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Avellum has acted as Ukrainian legal advisor to the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine on its USD 3 billion, 15-year, 7.375% Eurobond issue, which was combined with a cash tender offer to the holders of the outstanding Eurobonds due 2019 and 2020. White & Case advised the Ministry of Finance on matters of English and American law, while Sayenko Kharenko (on Ukrainian law) and Latham & Watkins (on American and English law) advised joint lead managers BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, and J.P. Morgan Securities plc.

In The Corner Office, we invite Senior and Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. For this issue, we asked them to describe their least favorite part of their jobs. 

Preserving confidentiality is always a top priority for a successful business, especially if you have an advanced R&D department. Taking into account the need to freely transfer information on the one hand and the strict necessity to preserve the safety of personal data and databases on the other, the issue of confidentiality becomes even more important.

Baker McKenzie has advised Sika, a manufacturer of speciality chemicals, on its acquisition of Prague-based KVK Holding from private equity firm Arx Equity Partners. White & Case advised the sellers on the deal.

The National Bank of Ukraine (the "NBU") has significantly simplified its rules for attracting cross-border loans by Ukrainian borrowers from international financial institutions ("IFI"), such as, among others, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and International Finance Corporation.

The regulation on takaful (risk-sharing) insurance products is underway and expected to enter into force before the year-end.

CMS has advised mBank on establishing the mAccelerator corporate venture capital fund.

Partos & Noblet Hogan Lovells has advised the Vajda Papir Group on its HUF 22 billion syndicated loan arrangement with a Hungarian bank syndicate consisting of OTP Bank, UniCredit Bank Hungary, Eximbank, and the Hungarian Development Bank for project finance and general corporate purposes. The lenders were advised by CMS Budapest.

Former CMS Partner Malgorzata Chrusciak has joined Ernst & Young Law in Warsaw as an Of Counsel, focusing on — in her words — "strengthening and developing EY's regulatory practice for financial institutions."

“Unfortunately the situation in Macedonia is not bright” says Dragan Dameski, Partner at Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska in Skopje, referring to the prolonged political instability in Macedonia, and the “selective implementation of rule of law by the official institutions and bodies in power.”

The Government of the Republic of Macedonia, in its program for the period 2014-2018, incorporated a project that shall enable electronic concluding of real estate purchase agreements.

It is expected that the new Law on Notary Public will overcome the weaknesses identified in the existing Law and will also lead to higher efficiency in the notary public operation.

The international law firm Debevoise & Plimpton LLP presents a brief overview of the most significant developments in Russian legal regulation (including legislative initiatives) and court practice in the real estate, construction and infrastructure sectors in the first half of 2017.

The development of modern technologies and the growing role of electronic documents in commercial relations influence the employment sphere, among others. Companies increasingly use electronic employment agreements and electronic policies, which increases the efficiency of employment paperwork turnaround. However, the positions of Russian employment law and the courts on electronic employment documentation are not uniform. 

The Moscow and London offices of Debevoise & Plimpton have advised PJSC Polyus in connection with a public offering of shares and depositary receipts and the listing of the depositary receipts on the LSE. Clifford Chance reportedly advised the banks on the offering.

Oana Ijdelea and Anca Mihailescu are joining forces to launch a new full-service law firm in Bucharest — Ijdelea Mihailescu, Attorneys & Advisors — with a particular focus on energy & natural resources, M&A, environmental law, and real estate & construction.

Semih Metin has joined Turkey's Nazali Tax & Legal as the Corporate/M&A and Capital Markets Partner.

DLA Piper has advised Service-Telecom, a participant in the telecoms tower infrastructure market in the Moscow Region, on the acquisition of a 100% stake in Link Development, a prominent telecoms tower company in Northwest Russia. Dentons advised the unidentified sellers on the deal.

In The Corner Office, we invite Senior and Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. For this issue, we asked them to describe their least favorite part of their jobs. 

Things seem to be picking up a bit in Greece, according to Drakopoulos Managing Partner Panagiotis Drakopoulos — but he knows better than to relax. "I’m much more hopeful than I was last year,” he says, “but you have to adapt to the environment. You can only hear so many times that 'now things are changing.’ We’ve heard this for three or four years, but things don’t, in fact, change. The same thing happened in 2014 — things picked up a lot, and then the crisis hit again.” He sighs. “We definitely have more work than last year, but I don’t see a clear path to the light at the end of the tunnel, so it’s hard to be too confident about how things will develop.” 

Drakopoulos Greece has advised Hellenic Petroleum Group of Companies with respect to the group’s compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation.

Early this year, on February 6th, 2017, the Ministerial Cabinet has published its decision on Pricing of Human Medicinal Products (“Decision”) and announced that the requirements of the Communiqué on Pricing of Human Medicinal Products (published in 2015) that do not conflict with the Decision, shall remain applicable. 

Article 17 of the Turkish Constitution provides that “Everyone has … the right to protect and improve his/her corporeal and spiritual existence.” Based on this provision of the Turkish Constitution, the general principles of indemnity law will apply to any violation of personal rights. Article 49 of the Turkish Code of Obligations provides the general principle for indemnification under Turkish law and states that “Whoever damages someone else with an unlawful and culpable act is obligated to compensate that damage.”

After China, the world’s largest merchandise exporter, joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, it agreed to a 15-year transitional period during which other members would be allowed to use the “non-market economy” method for dumping calculations. This transitional period ended on 11 December 2016, and forced certain WTO members to revise their anti-dumping strategies. 

The Deal:  On February 16, 2017, CEE Legal Matters reported that Glatzova & Co. had advised Denemo Media s.r.o. on its acquisition of a 50% shareholding in FTV Prima, with Allen & Overy advising Modern Times Group, the seller. Denemo Media is a Czech joint venture between Alphaduct, a.s. (with 75% ownership) and GES Media Asset, a.s. (with 25% ownership). Alphaduct, a.s. is owned by Czech businessman Vladimir Komar. GES Media Asset a.s. is part of the GES Group, which already owned 50% of FTV Prima Holding.

Glatzova & Co. has advised Denemo Media s.r.o. on its acquisition of a 50% shareholding in FTV Prima, with Allen & Overy advising Modern Times Group, the seller.

Glatzova & Co. has successfully represented TFS RT, INC. in the restructuring proceedings of its business partner.

International companies having a presence in Ukraine often need to employ foreign personnel due to specific character of their businesses or due to particular valuable experience of such foreign specialists. At the same time, Ukrainian legislation is designed to procure employment of local citizens in the first place. 

Ukrainian legislation provides state guarantees of safety of foreign investments with the goal to protect the rights of foreign investors.

The Law of Ukraine “On protection of economic competition” has been recently amended regulation regarding concentration of economic entities.

Thomas Hruby was born in Montreal, Canada, where he attended McGill University, from which he received his B.A., B.C.L., and LL.B. degrees. He was admitted to the Bar of the Province of Quebec in 1983 and practiced law in Montreal. He obtained a Master’s degree in law from Charles University in Prague in 1991 and was admitted as a fully-qualified Czech advocate by the Czech Bar Association in 1992. In 1993, he opened the Prague office of the Montreal law firm Mitchell, Gattuso and he subsequently joined the Prague office of Linklaters & Alliance. In 2001 he started his own practice in Prague, and he was joined by Jiri Buchvaldek in 2006 to form Hruby & Buchvaldek. 

In “The Buzz” we interview experts on the legal industry living and working in Central and Eastern Europe to find out what’s happening in the region and what legislative/professional/cultural trends and developments they’re following closely. Because the interviews are carried out and published on the CEE Legal Matters website on a rolling basis, we’ve marked the dates on which the interviews were originally published.

Jiri Buchvaldek, Partner at Hruby & Buchvaldek in the Czech Republic, is flabbergasted at the amount of new regulations being thrown at small businesses and entrepreneurs in the country. "It’s just freakish what’s going on," he says, shaking his head.

JPM and Havel, Holasek & Parters have advised Dr. Max Group on the acquisition by its AsterFarm subsidiary of prominent Serbian pharmacy chains Farmanea and Farmakop. Bojanovic & Partners advised the sellers, Lovorka Nikolic and Miomir Nikolic.

The Appellate Court in Belgrade has granted the appeal of Serbian business magnate Miroslav Miskovic made by his counsel, including JPM Senior Partner Nenad Popovic, and reversed the decision of the Higher Court in Belgrade (Organized Crime Unit), clearing Miskovic of charges of abuse of office and reversing a guilty verdict against him on tax evasion charges.

Foreigners acquiring ownership of agricultural land in the Republic of Serbia.

The commercial legal markets of Central & Eastern Europe didn’t appear automatically. They didn’t develop in a vacuum. They were formed, shaped, and led, by lawyers – visionary, hard-working, commercially-minded, and client-focused individuals pulling the development of CEE’s legal markets along behind them as they labored relentlessly for their clients, their careers, their futures. 

The Slovenian National Assembly adopted the Class Action Law, which will implement an important institute to the Slovenian legal system, i.e. mechanism of class action.

Karanovic & Nikolic was part of a consortium of advisors to the City of Belgrade and the IFC on local law aspects of a PPP project for the landfill remediation and development of a waste treatment facility in the Vinca section of Belgrade.

A bill on the amendment of the Public Notaries Act and certain judicial acts is currently under administrative discussions. 

Several changes can be foreseen in the bill of the new Act on the Rules of Taxation that has recently been published by the Hungarian Ministry of National Economy.

The Constitutional Court of Hungary made a decision in July 2017 that the provisions concerning the applicability of tax registration procedure do not infringe the principle of non-retroactivity.

The commercial legal markets of Central & Eastern Europe didn’t appear automatically. They didn’t develop in a vacuum. They were formed, shaped, and led, by lawyers – visionary, hard-working, commercially-minded, and client-focused individuals pulling the development of CEE’s legal markets along behind them as they labored relentlessly for their clients, their careers, their futures. 

This year’s General Counsel Summit – the annual gathering of leading in-house counsel from across Central and Eastern Europe – convened in Warsaw, on June 1-2. 

Kocian Solc Balastik has won a promotion dispute over garlic drops for manufacturer Allivictus.

The development of intellectual property rights in Montenegro started when Montenegro became independent in 2006 and since the Intellectual Property Office of Montenegro – which deals with industrial property rights – started operations in 2008.

As a developing country and a candidate state for the EU and NATO, Montenegro has done a great deal to establish an effective legal and institutional framework in many areas.

Recent research shows that Montenegro has a high hydro-energy potential with a noteworthy index of cost-effectiveness of investments and favorable ecological and social environments. The estimated theoretical hydro potential on the main water courses totals 9,846 GWh/year. Out of this capacity, less than 1,800 GWh, or only 17%, has been harnessed so far. 

Maravela|Asociatii is representing Chimcomplex Borzesti S.A. in a tender for the assets of Romania's Oltchim chemical company. Oltchim is being assisted by Bondoc & Asociatii and White & Case.

Maravela | Asociatii has assisted Standex International Corporation with its first investment on the Romanian market: the acquisition of the Romanian branch of the Piazza Rossa Group. Other firms advising Standex on the transaction, which closed at the beginning of August, included Italy's Sinescu & Nazat, Mondini & Resconi law firm and Lazzari Law Firm.

Ranking services form a critical part of the law firm landscape in CEE as around the world, and law firm marketing and business development functions in the region spend many weeks or months each year preparing their submissions for those ranking services they believe are most widely read and influential. Still, not everybody is convinced the ranking services are as effective or valuable as they could be. Thus, for this issue, we asked the law firm marketing and BD experts around CEE: “What one change would you most like to see made to the law firm rankings to make them more useful/effective?” 

In The Corner Office, we invite Senior and Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. For this issue, we asked them to describe their least favorite part of their jobs. 

In order to ease the sophisticated and multifaceted disputes of today’s market; arbitration is started to become a widely selected resolution method also in Turkey similar to the global market; especially due to its concept of customizability, speed and efficiency. As each commercial transaction possesses a unique nature in terms of its components and conditions; the one who concludes complex transaction should be preferring arbitration; a tailor-made method of alternative dispute resolution. 

The Moral Law Firm has advised Barcin Spor, a prominent Turkish sports equipment retailer, on its acquisition of nine stores from an unnamed national retailer. 

“A lost year” is how Gjorgji Georgievski, Partner at ODI in Macedonia, describes the current state of deal-making in his country. “From April onwards things got really slow because of the culmination of the ongoing political crisis,” he explains, adding: “Since the formation of the new Government in June it was normal for things to calm down but soon after we got into a state of waiting for the local elections which eventually took place on October 15, 2017. 

ODI has advised SKB Banka D.D. Ljubljana as a financial creditor on the court-sanctioned procedure of preventive restructuring of approximately EUR 200 million of financial debt of the DZS Group companies Delo Prodaja, d.d., Terme Catez d.d., and DZS d.d.

In The Corner Office, we invite Senior and Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. For this issue, we asked them to describe their least favorite part of their jobs. 

We can look at the current situation from the bright side in Slovenia,” laughs Grega Peljhan of Slovenia’s Rojs, Peljhan, Prelesnik & partnerji law firm. "We have Melania Trump and the world’s best cook, Ana Ros!"

On December 20th, 2016, CEE Legal Matters reported that the Slovenian metal-processing company UNIOR had completed a syndicated debt refinancing process with a group of six banks. We interviewed Darko Hrastnik, the Chairman of the Board and CEO at UNIOR, who was directly responsible for handling the transaction and managing the external counsel.

ODI has represented a consortium of NLB, Banka Koper (Intesa Sanpaolo Group), Sberbank, Abanka, NKBM and Gorenjska Banka on a EUR 113 million syndicated debt refinancing of UNIOR, an advanced international company in metal-processing filed and active in tourism. UNIOR was represented by Rojs, Peljhan, Prelesniki & Partners.

One of the new possibilities introduced by the new Serbian General Administrative Procedure Act is an administrative guarantee.  It is a statement issued by an authority that it will issue an administrative act at the request of a party.  By issuing an administrative guarantee, the authority guarantees that the act issued will have a precisely defined content.

On 22 September 2017 the public debate on the proposed amendments to the Serbian Companies Act (hereinafter: the “Act“) was initiated.  The changes of the Act are expected to create conditions for further development of the concept of e-government, and are mainly focused on expediting the process of company registration and creating space for further europeanization of business environment in Serbia upon accession to the EU.

On its way to becoming a Member State of the European Union, Serbia undertook the obligation to implement the fundamental EU principles into its legal system by entering into the Stabilization and Association Agreement (the “SAA”).

The relative success of the center-right Croatian Democratic Union in the September 11th extraordinary parliamentary election in Croatia “should be good for Croatia and good for business" reports Boris Savoric, Senior Partner at Savoric & Partners in Zagreb, if the party succeeds in forming a government with one of the minority parties in the country.

Women’s Day is behind us, but the subjects of gender equality and equal opportunity are of year-round concern. This, the first part of a special two-part CEE Legal Matters article on women in private practice in CEE, provides the numbers and percentages from leading law firms across CEE, as well as a more thorough snapshot of one representative market. Part II of the report, in the June issue, will pull back the curtain even more, providing feedback and perspectives from lawyers across the region.

There are limited ways to increase control over the management board of Polish limited liability companies because it is the company's management body that is responsible for its affairs and representation.

Schoenherr, working with lead counsel Gleiss Lutz, has advised French IT service provider Atos SE on the planned acquisition of Siemens Convergence Creators GmbH for an undisclosed price. Siemens AS was represented by Hengeler Muller on the deal, which is expected to close at the end of December 2017 and is still subject to the information/consultation process with employee representative bodies and the approval of the relevant regulatory and antitrust authorities. 

Schoenherr has advised Austrian Post on its acquisition of a share of In Time Spedice. CEE Attorneys advised the selling shareholder on the deal. The transaction closed in August 2017, and financial terms were not disclosed.

"There are certain developments influencing our day-to-day business,” says Adela Rizvic, Partner at Advokatski Ured Tkalcic-Dulic, Prebanic, Rizvic i Jusufbasic-Goloman in Sarajevo.

Rojs, Peljhan, Prelesnik & Partners (RPPP) has advised Enterprise Investors on the acquisition by the Polish Enterprise Fund VII, which it manages, of 100% of shares in sporting good retailer Intersport ISI in a carve-out transaction from Mercator Group. According to RPPP, "the value of the transaction is up to EUR 34.5 million and the transaction transaction is conditional upon obtaining customary regulatory approvals." RPPP — a member of the TLA alliance — reports that "all other TLA law firms from the region, including JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic from Serbia, Tkalcic-Djulic, Prebanic, Rizvic and Jusufbasic-Goloman from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska from Macedonia" were involved as well. Slovenia’s Jadek & Pensa and Serbia’s Prica & Partners advised Mercator on the transaction.

Foreigners acquiring ownership of agricultural land in the Republic of Serbia.

Partners at Serbian Law Firms Discuss the Growing Number of Legal Alliances Appearing Across the Former Yugoslavia 

In late December 2016, the Government of Serbia passed the new Decree on Terms and Conditions for Attracting Direct Investments. The Decree supplements the Law on Investments (2015), regulating in finer detail criteria, conditions and means of attracting direct investments, in particular granting of State incentive funds for investment projects. 

The Turkish Law on Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey (the “Law”) entered into force on April 20, 2016, replacing its predecessor (the Law on Turkish Human Rights Institution).

The Turkish Law on Industrial Property (the “Law”) was published and entered into force on January 10, 2017.

Turkey’s first data protection and privacy law (the “Law”) came into force on April 7, 2016. The Law, which is largely in line with the EU’s Data Protection Directive, aims to safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals, in particular their right to privacy, with respect to the processing of their personal data.

The commercial legal markets of Central & Eastern Europe didn’t appear automatically. They didn’t develop in a vacuum. They were formed, shaped, and led, by lawyers – visionary, hard-working, commercially-minded, and client-focused individuals pulling the development of CEE’s legal markets along behind them as they labored relentlessly for their clients, their careers, their futures. 

Wolf Theiss has advised a banking group consisting of UniCredit, RBI, NLB, and SKB Banka on the recapitalization of AGIC and its subsidiary, Fotona in a re-financing. The transaction closed on October 4, 2017.

Wolf Theiss has advised the largest Chinese producer of SUVs, the Great Wall Motor Company, on its creation of an Austrian subsidiary.

NAFA issued the order 23/2017 published in the Official Gazette no. 706 of 31.08.2017 regulating the split payment of VAT. 

Along with the reason provided in art. 509 par. (1) (1) of the Code of Civil Procedure, the reason for the review discussed in this article is perhaps the most common in practice due to multiple interpretative possibilities, but also because it is apparently much more accessible than the other grounds for review, which are more rigid in interpretation. In the majority of cases, however, reviewers are basically trying to resume the fund by invoking a seemingly new document that does not meet the requirements of the law to underpin the review of a judgment. 

At a time when the business community is expecting the implementation norms to render law 233/2016 on public-private partnerships functional, the government comes up with a change in optics and announces amendment and simplification of the law and, eventually, issuance of the norms. The time horizon announced, when both the amended law and the implementation norms should be in force, is October 2017.

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