On 1 September 2012 COBALT will launch its new office in Minsk, Belarus. The new office is the firms’ fourth and its launch further strengthens COBALT’ position as a leading legal services provider in the region with 130 lawyers and 165 professionals overall.
According to Dr Irmantas Norkus, the Managing Partner of COBALT Vilnius office the expansion is a logical step in the firms’ development. 'Through our Belarus Helpdesk, established in 2008, we have already developed a wealth of experience advising international clients interested in establishing or expanding their businesses in Belarus. We are delighted that we now will have a setup with an excellent legal team who has profound experience in Belarusian business and the legal environment. COBALT Minsk office will naturally carry forward the same values as all our Baltic offices – the highest quality standards, flexibility and utmost attention to client relations. We also see exciting possibilities to use our pan-Baltic network to assist Belarusian firms interested in exploring investment opportunities in the Baltics,' Norkus said.
Managing Partner of the new Minsk office commented that 'the timing of COBALT’ entry into the market is just right to take advantage of the rapidly developing Belarusian business and legal environment. There are a number of attractive investment opportunities and perhaps more important, opportunities to start up new ventures in this market. All of this will need the expertise that COBALT can provide from its Minsk office. It is great to be a part of one of the fastest growing law offices in the Baltics. Joining the team enhances our ability to offer top level services to our clients as well as open up new horizons for them.'
Starting in 2008, COBALT has provided legal advice to its Baltic clients via its Belarus Helpdesk, based in its Vilnius office. This has included numerous major and highly successful projects. Recent matters include advising the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, and Swedfund International in connection financing a new wood processing plant in Belarus implemented by VMG Industry. In addition the team also advised investors in construction projects in Belarus, assisted one of the largest engineering and design consultancies in completing multilateral agreements, provided legal advice to a leading Lithuanian construction company regarding the establishment of its Belarus subsidiary, advised one of the largest European baby food manufacturer on entering a Belarus distributorship agreement, represented a large number of companies in arbitral proceedings and much more. This experience has allowed COBALT to build an excellent understanding of the Belarusian market and a strong foundation to take the next step of launching the Minsk office.