08
Thu, Dec
61 New Articles

Latest News By Country

With the war in Ukraine raging for more than six months, law firms across the region have reported increased workloads in corporate and M&A, tax, employment, immigration law, and inquiries on the sanctions regimes in relevant jurisdictions, noting that companies from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus are variously looking for a new home. Whether to avoid sanctions or escape the war, those companies consider a variety of factors in determining where to go.

The legal landscape has changed remarkably since 2008 when I made the jump from being an in-house lawyer at the Central Bank of Albania to a legal associate at a law firm. At the time, for a lawyer working in two small-sized non-EU countries such as Albania and Kosovo, work was predominantly focused on the local markets, with no or little exposure to international activities. This started to change as the CEE region became more attractive to foreign investors, who were looking at opportunities often spread across several countries. The legal work in M&A, privatization processes, and energy investments often involved teams from various law firms, both in CEE and in Western Europe or the US, and was my gateway to gaining knowledge of the regional market and understanding the space for growth there.

Contributed by Deloitte Legal.

Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner has advised Soravia on its acquisition of Austrian hotel group Loisium Holding. 

On 28 November 2022, the Council of the European Union gave its final approval to the Regulation on Foreign Subsidies distorting the Internal Market (FSR) following the adoption of the regulation by the European Parliament on 10 November 2022.

E+H, working with Paris-based Sekri Valentin Zerrouk, has advised the Valtus Group on its acquisition of Management Factory Corporate Advisory. KPMG Law advised the sellers.

Belarus's Revera law firm has teamed up with Adamante Management to open the firm's Cyprus office.

On July 9, 2021, substantial amendments to Belarusian currency legislation entered into force. We will briefly review the key amendments.

Economic optimism in the face of adversity, the introduction of English law instruments, and some new potential for growth are the highlights in Belarus, according to Aleinikov & Partners Senior Partner Denis Aleinikov.

With large energy and infrastructure projects under development in Bosnia and Herzegovina, local legal professionals are facing an uphill battle against the double standards in their industry, according to Sajic Law Firm Senior Partner Natasa Krejic.

ODI Law has opened a new office in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the addition of Mia Civic as a Partner.

Dentons and Dimitrijevic & Partners have advised coordinator, bookrunner, and mandated lead arranger UniCredit on a EUR 90 million term loan facility for Mtel Banja Luka. Solo practitioner Loren Richards reportedly advised the borrower.

Djingov Gouginski Kyutchukov & Velichkov has advised the administrators and senior secured lenders of Bulsatcom UH Holdco Limited on the sale of Bulsatcom to Viva Corporate Bulgaria. Kambourov & Partners and, reportedly, Squire Patton Boggs advised Viva Corporate Bulgaria.

Djingov Gouginski Kyutchukov & Velichkov has advised the Oman Investment Authority on the sale of a real estate portfolio to the Smart Property Fund.

Velchev & Co has helped Premier Energy obtain a natural gas trading license in the Republic of Bulgaria.

On November 10, four Banking & Finance experts from Croatia, Hungary, Romania, and Serbia sat down for a virtual round table moderated by CEE Legal Matters Managing Editor Radu Cotarcea to discuss banking consolidation, financing availability, the effects of high interest rates, bank capitalization, green financing, the specter of loan restructuring, and the other challenges the sector is facing.

On November 25, 2022, Divjak Topic Bahtijarevic & Krka announced that Entain’s acquisition of the SuperSport Group from Emma Capital (reported by CEE Legal Matters on August 18, 2022) had closed.

Moravcevic Vojnovic and Partners in cooperation with Schoenherr has advised Integral Venture Partners on its acquisition of a controlling stake in Chips Way alongside co-investor and industrial partner Nelt Group. Vukina & Partners advised sellers Jagoda Bajevic, Dobroslav Barbaric, Ivana Vujcic, Matko Dropuljic, Vlatko Barbaric, Djordje Dragicevic, Ivana Einfalt, and Tomislav Bajevic.

Kocian Solc Balastik has advised J&T Banka on its acquisition of a majority share in Amista Investicni Spolecnost from Cinekin. Tovarek Horky and Partners reportedly advised Cinekin.

JSK has advised the Sudop Group on its acquisition of an 80% stake in BizzTreat. Briza & Trubac advised BizzTreat founders Radovan Jirka and Jiri Tobolka as well as their spouses on the sale. 

On November 30, 2022, the BLS-CEE Law Firm announced that Wirtualna Polska’s acquisition of the Szallas Group from Portfolion Capital Partners and private individuals (reported by CEE Legal Matters on September 16, 2022) had closed.

Kyriakides Georgopoulos has advised a Korkia-funded partnership – including local developers GH Energy and AA Sunshine – on the acquisition and development of a photovoltaic project pipeline in mainland Greece and Crete with a targeted total capacity of 1 gigawatt.

The Lambadarios Law Firm, working with Bracewell, has advised Fotowatio Renewable Ventures on its acquisition of the majority stake in a 600-megawatt battery storage platform in Greece.

The KLC Law Firm has advised Taiped on its sale of a property in Nea Iraklitsa Kavala to Iraklitsa A.E. for EUR 91 million.

On December 1, 2022, SMM Legal announced that MOL's acquisition of Lotos Paliwa (reported by CEE Legal Matters on February 2, 2022) had closed. Subsequently, Baker McKenzie announced that Orlen Unipetrol's acquisition of Hungarian petrol stations from MOL (reported by CEE Legal Matters on February 1, 2022) had closed as well. 

On November 30, 2022, the BLS-CEE Law Firm announced that Wirtualna Polska’s acquisition of the Szallas Group from Portfolion Capital Partners and private individuals (reported by CEE Legal Matters on September 16, 2022) had closed.

Under the "heavy influence" of the current autocratic regime, Hungary might seem stable but Forgo, Damjanovic & Partners Managing Partner Gabor Damjanovic wonders if the country is prepared to tackle the challenges of the wider economic context.

Cobalt has advised district heating network company VKG Soojus on its sale to Gren.

Former Single.Earth Chief Legal Officer Gerd Laub has joined Ellex's Estonian office as a Counsel. 

Cobalt has advised Neo Performance Materials – the parent company of NPM Silmet OU – on establishing a sintered rare-earth magnet manufacturing facility in Estonia.

Arbitration is growing in popularity in Kosovo and notable legislative updates are now in place, including the one establishing the Commercial Court, according to Boga & Associates Partner Sokol Elmazaj.

Kosovo’s legal order is based on the principle of separation of powers, whereby the judiciary is governed by the Kosovo Judicial Council. Kosovo’s legal system is based on the continental law tradition, whereby court decisions are generally not considered precedents, although lower courts tend to follow the opinions and rulings of higher courts.

The legal landscape has changed remarkably since 2008 when I made the jump from being an in-house lawyer at the Central Bank of Albania to a legal associate at a law firm. At the time, for a lawyer working in two small-sized non-EU countries such as Albania and Kosovo, work was predominantly focused on the local markets, with no or little exposure to international activities. This started to change as the CEE region became more attractive to foreign investors, who were looking at opportunities often spread across several countries. The legal work in M&A, privatization processes, and energy investments often involved teams from various law firms, both in CEE and in Western Europe or the US, and was my gateway to gaining knowledge of the regional market and understanding the space for growth there.

Cobalt has advised the BaltCap Private Equity Fund III – acting through its subsidiary Adoro – on acquiring the assets of Dzives Abece.

Sorainen has provided pro bono legal advice to the Entrepreneurs for Peace foundation on repairing all the explosion-damaged windows at the Ukrainian Society of the Deaf educational and manufacturing company in Chernihiv and preparing the building for the winter. 

Cobalt, working with Bech-Bruun, has advised Danone company Nutricia on its intra-group restructuring by incorporating Danone SIA into Nutricia SIA.

Cobalt has successfully represented security services company UAB Grifs before a first-instance court and the Lithuanian Court of Appeal in a dispute regarding the company's alleged failure to properly perform its obligations toward a client.

Sorainen has advised the Luminor Bank on Siauliu Bankas’ EUR 85 million issuance of restricted senior preferred notes. TGS Baltic advised Siauliu Bankas.

Sorainen has advised Laba7 on a EUR 640,000 investment from the Coinvest Capital fund in cooperation with 44 members of the Lithuanian Business Angel Network LitBAN community. TGS Baltic advised Coinvest Capital.

Harmonizing national law with EU legislation, implementing sizeable renewable energy projects, and addressing production shutdowns are high on North Macedonia’s domestic agenda, according to Kiril Papazoski, Director, Papazoski and Mishev Law Firm, an independent law firm in cooperation with PwC.

Gugushev & Partners has advised Blackpeak Capital on its acquisition of a stake in Telelink Bulgaria. Karanovic & Partners’ North Macedonian office, SZA Schilling Zutt & Anschuetz, and Addleshaw Goddard reportedly advised Blackpeak Capital as well.

North Macedonia is preparing for far-reaching tax reforms, with updated rules on the profit tax, VAT, personal income tax, and social contributions, while dealing with the economic slowdown and increased prices, according to Lalicic & Boskoski Partner Vedran Lalicic.

Contributed by Stratulat Albulescu.

Dolea & Co has successfully represented Gribnaya Strana in the recognition and enforcement procedures of an arbitral award before the Chisinau Court of Appeal.

Following the tendency among EU states to improve labour legislation, through its 28 July 2022 law ("Law 243/2022"), the Moldovan Parliament passed certain amendments to the Labour Code. These were motivated by the need to align the existing legislation to current realities and the recommendations of the International Labour Organization.

A governmental crisis with a country-wide impact is preventing Montenegro from moving forward at a pace, both in terms of legislation and investments, according to Prelevic Law Firm Senior Lawyer Marko Ivkovic.

CMS has advised UGT Renewables on the cooperation agreement with the Electric Power Utility of Montenegro for the joint development of a large-scale solar energy project in the country.

Komnenic & Associates has advised KrolBay DOO Podgorica in the development of Phase II of the five-star hotel located in Boka Bay to be operated by Hyatt. Schoenherr reportedly advised Hyatt on the deal.

What's new in Polish corporate law?

SSK&W has advised CofounderZone, business angels, and Ciech Ventures on their investment in coffee waste processing company Ecobean. Sole practitioner Marta Malasiewicz reportedly advised Ecobean.

On December 1, 2022, SMM Legal announced that MOL's acquisition of Lotos Paliwa (reported by CEE Legal Matters on February 2, 2022) had closed. Subsequently, Baker McKenzie announced that Orlen Unipetrol's acquisition of Hungarian petrol stations from MOL (reported by CEE Legal Matters on February 1, 2022) had closed as well. 

On November 30, 2022, the BLS-CEE Law Firm announced that Wirtualna Polska’s acquisition of the Szallas Group from Portfolion Capital Partners and private individuals (reported by CEE Legal Matters on September 16, 2022) had closed.

On November 10, four Banking & Finance experts from Croatia, Hungary, Romania, and Serbia sat down for a virtual round table moderated by CEE Legal Matters Managing Editor Radu Cotarcea to discuss banking consolidation, financing availability, the effects of high interest rates, bank capitalization, green financing, the specter of loan restructuring, and the other challenges the sector is facing.

Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii has advised Smithfield Group subsidiary Elit on its acquisition of Goodies Meat Production. PwC Legal Romanian affiliate D&B David si Baias advised the sellers.

The truth is rarely pure and never simple. But in the case of Russia's military operation in Ukraine, it just might be. Russia breached Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which prohibits the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. Russia's acts have prompted the EU, the UK and the US to impose economic sanctions, such as freezing assets and disconnecting Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments network. Whilst the number of private businesses that are halting their activities in Russia is steadily growing, Russia has adopted a law paving the way for expropriations of assets of foreign firms that leave the country following economic sanctions. But what can foreign companies do if Russia proceeds to take their assets, if they are unable to freely transfer returns from investments out of Russia or if their profits collapse?

Baker McKenzie and DLA Piper have joined the plethora of firms announcing their exit from the Russian market.

Debevoise & Plimpton, Dentons, Dechert, and CMS have announced they are closing their Russian offices and exiting the market.

In the Official Gazette of the RS no. 131/2022 of November 29, 2022, the Decision on Fees for Registration and Other Services Provided by the Business Registers Agency was published, which regulates the type, amount and method of payment of fees for the registration procedure and other services provided by the Business Registers Agency in keeping registers and records (“the Decision”).

NKO Partners has advised the Dr. Max Group on its acquisition of the Sveti Sava pharmacy chain. Sole practitioners Biserka Crnoglavac and Mihajlo Micic reportedly advised the sellers.

The fact that the last 20 years have been marked by the expansion of digital markets has undoubtedly contributed to the "enthronement" of leading companies in dominant positions all over the planet, created issues of effective competition enforcement regulations and the obvious need for more comprehensive and better regulation of the markets themselves.

Parliamentary problems, governmental grievances, and ebbing economic sectors – aside from the consequences of the current state of global affairs – have been the talk of the town in Slovakia, according to AKMCL Partner Martin Jurecko.

On 4 October 2022, the Slovak parliament adopted an amendment to the Labour Code (the "Amendment") that enters into effect on 1 November 2022. The aim of the Amendment is mainly to implement two EU directives (No. 2019/1152 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the EU and No. 2019/1158 on work-life balance for parents and carers) and to respond to certain requirements resulting from application practice. In this article, we present an overview of the most important changes.

Former Aldertree Legal Partners Zoran Draskovic and Peter Hodal have joined Hillbridges as Partners together with their team.

Senica & Partners has advised the Viessmann Group on its acquisition of a minority stake in Nomnio. Iuuri Legal advised the sellers.

Corporate reorganizations, spin-offs, and a generational change among family-owned companies are among the key features of Slovenia’s current market, and the number of collective claims for damages is rising, according to Jadek & Pensa Partner Janja Zaplotnik.

Contributed by Ulcar & Partnerji.

Former Moscow-based Baker McKenzie Partner Simon Morgan has joined the Banking & Finance department of Baker Turkish affiliate Esin Attorney Partnership.

Paksoy has advised BAE Systems on the sale of its 49% stake in joint-venture company Nurol BAE Systems to Turkey's Nurol Holding.

Law No. 7420 has made significant amendments related to tax legislation. These amendments cover: the introduction of a new tax treatment on capital reduction, a time extension for conversion to a currency-protected deposit account, an extension of the deadline for the tax benefits granted to individual participation investors (angel investors), income tax exemption for the portion of the meal costs paid in cash to employees that do not exceed TRY 51, and amendments to the tourism share rates.

Sorainen has provided pro bono legal advice to the Entrepreneurs for Peace foundation on repairing all the explosion-damaged windows at the Ukrainian Society of the Deaf educational and manufacturing company in Chernihiv and preparing the building for the winter. 

The War in Ukraine left no market sectors unaffected and, according to Ilyashev & Partners Managing Partner Mikhail Ilyashev, things were no different for lawyers.

Integrites has successfully represented the interests of the Gradoliya Oil Extraction Plant in two stages of a tax dispute against the Main Directorate of the State Tax Services in the Kirovohrad region, Ukraine.