“It’s very complicated at this moment, with most people changing their mind very often,” says Irena Georgieva, Managing Partner of PPG Lawyers in Sofia, about the situation in Bulgaria. “Everybody is focused on their personal Covid-19-related problems and it’s hard to adequately measure what the community really thinks about the government, as somehow all political decisions are inextricably linked with pandemic issues.”
Energy consumers in Bulgaria have been facing two major challenges lately. Within the last several years power prices on the Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange (IBEX) are showing uncanny volatility. At times they reached remarkable peaks, not only for the Balkans, but for the EU as well. Then, the security of supply has been in doubt, due to sometimes poor power connection.
Since the cessation of the widely-used LIBOR benchmark has become a realistic prospect, due to the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s announcements that it will stop supporting this benchmark at the end of 2021, the question of what will take its place has become a hot topic for lenders and lawyers drafting credit agreements.
In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time: “What one ongoing pro bono initiative or project or charity/volunteering project that your firm is involved with has the most meaning for you personally, and why?”
The dynamic and challenging 2020 somehow distracted the attention of the EU citizens and businesses to the fact that on 31 January last year the United Kingdom made its important step out of the European Union. The transitional period, that was agreed to cover the whole 2020, ensured no changes to the way the day-to-day business was done during the past year. That came to its end on 1 January 2021, when the UK effectively left the European Union and the free movement of workers between the EU member states and the United Kingdom was officially over.
"The majority of us will be more than happy to see 2020 behind us,” laughs Stefana Tsekova, Local Partner at Schoenherr Sofia. “But luckily for us at Schoenherr, it was a good year, especially for big ticket deals. We advised on the Vivacom deal, valued at 1.3 billion euros, making it the biggest deal ever on the Bulgarian market. It started before the Covid crisis hit, but luckily it continued. We actually advised on another big transaction on the energy sector as well — the acquisition by Enery Development of the biggest photovoltaic plant operational in Bulgaria, with 50 MW installed capacity [as reported by CEE Legal Matters on September 15, 2020]. So in terms of deals we were lucky.”
DGKV has successfully represented Bulgaria's Mezzanine Partners Consortium before the Fund Manager of Financial Instruments in Bulgaria EAD, the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition, and the Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court, in a public procurement tender (and related disputes) for a manager of a BGN 75.4 million (approximately EUR 38.5 million) Mezzanine Fund/ Growth Fund, which is designed to provide financing to small and medium enterprises.
CMS and Arsov Natchev Ganeva have advised contractor Arkad on the completion of the Balkan Stream Gas Pipeline project, which was completed at the end of December, 2020. Dentons’s Dubai office, KPMG Legal and Tsvetkova Bebov Komarevski in Bulgaria, and Latham & Watkins in Russia reportedly also advised the contractor on the deal. Linklaters’s London office, reportedly assisted by DGKV in Bulgaria, advised unspecified lenders on financing for the project.
On 16 December the Bulgarian Council of Ministers adopted a Decree amending the local Ordinance for exercising the right of access to medical care. It concerns medical activities covered by the National Health Insurance Fund. This is the first attempt at national legislation regulating electronic referrals and prescriptions.