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Cobalt, in cooperation with Setterwalls, has advised SEB and Swedbank on their extension of EUR 185 million syndicated loan facilities to the Euroapotheca pharmacy chain. Euroapotheca reportedly was assisted by TGS Baltic.

Cobalt has advised the shareholders of the TMB Group on selling their business to the Consolis Group, a company dealing with suppliers of precast concrete solutions.

Karatzas & Partners has advised AutoHellas S.A., an independent car leasing company in Greece, and StormHarbour, as the arranger, on the securitization of automotive leases for small and medium-sized enterprises originated by Autohellas. The transaction was funded by the European Investment Bank, the European Investment Fund, KfW, and the EBRD.

Sorainen has assisted Freor LT and its majority shareholder Rytis Bernatonis on Mezzanine Management's sale of a block of Freor LT shares to Baltics-based private equity fund Livonia Partners. Mezzanine Management was advised by Cobalt on the sale, and Livonia Partners was advised by TGS Baltic.

Cobalt, in cooperation with German law firm Arquis, has advised AVS Verkehrssicherung GmbH on the acquisition of KMK Projekts, a provider of traffic safety products and permanent road marking in Latvia.

Dvorak Hager & Partners has represented Raiffeisen Realitni Fond in its acquisition of Retail Park Pisek, s.r.o. from Czech developer CSPP. CMS advised the sellers on the deal.

Soltysinski Kawecki & Szlezak has advised a consortium consisting of Ferrovial Agroman, Budimex, and Estudio Lamela in its reaching of a settlement with Przedsiębiorstwo Panstwowe “Porty Lotnicze” in a dispute involving the extension of the Warsaw Okecie International Airport.

Kinstellar has advised the Slovak branch of French energy giant Veolia Energie International on its acquisition of PPC Investments, which owns and operates a combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant near Bratislava, from Czech investment fund Avant Energy. Avant Energy was advised by RR Legal on the transaction, which was finalized in July 2018 following the approval of the Slovak Antimonopoly Office.

Kocian Solc Balastik has advised Continuum Search Fund on its acquisition of exhibition stand manufacturers Best Expo and IRE — the first acquisition by a search fund in the Czech Republic. The sellers — entrepreneurs Hellen Berends and Petr Kotvas — were advised by Havel & Partners.

Dispute Resolution lawyer Jan Krampera has become Partner at Dvorak Hager & Partners in Prague.

Asters and the Ukrainian office of Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners have announced that they will merge on October 1, 2018, operating thereafter under a name which they have not yet disclosed.

Danevych.Law, a Life Sciences boutique, has opened its doors in Ukraine.

Schoenherr Hungary has welcomed back Attorney at Law Daniel Varga, who, after leaving the firm to join DLA Piper in 2015, re-joins to head its regulatory team in Budapest.

Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner has promoted Lukas Rehrl to Junior Partner.

Former Holman Fenwick Willan Partner Jasel Chauhan and Senior Associate Anthony Paizes have moved to Hill Dickinson in Piraeus.

Former PWC Legal lawyer Piotr Kleszczynski has become the General Counsel of Xella Polska.

Former Clifford Chance Partner Tamer Amara and his team have joined the Moscow office of Dentons.

DLA Piper has appointed Krzysztof Kycia, Head of Litigation and Arbitration, and Jacek Gizinski, Head of Real Estate, as Co-Managing Partners of the firm's Warsaw office. They replace Krzysztof Wiater, who has held the position for the past 11 years, and who has left the firm.

End of July, the Austrian Data Protection Authority ('DPA') published its first decision on retention periods applying the General Data Protection Regulation ('GDPR'; DSB-D216.471/0001-DSB/2018). The decision is final. The DPA had to decide for which period a provider of telecommunications services (hereinafter: the 'controller') may (respectively must) retain so called master data, required for the controller's legal relationship with the user of its services (hereinafter: the 'applicant').

The Hungarian Parliament has recently adopted legislation with the aim of harmonising the national data protection rules with the rules of the GDPR, and supplementing the national rules in areas not regulated by the GDPR. The Parliament adopted Act XXXVIII of 2018 ("Amendment") in an extraordinary session and the new regulations entered into force on 26 July 2018.

Following up on Efficient Arbitration – Part 2: Launching an Efficient Arbitration, where we addressed efficiency tools available at the early stages, we now provide an overview of options to save time and costs up until the award. As we continue our efficiency series, we will zone in on a selection of efficiency tools and discuss our experience using them.

On 19 July, 2018 the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition (the "CPC") prohibited two concentrations. The first being the sale of the second largest media conglomerate in Bulgaria, Nova Broadcasting Group AD ("Nova Broadcasting"), (owner of Nova TV), to PPF Bidco, (owned by Czech businessman Petr Kellner), and secondly the sale of CEZ's assets in Bulgaria, which include its energy distribution business, trade business and some small renewable energy parks to a Bulgarian company, Inercom, which maintains three solar power stations in the country.

The European Commission (“Commission”) has released a report on April 17, 2018, which contained important findings of fact and assessments regarding Turkey’s political situation, economic development, regional issues and international obligations. This document summarizes and evaluates the conclusions put forth by the Commission in its report (“Report”) with respect to intellectual property law in Turkey and its suggestions for the coming years.

On 2 August 2017 the state aid regime, based on the requirements of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (the "Association Agreement"), fully entered into force in Ukraine. Before this there were no state aid rules in place, and state support was distributed by the Ukrainian authorities as was deemed appropriate according to fast-changing industrial and regional policy objectives. The Ukrainian government has, traditionally, heavily supported producers in a number of so-called "priority" industries such as steel, fuel and energy, coal mining, aircraft manufacturing and shipbuilding. In the energy sector alone, total budget revenue relinquished under special tax benefits allowed to undertakings accounted for up to 3.5% of GDP annually. The introduction of state aid control is expected to bring more transparency and higher standards in the management of public spending. In particular, all existing state aid programmes implemented before 2 August 2017 should be notified to the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (the "AMC") until 2 August 2018, and all new state aid may be granted only following the prior approval of the AMC.

National Alliance for Local Economic Development (“NALED”) has submitted its proposal for the changes of the flat-rate taxation system to the National Coordination Body for Battling Underground Economy (“NCB”).  This Government body will review the proposed changes, which would substantially alter the system of flat-rate taxation of independent contractors (i.e. individual entrepreneurs) as it exists now, and have a particular impact on certain industries which rely on it to a great extent, such as the IT sector.

Kicking off our series on efficiency in arbitration, our first article, Efficient Arbitration – Part 1: Metrics sets out our idea of an efficient arbitration:

  • Achieving the best possible outcome with the least amount of resources.
  • A balancing act.

According to experts, Ukraine ranks fourth in the world in export of IT-products; i.e., software. It is not a rare phenomenon for Western counter-parties buying software to encounter a low level of pre-sale clearance. In other words, the Ukrainian sellers are not always able to confirm their title rights to the software they dispose of, potentially exposing foreign buyers to the risk of IP-related claims of third parties.

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According to Christina Papanikolopoulou, Partner at Zepos & Yannopoulos in Athens, the major issue at hand in Greece is the lack of clarity in the work of policy makers that “has a spill-over effect on legal, regulatory, and other issues.”

On January 11, 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dentons advised the London branch of UniCredit Bank AG and MUFG as coordinators on a EUR 750 million revolving credit facility provided by a group of 13 banks to MOL Plc, the Hungarian multinational oil and gas company. CMS advised MOL on the deal, which represented the largest financing deal in Hungary in 2017.

Helena Kokot is the Director of the Legal Affairs Department at the Zagreb International Airport. She joined the ZIA in 2014 after 12 years in the telecommunications sector with Croatian Telecom and T-Mobile Croatia. She got her law degree from the Faculty of Law at the University of Zagreb in 1999.

On May 7, 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that DTEK Renewables is developing the Nikopol solar power plant project in Ukraine, which will be the most powerful in the country. We reached out to Ivan Lyakh, General Counsel for DTEK Renewables, for comment.