On December 11, 2019, CEE Legal Matters reported that Stanek Vetrak & Partneri had advised the Czech Republic's Franco Real Estate on its acquisition of Vseobecna Uverova Banka's real estate portfolio. We spoke with Vladimir Polacky, Project Manager for the Slovak Republic at Franco Real Estate, about the deal.
CEELM: To give our readers a bit of context, can you describe Franco Real Estate and its operations?
Vladimir: Franco Real Estates, s.r.o., is part of the Franco de Poisd'eau & Cie holding, which covers more than 30 companies, including manufacturing companies in the fields of engineering, healthcare and industrial technologies, gastronomy, and accommodation services. Franco Real Estates is an international dynamic company offering rental and sale of own real estate in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Austria. Our portfolio includes real estate with a total area exceeding 500,000 square meters. Some of them are located at very lucrative addresses in Prague or Bratislava, or in Austrian mountain resorts. In the long term, we are looking for suitable investment opportunities for the further development of the company.
CEELM: What was the main attractiveness point for you in terms of the portfolio?
Vladimir: With this transaction, Franco Real Estates acquired a portfolio of properties for rent and other uses, thereby strengthening its position on the market in the Slovak Republic. A very attractive feature was the fact that the bank's branches were based mostly in lucrative buildings with high attendance and traffic from people, therefore thanks to the location and position of the real estate there are several business opportunities we can pursue.
CEELM: Can you provide us with some insight as to where the bulk of the legal work took place? Was that in the bidding process or in finalizing the transaction after the bid was won?
Vladimir: With regard to the legal work, we were advised throughout the whole process, from the start of the transaction in the bidding process until the very end through the closing steps. We must admit that the legal work and services provided to us were complex covering all parts of the whole process.
CEELM: Did Stanek Vetrak & Partneri advise you throughout the bidding exercise as well or only after you had won the bid? What were the main components of their input in making this deal happen?
Vladimir: As is mentioned above, we were provided legal services through the whole transaction starting in the bidding process. We were provided with complex services including a wide scope of actions, from assistance in the bidding process, difficult contract work and negotiation, environmental analysis, to procedures before the cadastre authority, lien rights, preemptive rights, lease of the real estate, and other closing steps. In particular, the contract work was quite difficult, as you have 67 assets that you have to sell 67 separate contracts, and you have one contract that synchronizes it all and requires everything to happen at the same time, with all individual subordinate contracts having to be done flawlessly and on time. We couldn't afford to risk one of the transfers endangering the entire transaction.
CEELM: Why did you choose to work with this firm in particular?
Vladimir: We cooperated with SVAP once on a different real-estate transaction, in particular with the partner of the law firm, Peter Vetrak. We were intrigued by their work, practicality, personal approach, and their ability to see the transaction from the client's point of view, i.e., from a business point of view, making our mutual cooperation simple and enjoyable and, at the end of the day, resulting in a smooth operation of the transaction to our liking. Thus it was easy for us to decide that we wanted to enter the transaction with VUB.