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The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Economy of North Macedonia (“Ministry”) recently pointed out that 577,662 ha are classified as arable land in North Macedonia, while 41% of this land is state-owned. It also noted that the current applicable Law on Sale of State – Owned Agricultural Land (“Law”) has many ambiguities and systemic weaknesses, which prevent its full implementation.

Akin Gump, Bogdanovic, Dolicki & Partneri, Maric & Co, Isailovic & Partners, Harrisons, Zdolsek Attorneys at Law, Boga & Associates, Popovski & Partners, and Forgo Damjanovic & Partners have advised Croatian conglomerate Fortenova Grupa d.d., on the EUR 615 million sale of its frozen food business to Nomad Foods. Norton Rose Fulbright, Lakatos, Koves & Partners, and five firms from the SEE Legal alliance advised Nomad Foods on the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.

Paksoy has advised Migros Ticaret AS on the sale of 99% of its subsidiary Ramstore Macedonia DOO to City Plaza DOO Skopje, which was reportedly advised by Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.

The terms of a loan agreement dictate the circumstances in which a lender can enforce its loan, guarantee, or security interest. In North Macedonia, a lender can usually demand loan acceleration (repayment before a scheduled maturity date) if the borrower defaults under the loan agreement. Security documents state when the lender can enforce the security, usually following a default under the loan agreement or the lender’s demand for repayment when due. A lender can generally demand payment under a guarantee as soon as the borrower fails to pay any guaranteed obligation when due. However, the claim under a guarantee will be limited to the overdue amount. A lender will therefore often need to accelerate the loan before it can make a full claim against a guarantor. Typically, under the finance and the security documents, lenders have the right to accelerate and enforce loans when borrowers become insolvent.

Despite North Macedonia’s agreement to adopt its current name and its joining of NATO in March 2020, the country's EU accession process has recently taken a hit, says Polenak Managing Partner Kristijan Polenak. “Notwithstanding recognition received from the entire international community, one EU member country vetoed the start of the negotiations,” says Polenak, referring to Bulgaria’s opposition to moving forward with consideration of North Macedonia’s EU accession. This led to a “decline of internal support for EU membership, caused by disappointment with the inconsistent application of European values. This opposition in early December strengthened the political streams opposing our EU membership.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Western Balkans right during a period of accelerating economic activity and a promising economic outlook for 2020. The rapid spread of the virus forced the governments of the Western Balkans countries to introduce protective measures, lockdowns, and temporary business shutdowns. These restrictions had a devastating direct economic impact on a wide range of sectors – particularly the hospitality and transport industries – and the measures had many indirect side effects that significantly decreased economic activity.

North Macedonian Knowledge Partner

ODI is a leading regional law firm in the CEE with offices in Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia and North Macedonia. The firm’s regional presence enables it to provide coordinated and seamless high-quality legal advice on projects across multiple jurisdictions or in a single location. The firm draws on the knowledge and experience of its locally and internationally trained lawyers advising on a broad range of matters, including banking & finance, competition, real estate, corporate / M&A, dispute resolution, employment and benefits, intellectual property, privacy and data protection, regulatory and administrative, restructuring and insolvency and tax.

The firm’s principal objective is to create value for clients by streamlining in-depth knowledge and experience in a particular industry. The firm has extensive experience in acting for clients on M&A transactions, with lawyers advising large multinational corporations, sponsors and lenders on all aspects of acquisitions. The firm’s lawyers are fully versed in conducting legal due diligence, transactional support, acquisition strategy and drafting and negotiating transaction documents in an M&A transaction. They take a commercial approach to how they handle transactions and deliver legal advice. The firm focuses on delivering services in a practical and timely way, while also focusing on what is required to move to the next stage of the transaction.

ODI’s North Macedonia office focuses on complex and high value domestic and multi-jurisdictional deals. Leading global companies and financial institutions particularly value the expertise of our Macedonian lawyers in competition, corporate / M&A, dispute resolution, employment and benefits and privacy and data protection matters.

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