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The Ario Law Firm team helped secure a merger clearance for LLC “Aqua Solar Invest” during the privatization process of a State Enterprise “Ukrspirt” asset.

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Competition Law

12 December 2022

On December 1, 2022, the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine granted LLC "Aqua Solar Invest" permission to acquire control over a portion of the economic entity of the State Enterprise "Ukrspirt" - the Kobylivolotsk Distillery and Spirits Storage Facility. The legal support, from advising on participation in the privatization auction to obtaining clearance from the AMC for concentration, was provided by the legal team at Ario Law Firm, led by Senior Partner Julian Khorunzhiy, Counsel Serhii Derkach and Associate Mykhailo Sydorovych.

Yes, on September 19, 2022, the first auction under new privatization rules took place on the electronic trading platform "ProZorro.Sales" following the onset of Ukraine's full-scale conflict with Russia. Ario Law Firm's client, Aqua Solar Invest LLC, emerged as the winner of this auction, acquiring the Kobylivolotsk Distillery by offering a bid of 84,303,600.00 UAH (including VAT). This bid was nearly three times higher than the starting sale price of the privatization object, which came as a significant "shock" for the state and served as one of the incentives to continue privatization efforts during the war.

"Interestingly, apart from Aqua Solar Invest LLC, five other participants were involved in the mentioned auction," explained counsel Serhii Derkach. "However, our client's bid emerged as the highest among those submitted. The agreement involves the acquisition by the client of specific assets of the Kobylivolotsk Distillery (including buildings, equipment, movable and other property) in Ternopil Region following the auction for small privatization. Additionally, it includes the state registration of ownership rights in the State Register of Property Rights to Immovable Property for the new owner after obtaining the relevant approval from the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine."

In a short timeframe, the legal team at Ario Law Firm swiftly assembled a comprehensive document package and jointly filed an application with the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) on behalf of Aqua Solar Invest LLC and State Enterprise "Ukrspirt" seeking approval for the concentration of economic entities, as required by the Law of Ukraine "On Protection of Economic Competition" and the Regulation on Concentration.

It's noteworthy that last year, the attorneys at Ario Law Firm effectively defended the rights of Aqua Solar Invest LLC in a case involving violations of legislation governing economic competition. Specifically, the client had acquired the Bershad Distillery at an electronic auction but encountered hurdles in obtaining approval for concentration during the sale process. Consequently, Aqua Solar Invest LLC faced a potential fine exceeding half a million hryvnias. However, the legal team at Ario Law Firm successfully demonstrated the absence of intent to breach antimonopoly laws on the part of the client, resulting in a nearly threefold reduction of the fine and eventual approval for concentration.

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