His experience includes participation in the legal assessments of IT products, company acquisitions, online project structurings, and representing clients in various disputes and insolvency matters.
Zdeněk is also a university lecturer and participates in other academic activities pertaining to IT law at the Law Faculty of Charles University in Prague and the Information Technologies Faculty of the Czech Technical University in Prague. He is a regular guest lecturer at Masaryk University in Brno and in the past was guest lecturer at Shandong University in Weihai, China.
Zdeněk is an active member of several international organisations including: the Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale, the Editorial Board of the Revue for Law and Technology, the Technologies and Human Rights Working Group, and the IBA Communication and Competition Committee. He is also Copyright Court Appointed Expert specialising in copyrights.
Zdeněk is regularly recommended by the leading international directories. In the most recent edition of Chambers Europe he earns rave reviews among interviewees as "a brilliant lawyer who gives a huge amount of comfort." Another source comments that, "he is very commercially focused and highly practical" with "an international outlook." In the 2020 edition of Legal 500 he is recognised as ‘'an all-rounder who does things practically and straightforwardly'' and is further praised for ‘'his pragmatic and speedy advice''. He was named “Lawyer of the Year in the Field of Information and Communication Technologies Law” in 2017.
Highlights of his recent experience include advising:
- ACKEE, a Czech mobile applications developer, on corporate, commercial and software law matters;
- CANAL+ GROUP on the IT/IP aspects of the acquisition of M7 Group, one of the largest independent pay-TV operators in Europe, operating in Benelux, Germany and Central Europe;
- TWILIO, a cloud communications platform, in respect of telecommunication agreements;
- FACEBOOK on various multijurisdictional compliance and data protection projects;
- KIWI.COM on various commercial and regulatory questions in the EU.
Zdeněk joined Kinstellar in 2017 as a Managing Associate. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Administration of Masaryk University in Brno and from the Faculty of Law of Charles University in Prague, where he also completed his doctoral studies in private international and international business law. He gained further experience in IT law at the Faculty of Law at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.
Jan Lehký, Prague
Jan focuses on all aspects of real estate transactions in the Czech Republic for a range of international investment funds and local developers. His expertise includes structuring real estate transactions, such as direct or indirect acquisitions and disposals, during all relevant phases (drafting and participating in the negotiation of transaction documents), acquisition of real estate portfolios, construction law and permitting process during various stages of development, as well as advice on high-value, long-term lease agreements, title insurance, litigation, general commercial and contract law.
He also has wide-ranging experience in foreign direct investments, corporate law and litigation and arbitration matters.
Highlights of his recent experience include advising:
- NEXEN TIRE on the development of an EUR 850 million manufacturing plant, one of the largest greenfield investments in the Czech Republic;
- NET4GAS and its shareholders on the construction and development of the C4G (Capacity 4 Gas) gas interconnector connecting eastern and southern Germany as part of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline supply network;
- SHAWMUT CORPORATION on the construction of an automotive plant and the related permitting processes;
- DELTA PROJEKTCONSULT on the construction, permitting and environmental aspects of the BMW Group Future Mobility Development Centre project, a test track for self-driving and electric cars near Sokolov in the Czech Republic;
- A FRENCH GLOBAL AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLIER on the sale and lease-back of a production plant in Pardubice, the Czech Republic;
- INGERSOLL-RAND on the global spin-off of the company's industrial unit and the subsequent merger with the industrial pump and compressor producer Gardner Denver, creating a company valued at USD 15 billion.
Jan joined Kinstellar in 2014 as an Associate. He graduated from West Bohemian University in Plzeň.
Mladen Minev, Sofia
Mladen has over 17 years of experience. He focuses on energy and natural resources, infrastructure and projects, dispute resolution, real estate and construction.
Mladen has solid experience advising local and international clients on various legal aspects related to the development of complex energy and infrastructure projects, spatial planning development and construction, real estate investments and corporate and cross-border commercial matters. His expertise includes national and European energy regulatory issues, energy policy and compliance matters. He also represents companies in litigation proceedings (commercial, civil and administrative) and in national and international arbitration.
Mladen is consistently ranked by the leading international legal directories Chambers and Legal 500. In the 2020 edition of Legal 500, Mladen earns client praise for his ‘'outstanding know-how and eye for detail''.
Mladen's recent experience includes advising:
- MERIDIAM, a French infrastructure investment fund, part of a consortium with Strabag AG and also joined by Flughafen München GmbH, on all relevant legal aspects of their winning bid submission for the 35-year concession of Sofia Airport for a total of EUR 3.9 billion, including on litigation proceedings, defending the decision to award the concession;
- CTP, a full-service real estate developer, on its entry into the Bulgarian market;
- SOFIA PARK AD, the developer of one of the largest mixed-used projects in Sofia, Garitage Park, on complex regulatory matters in relation to a new electricity infrastructure project;
- DIRECT PETROLEUM BULGARIA EOOD, a subsidiary of TransAtlantic Petroleum (a US based oil & gas company), on all on-going matters related to its concession in Bulgaria, including a commercial dispute related to an onshore oil and gas exploration project;
- AURUBIS, the largest copper producer in Europe, on complex environmental regulatory matters in Bulgaria;
- NOVENERGIA, a European renewable energy investment fund (part of the French Total Eren Group) on all local energy regulatory matters, including the acquisition of a Bulgarian producer that owns and operates a 4.118 MW photovoltaic power plant;
- OLD MUTUAL PROPERTY, a leading South African real estate investor, and their Bulgarian partner AG CAPITAL, on one of the largest office acquisitions in Bulgaria — the Polygraphia and Megapark office centres — at a total asset value of EUR 190 million.
Mladen joined Kinstellar in 2015 after gaining practical experience in the local offices of large international firms, as well as an in-house counsel. He earned his LL.M. degree from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, Faculty of Law, Bulgaria.
Patrik Bolf, Firm Managing Partner comments: ‘'On behalf of the Partners and the entire firm, I congratulate them all! They are true leaders with in-depth industry and legal knowledge who provide clients with a solutions-oriented, practical and strategic approach and who have built trusted client relationships. Their promotion is a testament to their leadership, dedication, hard work, and commitment to our clients and culture. I am confident that they will continue to support our growth and strategy while delivering the same exceptional client service. We look forward to their leadership and continuing contributions to the firm!''
Originally published , May 2020
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