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Bond financing has recently become quite popular in the Czech Republic and companies often finance their business needs by issuing corporate bonds instead of the more usual credit financing. Obviously, the popularity of corporate bonds is also associated with the greater willingness of investors to buy them. Bonds are perceived by the general public as a safe and conservative investment instrument. Nevertheless, recent market developments show that corporate bonds issued by private companies may not always be a safe investment, as evidenced, for example, by the insolvency of online fashion store Zoot, which funded its expansion by issuing bonds.

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.

One of the challenges of introducing class actions to the Czech legal system is the finding of a proper balance between the interests of clients and those of attorneys. While the default position is that attorneys are to protect the justified interests of their clients and place them before their own (within statutory limits, of course), a careful balancing exercise will need to be carried out if class actions are to be allowed. While class action law is still at the stage of an initial proposal in the Czech Republic, this proposal is demonstrative of the direction the Czech Ministry of Justice intends to take.

The Deal: Earlier this year, CEE Legal Matters reported that Clifford Chance Prague had advised CTP, an industrial developer in the CEE region, on a EUR 1.9 billion underwriting package agreement with Erste Group Bank AG; Ceska Sporitelna a.s.; Societe Generale S.A. and Komercni Banka a.s.; and UniCredit S.p.A. and UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia a.s. White & Case advised the lenders on the agreement, which covered CTP’s Czech industrial portfolio consisting of over 200 buildings and covering 2.7 million square meters of industrial space.

In the 26 years since its launch in 1993 by Marek Prochazka as a Prague banking and finance boutique, PRK Partners has added offices in Bratislava and Ostrava and grown into one of the largest and most successful law firms in the Czech and Slovak Republics. That growth, the firm’s partners maintain, is a by-product of the firm’s traditions of flexibility, professionalism, and innovation, rather than the result of a predetermined plan.

No doubt we all agree that a good lawyer should not only have extensive legal knowledge and experience, but should also constantly monitor the market. In reviewing the state of the Czech legal market over the past six months, I would like to point out several issues I personally find interesting or important.

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.

ODI has advised the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Finance and its two state-owned subsidiaries IMOB and PRISKO on the cross-border sale of the majority stake in Vipap Videm Krsko, a large Slovenian paper mill and newsprint manufacturer, to Czech-based Ridg Holding.

Czech Republic Knowledge Partner

JŠK, advokátní kancelář, s.r.o. (JŠK) is a medium-sized law firm based in Prague providing a comprehensive range of commercial legal advisory services in the Czech Republic. Our team consists of almost 30 lawyers, five of whom are partners with many years of experience from leading international law firms. We advise local and international clients from banking, insurance and various industry sectors, boast a respected projects practice, and work for the public sector at the federal and municipal level.

Ever since it was founded in 2004, JŠK has striven for the epitome of professionalism, expertise and ethical integrity. We continuously seek to surpass what large global law firms can offer and to give our clients a personal approach. All mandates are equally important to us regardless of size as we guide clients through both complex and seemingly routine matters.

Our clients turn to us for advice when implementing their business plans across all areas of commercial law. We are proud members of PONTES: the CEE lawyers, a unique network of law firms through which we provide services not only in the Czech Republic but also in Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Firm's website: http://www.jsk.cz

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