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The SEE Legal law firm alliance has announced the formal launch of two new practice groups, one dedicated to Employment and Immigration, headed by Kolcuoglu Demirkan Kocakli Counsel Maral Minasyan, and one dedicated to Intellectual Property, headed by Selih & Partnerji Partner Natasa Pipan Nahtigal.

“The political situation in Albania is charged at the moment,” says Eris Hoxha, Partner at Hoxha, Memi & Hoxha in Tirana, who explains that “because of the upcoming elections in April 2021, the political campaign is well underway.” 

In 2015, Albania harmonized its legislation with EU Directive 2009/72/EC through law no. 43/2015 “On Electrical Energy Sector” (the “Energy Law”).

Schoenherr has advised Christian Bamberger, SK Capital GmbH, Foxyflo GmbH, Christian Waldheim, and Martin Mrvka on the sale of 100% of shares in Austrian communication-platform-as-a-service companies ATMS, SMS.AT, and WebSMS to Norwegian Link Mobility Holding ASA. AGP Advokater AS and EY Law advised Link Mobiliy on the transaction, which closed on November 16, 2020.

Herbst Kinsky has advised investment company Round2Capital Partners GmbH & Co KG on its EUR 6.6 million financing round.

Former Schindler Attorneys Counsel Julia Kusznier has become the co-head of IP/IT at KPMG Law in Austria. 

The political situation in Belarus at the moment is “quite challenging,” says Darya Zhuk, the Managing Partner of Cobalt’s Minsk office, referring to the fallout from the August 9 presidential election. “People have been protesting in the streets since the election,” she says, and discontent about the results of that election are being felt “deep inside every sphere of society.”

Sorainen has helped the Turkey Wealth Fund obtain approval from the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of the Republic of Belarus for the acquisition of control over Belarusian Telecommunications Network CJSC, one of three Belarusian mobile network operators and a member of the Turkcell group.

Sorainen's Belarus office has advised Australia's Aristocrat Digital gambling machine manufacturer on an undisclosed investment in Belarusian game development studio Neskin Games.

There is an interesting legal tool in the Competition Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina (originally adopted in 2005), that is seldom seen in other jurisdictions. Per the legal framework, the governing body of the local competition authority, the Competition Council, consists of six members appointed in order to reflect the complex ethnic structure of the country: two Bosnians, two Croats, and two Serbs.

In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: ”What is your single most favorite client matter in your career?”

Although Bosnia & Herzegovina is relatively small, and despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Bojana Bosnjak-London, Partner in the Corporate/M&A practice of Maric & Co in Sarajevo, reports that her team has been busy, noting that they were “lucky to land quite a few good deals.”

Boyanov & Co has helped Ideal Standard Vidima obtain a loan of EUR 65 million, with EUR 45 million coming the DSK Bank and another EUR 20 million from the United Bulgarian Bank. 

Gugushev & Partners has helped Fr. Lurssen Werft GmbH & Co KG, part of Northern Germany's Lurssen shipyard group, win a public tender for the supply of two multipurpose modular patrol vessels to the Bulgarian Navy.

Boyanov & Co has formed new practice groups in Technology, Corporate Governance and Compliance, and Construction Law. 

Marohnic, Tomek & Gjoic has advised LCN Capital Partners on its acquisition of five Emmezeta retail and warehouse units in Croatia. Josip Martinic in cooperation with Wolf Theiss reportedly advised the seller on the deal.

Cipcic-Bragadin Mesic & Associates has advised Pfizer on a global business combination with Mylan N.V. The transaction involved a spin-off of Pfizer’s Upjohn business and a subsequent merger of that business with Mylan N.V. to form a new global generics company, called "Viatris." Bird & Bird was global lead counsel to Pfizer, with Karanovic & Partners providing local support for Serbia and Jadek & Pensa providing local support in Slovenia. 

"The Croatian government is a bit under fire right now for not implementing stricter measures to deal with the uptick in Covid cases,” reports Kallay & Partners Partner Mara Terihaj Macura. Still, she concedes it’s a difficult problem. “There are still businesses that are open and operating despite the numbers being higher now than they were in the spring – but according to the economic experts another lockdown would be disastrous for the economy, so it’s difficult to find the balance.” 

BPV Braun Partners has advised Generali Investments CEE, an investment company acting on behalf of the Generali Real Estate Fund, on the acquisition of an early 20th-century building in Prague from Ferd s.r.o. Ferd was reportedly advised by AK Svec Rychterova on the transaction.

Kocian Solc Balastik has advised ING Bank Slaski on financing to an unidentified borrower for the acquisition of two LET Aircraft Industries L-410 UVP E-20 aircrafts, which also included special packages containing radars, long-range observation systems, SATCOM datalink, automatic vessel ID system, rescue equipment allowing for carrying out maritime patrol tasks, and hardware for supporting maritime SAR operations.

Glatzova & Co has advised Bike Fun Nederland B.V. on the sale of Bike Fun International, a company based in the Czech city of Koprivnice, to ConsilTech. HKR advised ConsilTech on the deal.

Zepos & Yannopoulos has advised the Generali Group on the acquisition of an office building in Athens from Panterra.

Zepos & Yannopoulos has assisted Globecast France throughout an international open tender procedure for the provision of global signal transmission by the Hellenic Broadcasting Organization

Allen & Overy has advised Lamda Hellix on its sale to Digital Realty subsidiary Interxion. Linklaters advised the buyer on the deal. 

On August 3, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Sorainen had advised Montonio on its generation of EUR 500,000 from both Estonian and international investors. CEEIHM spoke with Rasmus Oisma, Director at Montonio Finance, to learn more about the matter.

Former Dechert Counsel Daniel Dozsa has joined recently-established Dispute Resolution boutique Queritius in Budapest.

On 20 March 2015 the Hungarian Competition Authority ("HCA") imposed a staggering fine on Auchan for abusing its significant market power. The HUF 1.06bln (approx. EUR 3m) fine is the highest ever imposed by the authority for the infringement of the Trade Act (Act CLXIV of 2005 on Trade). Although the decision is from 2015, the Hungarian courts put an end to the judicial review only now. The Supreme Court of Hungary has upheld the HCA's decision in its entirety.

The Estonian office of Fort Legal has advised LHV Pension Funds on the acquisition of three stock office-type commercial buildings in Juri in the Rae municipality of Estonia. The transaction remains contingent on Competition Authority approval.

Pohla & Hallmagi has advised Arca Varahaldus on its EUR 6.2 million sale of property in Tallinn to EfTEN Real Estate Fund III AS subsidiary EfTEN SPV19 OU. 

Ellex Raidla has advised the 1more Project on its EUR 21 million acquisition of two buildings in Tallinn from Hammerhead.

The SEE Legal law firm alliance has announced the formal launch of two new practice groups, one dedicated to Employment and Immigration, headed by Kolcuoglu Demirkan Kocakli Counsel Maral Minasyan, and one dedicated to Intellectual Property, headed by Selih & Partnerji Partner Natasa Pipan Nahtigal.

The energy infrastructure in Kosovo has not undergone major change over the past few decades. Due to high reserves of lignite, 97% of Kosovo’s electricity generation comes from two aging coal power plants. Unfortunately, lignite-coal of the kind found in Kosovo is among the most polluting and least efficient sources of energy. Consequently, Kosovo’s infrastructure is outdated and a major source of air pollution.

After operating under the brands Andersen Tax, Andersen Legal, and Andersen Tax & Legal, the member firms of Andersen Global in Europe, will now operate under a single brand: "Andersen".

The Latvian office of Sorainen has advised the USS Grupp on its acquisition of the Latvian branch of the Securitas security services company.

Cobalt, acting pro bono, has represented the "Association of LGBT and Their Friends Mozaika" as amicus curiae before the Constitutional Court of Latvia regarding the right of same-sex couples to parental leave.

Arendt & Medernach has helped INVL Asset Management launch the INVL Sustainable Timberland and Farmland Fund II.

TGS Baltic has successfully represented Lithuanian Airports in a dispute with the Active Construction Management over major repairs carried out in Vilnius Airport.

Sorainen has advised the Modus Group on launching a second public bond issuance, expected to attract investment of EUR 8 million. The bonds are being distributed by Saiuliu Bankas and will be traded on First North, an alternative market administrated by Nasdaq.

Squire Patton Boggs and Eversheds Sutherland have advised the Miss Group on its acquisition of Interneto Vizija from its founders. Walless advised the sellers on the deal.

In merger control, the standstill obligation requires that the parties refrain from implementing a concentration before obtaining the required merger clearance. This duty represents a cornerstone of many merger control regimes and is intended to protect the structure of the market and the consumers from any damage that could result from a transaction that had not been properly examined and could turn out to be anti-competitive.

Like many countries in the region, 2020 in North Macedonia’s was an election year, and the recent formation of its new government, according to CMS Partner Marija Filipovska, “hopefully heralds a bit more stable of a period to come.” According to her, “the newly elected government is strongly pro-EU and is also very vocal in favoring Western investment” which she believes could “create a stable environment in which FDI can flow stronger if (the government) is doing their job.”

The SEE Legal law firm alliance has announced the formal launch of two new practice groups, one dedicated to Employment and Immigration, headed by Kolcuoglu Demirkan Kocakli Counsel Maral Minasyan, and one dedicated to Intellectual Property, headed by Selih & Partnerji Partner Natasa Pipan Nahtigal.

“The most important news right now in Moldova relates to the results of the recent presidential elections,” says Cobzac & Partners Managing Partner Daniel Cobzac, from Chisinau, referring to the November 15 victory of former World Bank economist Maia Sandu over incumbent Igor Dodon, the leader of the pro-Russian “Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova,” which holds a parliamentary majority.

Turcan Cazac Managing Partner Alexander Turcan has been elected Vice President of the Chisinau Bar.

Romania's Mares & Mares law firm and Moldova's Dolea & Co have entered into a strategic alliance aimed at, according to Mares & Mares, “providing integrated legal services in Romania and the Republic of Moldova in the field of white-collar crime, investigations, international disputes, as well as commercial and investment arbitration."

“As much as we don’t want to deal mess with politics – it seems to be messing with us,” says Milena Roncevic Pejovic, Partner and Head of the Montenegrin practice at Karanovic & Partners. “Montenegro is waiting for the new government to form, and until that happens, everything is on hold, more or less.”

Montenegro first introduced a State aid control framework in 2011 in preparation for initiating the EU accession process. Almost ten years later, as the candidate country currently furthest along its accession journey, Montenegro has largely harmonized its State aid framework with the EU acquis. Still, the current level of enforcement and transparency leave a lot of room for improvement.

Harrisons Podgorica office has advised Aer Rianta International on its five-year duty-free concession to run retail stores at the Tivat and Podgorica airports in Montenegro. 

SSW Pragmatic Solutions has advised Stelmet on the squeeze-out and withdrawal of its shares from the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Stelmet’s majority shareholder, Stanislaw Bienkowski, purchased all of the shares previously owned by minority shareholders.

JDP has helped the 4PL Central Station Group establish a joint venture with an unidentified Polish company. Grant Thornton advised the Polish co-venturer on the deal. 

CMS has advised British insurance intermediary PIB Group Limited on the acquisition of WDB, an independent insurance broker in Poland. SSW Pragmatic Solutions advised the sellers, Mariusz Muszynski, Mateusz Holly, and Piotr Kumiega, on the deal.

By means of recent changes to the Energy and Gas Law no. 123/2012 (the “Energy Law”), the operators holding concession over the electricity distribution grid (the “Distribution Operators”) have been compelled to take over the ownership over private electricity distribution grids and related energetic capacities (the “Energetic Capacities”) in specific cases set out thereby. In addition, the amendments to the Regulation for the connection of users to the public interest electricity grids (the ”Connection Regulation”) which will enter into force in January 1, 2021 changed the ownership regime over the Energetic Capacities built for connecting new users (such as power producers), by recognizing the ownership right of such users and their right to sell the capacities to the Distribution Operators.

Over the last couple of months, CEE Legal Matters reported on the launch by Romania's Mares & Mares law firm of two new alliances with firms specialized in White-Collar Crime – one in Moldova and one in Israel. We spoke with Mihai Mares, founder and Managing Partner of the firm, about his career and his firm's history, as well as the rationale behind the new alliances.

BPV Grigorescu Stefanica has advised Supernova on its acquisition of the Jupiter City Shopping Mall in Pitesti, Romania, from Mall Retail Rom. PeliPartners advised the seller on the deal.

Former Senior Associate Oleg Todua has been promoted to Local Partner at White & Case’s Moscow office as part of a global promotions round.

Hogan Lovells’s Moscow office has advised Digital Assets on its acquisition of Zvuk, a Russian independent music streaming service.

Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners has successfully represented ZMK 1520 in a dispute with New Forwarding Company over the replacement supply of railway wagons heard by  the Supreme Court of Russia.

Dentons has advised Umweltbank Aktiengessellschaft, GLS Gemeinschaftsbank EG, and two investment funds managed by Triodos Investment Management on the acquisition of a majority stake in Opportunity Banka a.d. Novi Sad, a Serbian bank, from Opportunity Transformation Investments inc. Andric Law Office provided Serbian advice to the buyers, and Schoenherr reportedly advised Opportunity Transformation Investments.

Zivkovic Samardzic has been appointed the representative of SNAP Inc. under the Serbian Data Protection Act, following a decision by the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection.

The Tax Administration of the Republic of Serbia has recently published a call to natural persons who acquired income abroad in the past period to file tax applications, calculate and pay taxes and contributions for mandatory social insurance with relevant interest as soon as possible, in order to avoid offence liability.

This article is an excerpt of Producing in CEE, Dentons’ guide to tax and financial incentives for film, television and digital media production.

Havel & Partners has advised Austria's Innofreight Consulting & Logistics on the formation of a joint venture with Slovakia's Budamar Logistics. Hamala Kluch Viglasky advised Budamar Logistics on the deal.

Havel & Partners has advised Vision Ventures on its venture capital investment in Slovakian start-up Eatster, which operates an online food order application.

The adoption of Directive 2014/104/EU ("Damages Directive"), which introduced a level playing field for the private competition law enforcement regime among EU Member States, has paved the way for private enforcement to gain more traction in the EU.

As it is in many other countries, the reemergence of Covid is the dominant issue in Slovenia. “With restrictive measures on movement and businesses back in place, everybody is trying to just make it through the whole thing,” says Kavcic, Bracun, & Partners Partner Aleksandra Mitic. “Everything else has taken a backseat – all the politicizing and bickering have faded into the background.” 

DLA Piper and Kirm Perpar have successfully represented the Slovenian municipality of Kranjska Gora in an arbitration proceeding adjudicated at the Vienna International Arbitration Center against WTE Wassertechnik GmbH, a German supplier for municipal and industrial water management.

Yigit Issever has joined Bayer as Legal Counsel and Pharmaceuticals and Radiology Business Partner in Istanbul.

Istanbul's Durukan+Partners and Skadden Arps have advised LetterOne on the recent restructuring of Turkcell’s shareholding structure. Milbank and Turkey's Aksu Caliskan Beygo Attorney Partnership advised the Turkey Wealth Fund and Ziraat Bank, Sullivan & Cromwell and Herguner Bilgen Ozeke advised Telia Finland, and White & Case and the Kabine Law Firm advised Cukurova on the deal.

Paksoy has advised Volex on its entrance into a EUR 61.8 million share purchase agreement for the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of DE-KA Elektroteknik in Turkey. Caliskan Okkan Toker reportedly advised the seller on the deal.

Asters has successfully defended PrivatBank CB JSC in a dispute with the Bukovel Ski Resort heard by the Commercial Court of Cassation of the Supreme Court of Ukraine.

Antika Law Firm has successfully assisted Ukrainian insurance company Persha with its claim for reimbursement of legal fees from a previous dispute.

Asters has advised Naftogaz Energoservice on the construction of a 33 megawatt solar power plant in Chudniv, Ukraine.