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With oil reserves constantly estimated between 150 and 200 million barrels, Albania has been widely regarded as one of the richest in hydrocarbons European countries, whereas Patos-Marinza oil area is recognized as the largest onshore oil field in continental Europe. Therefore, it was only normal for the industry to be quickly regulated upon the transition of Albania towards democracy in the early 1990s, by adopting industry specific legislation. Law 7746/1993 and Law 7811/1994, dealing with the granting of exploration and exploitation rights and the taxation of the activities, respectively.

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.

Hengeler Mueller is advising Austria's Greiner on obtaining the European Commission's merger control approval in relation to its conditional voluntary public takeover offer to acquire a majority of Recticel shares, which was officially announced on October 06, 2021.

Schoenherr has advised Swiss investment company Nice & Green on the up to EUR 5.4 million convertible note funding program for Vienna Stock Exchange-listed Marinomed Biotech. Herbst Kinsky advised Marinomed.

Former Amsterdam-based Park Now Group General Counsel, Chief Risk and Compliance Michael Czermak has joined Casinos Austria Managing Director Legal Affairs in Vienna.

With political issues and economic sanctions being an everyday norm, Belarus finds itself in a bit of a pickle, according to Borovtsov & Salei Partner Vassili Salei.

Orrick has advised One Peak Partners as one of the participants in PandaDoc's Series C financing round. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati reportedly advised PandaDoc.

Revera has advised US-based The Games Fund on its USD 1 million investment in the Vandrouka Games studio.

Bosnia & Herzegovina is experiencing a boom in the tourism sector, feeding the steady recovery of the Balkan country, and which spells out good things to come, according to Maric & Co Partner Ezmana Turkovic.

The Parliament of Federation of BiH adopted the amendments of the Company Law of Federation of BiH and the amendments have been published and entered into force on 23 September 2021. The amendments of the Law are aimed at achieving the goal set in the Reform Agenda of Federation of BiH related to simplification of the procedure for registration of business entities and setting up a one-stop-shop company registration system.

Ibrahimovic & Co has advised Studen & Co Holding on an agreement with the Brcko District's Government to build a free business zone in the district.

Kinstellar and Wolf Theiss Advise on Park Lane Sale to SAP

Bulgaria

Kinstellar has advised Park Lane Developments on its sale of the Park Lane Office Center in Sofia to SAP. Wolf Theiss advised the buyer.

Wolf Theiss has advised the EBRD on its acquisition of a stake in Bulgaria’s Euroins Insurance Group for EUR 30 million. As part of the same deal, KGM Law reportedly advised Eurohold, the parent company of Euroins, on a EUR 12 million equity injection.

Тhe current political atmosphere in Bulgaria is turbulent and hectic, as the country faces an unprecedented situation of running its third extraordinary Parliament elections in a row within a single year, according to Kolev, Angelov & Miteva Law Firm’s Partner Nikolay Kolev.

Bradvica Maric Wahl Cesarec has advised Eko Medjimurje on the acquisition of a majority share in Hittner from Stjepan HIttner.

NKO Partners and Lovric Novokmet Smrcek have advised French Conforama on the sale of furniture and appliance company Emmezeta and subsidiary Emma Real Estate to Poland's Merkury Market. Marohnic, Tomek & Gjoic advised LCN Capital Partners on the sale of a related real estate portfolio. Glinska & Miskovic, Samardzic Oreski & Grbovic, and Brzozowska & Barwinska advised the buyer.

Savoric & Partners has advised Eagle Hills Zagreb on its HRK 760 million acquisition of Sunce Hoteli. Bogdanovic, Dolicki & Partners advised the shareholders of Sunce Hoteli.

PRK Partners has advised Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and other lenders on the Czech law aspects of refinancing senior acquisition and revolving facilities amounting to EUR 2,13 billion, governed by English law.

Havel & Partners has advised the Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic on an inter-governmental contract for the purchase of the SPYDER Israeli air defense system from the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems state-owned company.

Istanbul-based Derin Altan and Ates Turnaoglu, Warsaw-based Marek Sawicki, and Prague-based Jan Stejskal, together with Paris-based Russian lawyer Olga Fedosova, have been appointed Partner at White & Case, as part of its global promotion round.

Koutalidis has advised the Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA) on its issuance of a common bond loan of EUR 505 million. Lambadarios Law Firm advised Alpha Bank, Eurobank, the National Bank of Greece, and Piraeus Bank as the four Greek systemic banks.

Catherine Karanikola has joined the YNV Group as Chief Legal Officer in Greece.

Reed Smith has advised PPC Renewables on a joint venture with RWE Renewables towards the joint development, construction, and operation of an up to 2 gigawatt-peak solar photovoltaic projects portfolio in Greece.

Hungary joins global minimum corporate tax agreement, as Mihály Varga, Finance Minister on Hungary announced on 8 October 2021. Mr. Varga highlighted three key points of the deal for Hungary.

Former Kapolyi Attorney Daniel Nagy has joined Kinstellar’s Budapest office as a Senior Associate and Head of the firm's local TMT practice.

Increased awareness of competition law in the past few years, alongside the evolving legislative framework and practice on the EU level, has led to the continuous growth of CMS’s competition law practice, according to CMS Partner Szabolcs Szendro.

Sorainen has advised financial automation platform Aurelia on raising USD 3 million in a seed funding round led by Blossom Capital.

Lextal has advised Estonian financial technology group IuteCredit on its EUR 75 million senior secured corporate bonds issuance. GSK Stockmann reportedly acted as a global advisor on the deal.

Eversheds Sutherland has advised Atos International on the acquisition of Ideal Product Data.

Hodaj & Partners has joined the Rivet:Net law firm alliance in the Western Balkans.

Holman Fenwick Willan, working with RZZ Law, has successfully represented the Privatisation Agency of Kosovo in UNCITRAL arbitration proceedings relating to one of the country's largest mines.

The right to privacy that is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo is embodied in the new Law on Protection of Personal Data, which was approved in January 2019 as an amendment and supplement to the old law, which had been in force since 2010. With the introduction of the new LPPD, Kosovo has implemented an advanced and comprehensive regulatory and institutional framework for data protection, incorporating the main principles and provisions of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

Sorainen is providing pro bono legal assistance to journalists Madara Sprude and Normunds Robeznieks from Tvnet Grupa, and Inga Springe from the Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism Re:Baltica in connection with the persecution and intimidation of journalists carried out by a private individual.

Lextal has advised Estonian financial technology group IuteCredit on its EUR 75 million senior secured corporate bonds issuance. GSK Stockmann reportedly acted as a global advisor on the deal.

Sorainen has provided legal assistance to Latvian local newspaper Independent News of Tukums' Editor-in-Chief Ivonna Plaude in a dispute against the Tukums Municipal Council for insulting her honor and dignity.

Sorainen has advised Lithuanian venture capital fund Open Circle Capital on investing in the Billo community marketing platform.

Sorainen has advised Lords LB Baltic Fund III on the sale of a shopping center in Marijampole, Lithuania, to Rivona. Triniti Jurex advised the buyer.

Ellex has advised investment fund manager BLF Management on its establishment and licensing in Lithuania.

In recent years, the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes has been a “hot” topic in North Macedonia. In 2016, the country regulated the procedure for the cultivation and production of hemp and hemp extracts. Since then, in line with publicly available information, over 60 approvals for the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes have been issued.

Polenak, working with DWF, has advised Singular and its owners on the sale of the company to Flutter Entertainment. Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska, working with Arthur Cox, advised Flutter Entertainment.

With COVID-19 restrictions to kick in only after the municipal elections scheduled for October 17, the country is in for a long winter, according to ODI Law Partner Gjorgji Georgievski, despite the business sector doing well.

Sayenko Kharenko has advised joint lead managers and joint bookrunners Citigroup, ING, and Renaissance Capital on the second USD 50 million tap issuance of 8.45% secured notes due 2026 by the Trans-Oil Group.

On 2 September 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued the much awaited judgement in the Komstroy vs Moldova case (C-741/19).

Sayenko Kharenko and Turcan Cazac advised joint bookrunners Citigroup, ING, and Renaissance Capital on the tap issue of USD 50 million 8.45% secured notes due 2026 by Trans-Oil Group. Baker McKenzie and Gladei & Partners advised Trans-Oil Group. 

Even with the political situation in the country being turbulent, Montenegro has a lot to look forward to, especially given the success of this year’s tourism season, according to Vujacic Law Partner Jelena Vujisic.

In “The Corner Office” we ask Managing Partners at law firms across Central and Eastern Europe about their backgrounds, strategies, and responsibilities. The question this time: “What did you most want to be when you were little?”

CMS' Malgorzata Surdek-Janicka has been appointed as Vice-President of the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Aside from Surdek-Janicka, 33 lawyers from CEE were appointed as members and alternate members of the court.

CMS has advised Cinven-controlled Partner in Pet Food on the acquisition of pet food businesses G-Mart and Zaklad Przetworstwa Rolniczego from Polish entrepreneur Grzegorz Werblinski.

The DLA Piper report “The COVID-19 pandemic and the pharmaceutical and medical sector in Poland” is based on the feedback from a survey conducted among DLA Piper’s clients and business contacts from the pharmaceutical and medical sector, including producers of medicines, food supplements and medical devices, as well as healthcare service providers. It is the first report that brings together the views of key players in the pharmaceutical and medical industries, describing how they see the current state of affairs on the Polish market and possible future trends, along with their recommendations as to what actions they would like to see taken in the sector. The key findings are summarised in our four briefings, the last part of which discusses other consequences of the pandemic not yet mentioned as well as sector barriers and suggested state actions.

The current political atmosphere in Poland is rather turbulent, according to Noerr Partner Radoslaw Biedecki, as the government is losing support and the opposition remains divided.

Romanian lawyer Anela Musat has joined Blue Horizon as its General Counsel in Zurich, Switzerland.

Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii, working with Swiss law firm Kellerhals Carrard, has advised Autonet Group Holding on its acquisition of a 51% stake in Augsburg International. Popovici Nitu Stoica & Asociatii advised the shareholders of Augsburg International. 

CEE Attorneys/Boanta Gidei and Associates has advised Kinderpedia on a EUR 1.8 million financing round led by Early Game Ventures which also included funds from RocaX, Growceanu, and several business angels. DLA Piper advised Early Game Ventures.

DLA Piper has advised e-commerce platform Ecwid on obtaining regulatory clearance from the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia for its acquisition by Lightspeed.

Morgan Lewis has announced that Alexey Chertov has been promoted to Partner as of October 1, 2021.

France's Altana, Italy's Nctm, and Germany's Beiten Burkhardt (which includes an office in Moscow) have announced the launch of their new law firm association, Advant, aimed at international clients moving into or expanding within Europe.

The OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (IF) has agreed on 8 October 2021 a two-pillar solution to address the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy. The Republic of Serbia is one of 136 jurisdictions that have agreed to the solution.

Jankovic Popovic Mitic has successfully represented Lithuanian company Alita before the Supreme Court of Cassation of Serbia in a dispute with the Serbian Privatization Agency over a terminated privatization contract.

NKO Partners and Lovric Novokmet Smrcek have advised French Conforama on the sale of furniture and appliance company Emmezeta and subsidiary Emma Real Estate to Poland's Merkury Market. Marohnic, Tomek & Gjoic advised LCN Capital Partners on the sale of a related real estate portfolio. Glinska & Miskovic, Samardzic Oreski & Grbovic, and Brzozowska & Barwinska advised the buyer.

Allen & Overy has advised a club of banks led by Tatra Banka on a EUR 177 million financing for Swan and Swan Mobile.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised Apera and the super senior banks on the financing of pharmaceutical company Euro Vital Pharma Group. Taylor Wessing has advised the borrower. PRK Partners reportedly advised the lenders on the deal.

Dentons Managing Counsel Martin Mendel has been appointed Co-Head of the firm’s Real Estate practice in Slovakia. He will lead the real estate team together with Partner Jiri Strzinek.

Following the record-long period, since May 25, 2018, during which Slovenia failed to adopt a relevant GDPR-implementing act, the Slovenian Government has sent a new draft of the Slovenian Data Protection Act for public discussion. If the parliamentary process runs uninterruptedly, the adoption of the new Act can be expected by the fall of this year.

AP Legal has advised the founder and sole shareholder of YU PD Express doo Belgrade Ljiljana Zivkovic Karaklajic on the sale of the company to Slovenia Broadbank S.a.r.l. Schonherr reportedly advised Slovenia Broadbank on the deal.

On May 26, 2021, the EU’s new Medical Device Regulation came into force, significantly changing the applicable regime, including – of particular interest to the dynamic Slovenian MedTech start-up community – by providing a new definition of software applications that need to be certified as medical devices.

Paksoy has advised DW Reusables on the acquisition of Turkish reusable transport packaging companies Etap Enjeksiyon from Ozgorkey Holding and Etap Dogan from Ozgorkey Holding and Daghan Unludogan. Herguner Bilgen Ozeke advised the sellers.

Istanbul-based Derin Altan and Ates Turnaoglu, Warsaw-based Marek Sawicki, and Prague-based Jan Stejskal, together with Paris-based Russian lawyer Olga Fedosova, have been appointed Partner at White & Case, as part of its global promotion round.

Distribution of assets sometimes leads to disputes between heirs and cause undesirable consequences. In this respect, many people prefer to decide how their estate will be distributed by making testamentary dispositions while they are still alive. Hence, in order to eliminate possible conflicts between heirs or for other reasons, individuals may choose to plan their estate prior to their death, based on personal wishes. Today, more people than ever prioritize estate planning.

Avellum has advised Kazakhstan’s financial technology firm Kaspi.kz subsidiary Kaspi Pay on its acquisition of Ukrainian online payment platform Portmone from Ukraine-based 4i Capital Partners. Kinstellar advised the seller.

CMS has advised DAI Global and the National Securities and Stock Markets Commission of Ukraine on the rules for clearing transactions with securities and licensing terms for clearing institutions.

Kinstellar, working with DLA Piper's London office, has advised VF Ukraine on a consent solicitation related to the outstanding USD 500 million 6.20% loan participation notes due 2025 issued by VFU Funding plc. Slaughter and May advised VFU Funding plc, while Linklaters and Avellum advised J.P. Morgan as the solicitation agent.