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GAR 100 - 10th Edition

Zamfirescu Racoti & Partners

02 March 2017

Obtained a €400 million win for a Romanian state entity

People in Who’s Who Legal 1
Pending cases as counsel 10
Value of pending counsel work US$1.2 billion
Treaty cases 1
Current arbitrator appointments 7 (of which 1 is as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 2

Zamfirescu Racoti first took shape in the mid-1990s, just as the Romanian legal market began to liberalise. Headed by Calin-Andrei Zamfirescu, the firm made its international arbitration debut as counsel to the state agency managing Romania’s privatisation programme. It won its first case, over a cancelled US$238 million oil refinery sell-off, which opened the door to later privatisation disputes.

Later it branched out into construction, representing Romanian construction company Bog’Art in a series of 10 cases beginning in 2003. The firm has since built upon this area, with partner Cosmin Vasile in particular known for his FIDIC expertise.

In 2007 it made its investment treaty debut as co-counsel with White & Case in a US$10 million UNCITRAL dispute, followed by a US$140 million claim against Romania for a US client.

Recently it has been acting for Romanian state entity SAPE – which manages the government’s energy holdings portfolio – in separate ICC cases against Italy’s Enel and Germany’s E.ON relating to electricity privatisation agreements, both of which saw results in February 2017. In the Enel case, SAPE won an award worth €401 million requiring the Italian company to honour a put-option clause by increasing its stake in a power distributor in the southern Muntenia region.

The E.ON case, which concerns the German utility’s exercise of a call option, saw SAPE prevail on part of a counterclaim: a sole arbitrator awarded the state entity US$1 million in compensation for dividends that E.ON had failed to distribute in its role as majority shareholder of another Romanian energy concern.

Zamfirescu is also acting for Romania’s state-owned motorway company (CNADNR) in two disputes worth a combined US$100 million. In one of these cases, a significant part of the claims against its client were dismissed as time-barred in early 2016.

The international arbitration team includes Alina Tugearu, who was recently promoted to the partnership in Bucharest.

Client comment

Laura Voinea, legal director at Romania’s state assets administration authority, praises the firm’s capacity to respond to requests and mobilise at short notice. “This rapidity in their reaction as well as the professionalism of their advice clearly distinguishes them from other companies,” she says.

“I was pleasantly surprised to find out that, apart from the privatisation and post-privatisation-related matters, they have extensive knowledge of international private law and environmental law.”