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Latest News By Practice

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy of North Macedonia (“Ministry”) recently pointed out that 577,662 ha are classified as arable land in North Macedonia, while 41% of this land is state-owned. It also noted that the current applicable Law on Sale of State – Owned Agricultural Land (“Law”) has many ambiguities and systemic weaknesses, which prevent its full implementation.

Imagine that an investor wants to get hold of agricultural land for its project, and therefore needs the land to be rezoned as a buildable area so as to enable the envisaged project to go forward.

For nearly 20 years, private land owners, agricultural producers, and investors have been waiting for Ukraine’s government to cancel the moratorium on the sale of agricultural land in the country.

Alrud has advised German chocolate manufacturer Ludwig Schokolade on countering imports of counterfeit goods resembling its products into the Russian Federation and protecting intellectual property.

The fee for 2021 is determined by the decision of competent authority on basis of applications of payers that are obliged to submit them no later than 31 July 2021.

Sorainen has helped Estonian mortgage loan provider Clementer obtain a creditor’s license.

11 June 2021 saw the published form of disclosing the legal entity’s ownership structure approved by Order 163 of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine dated 19.03.2021 (hereinafter – the Order) pursuant to Law of Ukraine No. 361-ІХ “On Prevention and Counteraction to Legalization (Laundering) of Proceeds of Crime or Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction” dated 06.12.2019. New requirements to the disclosure of the legal entity's ownership structure will apply from 11 July 2021. All legal entities incorporated in Ukraine must submit their ownership structures to the state registrar till 11 October 2021 in compliance with new requirements.

Motieka & Audzevicius has advised Elektroniniu Pinigu Bite on obtaining an electronic money institution license.

CMS has advised ING Bank Romania on the extension and modification of a bilateral EUR 100 million loan granted to a company within the NEPI Rockcastle Group, among others, with the addition of certain ESG components.

Avellum has advised Interpipe Holdings on a USD 300 million issue of 8.375% guaranteed notes due 2026. Sayenko Kharenko advised the joint lead managers and bookrunners on the deal.

Kocian Solc Balastik has advised J&T IB Capital Markets on Alpha Quest Funds' CZK 500 million senior bond issuance due 2026.

Gessel has advised OEX S.A and its majority shareholders on a tender offer for 100% of the company’s shares.

Shortly after the Hungarian Competition Authority’s (“HCA”) notice related to fines in antitrust cases came into force on January 1, 2021, the HCA issued an amendment, which came into force on April 22, 2021 (the amended notice being the “New Notice”). The New Notice seems to strengthen the wide derogated powers of the HCA in antitrust cases and may lead to higher fines. However, companies may be able to reduce fine amounts by offering compensating remedies.

A new competition act will come into force in Slovakia on 1 June 2021, replacing the former competition act applicable since 2001. The completely new act was adopted because the Slovak competition authority wanted a fresh start for the Slovak competition legislation and not just adopt its 11 amendments due to the need to implement the ECN+ directive.

Clifford Chance Badea Of Counsel Diana Crangasu and Former D&B David & Baias Partner Adrian Ster have founded 360Competition, a boutique competition law firm.

PR Legal Partner Ivana Ruzicic has been appointed Serbian data protection representative by Coca-Cola Services N.V. of Belgium.

Maier, Ciucur & Asociatii has successfully represented health and fitness operator Smartfit Timisoara in its challenge to the Romanian Government's mandatory shutdown of gyms and fitness centers in communities with a fourteen-day COVID-19 tally above four in one thousand. The decision on behalf of Smartfit was issued by the Timisoara Court of Appeals, and the case is expected to go before the High Court of Cassation and Justice for a final solution.

The Chamber of Deputies is currently discussing at first reading a bill on the protection of whistleblowers. This act should implement the European directive on whistleblowing, and should therefore become effective within the implementation period, i.e. no later than 17 December 2021.

The government announced a substantial change in bearer shares at the end of 2020, but the details were only finalised in April 2021. According to the new amendment, non-public joint stock companies are now obliged to register shareholders holding bearer shares.

Vukmir & Associates, working with Covington & Burling and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, has advised on Croatian aspects of the spinoff of Merck’s women’s health business, now operating under the name Organon. Baker McKenzie reportedly advised Merck as well.

BPV Hugel has advised Viennese company Wojnar on the sale of a 74% majority stake to Vivatis Holding AG. Wildmoser Koch reportedly advised the buyer.

BSJP has advised German wind farm developer Sabowind GmbH on its sale of a 108 megawatt wind project portfolio to DIF Infrastructure Fund VI. Allen & Overy advised the buyer.

Baker Botts has advised Russian liquified natural gas producer PAO Novatek on the sale of a 10% participation interest in Arctic Transshipment LLC to TotalEnergies SE.

Baker McKenzie has advised MOL Group on the acquisition of a 92.25% stake in OMV Slovenija d.o.o. for EUR 301 million. Rojs, Peljhan, Prelesnik & Partners advised MOL on Slovenian law.

On 20 April 2021, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia enacted the Law on Gender Equality and amendments to the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination. Both laws are published in the Official Gazette of RS no. 52 of 24 May 2021 and will enter into force on 1 June 2021. The Law on Gender Equality will repeal the Law on Equality of Genders (Official Gazette of RS no. 104/09).

Any COVID-19 vaccine related questions addressed to a candidate during a job interview may cause serious legal problems, since the answers can influence the employer’s judgement of the applicant positively or negatively, which can potentially lead to discrimination. Moreover, the refusal of the vaccination cannot serve as a basis for the termination of the employment relationship by notice – indicates act Ban & Karika Attorneys at Law.

The Warsaw office of Hogan Lovells has provided pro bono legal representation to Piotr Wawrzecki in a dispute over the seizure of his decedent father’s assets by the Polish State Treasury. The case was brought before the Warsaw Court of Appeals.

JDP Drapala & Partners has successfully represented a consortium consisting of Polimex Infrastruktura Sp. z o.o., Polimex Mostostal S.A., and Trakcja S.A. in an appeal procedure before the Regional Court in Warsaw. 

Former CMS Senior Associate Boleslaw Szylkajtis has joined the Hoogells law firm as Head of Infrastructure.

Just over a year ago, 2020 was shaping up to be a good one for the Croatian Transportation and Infrastructure sector. Croatia was presiding over the Council of the EU, and the Ministry of Transport & Infrastructure, one of its most active ministries, had several interesting projects in the pipeline. Osijek was due to become the first 5G city in Croatia by year’s end, and major investment deals were planned to strengthen existing road and railway infrastructure. But then COVID-19 happened and dealt a complicated hand to both transport and infrastructure.

Under Serbian law, insolvency proceedings for companies facing financial difficulties may be conducted as a bankruptcy or a restructuring.

Latham & Watkins has advised DTEK Energy on the restructuring of over USD 2 billion of its bank and bond indebtedness pursuant to two inter-conditional schemes of arrangement. Hogan Lovells and Asters advised an unidentified group of ad hoc lenders on the matter.

On November 13, 2019, the Resolution of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Belarus dated April 01, 2019 No. 9 “On electronic auction for the sale of property in economic insolvency (bankruptcy) proceedings” entered into force (the “Resolution”).

The matter on labour assignment has recently become topical in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), due to the increased need of business entities to hire staff who are not on their payrolls.

While the pandemic negatively affected a plethora of legal practices, this does not seem to be the case with employment and privacy, according to Schoenherr Counsel Daniel Gera who says that it has been the principal driver of work recently.

DLA Piper has successfully represented U.S. Steel Kosice before the Constitutional Court of Slovakia in a case regarding employment termination notice under the Slovak Commercial Code. The Constitutional Court reversed the earlier verdict delivered by the Supreme Court.

Vukmir & Associates, working with Covington & Burling and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, has advised on Croatian aspects of the spinoff of Merck’s women’s health business, now operating under the name Organon. Baker McKenzie reportedly advised Merck as well.

Rymarz Zdort and Setterwalls Advokatbyra have advised CEPD N.V. on its investment in the LloydsApotek pharmacy chain operator Admenta Sweden AB, including the acquisition of 100% of Admenta shares from the current shareholder.

On January 18, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that Cobalt had advised Practica Capital on its investment in Lithuanian start-up Biomatter Designs – part of the latter's EUR 500,000 investment round. CEEIHM spoke with Donatas Keras, Co-Founding Partner at Practica Capital to learn more about the matter.

JDP Drapala & Partners has successfully represented a consortium consisting of Polimex Infrastruktura Sp. z o.o., Polimex Mostostal S.A., and Trakcja S.A. in an appeal procedure before the Regional Court in Warsaw. 

Suciu Popa has successfully represented Rompetrol Well Services in a corporate dispute initiated by one of its minority shareholders. 

CMS Sofia has successfully represented Philicon-97 in a dispute against the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Bulgaria involving the country's feed-in tariff.

Roedl & Partner has advised the DKV Mobility Group on acquiring Osauhing Port One Estonia, UAB State Port Group, and Port One Polska Spolka z Ograniczona Odpowiedzialnoscia.

Stratulat Albulescu has advised QeOPS and its shareholders on a partial exit to Cargus, owned by Mid Europa Partners.

The Warsaw office of Taylor Wessing has advised the MLP Group on its PLN 123 million public offering of series E ordinary bearer stocks and their introduction to trade on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Pekao Investment Banking S.A. and Pekao S.A acted as underwriters on the offering.

GKC Partners in association with White & Case has advised joint bookrunners UBS and Bank of America Securities on LimakPort’s issuance of USD 370 million senior secured bonds, under Rule 144A / Regulation S due 2036, at a coupon rate of 9.50%. Paksoy advised the issuer.

Ellex Valiunas has successfully represented the Vakaru Baltijos shipyard in its appeal of a public procurement award to a consortium of Finnish companies to provide a specialized vessel for the Lithuanian Armed Forces to eliminate pollution incidents and carry out rescue operations in the Baltic Sea.

Sorainen has advised the Estonian Ministry of the Environment on matters related to the management of hazardous substances at sea.

On March 24, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov had advised the founders of tech start-up MYX AD on EUR 350,000 invested into the company by a group led by New Vision 3 Fund KD. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Yordan Zarev, Partner at New Vision 3 Fund, to learn more about the matter.

CMS has advised Bluehouse on the sale of its Ostrava-based shopping center Korso Karvina to Conseq. Eversheds Sutherland advised the buyer.

BPV Braun Partners has advised RSBC Real Estate, a private investment group, on the acquisition of the Platinium office building in the Brno city center from REICO IS CS, reportedly advised by Wilsons.

Alliance Legal CG has successfully represented the Ekaterinburg Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, on a pro bono basis, in a RUB 4 million dispute with the Ekaterinburg City Administration over the diocese’s subsidiary liability for the obligations of its Orthodox Kindergarten. The case was brought before the Arbitration Court of the Sverdlovsk Region.

Dentons, working pro bono, has successfully obtained a favorable ruling from the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic on behalf of Jozef Andrej, who had been previously convicted of the manslaughter of his severely disabled son. The decision of the Constitutional Court sends his case back to the SlovakSupreme Court.

Ilyashev & Partners, representing the interests of the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, has persuaded the Economic Court of Kyiv to invalidate the trademark of a Ukrainian pharmacy network featuring the image of a red cross.

CMS has advised Bluehouse on the sale of its Ostrava-based shopping center Korso Karvina to Conseq. Eversheds Sutherland advised the buyer.

BPV Braun Partners has advised RSBC Real Estate, a private investment group, on the acquisition of the Platinium office building in the Brno city center from REICO IS CS, reportedly advised by Wilsons.

Pohla & Hallmagi has advised Restate on the sale of two properties – a shopping center and a commercial property in Tallinn – to BRCKS SPV. Ellex Raidla advised the buyer.

Hungary announced to cut the tax on cryptocurrency earnings by 50% to encourage investors to declare income from trading digital tokens such as Bitcoin. The Hungarian Parliament accepted the tax package for 2022 on 9 June 2021. The package contains inter alia significant simplification and tax reduction with regards cryptocurrencies.

Hungary was one of the last EU countries to introduce a register of ultimate beneficial owners. While the provisions of the Fourth and Fifth AML Directives were already implemented in the Hungarian AML Act, the technical conditions on the actual operation of the UBO register were only adopted by Act XLIII of 2021 ("UBO Register Act") and are in force as of 22 May 2021.

Lately, the effects of COVID-19 have caused a significant surge in interest by high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) on global migration, as political stability and safety, access to well-functioning healthcare and education systems, and the ability to maintain a high standard of living became even more important.

Intellectual property is usually perceived through three main rights: copyright, patent and trademarks. Sensitive market-relevant information is usually perceived just as a benefit, but rarely as a right. Protection of trade secrets certainly deserves more attention. To make it easier to all market players to easily comprehend this right and for authorities to apply it, Serbia adopted a new Law on Protection of Trade Secrets, which came into force on 5 June 2020 (the “New Law”). The main reason for the new regulation, as proclaimed by the lawmakers, is the alignment with the EU acquis (especially, the Directive (EU) 2016/943 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2016).

On March 24, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov had advised the founders of tech start-up MYX AD on EUR 350,000 invested into the company by a group led by New Vision 3 Fund KD. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Yordan Zarev, Partner at New Vision 3 Fund, to learn more about the matter.

Alrud has advised German chocolate manufacturer Ludwig Schokolade on countering imports of counterfeit goods resembling its products into the Russian Federation and protecting intellectual property.

Criminal Law expert Violeta Zeppa-Priedite has moved from TGS Baltic to Sorainen in Latvia.

On 1 June 2021 a new Act No. 37/2021 Coll., on Registration of Ultimate Beneficial Owners (the "Act"), which significantly changes the rules for identifying and registering ultimate beneficial owners, will become effective. These changes are a result of EU harmonisation in the field of anti-money laundering based on the Fifth AML Directive (Directive (EU) 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council).

White & Case and De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek have advised CTP B.V. on its initial public offering and listing of its shares on Euronext Amsterdam. Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen advised CTP on Romanian legal matters. Clifford Chance's London, Paris, and Amsterdam offices advised the underwriters on the deal.