Sofiya Zhylkaidarova
Managing Partner
ssz@signumlaw.com
+7 701 722 32 81
Experience

Sofiya has advised numerous international oil and gas and mining companies for over 20 years on various subsoil use issues, including on strategic acquisitions, whether by assignment, takeover or otherwise.


Sofiya has a versatile client base, including a number of publicly listed companies. She participated in drafting various regulations related to the subsurface use, M&A and tax matters.

Sofiya particularly focuses on the subsoil use taxation, including transfer pricing and international taxation. Clients highly value her for being not only technically strong but also for her commercial experience, and business adviser approach, as well as dealing with government officials. Corporate structuring issues, including optimization of business, are also among her key and basic practices.

She has a number of publications on topical oil and gas issues and is a frequent speaker in oil and gas and related conferences. Sofiya participated in several government-run law-making working groups for drafting laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Sofiya’s recent selected major projects include:

  • Full legal support of a Norwegian E&P company on acquisition of oil & gas project in Western Kazakhstan: transaction planning, drafting all related agreements and deeds, etc.;
  • Full legal support of acquisition of an oil and gas contract (including transaction documentation drafting and obtaining all regulatory approvals). Deal size: USD 32 million;
  • Legal advice on incorporation of a joint venture between a Canadian company and a local company for projects in geological and aerogeophysical survey;
  • Transfer pricing audit and appeal for a European oil and gas company;
  • Legal and court representation of a PSA operator in a USD2 mln tax dispute against the Tax Committee;
  • Legal advice on regulatory compliance (state’s preemptive right, antimonopoly consent, etc.) required for IPO of an international E&P company at KASE;
  • Legal and court representation of a large drilling company on a class action by former employees with regard to the compensations payment;
  • Successfully representing two international E&P companies in courts against tax authorities on PSA stability matters;
  • Legal advice for a foreign insurance company on reinsurance issues (limited recourse clause);
  • Legal and court representation of a PSA operator on recognition of customs exemptions under the PSA against the Ministry of Finance of Kazakhstan;
  • Tax compliance health check prior to statutory tax audit;
  • Transfer pricing due diligence for large European oil and gas company;
  • Consulting of a major German airline company on VAT exemption issues;
  • Legal advice to a major German airline company on various corporate and tax questions, and issues concerning application of Double Taxation Treaty between Germany and Kazakhstan.
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Public speaking

Speaker, "Central Asian Pipelines: Kazakhstan Perspective", Annual Conference of the International Bar Association (IBA), Seoul, Korea | 24 September, 2019

Speaker (Mediator), "Arb-Med Demonstration", IAC and AIFC Court, Nut-Sultan, Kazakhstan | July, 2019

Moderator, “Features of Dispute resolution in Foreign Courts and Arbitration”, Kazakhstan Dispute Resolution Forum, Almaty, Kazakhstan | 30 May, 2019

Speaker, The English Law Summit, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan | 11 April, 2019

Speaker, Astana Legal Forum, Astana, Kazakhstan | 19 April, 2019

Participant, «The IBA Annual Conference 2018», October, 2018, Rome, Italy

Speaker, «New Subsoil Use Code Training», SIGNUM Law Firm training session for a major Kazakhstan based international oil and gas companies, Aktau, September, 2018

Speaker, «New Subsoil Use Code Training», SIGNUM Law Firm training session for a Kazakhstan based oil and gas company, Aktau, June, 2018

Participant, «Astana Finance Days», Astana International Financial Centre, Astana, July, 2018

Speaker, «The Kazakhstan Dispute Resolution Forum», Almaty, May, 2018

Speaker, «The Briefing Session of the English Law Summit», The Law Society, AIFC, Astana, April, 2018

Participant, «The Conference of Association of Taxpayers Kun Lun», Almaty, April, 2018

Speaker, «Legal Writing Skills/Навыки юридического письма», SIGNUM Law Firm training session for KATKO JV, SIEMENS, Sberbank Kazakhstan, Astana, Kazakhstan | December, 2018

Speaker, «Legal Week - Successful Lawyer: Client's and Employer's Expectations», KAZGUU University, November, 2018

Speaker/Session Moderator, «XIII Kazakhstan Corporate Lawyers Forum», Almaty, November, 2018

Event host, ‘Improving Anti-Corruption Legislation Phase II’, KazBar, Astana, October, 2018

Speaker, «Essential Communication Skills for Lawyers», Kazakh Institute of Management, Almaty, Kazakhstan | 26 April, 2017

Speaker, «Regulation of The Legal Profession in Kazakhstan», Opening of The Legal Year, London, UK | October, 2017

Speaker, «On The Investment Opportunities, Privatization and Tax Assessment In Kazakhstan», The 2nd “Belt and Road”, Outbound Investment and M&A Forum, Beijing, China | September, 2017

Speaker, «Some Issues of Subsoil Users’ Taxation: Law Enforcement Practice», XV Atyrau KPLA Anniversary International Conference, Atyrau, Kazakhstan | 28 April, 2017

Speaker, «Successful Lawyers: What Is Expected?», Kazakh Institute of Management, Almaty, Kazakhstan| 7 April, 2017

Guest, «EUROBAK Annual General Meeting», European Business Association in Kazakhstan, Almaty, Kazakhstan | February, 2017

Co-organizer, «Improving Anti-Corruption Legislation», Kazakhstan Bar Association (KazBar) with participation of the School of Law of KIMEP University and SIGNUM Law Firm, Almaty, Kazakhstan | October, 2016

Participant, «Judicial Room», AlmaU (Almaty Management University), under the supervision of the advisers of the project (members of the KazBar), Almaty, Kazakhstan | January, 2016

Speaker, «Legal Writing Skills/Навыки юридического письма», SIGNUM Law Firm training session for KATKO JV, LLP, Almaty, Kazakhstan | 19 November, 2015

Speaker, «On the recent and upcoming legal developments focusing on the concept of new draft subsoil code», X Corporate Lawyers Forum, Almaty, Kazakhstan | 5-6 November, 2015

Speaker, «Liability for Irrational Subsoil Use: Certain Legal Aspects», KPLA’s Xiii International Atyrau Conference, Atyrau, Kazakhstan | April, 2015

Speaker, «Structuring The Joint Venture (JV): Key Commercial and Contractual Terms and Issues, and Anticipating and Resolving JV Disputes», The Seminar of the British-Kazakh Law Association On International Investments in Kazakhstan, Astana, Kazakhstan | 15 May, 2013

Moderator of the session, «The first conference of the Republican Public Association», Kazakhstan Bar Association, Almaty, Kazakhstan | 16 May, 2013

Participant, «World in the Times of Changes: Forming a Sustainable Energy Future», VII Annual Eurasian Forum KAZENERGY, Astana, Kazakhstan | 2–3 October 2012

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Education
Kazakh State National University
Master of Laws
INSEAD
EMBA
Accolades
“Signum Law Firm is experienced in commercial, employment, tax and administrative disputes. Managing partner Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is a key name for commercial disputes, while Talgat Sariev handles labour and employment issues.”
— The Legal 500, Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, 2018
“Signum Law Firm focuses on transactional and contentious issues. Practice head Sofiya Zhylkaidarova has expertise in M&A and subsoil-use contracts.”
— The Legal 500, Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, 2018
“Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is known by market sources for her "practical advice." She primarily advises clients on financial and regulatory matters related to the oil and gas market. Peers consider her "very impressive" in the sector, saying: "She clearly is an expert, a very, very good specialist."”
— Chambers & Partners, Global 2018
“Signum Law Firm is experienced in commercial, employment, tax and administrative disputes. Managing partner Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is a key name for commercial disputes, while Talgat Sariev handles labour and employment issues.”
— The Legal 500, Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, 2018
“Signum Law Firm focuses on transactional and contentious issues. Practice head Sofiya Zhylkaidarova has expertise in M&A and subsoil-use contracts.”
— The Legal 500, Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, 2018
“Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is known by market sources for her "practical advice." She primarily advises clients on financial and regulatory matters related to the oil and gas market. Peers consider her "very impressive" in the sector, saying: "She clearly is an expert, a very, very good specialist."”
— Chambers & Partners, Global 2018
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