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After a valuable and information-rich day of panel discussions on important business development and law firm management topics, participants reconvened that evening (and were joined by several dozen newcomers) at the first ever CEE Legal Matters Annual Banquet and Deal of the Year Awards Ceremony – a celebration of CEE’s legal markets and the lawyers who work within them. Awards were presented for 17 qualifying markets in CEE – plus a surprise award for overall CEE Deal of the Year – with many of the lawyers playing key roles in nominated deals joining the celebration.

After undergoing healthy levels of Corporate/M&A activity in recent times, as we move towards 2019 we expect the Slovak market to remain stable. A notable exception, however, is in the logistics asset class, where we project inbound investment to soar.

The widespread perception remains that the real estate market in CEE is undervalued and continues to offer exciting opportunities for investors. It would seem this is with good reason and early signs suggest that this year we may approach record levels of activity in the sector.

The continued rise in the number of sales in 2017 confirmed the revival of the Slovenian real estate market that began in 2014 (after the end of the economic crisis). While the prices of residential real estate in Slovenia hit bottom in 2015, last year they increased more than ten percent over the previous year. Real estate prices have continued to rise in the first few months of this year as well.

CMS Sofia has advised Austrian-based funds Universale International Realitaten, CA Immo International Holding, and CEE Realty Beteiligungs on the sale of Megapark, а 75,000 square meter office building in Sofia, to Lion’s Head Investments, a joint venture between the Bulgarian real estate holding AG Capital and the South African investor Old Mutual Group. Kinstellar advised the buyer on the deal.

To a large extent, the ability of law firm marketing and business development experts to successfully promote the firms they work within depends on the support they get from their firms’ partners. So we asked them: What partner at your firm would you single out for her/his recognition of the value of what you do and ability to get you what you need efficiently and quickly?

On January 11, 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dentons advised the London branch of UniCredit Bank AG and MUFG as coordinators on a EUR 750 million revolving credit facility provided by a group of 13 banks to MOL Plc, the Hungarian multinational oil and gas company. CMS advised MOL on the deal, which represented the largest financing deal in Hungary in 2017.