Red is a full-service business law firm with offices in Tallinn, Estonia and Riga, Latvia.
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2014 rankings: Banking & Finance, Corporate and M&A, Dispute Resolution, Tax, EU and Competition, Real Estate and Construction, Shipping and Transport
Banking and Finance
With respect to the Estonian office Legal 500 notes that Red „puts together a very good team and hits the ground running“. Red serves as local adviser to several domestic and international banks and real estate funds. Practice group head Ermo Kosk leads on cross-border financings, regulatory and compliance matters.
It has been noted that in Latvia Red has been advising domestic and international clients on loan restructurings, refinancings and insolvency issues. Practice head Sintija Radionova recently advised KPMG Baltics during a Latvian bank’s insolvency process involving €20m loan liabilities and managing partner Kristīne Gaigule-Šāvēja is representing a client in a money-laundering case.
Corporate and M&A
Red handles a broad range of corporate issues, from day-to-day legal matters to large M&A and capital raising transactions. Recently Red advised the sellers on divesting 100% of shares in Viking Motors to OptiGroup Invest and acted for Premia Foods in the reorganisation of its capital structure. Gerli Kilusk is „a very good M&A lawyer“.
Regarding Red’s Latvian office it has been noted that Red’s team has „good industry knowledge“. It recently assisted TAV Airports Holding and its subsidiaries with setting up a duty-free business in Riga International Airport, which involved advising on customs laws. Other work highlights included acting for a number of clients on investing €30m into a rail company. Zane Eglite is the key contact in Latvia.
Red’s team is referred to as „young, ambitious and good in arbitration“. Practice group head Anton Sigal represented LHV Bank and LHV Asset Management in a libel case against newspaper Äripäev and acted on behalf of construction company SIA Binders in arbitration proceedings against the Estonian Road Administration regarding early termination of a €20m contract.
It has been noted that Red has a particular focus on tax litigation in Latvia but is also representing KPMG Baltics in litigation concerning a bank’s insolvency process. Red’s team is acting for LKB Lizings in €2m debt collection proceedings against a foreign engineering company. Sintija Radionova is also the main contact in this Dispute Resolution practice group in Latvia.
Both Red’s offices have tax structuring expertise and advise clients on all day-to-day tax matters and disputes. In Estonia, senior associate Maret Hallikma was joined by fellow senior associate Dmitri Rozenblat, who was previously at Lawin.
Red’s Latvian office has recently successfully represented Liepājas Osta in a tax dispute relating to VAT imposed on imports. Red also advised Riga Airport Commercial Development on transfer-pricing issues. Inguna Abele heads the Latvian team.
In addition to the above, Red’s Latvian office is also ranked in the categories of Real Estate and Construction, Shipping and Transport and EU and Competition. E.g. Red advised TAV Airports Holding on the lease and sublease of commercial spaces in Riga International Airport, Alpha Shipping and multi-bulk terminal Dan Store are longstanding clients advised by Sintija Radionova and Zane Eglīte-Fogele.
CHAMBERS EUROPE 2014
2014 rankings: Banking & Finance; Corporate & Commercial; Dispute Resolution; Real Estate; Employment; Tax
Banking and Finance
Red’s offices are highlighted in the prestigious banking and finance sector, which is Red’s particular strength. Clients describe Red as ’a new firm on the market, but the partners are all highly experienced. They are professional and excellent finance lawyers.’ Red’s clientele includes lenders, banks, security agents and borrowers – a popular choice for both domestic and international transactions. Estonian practice group head Ermo Kosk is hailed for his ’fast turnaround and very accurate bills’. Interviewees confide about Anton Sigal that ’he is an intelligent lawyer, active in litigation, insolvency and well as financing.’ Gerli Kilusk is noted as an up-and-coming presence in this field.
The clients say that ’the lawyers are reliable, trustworthy and skilful advisers’. Sintija Radionova is the practice group head of Red’s Latvian office and is widely respected for her skill in this area. She recently acted for Alpha Shipping Company on a dispute with Swedbank Līzings regarding the cancellation of a guarantee. The publications note Red’s work for a variety of top-market banking clients including DNB Nord Bank, LHV Pank, Alpha Shipping Company, Lauma Fabrics.
Corporate and Commercial
Red’s Corporate, Commercial and M&A area is also ranked highly. The publication notes Red’s Estonian office ’for its steady flow of M&A transactions, regularly advising local clients. Clients highlight partner attention and efficiency as being particular strengths.’ The clients describe the firm: "If you want a job done properly, go to Red.’ Sources confirm that partner Ermo Kosk is a talented and active practitioner in this field. He is particularly well regarded for his experience on both M&A and financing work.
Clients say about Latvian office: ’The team is really interested in our business, is responsive, easy to communicate with and wants to be a business partner.’ Practice head Zane Eglite "is experienced, understands the different business issues and what we need to consider,’ explain the clients. Sources also note that Sintija Radionova ’efficiently combines her M&A knowledge with banking and finance, which is especially useful when structuring complex transactions’. Laura Zalana covers a wide range of matters, handling real estate, construction, employment and insurance in addition to her experience on corporate transactions.
Dispute resolution is noted as another key area for both Red’s offices. Latvian team is known for ’notable experience advising banks on debt recovery and insolvency matters. Also handles employment, tax and real estate disputes’. Clients say: ’The work is punctual and of a high standard. We are fully satisfied with the service we receive.’
Red’s Estonian office ’handles both litigation and arbitration, with particular expertise in financial, restructuring and insolvency, tax and construction disputes.’ The clients have said: ’I always get enough partner attention. It’s a compact team of experienced people who are focused on their clients’. Practice group head Anton Sigal, also recognised for his corporate experience, is a firm favourite with clients, who describe him as ’fast and focused. He gets to the point straight away and really understands clients’.
Both Red’s offices are ranked in the category of Real Estate. According to the clients it’s ’ a young firm with a good team and a strong profile’. The team handles real estate and construction including financing, lease agreements and developments. Ermo Kosk leads the Estonian team, attracting impressive plaudits from market commentators. They note: ’It is a pleasure to negotiate with him. He is reasonable, understands key points and is very smart.’
Red’s Latvian team under the leadership of Laura Zalana is active across the area, with experience in real estate due diligence, construction, privatisations and land reform. Recent work has included joint ownership cases, construction disputes and commercial property acquisitions. The clients say ’The advice is practical and relevant to our situation. The lawyers follow up on issues and are sensitive to deadlines.’
Red’s Latvian office is also ranked in the area of Employment and noted in Tax category. The Employment practice group has broad practice with notable expertise on immigration matters. They also have particular experience in advising foreign companies on the employment aspects of establishing in Latvia. According to the clients ’the advice is always practical and relevant, and demonstrates a strong understanding of our business.’
INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL LAW REVIEW (IFLR1000) 2014
2014 firm rankings: Financial and Corporate
The 2014 edition of the IFLR1000 notes both Red’s offices among top financial and corporate law firms. IFLR1000 is published annually by International Financial Law Review and is widely considered the world’s leading authority in its field. Each year’s rankings are based on the recommendations of in-house counsel at the world's most prominent financial institutions and companies, as well as leading lawyers in the respective countries.
One international partner has said about Red’s Latvian office: „I've worked with them before and they're really impressive.“ The team, formerly known as Letlaw, changed its name in February 2013 following its merger with Red in Estonia. The combined firm now boasts 20 legal professionals.
IFLR1000 notes that although Red’s Latvian office does not join the rankings this year it is a team in development and it may only be a few years before it does so. Clients are generally very pleased with its work. „I have found Laura Zalana accessible even out of office hours or during holiday periods“, says one client. „The team is very flexible and understanding regarding invoicing issues“. Another contact comments on their work with Zane Eglite in Latvia: „This cooperation has always provided us with more than satisfactory results and we have never had an unsatisfactory result that we ever thought needed to be improved.“