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On March 11, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Kinstellar had advised Austria’s European City Estates – a group of companies owned by the Austrian Humer Private Foundation – on its acquisition of the 22,000-square-meter Rosum office complex in Bratislava from Penta Real Estate, which was advised by Skubla & Partneri.

Evan Lazar is Co-Chairman, Global Real Estate, Global Vice Chair, and Chairman of the Europe Board for Dentons. We spoke to Lazar from his home office in Prague about how his firm has responded to the COVID-19 crisis and to gain his perspective on how the crisis has affected the real estate industry in CEE, and on what he expects the long-term consequences of the crisis to be, both on the economies of the region, and on the legal industry in particular.

Ivan Males, from Croatia, is Senior Associate with DLA Piper in Vienna. He is a Finance, Projects & Restructuring practitioner with a focus on financing transactions and the infrastructure sector. In addition, he has gained particular knowledge on corporate and M&A cross-border transactions, notably in CEE and SEE markets.

On September 20 2019, CEE Legal Matters reported that BLS had advised Pannonia Bio Zrt. – a company operating a biorefinery in Tolna County, Hungary, that is the largest ethanol plant in Europe – and that CMS Hungary had advised OTP Bank Plc. on Pannonia Bio’s issuance of the first Hungarian forint bond in line with the Central Bank of Hungary’s Bond Funding for Growth Scheme.

On December 12, 2019, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dentons, Magnusson, and TGS Baltic had advised the Avia Solutions group – a Lithuanian aviation services group – on a five-year bond issuance with a total value of USD 300 million, an annual interest rate of 7.875%, and a maturity date of 2024. The bonds were issued in US dollars and distributed in the US and European markets. White & Case and Sorainen helped JP Morgan and BNP Paribas organize the issuance.

Theis Klauberg took a circuitous route to managing his eponymous firm in the Baltics. He began his education in Germany, at the University of Hamburg, Heidelberg University, and Humboldt University of Berlin, before obtaining an LL.M. at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, then concluding his formal education with an MBA at the Baltic Management Institute. His professional career has been no less diverse, as he has worked in Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, and Zimbabwe.

The Deal: In July, CEE Legal Matters reported that Norton Rose Fulbright had advised Grupa Lotos SA on the USD 500 million refinancing of loan facilities contracted by the company in connection with its “Program 10+” financing. Clifford Chance advised a consortium of domestic and international banks including Bank Polska Kasa Opieki S.A., Caixabank S.A., Erste Group Bank AG, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Europe) S.A., ING Bank Slaski S.A., Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A, Powszechna Kasa Oszczednosci Bank Polski S.A., and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Bank EU AG on the deal, with Credit Agricole, CIB, and BNP Paribas SA serving as agents.

The Deal: In July, CEE Legal Matters reported that the Slovenian office of ODI Law had represented AIK Banka and SKB Banka (Societe Generale’s Slovenian entity), on the EUR 36 million cross-border syndicated debt refinancing of the Don Don Group – a regional industrial bakers with plants in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Bulgaria. Selih & Partnerji advised Don Don on the deal.

Hill Dickinson Senior Associate Anthony Paizes is a solicitor admitted to practice in England and Wales, Greece, South Africa and the Cayman Islands. He practices in the areas of shipping and asset finance, corporate finance, private equity, banking, debt finance, and corporate and commercial law. He speaks English, Greek, and Afrikaans fluently. We reached out to him – in English – to learn more about his path from Africa to Athens.

Edward Baring’s career comes closer to spanning the four corners of the globe than most. An Englishman, Baring completed his studies in the United Kingdom before moving to Moscow as a finance lawyer with Allen & Overy in the early years of this century. In 2016, Baring – having, in the interim, joined the partnership at Herbert Smith Freehills – relocated to South Africa to become managing partner of the firm’s Johannesburg office. He spoke to us about his unusual career. 

South African Liesel Beukes is a dual-qualified lawyer and Content Marketing Manager at Schoenherr in Vienna, where she manages the firm’s highly-regarded annual RoadMap publication and assists lawyers across the firm’s 14 offices with marketing, business development, and press relations.

Frances Gerrard, a member of CMS’s Corporate and M&A team in Prague, is a long way from her home in Australia. We spoke to her about the path that brought her to the Czech capital.

The Deal: Earlier this year, CEE Legal Matters reported that Clifford Chance Prague had advised CTP, an industrial developer in the CEE region, on a EUR 1.9 billion underwriting package agreement with Erste Group Bank AG; Ceska Sporitelna a.s.; Societe Generale S.A. and Komercni Banka a.s.; and UniCredit S.p.A. and UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia a.s. White & Case advised the lenders on the agreement, which covered CTP’s Czech industrial portfolio consisting of over 200 buildings and covering 2.7 million square meters of industrial space.

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