Squeeze-out of minority shareholders is an important concept for joint stock companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In the previous socialist system, many then-state-owned joint stock companies issued employee stocks as a form of partial privatization, leading to some companies having hundreds of minority shareholders with miniscule amounts of shares. This complicated the management of these companies, as majority ownership changed from state to private, since many small shareholders are unreachable, as they may be deceased or have relocated with unknown addresses. This situation often makes squeeze-outs essential for majority shareholders in order to efficiently manage these companies.
Under Bosnia and Herzegovina law, a pledge can be granted solely to a creditor of a claim. This hampers the creation of effective security for securing syndicated facilities (e.g., loans provided to debtor by more than one lender). In practice, this is solved by creating a “parallel debt structure” and appointing a security agent who holds pledges in favor of all lenders. Despite its broad use, this structure has not been tested before local courts. Thus, questions about its validity remain unsettled.
“The country we live in is, in many ways, just a mirage – there are indications of there being a functioning state, but in reality it is very difficult to see it,” says Maric & Co. Managing Partner Branko Maric, noting that, “for over two years now, since the last general election, we have had a technical government.”
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Western Balkans right during a period of accelerating economic activity and a promising economic outlook for 2020. The rapid spread of the virus forced the governments of the Western Balkans countries to introduce protective measures, lockdowns, and temporary business shutdowns. These restrictions had a devastating direct economic impact on a wide range of sectors – particularly the hospitality and transport industries – and the measures had many indirect side effects that significantly decreased economic activity.
There is an interesting legal tool in the Competition Law of Bosnia and Herzegovina (originally adopted in 2005), that is seldom seen in other jurisdictions. Per the legal framework, the governing body of the local competition authority, the Competition Council, consists of six members appointed in order to reflect the complex ethnic structure of the country: two Bosnians, two Croats, and two Serbs.
The SEE Legal law firm alliance has announced the formal launch of two new practice groups, one dedicated to Employment and Immigration, headed by Kolcuoglu Demirkan Kocakli Counsel Maral Minasyan, and one dedicated to Intellectual Property, headed by Selih & Partnerji Partner Natasa Pipan Nahtigal.