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JSK and Clifford Chance Advise on APS Agreement with Hellenic Bank of Cyprus for Management of Real Estate Assets and Servicing of NPLs

JSK and Clifford Chance Advise on APS Agreement with Hellenic Bank of Cyprus for Management of Real Estate Assets and Servicing of NPLs

Czech Republic

JSK has advised APS Holding a.s on its January 10 agreement with the Hellenic Bank Public Company Ltd for the management of real estate assets and for the servicing of the non-performing loans of the Bank. Antoniou McCollum & Co advised APS on Cyprus law matters. Clifford Chance advised the Hellenic Bank, with George Z. Georgiou & Associates advising it on employment law matters and Antis Triantafyllides and Sons on Cyprus Law matters.

According to an APS press release, "the completion of the transaction is subject to applicable approvals and clearances from the relevant regulatory and any other authorities and is targeted to be achieved by the end of the first quarter of 2017. This transaction clearly falls within the direction indicated by the ECB guidance issued to Banks for the work-out of non-performing loans, and it is considered by Hellenic Bank as the most appropriate NPL strategy aimed to decisively address the issue. Additional details of the agreement, including the commercial and financial terms, are expected to be announced by the end of the first quarter of 2017, upon finalization of the transaction.

According to JSK, "APS is a leading company in investment, management, and recovery of loan portfolios and real estate within Central and South-Eastern Europe. The company is headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic, where it was founded in 2004. APS provides comprehensive services in distressed and performing loans portfolios investment advisory and recovery management, and also performs asset management. Involving more than 600 experts, it provides services in 10 European countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Greece, Serbia, and Slovakia. APS manages assets totaling in nominal value more than EUR 4.4 billion and provides exclusive investment advisory to four investment vehicles and recognized institutional investors."

The Hellenic Bank Group commenced operations in 1976 and is one of the largest banking and financial institutions in Cyprus. It enjoys a network of over 60 branches in Cyprus, and employs 1400 people in the country.

For the purposes of the January 10th agreement a new company will be established in which the Hellenic Bank will have 49% of shares and APS Recovery Cyprus Ltd will own the remaining 51%. The operations of the current Arrears Management Division of the Bank will be transferred to the new company, including the necessary resources to carry on its work independently, in exchange for a positive consideration.

The new company’s management consist of Hellenic Bank’s staff, including its Chief Executive Officer, Kiki Papadopoulou, who currently holds the position of Group General Manager Arrears Management Division. About 160 employees of the Arrears Management Division of the Bank will also move to the new company.

The Bank will retain the ownership of the portfolio of non-performing exposures and the real estate assets. It is anticipated that a portfolio of non-performing loans of about EUR 2.4 billion will be serviced by the new company upon establishment.

APS Head of Legal Tereza Simanovska said: “We are pleased to have successfully signed the transaction and improved our position in the South Eastern Europe region. Together with Hellenic Bank we are going to introduce the largest debt recovery platform in Cyprus. JSK has provided us with valuable advisory services leading to a successful entry into the Cypriot market.’’

The JSK team was led by Of Counsel Nick Johnson, who said: “This was a groundbreaking transaction for the Cyprus banking market. APS have now entered yet another jurisdiction, as their influence and importance continues to grow in the region. We were very happy to help them with this important project.”

Johnson's team included JSK Partner Tomas Dolezil and Senior Associate Michal Jendzelovsky.

The Antoniou McCollum & Co. team advising APS in Cyprus consisted of Christina McCollum and Anastasios Antoniou.

The Clifford Chance team advising the Hellenic Bank consisted of Madrid-based Partner Carlos Portocarrero and Associate Andres Berral and London-based Partner Emma Matebalavu and Associate Laura Smith.

The Antis Triantafyllides and Sons team advising the Bank in Cyprus consisted of Emily Petridou and Marios Hadjigavriel

Czech Republic Knowledge Partner

For more than 25 years PRK Partners has been providing top tier, comprehensive legal services in all areas of law – always at the highest professional level. The company’s offices in Prague, Ostrava and Bratislava, as well as its specialised teams of legal practitioners and tax advisors, allow PRK Partners to offer solutions to any kind of legal issues, providing an international point of view and in-depth knowledge of the respective local legal system.

The full-service law firm has worked on many of the region’s largest and most complex transactions. The firm puts emphasis on the highest standards of quality, efficiency and flexibility in its advisory services, which are tailored to the specific requirements of each client. 

Our team is composed of professionals with international education and experience. The firm frequently works on a non-exclusive basis with leading international law firms on large cross-border transactions.

PRK Partners is consistently recognised among the top law firms by leading international and domestic directories and ratings agencies and has been honoured with numerous awards: 

• National Law Firm of the Year 2016 by the Chambers Europe Awards, the most prestigious international law firm competition. This is the fifth award PRK Partners has received since the awards were first given; National Law Firm of the Year 2014, 2013 and 2010 and Law Firm of the Year 2012 for Best Client Service.

• 2018 Best Law Firm of the Year in the category of Banking &Finance and the absolute winner in the main category of the Domestic Law Firm of the Year awards organised by epravo.cz under the auspices of the Czech Bar Association three times since the award's inception (in 2016, 2013 and 2011).

• a finalist of the Central European Law Firm of the Year category in The Lawyer European Awards 2018. 

The firm has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility and pro bono work.

PRK Partners is the exclusive member firm in the Czech Republic for Lex Mundi, the world’s leading network of independent law firms, with in-depth experience in 100+ countries worldwide. In addition, the firm is a member of Celia Alliance, AFI (Association for Foreign Investment) and CVCA (the Czech Private Equity and Venture Capital Association).

Firm's website: www.prkpartners.com

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