In the context of the new coronavirus outbreak, numerous legal concerns may arise in connection with the future performance of contractual obligations derived from financing agreements such as credit agreements, leasing agreements and alike.
In The Corner Office feature of CEE Legal Matters we ask Managing Partners at leading law firms across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. In light of current events, the question for this online occurrence of the feature is: "What have been the top three most often asked COVID-19 related questions that you have gotten from clients in the last month?”
Recently, a decision following a dispute resolution between an electronic communication provider and an electricity distribution provider was issued in Romania. This is a premiere and its origins sit with the provisions of the Directive 2014/61/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks (“Directive 2014/61/EU”).
Between around 2001-2011, certain private electricity suppliers (the “smart guys”, as they were called by the press) entered into long-term (10-15 years) bilateral power purchase agreements (“PPAs”) with state-owned producers (amongst which, notably Hidroelectrica) under quite unfavorable conditions for the latter. Basically, the “smart guys” used to buy electricity from the state-owned producers at very low prices while making large profits by re-selling this cheap electricity at much higher market prices. Such PPAs were directly negotiated between the parties outside an organized market (the whole process and the contract itself being a private and confidential matter) and many of them were loss making for the selling state-owned producers (for instance, Hidroelectrica filed for insolvency and unilaterally terminated all such contracts eventually).
Considering that the Draft Emergency Ordinance on certain measures related to corporate law (the ”Draft Emergency Ordinance”) has been launched for public debate and proposes various measures aiming to help Romanian companies in the Covid-19 outbreak context (for example, the possibility for holding virtual shareholder meetings even if such possibility is not reflected in the company’s articles of incorporation), MPR½Partners has proposed further amendments in this regard, for the purpose of assisting companies with other formalities that are difficult to achieve in the current context.