The Romanian boutique is relied on for infrastructure disputes in Eastern Europe
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Suciu Popa was founded in 2016, when head of international arbitration Luminita Popa and M&A and energy specialist Miruna Suciu, two long-standing partners at Romanian firm Mușat & Asociații, broke away to set up their own firm.
Popa played a central role in developing the arbitration practice at Mușat over more than a decade, earning the firm a place in previous editions of the GAR 100. She brought a team with her, including former partner Madalina Berechet (who is now a partner at Berechet Rusu Hirit). Suciu Popa already has a busy portfolio of cases. Roxana Fercala, who was promoted to partner in 2017, is another name to know. Daiana Ichimescu joined the international arbitration team in 2021.
Who uses it?
International clients include Enel, SABMiller, Engie, TNT, Müller Dairy, Hochtief, Roche and the Carlyle Group. French engineering group Colas has used the firm. The firm also works with UK or US-based clients in the energy, construction and infrastructure sectors.
Romania’s state-owned Hidroelectrica; Black Sea Oil & Gas; Kazakhstan’s national gas company KazMunayGas; and SIF Transilvania, one of Romania’s largest investment funds, are among its other clients.
An eye-catching result occurred for Enel in 2016, when Popa defeated a US$1.2 billion ICC claim by the Romanian government for alleged breaches of a privatisation agreement for the country’s national power company.
A team led by Popa secured another win for Enel in 2019, defeating claims of more than €130 million in an ICC case arising from the privatisation of Romanian’s largest electricity distributor and supplier. Clifford Chance was co-counsel to Enel in the case.
Suciu Popa won an €8.5 million award for clients Colas Rail and ISAF against the Romanian National Railway Company in a dispute over a contract to rehabilitate a portion of the country’s most important railway line in 2017. Further related ICC proceedings are ongoing.
The firm also clinched a win for Colas in Geneva-seated ICC proceedings against Romania arising out of a FIDIC contract concerning a road infrastructure project worth €22 million.
Suciu Popa helped Austrian construction company Strabag AG in an ICC arbitration arising from FIDIC contracts to rehabilitate the Romanian national road infrastructure, winning a partial award totalling just over a third of the €30 million claim value. It also helped secure the rejection of a request to set aside the same award.
It is also representing Bulgargaz EAD, the sole public supplier of natural gas in Bulgaria, in a CICA claim in Bucharest. Bouzeva & Partners in Sofia is acting as co-counsel.
Suciu Popa represented Italian contractor Taddei in UNCITRAL proceedings relating to road infrastructure projects in Moldova with a value of more than €5.5 million.
Ongoing work includes representing Spanish infrastructure company AZVI in arbitral proceedings in Bucharest relating to a FIDIC contract.
Suciu Popa is also representing a subsidiary of the Greece-based civil engineering and general construction group Techniki Olympiakiin in an arbitration case before the Court of International Commercial Arbitration in Bucharest regarding claims, again arising out of a FIDIC contract, for the rehabilitation of a major national road in Romania.
Popa was reappointed to the ICC International Court of Arbitration in 2021 for a second three-year term.
The head of legal and corporate affairs at Enel’s Romanian arm, Alina Dumitrascu, is full of praise for Suciu Popa. “The firm’s performance was outstanding and we were thrilled by the final result,” she says.
Dumitrascu was impressed by the team’s capacity to offer “first class international arbitration services combined with the best understanding of local laws and practices”, as well as “a deep knowledge of the energy sector”. “This mix of capabilities is unmatched in the Romanian market,” she adds.
Having worked with Popa over the best part of the last decade on cases with an overall value exceeding €2 billion, Dumitrascu appreciates her “out-of-the box solutions”, which, she declares, are “far-reaching and, ultimately, 100% successful”. Popa is also a “hands-on leader with superb advocacy skills”.
GAR – Professional Notice
Suciu Popa is a full-service Romanian law firm established by Miruna Suciu and Luminita Popa, two recognized practitioners with over 20 years of experience in international transactional practice and international disputes. Since 2016, Suciu Popa advises and represents top global players and leading local companies in complex international or domestic dispute resolution proceedings.
Suciu Popa swiftly confirmed its position as a top-tier legal services provider on the local market, being highly ranked by legal international directories Legal 500 EMEA, IFLR 1000, Chambers and Partners, Benchmark Litigation, as well as by Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration.
The firm’s widely recognized strong arbitration practice was ranked every year since 2016 among the world’s leading international arbitration professionals by GAR 100. Suciu Popa boasts a department exclusively dedicated to arbitration, constantly representing clients in sophisticated and challenging international commercial arbitration under the rules of local and international arbitration institutions, as well as in other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
A specific highlight is the fully successful award secured by the firm for a worldwide leading utility company in the largest ICC arbitration case involving the Romanian market (exceeding USD 1.2 billion).
Clients praise the firm for offering “first class international arbitration services combined with the best understanding and local laws and practices” and being “a go-to firm for international and multinational companies with business in Romania” (source: GAR 100, 2021), while Luminita Popa is recognized for her ability to handle both litigation and arbitration mandates, being acclaimed by clients as a " powerhouse of experience in dispute resolution” (source: Chambers & Partners Europe Guide 2021) and a “hands-on leader with superb advocacy skills” (source: GAR 100, 2021).
Luminita Popa, Managing Partner
E-mail: [email protected]
15B/C Maresal Alexandru Averescu Blvd.
011454, 1st District
T: 0040 374 494 944; 0040 374 490 225
F: 0040 374 094 490