On September 9, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that Ibrahimovic & Co had advised Studen & Co Holding on an agreement with the Brcko District's Government to build a free business zone in the district. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Natasa Pucar, Corporate Communication Director at Studen & Co Holding, to learn more about the matter.
CEEIHM: To start, tell us a bit about Studen& Co Holding and its operations in BiH.
Pucar: From Vienna as the parent position, through well-established business models, Studen Holding establishes its production and distribution companies in the food industry of B&H and the region. The strategic food industry, which includes the production of sugar and edible oils, is the focus of our activities. Studen Holding has founded the largest agro-industrial complex in B&H and developed companies that show positive economic changes.
As the largest foreign investor in the food industry, we recognize that meeting the food needs of the domestic and export markets is not the only need, so we actively working on a comprehensive investment cycle in the Brcko District. The project entitled "Business Initiative for Comprehensive Improvement of the Business Environment and Living Standards in the Brcko District of B&H" identifies projects that bring investments of more than 500 million BAM. The first project of Studen Holding includes the establishment of the first business zone in Brcko, which is a further topic of this interview.
CEEIHM: What does the agreement with the Brcko District's Government entail and what were the main driving forces behind this deal from your perspective?
Pucar: The Assembly of the Brcko District of B&H adopted the Decision on Public Property through special agreements in June this year, and that is a precondition for the revitalization of economic and general life in the Brcko District through advocacy for economic development and serious work on the exploitation of economic potentials. We are aware that this is an opportunity for new jobs and also a long-term positive impact on the business environment in Brcko. So, the main driving force is economic growth.
CEEIHM: What were the most complex aspects of this deal from a legal perspective?
Pucar: It is important to point out that the Agreement was signed on the basis of the Special Agreement Decision unanimously adopted by the Brcko District Assembly, which is a precedent in the decision-making process so far, and a clear proof that foreign investments are undoubtedly in the general interest of the community.
Law firm Ibrahimovic & Co successfully negotiated all the elements of the Contract, so the Assembly adopted the proposed method of disposal. By signing the Agreement with the SCO Group, Brcko District and Bosnia and Herzegovina will get a chance for a new development momentum, but also send a message that Bosnia and Herzegovina becomes a new investment location where there are obstacles, but also the will and way to overcome them.
CEEIHM: What was Ibrahimovic& Co's mandate on the matter?
Pucar: The law firm Ibrahimovic & Co was engaged from business idea to its realization and signing of the Agreement. With long experience in the economy of Brcko and acquisitions in the region, they conducted negotiations and represented our interests in the procedure that lasted throughout the year, but together we reached the desired goal, thanks to a good knowledge of regulations and business climate. With the support of this legal team - we are confident that every challenge is overcome.
CEEIHM: And why did you pick them specifically as your advisor on the deal?
Pucar: Our business and companies are changing rapidly and law firm Ibrahimovic & Co is leading the way in advancing change for our benefit. They provide specific advice required to get a deal done and solve all business challenges. Also, they have different theoretical backgrounds and know legal traditions in West Balkan’s countries with 20 years of experience.
Originally reported by CEE In-House Matters.