D’Ornano Partners has advised the Groupama Group on its acquisition of Express Life Bulgaria IJSC, a member of the OTP Group. Schoenherr advised the OTP Group on the deal.
Worried about COVID-19? During the outbreak, it is challenging for patients to seek in-person medical care. Self-quarantine is an important tool in managing disease transmission, especially among patients who are vulnerable to the risk of infection. This is where telemedicine becomes essential to ensure that patients have access to medical care and to boost community support. In times of a global public health emergency like the COVID-19 outbreak, healthcare systems should lean on remote medical check-ups, e-prescriptions and postal delivery of medicines in situations of quarantine and to tackle the further spread of the disease. Healthcare systems should expand beyond traditional healthcare tools and leverage existing telehealth tools to direct people to the proper level of healthcare for their medical needs (both to address their medical condition and to screen for COVID-19). Moreover, state administrations should make a historic effort to at least temporarily lift restrictions on telehealth usage (where such exist) to assist in the efforts to reduce patients' exposure to the virus and to ensure public health and safety.
“The third year a Government is in power is when it usually feels the most confident to work on reforms,” says Kostadin Sirleshtov, Managing Partner at CMS in Sofia.” At the moment the Bulgarian Government is stable and active in various sectors, considering the very small possibility of a new election this year.”
The automobile part-and-component-production sector’s expansion in recent years has become a motor of the Bulgarian industry and economy. Since the Japanese company Yazaki’s investment some 15 years ago, and following Bulgaria’s EU accession in 2007 – and thanks to the common European market and the globalization of car production – Bulgarian car part manufacturers have successfully integrated into European and international supply chains as suppliers and subcontractors for global brands such as BMW, Mercedes, Renault, Nissan, Audi, Ford, Porsche, and Tesla. Nowadays, 80% of all cars have parts produced in Bulgaria. In some specific segments, Bulgarian manufacturers have become absolute market leaders - for example, 90% of the airbag sensors in all European cars are produced in Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is well-known for its roses, more precisely its oilseed roses (маслодайни рози). Oilseed roses are famously used to produce rose oil, which is one of the most expensive oils, commonly referred to as "liquid gold". Rose oil is used in the perfume industry, but the Bulgarian oilseed rose also has many other applications. The petals are used in jams, jellies, sweets and liqueurs. Products derived from processing the blossoms are used in cooking as flavouring, flavour enhancers and colouring agents. In addition to the oil, processing the oilseed rose blossom also produces rose water, which is used both in the perfumery and food industries.
Under Bulgarian anti-money laundering law, all obliged entities must adapt their internal rules in accordance with Article 101 of the Bulgarian Anti-Money Laundering Act ("AMLA") within six months following the publication of a national assessment of the risks related to money laundering and terrorism financing ("National Risk Assessment") on the website of the State Agency for National Security ("SANS").
“Unfortunately, the political situation in Bulgaria is somewhat fragile,“ says Victor Gugushev, Partner at Gugushev & Partners in Sofia. “Parliament made changes to the legislation regarding the gambling industry, but it based its decision on unclear grounds and motives.“ In addition, he says the National Lottery of Bulgaria is set to be “practically nationalized“ which could have a serious impact on the economy. “For the past three or four years, the taxes paid by the National Lottery amounted to almost a quarter billion euros. I’m not commenting whether that is right or wrong, but I am concerned about the way it was done and the agenda behind it,“ he says.
Pursuant to the Bulgarian Accountancy Act (Закон за счетоводството) companies must publish in the Commercial Register and Register for Nonprofit Legal Entities ("Commercial Register") their annual financial statements by 30 June of the calendar year following the reported period. Companies which have not carried out any activity during the reported period are exempt from this obligation. Prerequisite for the exemption is that the company's lack of activity is expressly declared before the Commercial Register.
From 1 January 2020, the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition (the "CPC") has been applying new merger filing guidelines (the "Guidelines"). The former guidelines, applied for more than ten years, did not differentiate between transactions (simpler or more complex) irrespectively of their potential competition concerns. This unified approach was unnecessarily bureaucratic with regard to concentrations with insignificant market effect (i.e. insignificant combined shares of the parties), which required a detailed merger filing only because the parties' turnover reached the statutory thresholds. At the same time, the former guidelines did not seem extensive enough for more complicated transactions (with substantial market shares of the parties), and it was not unusual for the CPC to send to the parties several requests for additional information to assess and clear a concentration. Naturally, this approach led to delays both in simpler and more complex transactions.