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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.

Things are good in Slovakia at the moment, reports Martin Jurecko of MCL, who starts his provision of The Buzz by referring to recent celebrations related to the 100th anniversary of Czechoslovakia’s First Republic, including a national holiday on October 30th.

Alongside blockchain and crypto currencies, the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) has become a much talked-about buzzword in the FinTech world - sparking discussions about a revolution in banking and financial services. One may argue that disruption to established practices may only result from technological advancement and not from (yet another) massive bundle of regulatory rules. However, through PSD2, the shift towards open banking is being fostered by the European legislator to support innovation and improve competition in the payment services area.

After undergoing healthy levels of Corporate/M&A activity in recent times, as we move towards 2019 we expect the Slovak market to remain stable. A notable exception, however, is in the logistics asset class, where we project inbound investment to soar.

The demand for residential real estate is currently experiencing an unprecedented boom in Slovakia. According to official market surveys, the average price of flats has already exceeded the levels recorded before the outbreak of the world financial crisis, and further price increases are expected due to lagging supply and readily available sources of cheap funding from domestic banks. Not surprisingly, these conditions have resulted in a significant increase in the indebtedness of private households, which are currently the highest in the CEE region.

Against the backdrop of concerns that changes in technology may cost law firms jobs come reports that law firms in Slovakia are having trouble finding the skilled law school graduates to fill their associate ranks. Whether because of a decrease in the perceived attractiveness of a career in a law firm, a prolonged mandatory traineeship period, or some other reason, many see a serious problem developing.

When I was first asked to write an Editorial for CEE Legal Matters, I was told that it should be something personal or funny. As “funny,” by definition, does not get along with the legal profession very well, I will have to stick to reflecting on my 20-year career. I will share a few thoughts on the dilemma of whether to pursue a legal career in London or in Bratislava and on the changing world around us that impacts (and arguably, enhances) the lives of legal practitioners in one of the CEE countries.

The Deal: On October 4, 2017, CEE Legal Matters reported that Dentons’ Bratislava office had advised CNIC Corporation Ltd., an investment company owned by the Chinese government, on its acquisition of Prologis Park Galanta-Gan in Slovakia – which Dentons described as “the largest logistics asset, both by area and investment volume, ever sold in the CEE region” – from Prologis, and that Kinstellar had advised Prologis on the deal.

Kinstellar has advised the Slovak branch of French energy giant Veolia Energie International on its acquisition of PPC Investments, which owns and operates a combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant near Bratislava, from Czech investment fund Avant Energy. Avant Energy was advised by RR Legal on the transaction, which was finalized in July 2018 following the approval of the Slovak Antimonopoly Office.

For a number of years, Slovakian courts struggled with domain name disputes. Because there was neither statutory legislation concerning the rights to domain names nor consistent case-law allowing for the formulation of principles for resolving disputes that arose involving them, different courts took different approaches regarding how to decide domain name cases. This made legal certainty and predictability extremely difficult for stakeholders in the country.

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