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The Buzz in Croatia with Miriam Simsa of Schoenherr

The Buzz in Croatia with Miriam Simsa of Schoenherr

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“There haven’t been any large shifts in the legal landscape recently if we’re talking about legal offices, teams moving, exits, and so forth,” says Schoenherr Partner Miriam Simsa. “The general situation seems to be that established players have things pretty much in control and that there is not a lot of room for new entries. Yet it is fair to say that the spin-offs have been increasing their market share over the last few years.”

However, she says, that predictability is not mirrored in the political landscape. “First, presidential elections are coming soon,” Simsa says. “Then next year we have the EU presidency seat moving to Croatia, starting in January, and of course the upcoming general elections that are due late in 2020.” She believes this is unlikely to impact business in an adverse fashion. “We really don’t expect any controversies to happen, in terms of business and investments. Even though there’s going to be a lot of voting next year, we expect things to continue running smoothly.”

And indeed, the Croatian economy seems to be in good condition, especially when compared to the rest of the region, Simsa says with a smile. “The most active business sector in Croatia is always tourism, and there are a lot of investments that are expected to happen in the coming years, but that’s not the most exciting thing,” she says. “Croatia has propped up a VC fund with the purpose of investing specifically in domestic startups and scale-ups. It has a Slovenian manager – Fil Rouge Capital – and rumor has it that it will manage a EUR 42 million portfolio with an aim to invest it all by 2023.”

Still, Simsa says of the economy that “not all is fine and dandy,” and she says there is a lot of pressure on the country’s labor market. “Historically speaking there is a clear brain-drain from Croatia and the rest of the Balkans, but now, with the Austrian labor market set to open up to Croats in mid-2020, it looks like even more workers might migrate.” 

Finally, Simsa says, Croatia’s new Enforcement Act, expected to enter into force in 2020, is a frequent subject of controversy. “Even though it is questionable how it will work in practice – seeing as how it is generally set to be a much easier procedure – from an economic standpoint it makes a lot of sense,” she says. Thus, although not all lawyers are excited about the prospect of the changes, outside investors are likely to welcome the new law with open arms. “If enforcement is difficult then businessmen are going to be reluctant to enforce collateral, which could lead to them being reluctant to invest, seeing as how it directly impacts their general confidence in the business atmosphere," she concludes. "Now, with the new act, it is reasonable to assume that enforcements will become easier and faster, which will strengthen trust and spur investments."


Croatian Knowledge Partner

Čipčić-Bragadin Mesić & Associates is one of the leading law firms in Croatia that serve companies, credit & financial institutions and public entities. We have been recommended and recognized as the legal experts and service leaders by many leading international legal guides for more than 15 consecutive years. With roots dating from 1928. we now probably have more tradition, experience and market presence than almost any other law firm in Croatia. We work closely with the leading international law firms and consultants so we’re able to manage complex, cross-border projects and deals seamlessly and successfully. Around 85% of our clients are international enterprises doing business in Croatia. List of our clients include some of the world-renowned companies such as Amazon Europe Core, China Machinery Engineering Corporation, Tate & Lyle, Nafta a.s., Unilever Croatia, Unilever Hungary, Lenovo, Innoenergy CE, Flixmobility, Flixbus CEE South, Okoenergie Group, CTC Holding, Bunge Limited, Chipita, Rolls-Royce, Canvas Holidays, Vacalianselect, Redgate Software, Red gate Investment, Yahoo!, Aston Martin Lagonda, Domino Printing UK, Domino Printing Sciences, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Barclays Bank, HSBC, State Street Bank, Citigroup Global Markets, Credit Suisse, Bank of America Merill Lynch, Standard Chartered, Och-Ziff Capital Management, Amundi Asset Management, Altima International, Red Arc Global Investments, SMBC Nikko Capital Partners, Royal Bank of Scotland, Morgan Stanley International, J.P. Morgan group, Allianz Global Investors, Schroders, Macquarie Bank, Digital Finance International, Winton Capital Management, Citibank, Invesco Asset Management Österreich, Croatian Pension Investment Company, Unicredit Bank AG etc. We enjoy learning about our clients’ businesses and want to understand them completely so we can provide the best possible and complete service.

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