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The latest amendment to the Labour Code implemented, among other things, the EU Directives on Work-life Balance and on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions into Czech law. The amendment was enacted by the President of the Czech Republic on 17 September 2023 and entered into force shortly thereafter, on 1 October 2023. The deadline for transposing these directives had already passed, so it is a case of better late than never.

Wolf Theiss has advised joint lead managers Erste Group Bank, Hypo-Bank Burgenland, Hypo Noe Landesbank fur Niederoesterreich and Wien, Raiffeisen Bank International, and UniCredit Bank on the Federal State of Lower Austria’s EUR 500 million issuance of 3.625% 2023-2033 bearer bonds. Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner reportedly advised the issuer.

In The Debrief, our Practice Leaders across CEE share updates on recent and upcoming legislation, consider the impact of recent court decisions, showcase landmark projects, and keep our readers apprised of the latest developments impacting their respective practice areas.

Did You Know that the ten firms that have worked on the most client matters reported by CEE Legal Matters through Q3 of 2023 are equally divided between international and regional powerhouses? According to the Activity Rankings function of the CEELMDirect website, Magic Circle-member Clifford Chance, which has worked on a remarkable 66 deals reported by CEE Legal Matters in the first nine months of 2023, leads the pack, but Vienna-based Schoenherr is close behind with 64.

Schoenherr has advised Wienerberger on its EUR 350 million issuance of 4.875% sustainability-linked 2023-2028 bonds. Wolf Theiss advised joint lead managers and bookrunners Commerzbank, Danske Bank, Erste Group Bank, and UniCredit Bank.

Wolf Theiss has advised DTEK Renewables International on its acquisition of a 60-megawatt installed capacity wind energy project in Ruginoasa, Iasi county, Romania, from local entrepreneurs. Kommunalkredit Austria AG provided a EUR 55 million senior facility for the project.

Despite concerns over automotive suppliers relocating due to geopolitical tensions, the automotive sector in Slovakia has remained resilient. The sector continues to be the backbone of the economy, with tax revenues and employment surpassing other industries, although challenges do exist. Ruzicka & Partners Managing Partner Jaroslav Ruzicka, Wolf Theiss Counsel and Head of Corporate/M&A Bruno Stefanik, and Cechova & Partners Head of Automotive Practice Michal Simunic take a closer look at the status of the sector.

Wolf Theiss has advised India's automotive systems and components manufacturer Sona BLW Precision Forgings on the EUR 40.5 million acquisition of a 54% stake in Serbia's radar sensor and embedded systems company Novelic. Schoenherr, working with India's Priti Suri & Associates, advised Novelic's founders on the sale.

Wolf Theiss has advised Latvian private equity fund INVL Baltic Sea Growth Fund and its portfolio company Eco Baltia on the acquisition of a 70% stake in Polish PVC recycler Metal-Plast. Ozog Tomczykowski advised the target's shareholders on the sale. Sorainen reportedly advised INVL and Eco Baltia as well.

Where behavior is investigated in parallel by the Austrian competition authorities and the Public Prosecutor’s Office (PPO), the latter usually requests the competition authorities to provide it with copies of their files, including leniency statements and settlement submissions that have been filed with the Federal Competition Authority (FCA), and adds (parts of) these documents to its own file. Victims of competition law infringements can thus indirectly get access to leniency statements and settlement submissions through an inspection of the PPO’s file. This practice risks weakening the effectiveness of the Austrian leniency program and settlement procedure as it may deter undertakings from cooperating with the FCA.

Wolf Theiss has advised UniCredit Bank Austria, CaixaBank, La Banque Postale, and Bondholders SL on a EUR 113 million syndicated financing for RML Infrastruktur for the roll-out, operation, and maintenance of an open-access fiber-to-the-home network in Austria's Liezen district. PHH reportedly advised Meridiam.

Wolf Theiss at a Glance

With over 360 lawyers in 13 countries, over 80% of the firm’s work involves cross-border representation of international clients. We have concentrated our energies on a unique part of the world: the complex, fast-developing markets of the CEE/SEE region. Through our international network of offices, we work closely with our clients to develop innovate solutions that integrate legal, financial, and business know-how.

Wolf Theiss provides fully integrated corporate services in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, real estate, banking and finance, tax and insurance, employment law, competition law, energy law, privatisation, restructuring, public procurement and litigation. At Wolf Theiss, we measure our success by the success of our clients. We align our goals with yours to ensure that your needs are being met in even the most complex of cross-border matters. This means that we know how to listen to you and help you use the assets you already have while finding opportunities.

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