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The Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA) recently published a strategy paper presenting its views on consumer protection in the digital age. The paper subtly indicates that the HCA will continue to follow the European Commission's guidance in this regard. The paper highlights the measures which the HCA deems necessary to protect consumers and keep up with the developments and companies central to this process.

Read more: Hungary: HCA Publishes Digital Consumer Protection strategy

“What we face and what is keeping us and a lot of other firms in the market busy is solar development,” says Csaba Polgar, the Managing Partner of Pontes: the CEE Lawyers, who describes a "solar boom in Hungary.”

Read more: The Buzz in Hungary: Interview with Csaba Polgar of Pontes: The CEE Lawyers

CMS Budapest has advised the Futureal Group on the sale of its six existing office buildings and two office buildings currently under construction, together referred to as the Corvin Office Portfolio, to OTP Real Estate Investment Fund Management. DLA Piper reportedly represented the OTP Group on the acquisition.

Read more: CMS Advises Futureal on Sale of Corvin Office Portfolio to OTP Group

Dentons has advised Enlight Renewable Energy on contract negotiations for the construction of three solar power plants in Hungary, with an aggregate capacity of approximately 57 MW. The firm also assisted Enlight in obtaining HUF 15 billion (around EUR 45 million) in financing for the project.

Read more: Dentons Advises Enlight Renewable Energy on Construction and Financing of Solar Power Plants in...

From January 2019 the VAT exemption threshold for individuals will be increased to HUF 12 million from the current limit of HUF 8 million. During the summer 2018 the Hungarian Parliament had already adopted the tax rules applicable in 2019, however, some adjustments had to be made in autumn to fully comply with the EU law.

Read more: VAT exemption for individuals will be increased to HUF 12 million in Hungary

There can be even 1 million wells or borehole in Hungary with an unclarified status that had been built without a permit in the last decades. As water becomes an even more valuable resource, countries should represent a responsible approach in their water management. This is why the Hungarian Government amended the law on water management by establishing a moratorium until the end of 2018, during which period well and borehole owners can obtain a permit from the competent authority without being fined. This exemption applies only to water sources that were set up before 1 January 2018.

Read more: Moratorium on well permission expires on 31 December 2018 in Hungary

As to the pending issue of the preferential VAT rate of 5% for new residential properties, finally the new tax laws approved by the Hungarian Parliament in November 2018 will remain to ensure the reduced VAT rate of 5% in case the date of completion of the residential properties is after 31 December 2019, provided that certain conditions are all met on 31 December 2019. These conditions are that a) the sale and purchase agreement has been submitted to the land registry office, b) the residential property can be considered as a structurally complete building (shell and core) and c) the seller of the residential makes a declaration to the tax authority on the compliance of the conditions included in points a) and b).

Read more: The 5% VAT rate after 31 December 2019 in Hungary

The news that many of the legal markets in CEE impose stricter rules on law firm advertising and marketing than many of their Western counterparts comes as no surprise. Still, to explore this concept just a bit, for this issue, we asked law firm marketing and BD experts around CEE: “What, in your opinion, is the biggest difference between law firm marketing in your market and law firm marketing in London or New York?

Read more: Marketing Law Firm Marketing: The Biggest Difference

Maravela | Asociatii has assisted Precision for Medicine in connection with Romanian law aspects of its multi-jurisdictional acquisition of contract research organization Argint International. Bird & Bird was lead counsel to Precision for Medicine on the deal. Kinstellar's advised the sellers on Romanian, Czech, and Hungarian aspects of the deal, working with lead counsel Osborne Clarke.

Read more: Maravela | Asociatii and Kinstellar Assist with Precision for Medicine Acquisition of Argint...

The finance ministers of the European Union Member States support the request of the Hungarian Government relating to the tax reduction and simplification for small enterprises. According to this decision, the limit for VAT exemption for small enterprises might be increased to HUF 12 million. This legislative amendment would affect more than 600,000 taxpayers. If the Hungarian Parliament adopts this change, this amount will be equal to the income limit of the taxpayers falling under the scope of the Act on the Fixed-Rate Tax of Low Tax-Bracket, which is also HUF 12 million. Due to this change, the companies with a revenue up to HUF 1 million per month could also apply for this type of tax liability.

Read more: VAT exemption for small enterprises might be increased to HUF 12 million in Hungary

According to some sources from the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office, a lifelong personal income tax exemption is planned to be applied to mothers with at least three children. With this tax cut, the Hungarian Government would intend to encourage families to have more children, and to increase the fertility rate in Hungary, which is one of the lowest in Europe. This measure could result in approximately HUF 100 billion (~EUR 285 million) loss of revenue for the Government budget, which is 5% of the total personal income tax revenue. On the other hand, it is difficult to estimate how this tax exemption will affect the fertility rate or the women re-entering the labour market.

Read more: Significant changes in family support in Hungary

Clifford Chance has advised Ceskoslovenska Obchodni Banka, a. s., as mandated lead arranger, facility agent, security agent, and underwriter on the initial finance documentation and in relation to subsequent syndication and transactional closing with Ceska Sporitelna, a.s. and the EBRD on  financing provided to Karlovarske Mineralni Vody's for its acquisition of PepsiCo's assets and operations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. Kocian Solc Balastik advised KMV on the financing and on the underlying acquisition, and represented KMV in proceedings before the Czech Competition Authority.

Read more: Clifford Chance and Kocian Solc Balastik Advise on Financing for and Acquisition of PepsiCo Business

Guidance No. 12/2018 (II.27) of the Hungarian National Bank entered into effect on July 1, 2018 (the “Guidance”). Although the Guidance is non-binding, financial institutions are expected to comply with its provisions. In this article, we provide a list of the most important points of the Guidance and predict market reactions based on our ongoing mandates and information obtained from our clients.

Read more: The Hungarian National Bank Seeks to Cool Down Over-Heated Real Estate Market

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Nagy és Trócsányi was founded in 1991, turned into limited professional partnership (in Hungarian: ügyvédi iroda) in 1992, with the aim of offering sophisticated legal services. The firm continues to seek excellence in a comprehensive and modern practice, which spans international commercial and business law. 

The firm’s lawyers provide clients with advice and representation in an active, thoughtful and ethical manner, with a real understanding of clients‘ business needs and the markets in which they operate.

The firm is one of the largest home-grown independent law firms in Hungary. Currently Nagy és Trócsányi has 26 lawyers out of which there are 8 active partners. All partners are equity partners.

Nagy és Trócsányi is a legal entity and registered with the Budapest Bar Association. All lawyers of the Budapest office are either members of, or registered as clerks with, the Budapest Bar Association. Several of the firm’s lawyers are admitted attorneys or registered as legal consultants in New York.

The firm advises a broad range of clients, including numerous multinational corporations. 

Our activity focuses on the following practice areas: M&A, company law, litigation and dispute resolution, real estate law, banking and finance, project financing, insolvency and restructuring, venture capital investment, taxation, competition, utilities, energy, media and telecommunication.

Nagy és Trócsányi is the exclusive member firm in Hungary for Lex Mundi – the world’s leading network of independent law firms with in-depth experience in 100+countries worldwide.

The firm advises a broad range of clients, including numerous multinational corporations. Among our key clients are: OTP Bank, Sberbank, Erste Bank, Scania, KS ORKA, Mannvit, DAF Trucks, Booking.com, Museum of Fine Arts of Budapest, Hungarian Post Pte Ltd, Hiventures, Strabag, CPI Hungary, Givaudan, Marks & Spencer, CBA.

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