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Schoenherr has advised BNP Paribas S.A. Citibank NA, London Branch, and Black Sea Trade and Development Bank on Bulgarian legal aspects of a EUR 90 million syndicated credit facility extended to Oliva AD and Buildcom EOOD, as well as on the establishment of a Bulgarian security package for the facility. Herbert Smith Freehills acted as English law counsel to the banks.

The main concern in the energy sector in Bulgaria, as in the rest of the EU, has shifted from constantly-increasing electricity prices to a significant drop in those prices during the pandemic. The Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange (IBEX) reported the lowest prices in Europe – from below EUR 4/MWh to approximately EUR 12/MWh – for the day ahead market during the first weekend of April. Although these record-breaking figures have not stayed constant, the reduction of electricity consumption in the industry sector is still prolonging the trend, which is obviously here to stay. Electricity prices from approximately EUR 14 to EUR 35 for the first week of May are still way below the weighted average price of EUR 48.64/MWh for the day ahead market for 2019.

When I was asked to write this editorial by CEE Legal Matters I started to wonder how I could describe the current situation in Central and Eastern Europe. The first half of the year will definitely remain marked by the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, this editorial will not be focused on the pandemic, on measures taken (or not taken) by the governments in the region, or on what the consequences will be. Instead, I will try to provide an overview of the market, specifically as it relates to our business in this part of the world – and how I expect it to develop in the years to come.

On 28.07.2020 in the State Gazette vol. 67, the latest amendments to the Medicinal Products in Human Medicine Act were promulgated (SG vol. 31 of 13.04.2007, last amended and supplemented SG vol. 67 of 28.07.2020) (the ‘Act’), which aims to create the preconditions for the implementation of Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/161 of 2 October 2015 supplementing Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council by laying down detailed rules on safety features appearing on the packaging of medicinal products for human use  (“Delegated Regulation (EU) 2016/161”), including optimization of the control over pharmacies. Summary information about the changes can be found below.

Georgiev Todorov & Co. has advised Bulgaria's Office Sgradi EOOD on the purchase of 50% of the shares of Medical Center-On Clinic Bulgaria AD from the Netherlands-based On Clinic Advanced Medical Institute B.V. The seller was reportedly advised by Israel's Epstein Rosenblum Maoz.

On June 9, 2020, almost 3 years after the start of the public discussions procedure, the new Food Act (the “Act”) was promulgated in the State Gazette, issue no. № 52. It repeals the old law, in force since 1999, and aims to harmonize Bulgarian legislation with European legislation, introducing new concepts, new registration obligations and higher sanctions. In the text below you will find some of the more important legislative changes.

CMS has advised KEXIM, the Export-Import Bank of Korea, on a USD 36 million financing deal with Grain Terminal Holdings — a Singapore-based joint venture between Posco International and the Orexim Group. Posco International was advised by South Korea's Jipyong law firm, and the Orexim Group was advised by Harneys' Cyprus office.

Schoenherr is reporting that the United Group's EUR 1.2 billion acquisition of Vivacom (Bulgarian Telecommunications Company EAD), the largest telecom operator in Bulgaria — the deal that was signed in November 2019 and won CEE Legal Matters' 2019 Deal of the Year for Bulgaria — has closed. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison acted as lead English counsel to the United Group, while CMS and Kambourov & Partners were, respectively, English and Bulgarian counsel to the sellers.

Оn 10 July, 2020, just over two years after Bulgaria formally announced its intention to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II) and the Banking Union, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) announced two very important decisions:

We decided to lighten the mood this time around by asking our Law Firm Marketing experts from across the region a non-law-firm related question: “What did you most want to be when you were little?”

Over the past few years CMS advised the OTP Bank Group on an extensive series of acquisitions across Bulgaria, Moldova, and former Yugoslavia. This series of separate deals was shortlisted for CEE Legal Matters’ CEE Deal of the Year in each of the countries involved, actually winning the 2018 Deal of the Year for Bulgaria and the 2019 Deal of the Year Award for Montenegro. We reached out to Eva Talmacsi, who led CMS’s multi-jurisdictional team, to learn more about the firm’s impressive work on OTP’s behalf.

Bulgaria Knowledge Partner

Schoenherr is a leading full-service law firm providing local and international companies stellar advice that is straight to the point. With 15 offices and 4 country desks Schoenherr has a firm footprint in Central and Eastern Europe. Our lawyers are recognised leaders in their specialised areas and have a track record of getting deals done with a can-do, solution-oriented approach. Quality, flexibility, innovation and practical problem-solving in complex commercial mandates are at the core of our philosophy.

Firm's website: www.schoenherr.eu

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