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The Deal:  In July 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that Reff & Associates had advised Dutch shipbuilding group Damen on its take-over of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd.’s participation in Romania’s Daewoo Mangalia shipyard. DSME was advised by CMS. The yard, which was renamed the Damen Shipyards Mangalia, is now operated as a joint venture with the Romanian Government, with Damen assuming operational control. We reached out to both firms for more information.

No individual, no business, and no country is immune from the threat of cybercrime. The increasingly successful and complex economies of CEE countries are no exception to this rule. In fact, for both historical and political reasons, CEE is at particular peril.

On July 30, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law two bills approved by the Russian Parliament aimed at improving commercial, civil, administrative and criminal proceedings in Russia (the “Bills”).

The The rules on collective redress were first introduced in Croatia’s legal system by two special acts – the 2003 Consumer Protection Act and the 2009 Act on Prevention of Discrimination. It was only later, in 2011, that the Civil Procedure Act provided the general legal framework for collective redress actions, named “actions for the protection of collective interests and rights.”

Bulgaria, along with the entire CEE region, has been experiencing a surge in investment and transactions over the past two to three years. Prior to that, hit by a late wave of the global recession, Bulgarian business faced problems with over-indebtedness, resulting in a large number of insolvencies, especially in the real estate sector. Since then, however, insolvencies have been decreasing. Thus, the recent uptick in the number of insolvency procedures being initiated in a particular sector – energy – deserves special focus and attention.

While globalization and digitalization have increased the risk of violations that affect thousands of consumers, several EU member states — including Austria — do not yet offer class action lawsuits. The EU Commission has therefore proposed a draft directive to allow representative actions for the protection of collective interests of consumers as part of its “New Deal for Consumers.”

Article 2 of the Montenegrin Law on the Protection of Competition limits the law’s application to acts undertaken within the territory of Montenegro and acts undertaken outside of Montenegro which have as their object or effect the distortion of competition in Montenegro. In practice, however, the Law on the Protection of Competition (the “Law”) seems sometimes to be applied beyond its territorial scope.

At the EU level, long-term discussions on unfair trading practices in the food supply chain have resulted in the Proposal for a Directive that is currently in process. The Republic of Croatia has already adopted a law with a similar subject matter – the Act on Tackling Unfair Trading Practices in the Food Supply Chain (the “Act”) – which entered into force at the end of 2017. The Act concerns business-to-business relations and aims to protect suppliers (including primary producers) in their relations with resellers, buyers, and processors with significant negotiating power. The authority in charge of implementing the Act is the Croatian Competition Agency (the “Agency”), which the legislator considers the most competent to handle these matters due to its experience in abuse of dominance cases in competition law.

The Polish Competition Authority has been increasingly active as the market watchdog. In assuming his position as President of the Competition Authority in 2016, Marek Niechcial announced his commitment to strengthening competition law enforcement via a stricter approach, more investigations, and higher fines for wrongdoers. The last two years demonstrate that the Authority is working towards delivering on this promise.

Significant changes have been made to Polish transfer pricing regulations in recent years. New legislation, adopted in 2017, introduced a three-tiered approach to transfer pricing documentation consisting of: (1) local file, (2) master file, and (3) country-by-country reporting. Poland was one of the first countries to introduce the changes recommended by the OECD in BEPS (Action 13).

Andrew Kozlowski is Counsel (and former Managing Partner) at CMS in Warsaw, where he specializes in energy and project finance, corporate/M&A, privatizations, and international capital markets. He has been involved in numerous infrastructure projects in Poland and across CEE and various project finance transactions in the energy and transportation sectors, from motorways, railways, and waste, to energy utilities.

The news that many of the legal markets in CEE impose stricter rules on law firm advertising and marketing than many of their Western counterparts comes as no surprise. Still, to explore this concept just a bit, for this issue, we asked law firm marketing and BD experts around CEE: “What, in your opinion, is the biggest difference between law firm marketing in your market and law firm marketing in London or New York?

Against the backdrop of the many significant and at times highly controversial changes being made to Polish law at the moment, the country is close to enacting its first ever serious whistleblower protection laws. What will this protection look like, and what does its passage mean for Poland?

Companies in financial difficulties are regularly faced with challenges in seeking fresh financing – an injection necessary for financial consolidation and to overcome financial difficulties. Such challenges become even greater when a company formally enters pre-bankruptcy or bankruptcy proceedings. In a large number of cases, the companies are in such difficult and irreversible circumstances that potential creditors are usually discouraged from providing new financing, which is sought by the companies unable to provide any indication of success. However, there are situations in which creditors may be willing to provide fresh capital despite the debtor’s difficult situation – most commonly, because they already have an outstanding exposure against the debtor. Existing creditors considering new financing may see an opportunity to exit the existing creditor-debtor relationship less “harmed.” In such cases, the main questions involve the position the creditors can obtain by granting fresh financing and whether the legislative framework regulating pre-bankruptcy proceedings is sufficiently sensitized to their specific position.

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) consists of two distinct administrative entities – the Federation of BiH (FBiH) and Republika Srpska (RS) – and the special administrative unit Brcko District of BiH (BD). In accordance with the constitutional division of competences, factoring activities – a type of debtor finance in which a business sells its accounts receivable (i.e., invoices) to a third party (called a factor) at a discount  – fall under the competence of individual parts, resulting in several sets of legislation but two regulators: the Federal Banking Agency (FBA) in FBiH and the Banking Agency in Republika Srpska (BARS), with BD able to choose either of the two.

Guidance No. 12/2018 (II.27) of the Hungarian National Bank entered into effect on July 1, 2018 (the “Guidance”). Although the Guidance is non-binding, financial institutions are expected to comply with its provisions. In this article, we provide a list of the most important points of the Guidance and predict market reactions based on our ongoing mandates and information obtained from our clients.

The Deal: In September 2017, CEE Legal Matters reported that the Moscow offices of Clifford Chance and CMS had advised on USD 850 million pre-export financing provided by 11 international banks for Uralkali, one of the world’s largest potash producers. On July 27, 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that the two firms had advised on another Uralkali financing, this time involving a USD 825 million facility provided by 14 Russian and international banks.We reached out to both firms for more information about this most recent deal.

In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: Who was your mentor, and what was the most important lesson you learned from him or her?

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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