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Albania’s real estate market has undergone a significant transformation in the last decade, attracting global attention across the residential, commercial, and tourism sectors. This surge in interest is a result of the country’s economic and legislative reforms, political stability, successful justice reform implementation, and progress in the EU accession process. These factors collectively present investors with promising opportunities in Albania’s dynamic and evolving market.

On the evening of April 25, 2024, the Deal of the Year Awards Banquet brought together, under the same roof, top-tier lawyers from Central and Eastern Europe's leading law firms in the region in Warsaw.

On 15 February 2024, the Albanian Parliament adopted law no. 18/2024 “On some amendments and addendums on law no. 155/2015 ‘On gambling in the Republic of Albania’, as amended” (the “Gambling Law”). The amendment overturned a five-year ban on sports betting activities in Albania and entered into force on 27 March 2024.

Herbst Kinsky has advised Zouk Capital on leading Enspired's EUR 25.5 million series B financing round. Capital Push VC, Puspoek, Banpu Next, Vopak Ventures, and Presidio Ventures joined the round alongside existing investors Emerald Technology Ventures, Helen Ventures, 360 Capital, and EnBW New Ventures. KPMG Law advised Enspired.

Wolf Theiss has advised Addiko Bank on navigating the takeover bids submitted by Agri Europe Cyprus Limited and Nova Ljubljanska Banka. Cerha Hempel advised Agri Europe. Schoenherr advised NLB.

Dorda, working with Linklaters, Kromann Reumert, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, has advised Novo Holdings on its acquisition of Single Use Support. E+H advised the Single Use Support founders and Binder Groesswang advised Danaher on the sale side. Kirkland & Ellis reportedly advised Danaher as well.

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.

While local courts have been taking the stance that mortgage over the land does not extend to objects subsequently built on the mortgaged land, in one recent case, the Supreme Court of Republika Srpska (RS Supreme Court) took an entirely opposite one. Applicable laws support the stance of the RS Supreme Court. Clear treatment of this issue by the courts is important for both mortgage creditors and buyers of subsequently-built objects.

Respecting intellectual property rights (IPR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a journey less traveled, yet one of paramount importance in today’s digital age. In a world where information knows no bounds and creative works are easily shared with a click, the value of safeguarding original ideas and innovations often takes a back seat. Let’s dive into this exploration of the complexities surrounding intellectual property in a landscape where imitation frequently overshadows ingenuity. The lack of awareness and enforcement mechanisms regarding IPR poses significant challenges for creators and innovators striving to protect their work. Without proper safeguards in place, the risk of exploitation and unauthorized use looms large, hindering the growth of a dynamic and inventive environment within the nation. Additionally, as technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, navigating the intricate web of intellectual property laws becomes increasingly daunting for individuals and businesses alike.

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is a country in the south-east of Europe (the so-called “Balkan region”) with an area of 51,229 square kilometers. In accordance with its political and legal structure, BiH is divided into two entities (the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina – FBIH – and Republika Srpska – RS) and the Brcko District (BD BIH). The real estate market is a significant part of the economic activity of BiH and is governed by a set of legal regulations which follow international standards for the protection of property rights. In the course of 2022 and 2023, there was a strong investment wave in the real estate market.

The Energy & Climate Change practice of CMS has been booming in Bulgaria, according to Sofia Managing Partner and CEE Head of Energy & Climate Change Kostadin Sirleshtov, with work ranging from project, acquisitions, and financing mandates on renewables, to oil and gas, nuclear power, and a significant number of disputes.

Bulgaria, Boyanov & Co. Partner Kina Chuturkova highlights progress made in Bulgaria in terms of reforming the judicial system but areas where improvements are still needed remain.

The Supreme Court of Cassation of the Republic of Bulgaria recognized under "exceptional circumstances," the right of an active partner in a limited liability company to act as an ad hoc representative. This decision references to Articles 6 and 13 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECPHRFF) and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Divjak Topic Bahtijarevic & Krka has advised the Talan Group on its sale of a 60% stake in Solvis to Advance Capital Partners. Sole practitioners Branimir Zarkovic and Toni Smrcek advised ACP.

Savoric & Partners has advised Statkraft on its acquisition of Neoen's renewable projects in Croatia, including wind farms, solar power plants, and battery energy storage systems.

Krehic Law Firm has advised Elka on its acquisition of Elkakon from Cotra Business Center.

Kocian Solc Balastik has advised SMV Invest Group on an issue of perpetual certificates in the Czech Republic.

The new European data regulation introduces new rules for the use of information from smart devices. These rules define rights to access and use data created in the EU across all economic sectors and across smart devices from different manufacturers.

Greenberg Traurig has advised the Cromwell Property Group on its EUR 285 million sale of a real estate portfolio consisting of six retail centers located in Warsaw, Szczecin, Wroclaw, Lodz, Torun, and Bydgoszcz to Star Capital Finance. Dentons advised Star Capital Finance.

Kyriakides Georgopoulos, working with Vinge, has advised the EQT Investments group on its public offer to acquire Swedish renewable energy company OX2 for USD 1.51 billion through an SPV.

Kyriakides Georgopoulos has advised General Atlantic on its tender offer for the acquisition of the free-float shares in Greek issuer Epsilon Net, listed on the Athens Exchange.

In The Debrief, our Practice Leaders across CEE share updates on recent and upcoming legislation, consider the impact of recent court decisions, showcase landmark projects, and keep our readers apprised of the latest developments impacting their respective practice areas.

In the audit practice of the Hungarian Tax and Customs Administration (HTA), the audit of transfer pricing is gaining importance. Moreover, the relevant regulations are becoming more complex with each passing year. As the deadlines for transfer pricing documentation approach, it is worth reviewing what hidden pitfalls should be avoided when preparing documentation and providing data.

The decision of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on January 10 has stirred significant attention, as it granted approval for the listing of certain products based on Bitcoin on the stock exchange. The impact of this decision on the European and American securities markets, and whether similar steps will be taken, depends largely on the details – including the names assigned to cryptocurrency-based products.

The Court of Justice of the European Union has decided in two cases concerning Hungary in its judgments in joined cases C-420/22 and C-528/22, published on 25 April 2024.

Former Rask Partner Mart Rask has decided to end his career as an Attorney at Law and step down from the Estonian Bar Association. He will continue his work with his eponymous firm as an Advisor.

In a compact nation like Estonia, the prominence of construction projects can swiftly transcend local interests and become matters of national interest. The escalation of public attention toward large-scale construction projects invites heightened scrutiny by different interest groups. Notably, several recent projects have become entangled in legal disputes, profoundly impacting anticipated timelines and financial forecasts. This article aims to delineate emerging patterns from recent cases and offer recommendations aimed at preventing and avoiding legal contentions.

Linklaters and Cobalt have advised Mirova on its investment in the Estonia-based Baltic Storage Platform energy storage project, a joint venture between Corsica Sole and Evecon established in 2023.

Taking a deep dive into the most interesting recent developments in Kosovo, Vokshi & Lata Partner Florin Lata discusses a projected 4% GDP growth for the year, significant legal reforms across several sectors, as well as key business and economic drivers for the small Balkan market.

The ever-growing real estate market in Kosovo shows no signs of stopping. Even amid high prices, demand for real estate keeps growing. This demand is largely driven by Kosovo’s diaspora living in the EU and other Western countries. It is also fueled by foreign nationals and foreign companies who find properties in Pristina and other major cities in Kosovo attractive as investments.

Cytowski & Partners has advised Kode Labs on its USD 30 million series B financing round with Maverix Private Equity. Canada's Osler Hoskin & Harcourt advised Maverix.

Leadell has successfully represented Amazonen-Werke H. Dreyer in a trademark dispute.

Cobalt, working with Dentons, has advised Latvian national airline AirBaltic on its EUR 340 million issuance of senior secured bonds with a maturity of 5.25 years to be listed on the Euronext Dublin stock exchange. TGS Baltic, working with Linklaters, advised joint global coordinators BNP Paribas, Citi, and JP Morgan, joint bookrunners Morgan Stanley and SEB, and co-managers LHV and Signet Bank.

TGS Baltic, working with Hannes Snellman, has advised Accel-KKR on its majority equity investment in the Aico Group.

Across Europe, defense sectors are experiencing significant transformations and budgetary escalations, driven by a need for enhanced military readiness and modernization. Avellum Partner Andriy Romanchuk, Cobalt Partner Deividas Soloveicik, Nagy es Trocsanyi Partner Gyorgy Kiszely, and Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii Partner Serban Paslaru take a closer look at defense spending in their respective countries.

Averus has advised sellers Arunas Suika and Renata Suikiene on their sale of VS Fitness – operating eight fitness clubs in Lithuania – to Gym Plius. Ellex Valiunas reportedly advised the buyer. Estonian investment bank LHV financed the transaction.

Fort has advised EIKA Grupe on its purchase, together with the Etapas Group, of the plot and project planned for the site at 4 Seinu Street, in Vilnius, from NT Pletros Grupe. Sorainen reportedly advised the seller.

North Macedonia faces an increasing interest and need to attract foreign workers to fill low-skilled job positions. The existing regulatory framework, however, poses significant barriers to employing foreign nationals. This article will outline the benefits of simplifying these procedures, the pressing need for reform, and how changes could align Macedonia with broader European Union trends.

In recent years, the real estate market in the Republic of North Macedonia, particularly in its capital city of Skopje, has witnessed significant activity. Statistics indicate a consistent trend of construction and sale of numerous residential apartments. Notably, despite the steady increase in real estate prices since 2021, there has been a notable surge in demand for residential apartment purchases. Concurrently, investor interest in constructing residential and office buildings remains robust, showing no significant signs of decline.

Schoenherr has advised the owners of ITgma on the sale of a majority ownership stake to Modirum.

This legislative monitoring report covers the introduction of new rules regulating public procurement in international relations, the adoption of the Free Trade Agreement between the Republic of Moldova and EFTA member states, the introduction of new rules regulating trademarks from 2027, the adoption of the regulation on audiovisual content. The document also provides for the approval of the regulation on the environmental management of mercury waste, the adoption of the law on hunting and the protection of game resources, the implementation of the national programme for the development of creative industries "Creative Moldova" for the years 2024-2027, as well as the optimisation of the use of industrial parks. 

Dolea & Co Partner Sorin Dolea talks about the evolution of energy projects and their role in Moldova's legal landscape over the last 10 years.

On the evening of April 25, 2024, the Deal of the Year Awards Banquet brought together, under the same roof, top-tier lawyers from Central and Eastern Europe's leading law firms in the region in Warsaw.

On 13 May 2024, the Parliament of Montenegro passed the Draft Law on amendments to the Copyright Law. The entry into force is yet to be announced, but it could be expected after June 2024.

In the last decade, Montenegro has focused on creating a favorable business environment, attracting renowned foreign investors and resulting in significant economic development and growth. The government has been focusing on high-level tourism, transitioning from seasonal to year-round hotels that offer luxurious stays and services.

BDK Advokati has advised Turkish Net Holding subsidiary Net Montenegro on a casino concession agreement with the Government of Montenegro.

Gide has advised Redkom Development on the forward sale of a retail park in Bielsko-Biala to Newgate Investment. CMS advised Newgate Investment. Dabrowski & Partners reportedly advised Redkom Development as well.

CK Legal Chabasiewicz Kowalska has advised PragmaGO on the issuance of series EUR1 bonds with a total nominal value of EUR 3.5 million.

DWF has advised CDRL on the process of obtaining compensation from a direct investment insurance contract in Belarus worth PLN 18 million.

Filip & Company has advised Romania's RCS & RDS on signing two export credit facility agreements totaling EUR 117.16 million for the acquisition of goods and services to develop its telecom networks in Romania and Portugal and advised its Digi Spain Telecom subsidiary on a EUR 50 million uncommitted and unsecured credit facility agreement.

Former Teleperformance Chief Legal Officer Laura Rudnyanszky has joined Accenture in Bucharest as the company's Offerings Counsel Manager – Global Legal Network.

PGC Partners has advised the Premier Group on the building acquisition and, following its restoration, the launch of the Tudor Arghezi House and Premier Business Center, a boutique hotel and office building in Bucharest.

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 Serbia, most of the exclusivity arrangements between pharma companies need to be, prior to their implementation, individually exempt by the Serbian Competition Authority (“SCA”). Most recently, the SCA issued two decisions in the individual exemption process. In one it denied, while, in the other it only conditionally approved individual exemptions for exclusive distribution agreements between pharmaceutical companies. These developments show a noticeable shift in the SCA’s stand towards exclusivity arrangements with the SCA taking a stringent approach, limiting the parties' ability to contract exclusivity arrangements in the sector.

Cvjeticanin & Partners has advised health influencer Nastasja Nedimovic – known as the Cancer Influencer – on intellectual property matters. 

Companies are not obliged to use the stamp while doing business, as stated in Article 15 paragraph 1 of the Company law of Montenegro ("Company Law"). The legislator’s intention when prescribing freedom while regulating use of stamps in doing business was to unburden the Company’s business, i.e. to not burden the business with additional formal conditions, as well as to leave the issue of the use of the stamp to the company to regulate it by a general or special internal act.

As we outlined in our earlier article, the option of a demerger by means of a spin-off (odštiepenie) is a significant innovation introduced into the Slovak corporate landscape by the Transformations Act.

In The Debrief, our Practice Leaders across CEE share updates on recent and upcoming legislation, consider the impact of recent court decisions, showcase landmark projects, and keep our readers apprised of the latest developments impacting their respective practice areas.

In The Corner Office, we ask Managing Partners at law firms across Central and Eastern Europe about their backgrounds, strategies, and responsibilities. Given the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the legal profession, we asked: What is the one critical skill that you’re investing time and energy in to develop within your team, and why?

Wolf Theiss has advised Addiko Bank on navigating the takeover bids submitted by Agri Europe Cyprus Limited and Nova Ljubljanska Banka. Cerha Hempel advised Agri Europe. Schoenherr advised NLB.

The Slovenian real estate market is characterized by an excess of demand over supply, especially in the residential real estate sector, which has pushed property prices sky-high. Low interest rates on financing in recent years have led to a number of easy-profit-seeking (half-professional) investors – usually project companies building so-called “above-standard” construction.

ODI Law has advised German Katera Beteiligungs-Verwaltungsgesellschaft P11 mbH on its acquisition of an 87,58% shareholding in Nama from Zavarovalnica Triglav and Generali. Senica & Partners advised Zavarovalnica Triglav on the deal.

Paksoy, working with Herbert Smith Freehills, has advised the joint lead managers of QNB Finansbank's USD 500 million issuance of 2029 bonds. Mayer Brown reportedly advised the issuer.

Paksoy, working with Mayer Brown, has advised Turk Ekonomi Bank on its EUR 100 million issuance of tier 2 notes due 2034, invested by the International Finance Corporation. Gedik & Eraksoy, working with Allen & Overy Shearman, reportedly advised the IFC.

Norton Rose Fulbright affiliate law firm Pekin Bayar Mizrahi has advised the shareholders of Sincanli Tractor on the sale of shares to TVH Parts. Baker McKenzie's affiliate law firm of Esin Attorney Partnership advised TVH.

On 15 May 2024, amendments to the Labour Code of Ukraine came into effect aiming to regulate the rights and obligations of parties in labour relations during a change of control over business. The Ukrainian parliament adopted such amendments to align Ukrainian legislation with EU Directive 2001/23/EC, dated 12 March 2001.

Despite the ongoing war, there was a significant increase in Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) transactions and private equity (PE) investments in 2023 compared to 2022, predominantly in the IT sector. Openly accessible market evaluations indicate that the volume of M&A deals might have reached $1.7 billion in 2023, five times more than in 2022. While that does not quite match the level of activity observed in 2021, it sets a cautiously optimistic tone for 2024.

Sayenko Kharenko has successfully represented Agrocenter, Zmiivska Ovocheva Fabryka, Kombinat Teplychny, Kremenchytska Ovocheva Fabryka, Ovochevyy Kombinat Stanyshivka, Perspektyva, Greenhouse Complex Dniprovsky, and Uman Greenhouse Complex in initiating anti-dumping investigation against imports into Ukraine of cucumbers and tomatoes originating from Turkiye.