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The coronavirus pandemic and accompanying restrictions introduced by the majority of countries around the world are having a major impact on the development of global and local economies. It seems that carrying out infrastructure investment projects may help with rebuilding the economic and financial condition of countries negatively affected by the coronavirus.

The COVID-19 epidemic and consequent restrictive measures strongly affected Slovenia’s economy, including the country’s rental market. The COVID-19 epidemic impacted all commercial leases, with tourism, hospitality, and to an extent retail among the sectors suffering most. Commercial properties with strong tenants such as IT & Life Science companies and public sector entities proved to be much more resilient than commercial properties dependent on tenants from distressed sectors.

Turkey continues to prioritize the adoption and consistent implementation of sustainability principles throughout its economy. Indeed, the Turkish Capital Markets Board recently set a voluntary threshold for companies subject to its supervision, and many are finding the use of green buildings valuable in reaching them. In addition to their economic benefits, green buildings – which are socially and environmentally compatible with their environment – are gaining importance in determining a company’s level of sustainability credibility and sustainable investment commitment.

The current backbone of the EU’s e-Commerce Directive was adopted 20 years ago. Since then, the landscape of the digital economy has changed significantly, as most online platforms in use today did not exist in 2000. As a result, many digital experts claim that competition enforcers have failed to tackle some of the specific challenges created by the new digital platforms.

As last year’s upheavals continue to influence finance markets in 2021, Erika Papp, CMS’s Head of Finance CEE/CIS, and CMS’s Regional Finance Partners Paul Stallebrass in Prague, Ana Radnev in Bucharest, and Elitsa Ivanova in Sofia offer their perspectives on what this year might hold for financing in CEE.

Horea Popescu, Managing Partner of CMS Bucharest and Head of CMS’s Corporate M&A Practice in CEE Looks Back at an Unusual Year.

Good corporate governance contributes significantly to increasing company value and strengthening the confidence of investors. It has been promoted in Ukraine, as across the world, in the past few decades, and in March 2020, the Core Code of Corporate Governance, which was based on the work of over 50 Ukrainian and international experts, was adopted by the National Securities and Stock Market Commission of Ukraine (NSSMC).

Squeeze-out of minority shareholders is an important concept for joint stock companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In the previous socialist system, many then-state-owned joint stock companies issued employee stocks as a form of partial privatization, leading to some companies having hundreds of minority shareholders with miniscule amounts of shares. This complicated the management of these companies, as majority ownership changed from state to private, since many small shareholders are unreachable, as they may be deceased or have relocated with unknown addresses. This situation often makes squeeze-outs essential for majority shareholders in order to efficiently manage these companies.

In our legal work in Montenegro, CMS has been engaged in a number of major mergers & acquisitions, representing both buyers and sellers, including Monte Rock’s acquisition of HIT Montenegro in connection with the Hotel Maestral in Budva-Przno, the Delhaize Group’s acquisition of food retailer Delta Maxi, KKR’s acquisition of SBB/Telemach Group, and OTP Bank’s acquisition of Societe Generale Montenegro.

Czech corporate law has changed significantly over these past few years. In 2014, the Act on Corporations replaced the Commercial Code that had been in place since 1991. On January 1, 2021, an additional amendment to the Act on Corporations (the “Amendment”) will go into effect.

Foreign investors of all types were increasingly interested in Life Science (LS) companies even before COVID-19 emerged. It is no wonder that Slovenian LS companies are of particular appeal, since this highly innovative community significantly contributed to Slovenia being ranked 21st in this year’s Bloomberg Innovation Index. Some say COVID-19 catalyzed the new deals this year, but they were more likely fostered by the new investment opportunities that keep popping up with each innovative solution offered by the relatively small (and relatively inexpensive) companies in Slovenia. The race to acquire these innovative scale-ups and start-ups has become increasingly competitive.

The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative is one of the most ambitious development projects since the turn of the century. Through thousands of individual projects implemented under the BRI umbrella, China intends to develop land and sea corridors to support economic trade and development, integrate various regions of the world, and facilitate policy coordination, connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial services, and the connection of people. The BRI was launched in 2013, and last year was revamped with a new set of objectives.

New technologies are all the rage, as law firms adapt to the telecommuting and digitalization realities that accompanied the Covid-19 pandemic. Accordingly, we decided to ask our Law Firm Marketing experts from across the region a simple question: “What is the single most important/valuable piece of software you use?” As always, we asked respondents to focus on the question at hand, rather than – as we put it – using the question simply as an excuse to “tell us that their firms are awesome.” Not everyone was able to resist.

On April 28, 2020, Ukraine’s “On Prevention and Counteraction the Legalization (Laundering) of Proceeds from Crime, Financing Terrorism and Financing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction” Law (the “AML Law”), which replicates the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force and implements provisions of 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive ((EU) 2015/849), came into force.

Looking at the volume of non-performing loans in the balance sheets of the Hungarian banks, it is possible to believe that the situation has never been better. In fact, however, this is primarily due to the general moratorium introduced by the Hungarian government in March 2020, which protected both companies and consumers against insolvency and non-payment. Now, eight months later, financial institutions are preparing for a potentially massive wave of bankruptcies, as they already reserved HUF 250 billion in the first half of this year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought significant uncertainty to the market. In the wake of this highly contagious virus, authorities have issued unprecedented regulations and restrictions to prevent the spread of the disease, accompanied by measures providing help to businesses seeing their economic activities curtailed or suspended. These measures were primarily focused on providing liquidity to the market, but some introduced interesting changes to Polish restructuring law.

One of the most important issues facing businesses in CEE is the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on litigation and arbitration. In-person court and arbitration hearings have become problematic, if not impossible, and the importance of certain boilerplate contract clauses has skyrocketed. Zsolt Okanyi, Global Head of Dispute Resolution at CMS, Malgorzata Surdek, Head of Dispute Resolution at CMS Poland, and Daniela Karollus Bruner, Head of Dispute Resolution at CMS Austria, evaluate the current situation.

CMS at a Glance

CMS Sofia is a full-service law firm, the largest international law firm in Bulgaria and one of the largest providers of legal services in the local market as a whole. The breadth and depth of our practice means that our lawyers are specialised, with a level of specialisation that few of our competitors can match.

CMS Sofia is the Bulgarian branch of CMS, a top ten global legal and tax services provider with over 5000 lawyers in 43 countries and 78 offices across the world.

CMS entered the Bulgarian market as one of the first internationally active law firms in 2005 and is now among the most respected legal advisors in the country. We have 7 partners, 4 counsel and over 30 lawyers in our office in Sofia.

Our legal experts, who are rooted in Bulgaria’s local culture, can also draw on years of experience in foreign countries and are at home in several legal systems at once. We know the particularities of the local market just as well as the needs of our clients and combine both to achieve optimum solutions. Our lawyers are Bulgarian qualified and we also have English qualified experts – all of them regularly working on cross-border mandates.

In our work, we focus on M&A, Energy, Projects and Construction, Banking and Finance, Real Estate, Media, IP and IT law, Tax, Employment law, Competition, Procurement and any kind of Dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation. What’s more, we also take care of the entire legal management of our clients’ projects.

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