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.“
“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.
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.
4th and 5th of October 2017 in Casablanca, Morocco
Wolf Theiss has advised Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego on the financing of OT Logistics' expansion in Croatia. OT Logistics was advised by Wiewiorski Legal on the deal.
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.
DLA Piper has advised Hungary-based Egis Pharmaceuticals on its acquisition of the D-Panthenol brand, the second largest brand in the dexpanthenol market in Russia, and of a Russian gynaecology portfolio consisting of Vagilac, Feminal and Folacin brands, from Jadran-Galenski Laboratorij. CMS advised the sellers on the deal.