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Boyanov & Co and Kalo & Associates have advised Albania Telecom Invest Bulgaria and One Telecommunications SHA Albania on a refinancing loan made by a club of banks including OTP Bank Hungary, DSK Bank Bulgaria, and Banka OTP Albania, for a principal amount of EUR 37 million with a maturity of 10 years. Wolf Theiss advised the lenders on the deal.

The global pandemic has impacted all markets, with subsequent ramifications for M&A. Investors are now seeking greater protection against general lock-downs and supply-chain disruptions, while governments aim to protect critical supplies and services by imposing new regulations on foreign investment in crucial or strategic industries.

Akin Gump, Bogdanovic, Dolicki & Partneri, Maric & Co, Isailovic & Partners, Harrisons, Zdolsek Attorneys at Law, Boga & Associates, Popovski & Partners, and Forgo Damjanovic & Partners have advised Croatian conglomerate Fortenova Grupa d.d., on the EUR 615 million sale of its frozen food business to Nomad Foods. Norton Rose Fulbright, Lakatos, Koves & Partners, and five firms from the SEE Legal alliance advised Nomad Foods on the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.

“Today, what we are doing, is modernizing the financial services industry, tearing down those antiquated laws, and granting banks significant new authority.” President Clinton’s quote is quite relevant nowadays in Albania, where a major overhaul of the financial system’s legal architecture is being implemented. Indeed, in just three weeks, the Albanian Parliament enacted four very important pieces of legislation: the Law on Payment Services, the Law on Capital Markets, the Law on Collective Investment Undertakings, and the Law on Financial Markets Based on Distributed Ledgers Technology.

The control of merger transactions was first introduced in Albania in 1995. This law, however, provided only rudimentary guidance, and merger control really took off only after 2003, following the approval of Law no. 9121, “On Competition Protection” (the “Competition Law”), which established an independent competition authority – the Albanian Competition Authority (the ACA) – and provided for procedures that were aligned with EU standards. The Competition Law has been amended a number of times to further approximate its provisions with the EU acquis. The ACA has also issued regulations and instructions for the implementation of the merger control regime.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Western Balkans right during a period of accelerating economic activity and a promising economic outlook for 2020. The rapid spread of the virus forced the governments of the Western Balkans countries to introduce protective measures, lockdowns, and temporary business shutdowns. These restrictions had a devastating direct economic impact on a wide range of sectors – particularly the hospitality and transport industries – and the measures had many indirect side effects that significantly decreased economic activity.

Over the past few years CMS advised the OTP Bank Group on an extensive series of acquisitions across Bulgaria, Moldova, and former Yugoslavia. This series of separate deals was shortlisted for CEE Legal Matters’ CEE Deal of the Year in each of the countries involved, actually winning the 2018 Deal of the Year for Bulgaria and the 2019 Deal of the Year Award for Montenegro. We reached out to Eva Talmacsi, who led CMS’s multi-jurisdictional team, to learn more about the firm’s impressive work on OTP’s behalf.

"Albania right now has a loaded political and economic situation,” says A.R.S. Legal & Financial Services Manager and Attorney at Law Elisabeta Nezaj, "considering the earthquake that hits on November 26th." That 6.4-magnitude earthquake that hit northwestern Albania was felt mainly in Durres and Tirana and as far away as Taranto and Belgrade, ultimately killing 51 people in the country — making it the world’s deadliest earthquake in 2019 — and causing massive damage to homes and infrastructure. According to her, "all government bodies are focused on providing help for the people who suffered from this event, and we are taking support from other governments to reconstruct the buildings that were damaged.”

Albanian Knowledge Partner

Hoxha, Memi & Hoxha is top tier an independent Albanian business law firm. Founded in 2003 by a group of accomplished, internationally-trained lawyers, over the course of the years the firm has acquired an outstanding reputation for professionalism and diligence.

As a full service commercial law firm, HM&H provides legal services in all core areas of business law and assist clients with solid legal support for the development of their venture. With substantive sector know-how, the firm combines high level sophisticated counselling with straightforward, clear and business-driven advice. The firm has adopted a collaborative and entrepreneurial attitude to provide creative and practical client-specific solutions.

HM&H has a dynamic team of attorneys that are adept at dealing with legal matters in various areas of law. The firm always acts in the best interest of its client, while never compromising its core principles and independence. The firm is committed to rendering legal services based on the highest ethical and professional standards, which can only be achieved through a total commitment to the clients' goals and the firms' core values of client focus, teamwork, trust and integrity.

Over the past decades, HM&H has assisted an increasing number of prominent international companies and the firm now assists and provides advisory services to several of the largest local and international corporations operating in Albania.

HM&H has a long tradition of advising clients on cross-border transactions across the Balkans and key European markets. As such, the firm has developed a broad network of corresponding law firms, allowing us to offer clients impeccable service in multiple jurisdictions.

HM&H is a member of the South East Legal Alliance – SELA, a regional network of leading independent law firms operating across South East Europe. SELA takes a cohesive approach to cross-border legal advisory, offering integrated teams and seamless service to clients across the region.

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