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ESG initiatives are rapidly becoming the status quo in the business world. Most corporations have some kind of sustainability measures in place in at least one of the three pillars – environmental, social, or governance. The majority of businesses in Bulgaria currently implement ESG projects voluntarily, indicating that stakeholders are not legally required to, for instance, incorporate climate mitigation and social responsibility initiatives into their organizations. But ESG trends aren’t going unnoticed by the regulators and ESG is gradually transforming into a compliance matter. However, beyond compliance, ESG lays the foundation for a competitive corporate strategy, positive climate action, and the discovery of new business opportunities.

Bulgaria is making significant efforts to boost the share of renewables in its energy mix and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The new REPowerEU Plan provides for a massive scaling-up and speeding-up of renewable energy in power generation, industry, buildings, etc.

The year 2021 effectively brought back the Bulgarian capital market into the spotlight of public interest. Seven IPOs were listed on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange (BSE), raising a total of EUR 12 million, which is the highest number of offerings in 15 years, going back to the period before the 2008 financial crisis. There is only one reason for this development: the rise of the SME Growth Market – beam – where all said IPOs have taken place.

On October 26, 2021, the General Assembly of the Supreme Court of Cassation issued Interpretative Judgment No. 5/2019, clarifying what procedure employers must follow with respect to employee layoffs on the grounds of “closure of part of the enterprise,” which at present is frequently utilized in the context of companies’ mergers and acquisitions.

In Bulgaria, one ordinary and two extraordinary parliamentary elections were held in the span of eight months in 2021, and the country is now preparing for yet another extraordinary election on October 2, 2022. Which outstanding legislative packages are critical – considering the absence of regular parliamentary activities – and what are their implications for the country?

On June 23, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Eversheds Sutherland entered the Bulgarian market by combining with Sofia-based "long-standing relationship firm" Tsvetkova Bebov & Partners. We spoke with the Bulgarian firm’s Co-Managing Partners Irina Tsvetkova and Nikolay Bebov to learn more about the tie-up and their plans going forward.

Djingov Gouginski Kyutchukov & Velichkov, working with Linklaters, has advised the joint lead managers on the increase of Bulgaria’s global medium-term note program to EUR 12 billion and the EUR 2.25 billion issuance of sovereign bonds. Eversheds Sutherland member firm Tsvetkova Bebov and Partners and Clifford Chance reportedly advised the Republic of Bulgaria.

Kinstellar and Paksoy, working with Linklaters' Paris office, have advised Plastic Omnium on its EUR 520 million acquisition of Varroc Lighting Systems from Varroc Engineering Limited. PwC Legal, working with Willkie Farr & Gallagher, advised Varroc on the sale of its automotive lighting systems business in the Czech Republic. White & Case reportedly advised a syndicate of banks on financing the transaction. Khaitan & Co, Creel Garcia-Cuellar Aiza y Enriquez, Lefosse, and Bennani & Associes reportedly advised Plastic Omnium in India, Mexico, Brazil, and Morocco, respectively. 

In April this year the information systems of "Bulgarian Post" became the subject of a serious cyber-attack. The Commission for Personal Data Protection (CPDP) imposed a fine of BGN 1 million (approx. EURO 511.292) and after a 3-month inspection found that the company neglected cyber security and no measures were taken to protect users' data. There was no analysis that would lead to a proper implementation of organizational measures for the protection of data electronically. After the encryption of the data of 680,000 individuals, personal names, social security numbers, and information about personal cards were leaked. The amounts of money that the employees received, as well as their bank accounts, are available. Sensitive data on the age and health status of employees, as well as emails of the company's customers, were also accessed.

As a firm that specializes in asset recovery for victims of cybercrime when the assets or scammers are in Bulgaria, we’ve seen that, in the last few years, cyber crimes are increasing worldwide. The fraudsters use similar techniques to mislead their victims: through numerous hacking attacks, they send emails on behalf of and/or to the victims or persons related to them using fake email addresses very similar to the originals. The aim of the fraudsters is to trick the victims to transfer substantial amounts of money to the fraudster’s bank accounts in Bulgaria. Then, the fraudsters usually move the received sum to a bank account in another country or to a bank account of a related company in Bulgaria. These money transfers are in breach of Bulgarian and international AML Law.

Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov and Velichkov has advised a Silverline Partners – Fund LP-led consortium of private equity investors on their EUR 6.8 million Series A investment in Alcatraz Bulgaria. Cooley reportedly advised Alcatraz on the deal.

On August 30, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Boyanov & Co had advised Yara International on the sale of Bulgarian and Romanian businesses Yara Bulgaria and Yara Digital Romania to the Nik Group. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Sverre Hodnebo, Legal Counsel at Yara International, to learn more about the sale.

Boyanov & Co has advised BioIVT on its acquisition of Fidelis Research. Divjak Topic Bahtijarevic & Krka, BDK Advokati, Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen, and Kolcuoglu Demirkan Kocakli have advised BioIVT on Croatian, Serbian, Romanian, and Turkish law-related matters, respectively. Hristov & Partners advised Integrity Capital Investments on the sale. Penkov Markov & Partners advised the other sellers.

Bulgaria Knowledge Partner

Schoenherr is a leading full-service law firm providing local and international companies stellar advice that is straight to the point. With 15 offices and 4 country desks Schoenherr has a firm footprint in Central and Eastern Europe. Our lawyers are recognised leaders in their specialised areas and have a track record of getting deals done with a can-do, solution-oriented approach. Quality, flexibility, innovation and practical problem-solving in complex commercial mandates are at the core of our philosophy.

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