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Back in the 2000s, the conditions for getting a loan from a Croatian bank were quite strict and complicated. Beside a good credit rating, the banks were asking for a number of securities: mortgages, guarantors, etc. Recognizing that as a good business opportunity, many foreign financial institutions (primarily banks and leasing companies, but also financial cooperatives) decided to enter Croatian market.

A reputable international business journal once described Croatia as an “economic and political basket-case.” Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly difficult not to agree with this impression. Open any newsfeed or any business journal, or Google top stories related to Croatia, and chances are you’ll stumble across at least one article about Agrokor. The headlines are something along the lines of “To house 15,000 creditors for the largest creditor’s meeting ever, Agrokor considers renting a stadium in Zagreb.“ 

Unfair trading is often referred to as the cause of crisis in various sectors, holding down small and medium enterprises. In practice, unfair trading is sometimes improperly confused with predatory pricing or distortion of competition. Unfair trading may also trigger serious tax implications.

“The business sector is definitely calming down in Croatia after the Agrokor scandal shocked the whole region last year,” says Partner Mario Krka of Divjak, Topic & Bahtijarevic. “Investors are regaining their confidence and the market is getting back to its old self, while the economy is being boosted by infrastructural and tourism investments already ongoing or planned for this year.”

On Thursday, November 30th, leading legal practitioners from across Central and Eastern Europe gathered in Prague to help CEE Legal Matters celebrate its fourth successful year as the leading chronicle of the legal industry in the region, participating in an expert Round Table conversation about the year just concluded and enjoying an evening of dinner, drinks, and bonhomie. 

This article has been drafted to follow-up to the 2016 Comparative Report on Minor Disputes, which was drafted by the World Bank in cooperation with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The commercial legal markets of Central & Eastern Europe didn’t appear automatically. They didn’t develop in a vacuum. They were formed, shaped, and led, by lawyers – visionary, hard-working, commercially-minded, and client-focused individuals pulling the development of CEE’s legal markets along behind them as they labored relentlessly for their clients, their careers, their futures. 

Schoenherr, working with lead counsel Gleiss Lutz, has advised French IT service provider Atos SE on the planned acquisition of Siemens Convergence Creators GmbH for an undisclosed price. Siemens AS was represented by Hengeler Muller on the deal, which is expected to close at the end of December 2017 and is still subject to the information/consultation process with employee representative bodies and the approval of the relevant regulatory and antitrust authorities. 

The main Buzz in Croatia, says Damir Topic, Senior Partner of Divjak, Topic & Bahtijarevic, remains the ballooning debt of Agrokor that resulted in the passage of a special law that saw the holding company placed under state administration in April of this year, and the ongoing ripple effect that crisis is having on the Croatian economy, which some predict could shrink by 10% or more as result.

Divjak, Topic & Bahtijarevic has advised Arriva on its acquisition of 78.34% of the Autotrans Group, making Arriva the largest private bus operator in Croatia. Mamic, Peric, Reberski Rimac advised the sellers on the deal, which closed this August upon receipt of a green light from the Croatian Competition Agency for the concentration, which gives Arriva a 25-30% market share.

With Croatia joining the European Union and assuming the obligation to implement EU law, compliance became the key word in the country’s legal market. At first, the complicated regulatory environment produced legal uncertainty in entire industries.

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.

All News about, and Legal Analysis by, Čipčić-Bragadin Mesić & Associates can be found here.

Firm's website: cipcic-bragadin.com

 

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