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In The Corner Office we ask Senior and Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: “What is the one skill, ability, or characteristic that fresh law school graduates in your country most commonly lack?”

Solivan, the Polish member firm of Pontes The CEE Lawyers network, has advised German project developer WKN on the sale of the 42 MW Barwice wind farm at the end of 2018 and the 132 MW Jasna wind farm now to Germany's Wirtgen Invest Energy GmbH and Stadtwerke Munchen, respectively. Wirtgen Invest was represented by SSW Pragmatic Solutions and Stadtwerke Munchen was advised by CMS in Germany and Poland.

CMS has advised the ESPIRA private equity fund on the acquisition, made with ICON's executive management team, of ICON Communication Centres, an award-winning provider of multilingual contact centre services, from the joint administrators of former energy broker Utilitywise Plc. The Czech Republic's FORLEX law firm advised Icon management, and Pinsent Masons reportedly advised the administrator.

“The talk about the entrance of two regional players – CMS and Schoenherr – onto the Macedonian market last year is still on everyone’s lips (among lawyers),” says Apostolska & Partners’ Founding Partner Emilija Apostolska-Temov in North Macedonia, who says that the presence of such law firms in the market will undoubtedly influence business, increasing both the quality of legal services and competition. “It also gives us a hint about investments coming in – such big law firms would not come without any plans,” she says. “They must know something that the rest of us will learn later. I think it will be a positive experience.”

CMS has advised Gramercy Europe, acting through its fund Gramercy Property Europe III, on the successful acquisition of the KiK Logistics Centre near Dunajska Streda, Slovakia, from Go Asset and ECE European City Estates. Peterka & Partners advised the sellers on the deal.

CMS Sofia has helped SPM Bulgaria LLC obtain a permit to prospect and explore Block 1-25 Vratsa West, which covers a large territory in northwestern Bulgaria, and which CMS describes as "the biggest onshore block in Bulgaria tendered in the past few years."

CMS has advised Zentiva Group a.s. on its acquisition of Romanian pharmaceutical company Solacium and its subsidiary Be Well Pharma from Siyiara Enterprises — a holding entity of A&D Pharma / Dr. Max Group — and entrepreneur Tony Trasca. The Czech Republic's Evan Law Firm advised Siyiara and Romania's Fine Law advised Trasca on the sale, which remains contingent on the satisfaction of several conditions, including the approval of the Romanian Competition Council.

CMS Kyiv has advised international real estate investment fund Meyer Bergman on Ukrainian and English law aspects of its sale of the Aladdin Shopping Mall in Kyiv to Ukrainian Commercial Property Investment Holding, part of Dragon Capital. Aequo advised the sellers on the deal, while Wolf Theiss advised Sompo International on its provision of M&A warranty and indemnity insurance for the acquisition.

CMS has advised Steiermarkische Sparkasse und Bank AG on its acquisition of Societe Generale's shares in Ohridska Banka Societe Generale. Jones Day was lead counsel to Societe Generale, which was advised by Moravcevic Vojnovic i Partneri in the Republic of Northern Macedonia.

"One of Bulgaria’s biggest challenges, but simultaneously one of the biggest positive developments, is the country’s intention to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism," says CMS Partner Elitsa Ivanova. "This is basically the waiting area for the Eurozone and the EU banking union."

The beginning of 2019 will mark the start of a major transformation of the Serbian tax system, bringing new and exciting opportunities for companies who do business or wish to invest in Serbia, but also bringing potential challenges concerning the practical application of new tax rules.

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