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The main characteristics of the Macedonian banking market are its small size and the relatively large number of players. According to the latest reports of the National Bank of North Macedonia, out of fifteen active banks, five have significantly higher market shares than the rest. The combined market share of these five biggest banks is 74.4%, with a significant discrepancy between the bank that owns the largest amount of assets (a market share of 22.7%) and the one with the lowest (a market share of 0.5%).

In 2013, a wide range of changes were introduced in relation to the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate. A staple for a wide range of financial products, LIBOR has been the dominant rate for syndicated loans, bonds, and derivatives entered into on the Bulgarian, CEE, and wider European markets. However, following a series of problems over the past decade, the need to move away from LIBOR has become apparent. As panel banks would not be required to submit their references by the end of 2021, the question has become what the alternatives to LIBOR are and how they can be implemented.

Frances Gerrard, a member of CMS’s Corporate and M&A team in Prague, is a long way from her home in Australia. We spoke to her about the path that brought her to the Czech capital.

It’s not easy to get to the top of a profession. Among lawyer in particular, there is fierce competition, great pressure, slim margins of error, and a number of people waiting to capitalize on mistakes. Making it to the top, and staying there, is a tightrope that must be walked over and over. And yet, the Hanslik family has not one but two such high achievers, in two different countries, as Austrian brothers Erwin and Guenther Hanslik have senior positions at offices of two of the most respected and successful international law firms in Europe.

CMS has advised CEE Equity Partners — the investment advisor to the China Central and Eastern Europe Investment Co-operation Fund II — on its acquisition of a majority stake in EuroWagon Sp. z o.o. Grant Thornton's Poznan-based transaction advisory and legal arm advised the unidentified sellers.

CMS has advised a syndicate of banks led by ING and UniCredit as mandated lead arrangers on the extension and USD 100 million increase of a pre-export credit facility to Ukraine’s Kernel Group. The total available limit under the amended facility was increased to USD 390 million.

CMS has advised Green Investment Group, owned by Macquarie, on the acquisition of the Zajaczkowo wind farm located in Poland's Pomorskie Province, from Mitsui Renewable Energy Europe Limited and J-Power Investment Netherlands B.V. Dentons advised the sellers on the deal.

As the country entered the 21st century, Ukraine’s Soviet-era judicial system was widely condemned as corrupt, incompetent, and inefficient. Committed to rectifying the situation, in 2015 the Ukrainian government introduced plans to reform the entire system. That transformation, which was the focus of an August 2017 CEE Legal Matters Round Table, continues today. We reached out to several of the Ukrainian dispute resolution specialists we spoke to several years ago for an update.

Halfway through 2019 Ukraine has already seen major changes in its energy sector’s legal framework, including the effect of the recent decision of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine involving the legal status and decision-making authority of the Ukrainian energy market regulator (the “Regulator”). The shockwaves are likely to go far beyond 2019.

5G technology is the next stage in the development of wireless telecommunications networks. Thanks to much quicker data transmission speeds and fewer delays, this technology will make it possible to offer new quality services both for public uses such as smart energy grids, transport systems, and smart cities, and for private uses such as autonomous and automated vehicles and smart homes. Also, given the greater number of devices operated by one network unit, 5G will provide for better configuration options, making it possible to offer different services to a large number of users within one infrastructure. This distinguishes 5G technology from the technologies available today, where the activity of one user has an impact on other users and reduces data transmission speed.

In “The Corner Office” we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: What was the most difficult or unpleasant experience you had terminating someone’s employment?”

No innovations have ever had the magnitude of impact on everyday life as those pertaining to information technology and communication. As a result of their sophistication, endless amounts of data are readily available to us today, at any moment. Artificial Intelligence, making full use of this abundant resource, is a new technological tool sweeping through our world, promising to once again revolutionize our everyday lives. For that reason, it is of utmost importance that appropriate rules are adopted early on to foster innovation and trust in Artificial Intelligence, while ensuring respect for human rights and democratic values.

CMS at a Glance

Founded in 1999, CMS is a full-service top 10 international law firm, based on the number of lawyers (Am Law 2018 Global 100). With 70+ offices in 40+ countries across the world, employing over 4,800 lawyers, CMS has longstanding expertise both at advising in its local jurisdictions and across borders. CMS acts for a large number of Fortune 500 companies and the FT European 500 and for the majority of the DAX 30. Revenues totalled EUR 1.36bn in 2018.

In Russia, CMS has been supporting its clients since 1992. The Moscow office offers a full range of legal and tax services across 21 practice and sector groups. Over 50 lawyers qualified in Russian, English, French and German law advise international clients on all matters relating to doing business in Russia and CEE, and support Russian companies doing business in Europe and other countries.

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