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Deal Expanded: Interview with Nikola Lazarov Law Office on 2021 DOTY for North Macedonia

Deal Expanded: Interview with Nikola Lazarov Law Office on 2021 DOTY for North Macedonia

North Macedonia
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 Nikola Lazarov Law Office’s Nikola Lazarov Talks About the Deal of the Year in North Macedonia – Interenergo’s and Trigal’s Acquisition of Wind Farm from Euroing.

CEELM: First, congratulations on winning the Deal of the Year award in North Macedonia!

Lazarov: Thank you! I am delighted that our law firm earned this fascinating award and that the judges appreciated our efforts in this transaction!

CEELM: Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your professional and your firm’s history to date?

Lazarov: Of course. I became interested in law because I recognized that legal issues are present in many aspects of our life and that a law degree may be useful in a variety of occupations. Even if you are not actively involved in litigation or the practice of law, a law school degree provides a broad base of knowledge that may help anyone flourish in many disciplines, including business, government, education, medicine, and politics.

After obtaining an LLM degree in International and Comparative Business Law at the Chicago-Kent College of the Illinois Institute of Technology, and after five years of working as a judicial training coordinator on a USAID judicial reform project, I established my law firm in Skopje back in 2007.

Our firm comprises ten attorneys and lawyers specializing in a wide range of legal disciplines, including trade law, international business transactions, mergers and acquisitions, commercial litigations, civil law, energy law, and arbitration.

CEELM: Can you describe the deal for us and the role of the Nikola Lazarov Law Office in making it happen?

Lazarov: The deal involved the sale of a developed project for the construction of a 30-megawatt wind farm in the country's southeastern area, which is one of the largest wind renewable energy projects in North Macedonia.

Considering the nature of the project, the sellers required extensive expertise and engagement in a wide range of practice areas, including energy law, construction law, corporate law, and mergers and acquisitions.

Aside from negotiating and closing the transaction, our law firm also led and carefully managed, from the seller’s side, all the preceding phases, including the assistance with the comprehensive due diligence process. At the same time, many activities required implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic, which posed an additional challenge. However, I am pleased that the deal was completed successfully and that all the involved parties can look back on it with pride.

CEELM: How did you land the mandate and what do you believe it was about the team that got it for you – what was it about the firm that you believe stood out?

Lazarov: We are not affirmed or defined by comparing ourselves to someone else.  There are many law firms out there that are excellent at what they do.

What I would say that is unique about us is that we make certain that each of our clients receives the highest quality representation and that each case is prepared with the same dedication and enthusiasm. Our most important characteristics are organization, discipline, and empathy for our clients. We are not satisfied until we have delivered the highest quality, most commercially effective legal advice, no matter how difficult or complex the mandate. We anticipate what our clients want, provide what they need, and establish long-term partnerships by thinking on their behalf every day. We go above and beyond to assist our clients in achieving their goals.

We have had a long-standing relationship with the sellers for decades. Prior to our involvement in this transaction, we had successfully represented them in other disputes and negotiations. I like to believe – and this mandate is proof of that – that in all our previous engagements we lived up to the trust and confidence the clients placed in us.

CEELM: Why do you believe the judges voted for this deal over the others?

Lazarov: I believe that the judges recognized the great significance of the transaction. It was a wonderful mix of four jurisdictions and entities. Interenergo and Trigal have the quality and capacity to considerably benefit the Macedonian environment and energy sector by carrying out this great project. I hope that this is only the beginning of many successful projects that will help North Macedonia meet its ambitious renewable energy targets. Our law office will always be here to provide flexible, creative, and tailored solutions for their endeavors.  

CEELM: What was the most complex aspect of the project?

Lazarov: Macedonian energy laws and by-laws were all either recently amended or introduced during the phase when we were obtaining the relevant authorizations and permits for the implementation of the project. Our law firm, in coordination with our client, was among the first ones to succeed in obtaining all licenses and decisions in line with the new regulations. Therefore, it was challenging to walk a path that had not been walked before and to create a trail for others to follow.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the travel restrictions it brought were also big obstacles that had to be overcome. This was especially the case here, since COVID-19 broke out right at the beginning of the negotiations for the deal, even before the due diligence process, which considerably affected some elements of the schedule, meaning additional efforts and creativity were required to successfully close the deal. 

CEELM: In contrast, what, from your perspective, went particularly smoothly and what do you believe contributed to it?

Lazarov: I believe that clear and effective communication among the consultants involved and the clients significantly contributed to reaching a smooth solution for the benefit of all parties. 

Deep analysis of the client’s issues and their changing needs also contributed to providing them with the strategic counsel at the right moment to solve any obstacles.

CEELM: Can we look forward to future similar deals in North Macedonia? Why/why not?

Lazarov: I am confident that there will be many more similar transactions in the future, mainly because of North Macedonia’s policy towards renewable energy and investment opportunities moving in the right direction. Our country has always had the necessary natural resources, but we had been struggling to discover the appropriate recipe to attract high-level investors such as Interenergo and Trigal. I believe that this has changed dramatically with the implementation of the new regulations.

CEELM: Congratulations again on winning the Macedonian Deal of the Year award and wishing you many more professional achievements!

Lazarov: Thank you. Winning the Macedonian Deal of the Year award is definitely one of the greatest achievements in my career as an attorney at law to date. Nevertheless, I have to say that no achievement has been greater than earning and keeping the respect of my clients, colleagues, and peers within and outside my firm.

The Lazarov Law office will always be on the ground to assist and guide clients through difficult processes, using our innovative approaches to solving the issues to their satisfaction.

This article was originally published in Issue 9.5 of the CEE Legal Matters MagazineIf you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.

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