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“The talk about the entrance of two regional players – CMS and Schoenherr – onto the Macedonian market last year is still on everyone’s lips (among lawyers),” says Apostolska & Partners’ Founding Partner Emilija Apostolska-Temov in North Macedonia, who says that the presence of such law firms in the market will undoubtedly influence business, increasing both the quality of legal services and competition. “It also gives us a hint about investments coming in – such big law firms would not come without any plans,” she says. “They must know something that the rest of us will learn later. I think it will be a positive experience.”

CMS Sofia has helped SPM Bulgaria LLC obtain a permit to prospect and explore Block 1-25 Vratsa West, which covers a large territory in northwestern Bulgaria, and which CMS describes as "the biggest onshore block in Bulgaria tendered in the past few years."

CMS has advised Zentiva Group a.s. on its acquisition of Romanian pharmaceutical company Solacium and its subsidiary Be Well Pharma from Siyiara Enterprises — a holding entity of A&D Pharma / Dr. Max Group — and entrepreneur Tony Trasca. The Czech Republic's Evan Law Firm advised Siyiara and Romania's Fine Law advised Trasca on the sale, which remains contingent on the satisfaction of several conditions, including the approval of the Romanian Competition Council.

CMS Kyiv has advised international real estate investment fund Meyer Bergman on Ukrainian and English law aspects of its sale of the Aladdin Shopping Mall in Kyiv to Ukrainian Commercial Property Investment Holding, part of Dragon Capital. Aequo advised the sellers on the deal, while Wolf Theiss advised Sompo International on its provision of M&A warranty and indemnity insurance for the acquisition.

"One of Bulgaria’s biggest challenges, but simultaneously one of the biggest positive developments, is the country’s intention to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism," says CMS Partner Elitsa Ivanova. "This is basically the waiting area for the Eurozone and the EU banking union."

The beginning of 2019 will mark the start of a major transformation of the Serbian tax system, bringing new and exciting opportunities for companies who do business or wish to invest in Serbia, but also bringing potential challenges concerning the practical application of new tax rules.

Pursuant to an amendment to the Turkish Value Added Tax Law at the beginning of 2018, non-resident electronic service suppliers are now liable for Value Added Tax on services provided electronically to Turkish individuals who are not VAT taxpayers.

The Deal:  In July 2018, CEE Legal Matters reported that Reff & Associates had advised Dutch shipbuilding group Damen on its take-over of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co Ltd.’s participation in Romania’s Daewoo Mangalia shipyard. DSME was advised by CMS. The yard, which was renamed the Damen Shipyards Mangalia, is now operated as a joint venture with the Romanian Government, with Damen assuming operational control. We reached out to both firms for more information.

No individual, no business, and no country is immune from the threat of cybercrime. The increasingly successful and complex economies of CEE countries are no exception to this rule. In fact, for both historical and political reasons, CEE is at particular peril.