Business is good in Bulgaria at the moment, according to Ilko Stoyanov, Partner at Schoenherr in Sofia. He draws particular attention to the real estate market — especially the shopping mall segment, which has seen four Sofia malls change owners already this year. Stoyanov isn’t able to pinpoint a particular reason for the boom, but notes that two of the malls (The Mall and the Serdika Center) are expected to be sold to a "sizeable investor” — New Europe Property Investments. The price of real estate has increased in 2017, according to Stoyanov, “reaching levels close to before the financial crisis."
Schoenherr is representing Cubic (London) Limited and core shareholders including San Gabriel Privatstiftung and T.R. Privatstiftung on the sale of their controlling stake in C-Quadrat Investment AG to the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group (Hong Kong) Co., Limited. C-Quadrat is an independent asset manager listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange.
We are living in a digital age. The Snowden case has placed certain aspects of personal data processing and related threats in the spotlight. The ripple effects have been seen far beyond the USA, and Bulgaria has also been affected by discussions on how personal data is used. However, personal data protection is a post factum topic when problems and questions arise. Many Bulgarians have heard about personal data, but few are interested in finding out more. The protection of personal data is, generally, not taken seriously.
Since the publication of Regulation No. 2016/679 of the European Parliament and Council on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (GDPR), it is certain that the regulatory framework of data handling and personal data protection will significantly change.
Schoenherr has advised Austrian Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) on its merger with unlisted Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG (RZB). RZB was advised by bpv Hugel.
Ostermann & Partners has assisted APS Holding with its acquisition of a Croatian portfolio of non-performing loans with a nominal value significantly exceeding EUR 100 million from Hrvatska Postanska Banka with the approval of the Croatian National Bank. The Hrvatska Postanska Bank was reportedly advised by Schoenherr.
Andreas Koehler has moved from Dentons to join CMS's Budapest office along with Senior Associate Gabor Toth.
Former Dentons Counsel Zita Albert has joined Schoenherr as a Local Partner to lead the Budapest office's Corporate/M&A team.
BDK Advokati and Dentons have advised Expobank CZ A.S. on the acquisition of 100% of shares in Marfin Bank A.D. Beograd from Cyprus Popular Bank Public Co Ltd. Moravcevic Vojnovic and Partners in cooperation with Schoenherr, working alongside Linklaters, advised Bank of Cyprus Public Company Limited on the restructuring of receivables against Marfin Bank which facilitated the sale.
Austrian White Collar Crime specialist Heidemarie Paulitsch has announced the founding of her own commercial criminal law boutique, where she "represents individuals and advises companies on their internal processes and in case of governmental investigations and leads national and international compliance projects." She also teaches workshops on the topics of House Searches and Anti-Corruption Law.
In November, the Bulgarian Parliament began debating the amendments to the Competition Protection Act (CPA) with respect to the implementation of the EU’s Directive 2014/104/EE on Damages Actions for Antitrust Infringements (the “Directive”). Interestingly, the main aim of the Directive and the proposed amendments to the CPA – facilitating the private enforcement of infringements of competition law – coincides with what is probably the biggest cartel investigation in the history of the Bulgarian Commission for Competition Protection (CCP).
Schoenherr has advised publicly traded, global sugar, starch and fruit processor Agrana Beteiligungsverwaltungs-Aktiengesellschaft as issuer on its successful rights offering of 1,420,204 new shares, combined with a secondary offering of 500,000 existing Agrana shares held by Sudzucker AG, one of Agrana's core shareholders. Joint global coordinators Berenberg, BNP Paribas, Erste Group, and Raiffeisen Bank International were advised by Clifford Chance Deutschland and Weber & Co. Rechtsanwalte, while Sudzucker was represented by Wolf Theiss.