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The Buzz in the Czech Republic: Interview with Jaroslav Havel of Havel & Partners

The Buzz in the Czech Republic: Interview with Jaroslav Havel of Havel & Partners

Czech Republic
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The most notable recent political event in the Czech Republic was the October 2020 regional election, says Jaroslav Havel, Managing Partner at Havel & Partners. However, Havel is quick to point out that, no matter who has been in office in the last ten years, politicians have not had a major impact on business in the Czech Republic. A more tangible effect of the election, he says, is that his former partner, Jan Holasek, who left the former Havel & Holasek law firm six years ago, has become a member of the Czech Senate.

Still, there’s at least one important thing politicians can do - legislate. Havel explains that one of the most important policy changes in the country came in the form of the new Act on Bank Identity. According to him, Havel & Partners worked in cooperation with several other organizations and firms on drafting the piece of legislation designed to amend the Czech Banking Act and introduce reform in the area of personal identification.  

Havel reports that the concept of bank identity will allow Czech banks to offer identification services to their clients, who in turn can use this service to authenticate their identity and provide e-signatures when obtaining services from both governmental bodies and private companies. According to Havel, the system contemplated by the act, which entered into effect at the beginning of January 2021, should become more widely implemented in the first half of the year.

“Another significant change,” Havel continues, “is the FDI Act.” According to him, the act, which is to enter into force in April 2021, will bring more stringent rules on investments of companies from outside of the EU. In particular, he says, “foreign investments aimed at obtaining control over Czech companies operating in critical industries such as military materials and energy, among others, will be subject to prior approval by the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade.”

Moving on to the topic of economy, Havel says that “some industries, like tourism, retail, hotels, have been going through a depression since May or June.” According to him, in the retail and fashion industry some large companies, such as Blazek, Pietro Filipi, and Kara, fell into insolvency. Not all is grim, however, and he points to some larger transactions in the country – among them the merger between the KKCG Group’s IT companies and the Aricoma Group, and the sale of ARETE’s industrial parks portfolio to Cromwell European REIT (as reported by CEE Legal Matters on December 23, 2020). In addition, he says, “venture capital funds and start-ups are also on the upward trajectory.”

Havel & Partners at a Glance

HAVEL & PARTNERS, attorneys-at-law, with offices in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Pilsen, Olomouc, and Ostrava, has a team of 220 lawyers, tax advisors and 500 employees in total, is the largest independent law firm in Central Europe.

Our clients include large international companies, leading Czech and Slovak firms, including strategic state-owned companies and public sector authorities, as well as medium-size businesses, individual entrepreneurs, and investors. We advise approximately 100 of the Fortune 500 companies, and almost 50 of the Czech Top 100 companies. HAVEL & PARTNERS currently provides its services to a total of 2,000 clients. We have the most comprehensive international support available to both Czech and Slovak law firms. We provide legal and tax advice in 12 world languages in more than 90 countries around the globe. Up to 70 % of the transactions we deal with involve an international aspect.

HAVEL & PARTNERS was named the best law firm operating in the Czech Republic by the prestigious British rating agencies Chambers and Partners (2020) and Who’s Who Legal (2018, 2019). It is also the most successful law firm, providing the most comprehensive legal services in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, based on the total number of all nominations and awards in all years of the Law Firm of the Year awards. The firm became the absolute winner of this competition four times in the last six years, receiving the main award Domestic Law Firm of the Year in the Czech Republic (2015, 2017, 2018, 2020) and ranking as one of the most recommended law firms in all categories of law. Our company is also a three-time winner of the Law Firm of the Year award for Best Client Services (2015, 2016, 2019). In the field of M&A, HAVEL & PARTNERS is the best law firm in the Czech Republic based on the annual International Advisory Experts awards (2018, 2019). In Slovakia, it also won the prestigious global M&A Today Awards (2013–2018) for Mergers & Acquisitions six times in a row, and repeatedly won first place in the ranking by Lawyer International Legal 100 (2017, 2018). Prestigious international rating agencies EMIS DealWatch and Mergermarket have ranked HAVEL & PARTNERS among the leading law firms by the number of transactions completed in the entire CEE region since 2009. Based on annual awards of the Acquisition International magazine, HAVEL & PARTNERS has become the Law Firm of the Year 2019 in the M&A category in the CEE region.

Firm's website: https://www.havelpartners.cz/en/