Hillmont Partners and The Legal 500 host webinar on the impact of the pandemic on businesses in Ukraine

On 27 May 2020, Hillmont Partners and The Legal 500 hosted a webinar entitled ‘Managing Risks during a Global Recession: Ukraine’s Perspective’. The event provided an expert overview of the government’s response to the pandemic and highlighted the most important initiatives that businesses should consider in order to mitigate the impact of the anticipated economic downturn.

James Hart, Co-Managing Partner at Hillmont Partners, opened the online session with a summary of the measures Ukraine has taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and explained how the legislative agenda has been transformed to promptly reflect the needs of the country during the lockdown.

Anna Lazurenko, Chief Legal Officer at Delta Wilmar Ukraine, part of Wilmar International, who was the guest speaker of the webinar, provided up-to-date insights on her company’s approach to dealing with the new challenges faced by Ukrainian businesses. She highlighted key labour, administrative, and commercial law issues that required immediate responses from the in-house legal team in order to keep the business operating and explained the importance of finding a reasonable balance between emergency legal issues and operational needs.

Our expert Tetiana Mylenka, Counsel at Hillmont Partners, addressed in her presentation the key issues of antitrust compliance, which have become particularly significant during the lockdown. She provided an overview of the most frequent violations, risks and liabilities of companies conducting business in vulnerable sectors, including pharma, retail, telecommunication and aviation.

Taras Tertychnyi, Associate Partner at Hillmont Partners, spoke about corporate governance problems caused by the epidemic and the relevant regulatory response. According to Taras, relatively swift actions taken by the parliament, the regulator and the National Depository regarding the extension of deadlines for holding annual shareholder meetings and filing of annual reports, as well as introduction of the remote shareholder meeting procedure, have significantly alleviated the risks caused by quarantine restrictions for joint-stock companies.

Speaking about bankruptcy-related risks, Olha Stakheyeva-Bogovyk, Senior Associate at Hillmont Partners, provided an overview of the temporary measures and existing bankruptcy and restructuring tools. She advised that businesses in distress should be actively making use of the out-of-court rescue procedures as per Article 5 of the New Bankruptcy Code of Ukraine. Debtors in distress who have at least one financial institution among their creditors should consider using the financial restructuring procedure as per the Law of Ukraine on Financial Restructuring.

Andrii Chornous, Senior Associate at Hillmont Partners, spoke about the expected rise in the number of contractual breaches as a result of the lockdown and declaration of force majeure circumstances, which can be used as a temporary relief measure to postpone contract enforcement. According to Andrii, sales of NPLs by state-owned banks could rise with the recently adopted resolution by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of 15 April 2020 No. 281 “On Approval of the Criteria and Conditions for Determining Measures on Management of NPLs by the banks in which the state owns 75 percent or more of the share capital“. Just as with any other risky investment, pre-acquisition legal due diligence is vital before purchasing Ukrainian NPL.

James Hart expressed his gratitude to everybody who made the event possible: “I am thankful to my colleagues for delivering a truly engaging webinar. We carefully selected topics for our discussion which could be of practical interest to business owners, top managers and in-house counsel from Ukraine and other countries. We are grateful to our audience for their vivid interest in the investment and business protection agenda in Ukraine, as well as their participation in our polls and feedback. Our team will keep consistently producing insightful analysis for businesses on how to plan and respond to legal, regulatory and commercial challenges. We remain accessible to all entrepreneurs who may need prompt legal assistance on adjusting their decision-making to a rapidly changing commercial environment.”

Watch a recording of the webinar at https://bit.ly/2BpCqZQ.

The presentation of the webinar can be downloaded at https://bit.ly/2Y263bk.

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