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With oil reserves constantly estimated between 150 and 200 million barrels, Albania has been widely regarded as one of the richest in hydrocarbons European countries, whereas Patos-Marinza oil area is recognized as the largest onshore oil field in continental Europe. Therefore, it was only normal for the industry to be quickly regulated upon the transition of Albania towards democracy in the early 1990s, by adopting industry specific legislation. Law 7746/1993 and Law 7811/1994, dealing with the granting of exploration and exploitation rights and the taxation of the activities, respectively.

Boyanov & Co and Kalo & Associates have advised Albania Telecom Invest Bulgaria and One Telecommunications SHA Albania on a refinancing loan made by a club of banks including OTP Bank Hungary, DSK Bank Bulgaria, and Banka OTP Albania, for a principal amount of EUR 37 million with a maturity of 10 years. Wolf Theiss advised the lenders on the deal.

The global pandemic has impacted all markets, with subsequent ramifications for M&A. Investors are now seeking greater protection against general lock-downs and supply-chain disruptions, while governments aim to protect critical supplies and services by imposing new regulations on foreign investment in crucial or strategic industries.

Brandl Talos, working with Lupp + Partner, has advised German private equity firm Capiton on its acquisition of a majority stake in the Kutterer Mauer Group. 

Allen & Overy has advised Oesterreichische Kontrollbank on its USD 1.75 billion issuance of 0.5% guaranteed global notes due 2024.

The NFT market is still relatively new and volatile, but its potential is huge. Christie's managed to auction an NFT linked to an artwork for over USD 69 million this March, proving that NFTs are a new asset class that can carry significant value. A value, that needs protection just like any other asset class.

Orrick has advised One Peak Partners as one of the participants in PandaDoc's Series C financing round. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati reportedly advised PandaDoc.

Revera has advised Еurotorg on its USD 300 million initial public offering and listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Revera has advised US-based The Games Fund on its USD 1 million investment in the Vandrouka Games studio.

Ibrahimovic & Co has advised Studen & Co Holding on an agreement with the Brcko District's Government to build a free business zone in the district.

BiH's Baros, Bicakcic & Partners announced an exclusive cooperation with the UAE-based firm BinSuwadian Advocates & Legal Consultants.

A significant number of updates, changes, and amendments to the legal framework of Bosnia & Herzegovina spells out a very strong positive direction that the country is moving in, according to Saracevic & Gazibegovic Lawyers Partner Emina Saracevic.

PPG Lawyers has advised HeleCloud on its sale to SoftwareOne. Fieldfisher also advised HeleCloud on the deal, while Wolf Theiss and Pinsent Masons reportedly advised SoftwareOne.

With the country still helmed by an interim government, it would appear that Bulgaria remains in a position to grow and prosper and is a fruitful target for investors, according to Boyanov & Co Partner Damian Simeonov.

CMS has advised Cordeel Group N.V. on the sale of a mixed-use logistics and office development to CTP. Hristov & Partners advised the buyer on the deal.

Ilej & Partners, in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners, has advised the Generali Investments Slovenia managed Generali Growth Equity Fund on the acquisition of 74% of shares in Diverto. Lovric, Novokmet, Smrcek advised Diverto on the deal.

Ilej & Partners, in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners and working with Dentons, has advised Singapore's Hotel Properties Limited on its acquisition of a 50% stake in Kupari resort developer Avenue Ulaganja.

DTB has advised Dogus Croatia and Martimus B.V. on the sale of D-Resort Sibenik to Villa Dubrovnik and subsequent sale of a majority stake in Villa Dubrovnik to the Erste Pension Fund. Bogdanovic, Dolicki & Partners advised the buyer on the deal.

Petr Soucek has joined Kinstellar's Prague office as a Managing Associate and Head of the local Dispute Resolution practice.

The Czech Republic is experiencing strong positive winds, irrespective of the severity with which the pandemic struck, and there are things aplenty to be happy about, according to Kocian Solc Balastik Partner Dagmar Dubecka.

Allen & Overy has advised Accolade Fund SICAV on the up to EUR 120 million refinancing of its entire Czech real estate portfolio provided by Ceskoslovenska Obchodni Banka and UniCredit Bank Czech Republic and Slovakia. Dentons advised the lenders on the transaction.

With the country experiencing one of its record-breaking tourism seasons and the business sector booming, there are a lot of reasons to see the sun shining brightly in Greece, even with summer at an end, according to AKL Managing Partner Helen Alexiou.

Zepos & Yannopoulos has advised technology venture capital fund Nabtesco Technology Ventures on leading a EUR 5 million investment round into maritime technology start-up DeepSea Technologies. The Signal Group and existing investor ETF Partners participated in the round.

KLC has advised the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund on the privatization of Egnatia Motorway.

The draft of a huge EU solar tender for the residential sector was published by the Hungarian Government at the end of August 2021. The draft proposal shows that households earning less than the national average income will be eligible for 100% non-repayable grants of between HUF 3-11.5 million (EUR 8,500 – 31,500) for green investment purposes.

The Curia has made a legal uniformity resolution no. 7/2021 PJE on the enforcement of the rules of contract transfer. The resolution has been trying to put an end to the issues of contract transfer, especially in the case of agricultural leases. The previous legal practice was based on the interpretation that the contract shall be deemed to be a new contract in respect of all rights and obligations transferred.

With respect to the evaluation of the success of the incorporation of certain provisions of the Hungarian Civil Code in the practice and the regulatory proposals developed by the case law, the amendment of the Civil Code has become necessary, therefore, at the end of June 2021, an act amending the Hungarian Civil Code has been published.

Fort has advised real estate development companies Arco Vara, Eften Capital, East Capital Real Estate, Metro Capital, and Hepsor on submitting a complaint to the European Commission regarding the potentially unlawful state aid given to Porto Franco by the Estonian government. 

Sorainen, working with Herbert Smith Freehills, has advised Certares on its EUR 300 million structured equity investment into the Avia Solutions Group. Magnusson, working with White & Case and Cyprus-based Antis Triantafyllides & Sons, advised ASG on the deal.

Sorainen has advised US-headquartered Dynatrace on its acquisition of Estonia's SpectX.

Hodaj & Partners has joined the Rivet:Net law firm alliance in the Western Balkans.

Holman Fenwick Willan, working with RZZ Law, has successfully represented the Privatisation Agency of Kosovo in UNCITRAL arbitration proceedings relating to one of the country's largest mines.

The right to privacy that is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo is embodied in the new Law on Protection of Personal Data, which was approved in January 2019 as an amendment and supplement to the old law, which had been in force since 2010. With the introduction of the new LPPD, Kosovo has implemented an advanced and comprehensive regulatory and institutional framework for data protection, incorporating the main principles and provisions of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

Sorainen, working with Herbert Smith Freehills, has advised Certares on its EUR 300 million structured equity investment into the Avia Solutions Group. Magnusson, working with White & Case and Cyprus-based Antis Triantafyllides & Sons, advised ASG on the deal.

Sorainen has advised JAS Worldwide on its acquisition of Greencarrier Freight Services International from the Greencarrier Group.

Cobalt has advised I Asset Management on a EUR 12 million development project for private student housing in Riga in cooperation with MBC Capital and Bonum Management. Triniti reportedly advised MBC.

TGS Baltic has advised Lithuanian Aid for Business Fund investor UAB Valstybes Investicinis Kapitalas on establishing its EUR 400 million state-guaranteed note program and placing the inaugural EUR 30 million issuance. Luminor bank covered the issuance.

Sorainen, working with Herbert Smith Freehills, has advised Certares on its EUR 300 million structured equity investment into the Avia Solutions Group. Magnusson, working with White & Case and Cyprus-based Antis Triantafyllides & Sons, advised ASG on the deal.

Sorainen has advised Henkell Freixenet on its full takeover of Henkell Freixenet Lietuva, formerly Filipopolis.

Data controllers and data processors had until 24 August 2021 to align with the new Law on Personal Data Protection in North Macedonia (“Law”), which introduced the GDPR in the local legislation at the beginning of 2020. Non-compliance with the new obligations for personal data protection can lead to severe penalties, such as fines of up to 2% and up to 4% of the total annual turnover from the previous financial year, per misdemeanor.

In August 2021, the Law on Financial Support of Investments (“Law”) in North Macedonia has undergone several amendments. Changes are focused on easing the conditions for application, affecting the balanced regional development, and speeding up the procedures for payment of the granted funds.

During the summer, the Assembly in North Macedonia adopted relevant amendments to the Labour Law concerning the conditions for retirement. According to the estimations by the proposers of the amendment, around 6000 employees from the public and the private sector already reached 64 years of age by the end of 2020.

Sayenko Kharenko and Turcan Cazac advised joint bookrunners Citigroup, ING, and Renaissance Capital on the tap issue of USD 50 million 8.45% secured notes due 2026 by Trans-Oil Group. Baker McKenzie and Gladei & Partners advised Trans-Oil Group. 

BizLaw.md, a Romanian-language portal dedicated to business law in the Republic of Moldova, is celebrating its fifth anniversary. We spoke with its founder, Efrim Rosca & Asociatii Managing Partner Oleg Efrim, to learn more about the project and his plans going forward.

My Indian guru, a sine-qua-non vegetarian, adores the Moldovan pies (placinte poale-n brau) made by my mom. When back home in India he will definitely once again become a chapati devotee, but for now he is in Chisinau, enjoying the taste and flavor of my mom’s baking.

Even with the political situation in the country being turbulent, Montenegro has a lot to look forward to, especially given the success of this year’s tourism season, according to Vujacic Law Partner Jelena Vujisic.

In “The Corner Office” we ask Managing Partners at law firms across Central and Eastern Europe about their backgrounds, strategies, and responsibilities. The question this time: “What did you most want to be when you were little?”

CMS' Malgorzata Surdek-Janicka has been appointed as Vice-President of the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. Aside from Surdek-Janicka, 33 lawyers from CEE were appointed as members and alternate members of the court.

The recent implementation of the AML V Directive to the Polish Act on Counteracting Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing will have a significant impact on business and the approach taken by state bodies to certain transactions. The main changes are as follows:

Linklaters has advised Polish logistics developer 7R on the sale of Kowale 7R Park Gdansk II to real estate asset manager Generali Real Estate. Clifford Chance advised the buyer.

Kondracki Celej has advised FFVC Poland on a USD 1 million funding round in Warsaw-based e-sports startup GGPredict.

Being the country with the highest growth rates in the EU, Romania is going strong despite the global pandemic conditions, according to MPR Partners Co-Founder and Co-Managing Partner Alina Popescu.

Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii has advised Zacaria Industrial on the sale of its industrial parks’ portfolio to industrial and logistics parks developer CTP. Biris Goran and the Law Chamber advised the buyer on the transaction.

EY Romania affiliated law firm Radu si Asociatii has become Bancila, Diaconu si Asociatii, with two Partners at the helm: Radu Diaconu and Emanuel Bancila.

Morgan Lewis has advised Kazakh investment company Pioneer Capital Invest on the acquisition of JSC Asian-Pacific Bank from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation.

Dmitry Kuptsov has been promoted to Partner with Alrud's Dispute Resolution and Restructuring and Insolvency practices.

Morgan Lewis has advised Yandex on restructuring the ownership of its MLU and self-driving joint ventures with Uber and acquisition of all shares in the Yandex.Eats, Yandex.Lavka, Yandex.Delivery, and Self-Driving businesses for a cash consideration of USD 1.0 billion. Alrud advised Uber on the deal. Cooley and Herbert Smith Freehills reportedly also advised the seller. 

The Government of the Republic of Serbia passed the Decision on the level of minimum labour wage for the period January – December 2022 and it was published in the Official Gazette of RS no. 87/2021 of 10 September 2021, while it shall apply from 1 January 2022 (“the Decision”).

Ognjen Colic has been promoted to Partner at Gecic Law.

Former Senior Associate Aleksandar Popovic has been promoted to Partner with JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic and will head the firm's newly established Creative Industries practice area.

With the implementation deadline for the EU Directive on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law (17 December 2021) approaching, here is a summary of the current state of the respective national measures in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and an introduction to our own whistleblowing solution: FairWhistle.

Havel & Partners has advised Arbol Capital on the acquisition of the remaining 50% of shares in Kovaco Electric. MCL advised Kovaco on the deal.

Dentons has advised Ciklum on its acquisition of Czech-based software development company CN Group from Genesis Capital. Havel & Partners advised Genesis Capital on the deal.

Following the record-long period, since May 25, 2018, during which Slovenia failed to adopt a relevant GDPR-implementing act, the Slovenian Government has sent a new draft of the Slovenian Data Protection Act for public discussion. If the parliamentary process runs uninterruptedly, the adoption of the new Act can be expected by the fall of this year.

AP Legal has advised the founder and sole shareholder of YU PD Express doo Belgrade Ljiljana Zivkovic Karaklajic on the sale of the company to Slovenia Broadbank S.a.r.l. Schonherr reportedly advised Slovenia Broadbank on the deal.

On May 26, 2021, the EU’s new Medical Device Regulation came into force, significantly changing the applicable regime, including – of particular interest to the dynamic Slovenian MedTech start-up community – by providing a new definition of software applications that need to be certified as medical devices.

Following the death of a person, the fate of the wealth they created throughout their life, and how to ensure the continuity of this value is a common concern shared by many people. In Turkish law, these matters are regulated in the "Inheritance Law" book, which is the third book of the Turkish Civil Code No. 4721. In the first of our series of articles, in which we will examine the law of inheritance through various topics of interest, we will discuss the concept of inheritance and heirdom. In following articles, we will touch on the frequently asked questions regarding the law of inheritance.

Former Inal Unver Attorney Partnership Partner Ekin Inal has joined the International Finance Corporation as a Legal Counsel in Turkey.

Former ARC Avukatlik Burosu Managing Partner Cemal Araalan has joined Bezen & Partners as a Partner and Head of Litigation.

Avellum has advised PJSC MHP on the acquisition of MHP Food UK Limited, formerly known as Braintree Meats Limited.

CMS has advised mobile operator Vodafone Ukraine and parent company Neqsol Holding on the acquisition of Vega Telecom from the SCM Group.

On June 14, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that the former DLA Piper office in Ukraine had merged with Kinstellar. We spoke with Co-Managing Partners Olena Kuchynska, Margarita Karpenko, and Senior Counsel Daniel Bilak – the Management Committee of the combined team – to learn more about the merger and their plans going forward.