With the global pandemic, high inflation rates, and the war in Ukraine being the main drivers of work in Serbia, PR Legal’s Corporate and M&A practice has been quite busy, according to PR Legal Partner Milan Petrovic.
“The hottest practice for our office has been Corporate and M&A, in particular, if we look at the FMCG and IT sectors” Petrovic begins. “We’ve been heavily engaged in the last 12 months with working for Coca-Cola on its acquisition of a mineral water plant in central-eastern Serbia, in Neresnica.” According to him, this transaction was very important for the Serbian market as it impacted the FMCG water industry sector significantly, bringing benefits for both consumers and investors. According to Petrovic, the Serbian economy in general and the local community, in particular, are also positively impacted, with the PR Legal Partner reporting dozens of new employees at the Rosa Homolje plant and more than EUR 5 million invested into the production facility.
Furthermore, Petrovic indicates that “corporate and M&A work has been heavily related to the fact that a lot of Ukrainian and Russian businesses are relocating to Serbia, especially in the IT sector, which has impacted real estate as well. I expect this trend not only to hold but to shape the work of the practice in the following 12 months,” he says, also underscoring the effects of the global inflation trend as a major driver of work, due to the ongoing tendency of deposit withdrawals and relocation/investment of funds into different assets.
Another key driver of work, according to Petrovic, is the very positioning of Serbia. “There are commendable economic projections for investments into the Serbian market, with the main rationale being that the country is strategically well-positioned, both within the region as well as in terms of its auspicious bilateral agreements with both Russia and the EU,” he reports. “With the potential to join the EU, Serbia also benefits from legislative harmonization processes, which greatly appease potential investors.”
Looking ahead, Petrovic expects the practice to continue operating favorably. “Serbia has a qualified labor force, especially in the IT sector, that is comparatively cheaper than in most EU countries or the US. Many clients are attracted by this, which leads us to have favorable projections,” he explains. Additionally, he stresses that both the COVID-19 pandemic effects and the war in Ukraine are likely to continue dictating market initiatives. “The consequences of these global events and the ongoing inflation buzz is that people are moving away from banks and are trying to find assets in which to invest their money, especially with asset prices skyrocketing lately – in real estate in particular driven by the rising construction costs. I believe that investors will be more active, thus leading to more legal work,” Petrovic concludes.