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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.

CMS has advised plastic packaging and recycling company Alpla on its acquisition of the Wolf Plastics Group. Binder Groesswang advised the sellers on the deal.

Brandl Talos has advised TriLite Technologies on its EUR 8 million Series A financing round.

Hengeler Mueller is advising Austria's Greiner on obtaining the European Commission's merger control approval in relation to its conditional voluntary public takeover offer to acquire a majority of Recticel shares, which was officially announced on October 06, 2021.

With political issues and economic sanctions being an everyday norm, Belarus finds itself in a bit of a pickle, according to Borovtsov & Salei Partner Vassili Salei.

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

Bosnia & Herzegovina is experiencing a boom in the tourism sector, feeding the steady recovery of the Balkan country, and which spells out good things to come, according to Maric & Co Partner Ezmana Turkovic.

The Parliament of Federation of BiH adopted the amendments of the Company Law of Federation of BiH and the amendments have been published and entered into force on 23 September 2021. The amendments of the Law are aimed at achieving the goal set in the Reform Agenda of Federation of BiH related to simplification of the procedure for registration of business entities and setting up a one-stop-shop company registration system.

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.

Schoenherr, working with Paul Hastings, has advised French-based Sendinblue on the acquisition of Bulgarian e-commerce metrics company Metrilo from its founders and investors. Atanassov & Ivanov reportedly advised Metrilo on the deal.

Kinstellar has advised Park Lane Developments on its sale of the Park Lane Office Center in Sofia to SAP. Wolf Theiss advised the buyer.

Wolf Theiss has advised the EBRD on its acquisition of a stake in Bulgaria’s Euroins Insurance Group for EUR 30 million. As part of the same deal, KGM Law reportedly advised Eurohold, the parent company of Euroins, on a EUR 12 million equity injection.

Bradvica Maric Wahl Cesarec has advised Eko Medjimurje on the acquisition of a majority share in Hittner from Stjepan HIttner.

NKO Partners and Lovric Novokmet Smrcek have advised French Conforama on the sale of furniture and appliance company Emmezeta and subsidiary Emma Real Estate to Poland's Merkury Market. Marohnic, Tomek & Gjoic advised LCN Capital Partners on the sale of a related real estate portfolio. Glinska & Miskovic, Samardzic Oreski & Grbovic, and Brzozowska & Barwinska advised the buyer.

Savoric & Partners has advised Eagle Hills Zagreb on its HRK 760 million acquisition of Sunce Hoteli. Bogdanovic, Dolicki & Partners advised the shareholders of Sunce Hoteli.

Delta Legal has advised CTP on its acquisition of Business Park Chrastava's owner and operator Renwon. Pelikan Krofta Kohoutek advised the seller.

Orrick has advised Rossum on raising USD 100 million from General Catalyst in a Series A funding round. Ropes and Gray reportedly advised GC.

PRK Partners has advised Czech technology company Trask on its acquisition of an ownership interest in Bell & Hurry.

Koutalidis has advised the Macquarie Group on the acquisition of a 49% ownership interest in the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator.

Koutalidis has advised the Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA) on its issuance of a common bond loan of EUR 505 million. Lambadarios Law Firm advised Alpha Bank, Eurobank, the National Bank of Greece, and Piraeus Bank as the four Greek systemic banks.

Catherine Karanikola has joined the YNV Group as Chief Legal Officer in Greece.

Kapolyi has advised Budapest Stock Exchange Premium-listed automotive investor AutoWallis on preparing its latest public share issuance.

CMS has advised plastic packaging and recycling company Alpla on its acquisition of the Wolf Plastics Group. Binder Groesswang advised the sellers on the deal.

A bill to exempt the minimum wage from personal income tax in order to reduce the tax burden on low wages was submitted to the Hungarian Parliament on 20 September 2021. The proposal aims to amend the Personal Income Tax Act. According to the preamble of the bill, the exemption is necessary, since the income of minimum wage earners is increasingly falling behind average earnings and the total tax burden on wages is one of the highest in Europe.

Walless has advised the Tilgmann Group on the sale of Nordic Label and Data Print to Waterland Private Equity portfolio company Asteria. Helsinki-based Dittmar & Indrenius also advised Tilgmann, while Cobalt and Finnish law firm Krogerus advised the Asteria Group.

Rask Attorney Keidi Koiv has been appointed Co-Head of the firm’s Public Procurement practice.

Sorainen has advised financial automation platform Aurelia on raising USD 3 million in a seed funding round led by Blossom Capital.

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 is providing pro bono legal assistance to journalists Madara Sprude and Normunds Robeznieks from Tvnet Grupa, and Inga Springe from the Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism Re:Baltica in connection with the persecution and intimidation of journalists carried out by a private individual.

Lextal has advised Estonian financial technology group IuteCredit on its EUR 75 million senior secured corporate bonds issuance. GSK Stockmann reportedly acted as a global advisor on the deal.

Sorainen has provided legal assistance to Latvian local newspaper Independent News of Tukums' Editor-in-Chief Ivonna Plaude in a dispute against the Tukums Municipal Council for insulting her honor and dignity.

Sorainen has advised Lithuanian venture capital fund Open Circle Capital on investing in the Billo community marketing platform.

Sorainen has advised Lords LB Baltic Fund III on the sale of a shopping center in Marijampole, Lithuania, to Rivona. Triniti Jurex advised the buyer.

Ellex has advised investment fund manager BLF Management on its establishment and licensing in Lithuania.

In recent years, the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes has been a “hot” topic in North Macedonia. In 2016, the country regulated the procedure for the cultivation and production of hemp and hemp extracts. Since then, in line with publicly available information, over 60 approvals for the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes have been issued.

Polenak, working with DWF, has advised Singular and its owners on the sale of the company to Flutter Entertainment. Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska, working with Arthur Cox, advised Flutter Entertainment.

With COVID-19 restrictions to kick in only after the municipal elections scheduled for October 17, the country is in for a long winter, according to ODI Law Partner Gjorgji Georgievski, despite the business sector doing well.

Sayenko Kharenko has advised joint lead managers and joint bookrunners Citigroup, ING, and Renaissance Capital on the second USD 50 million tap issuance of 8.45% secured notes due 2026 by the Trans-Oil Group.

On 2 September 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued the much awaited judgement in the Komstroy vs Moldova case (C-741/19).

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. 

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.

Linklaters has advised European Logistics Investment on its EUR 111 million loan agreement with Berlin Hyp. CMS reportedly advised Berlin Hyp on the deal.

Balicki Czekanski Gryglewski Lewczuk has advised Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego on its PLN 500 million financing for Polish mobile network Play. Norton Rose Fulbright advised Play on the transaction.

Noerr has advised Polish logistics company X-press Couriers on its sale to e-commerce platform Allegro. DLA Piper advised the buyer.

CMS has advised plastic packaging and recycling company Alpla on its acquisition of the Wolf Plastics Group. Binder Groesswang advised the sellers on the deal.

Wolf Theiss has advised Banca Comerciala Romana on its inaugural RON 500 million issuance of senior preferred green notes under its multi issuer EMTN Program.

Romanian lawyer Anela Musat has joined Blue Horizon as its General Counsel in Zurich, Switzerland.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has advised Irrico Limited on the sale of a Russian agricultural holding company.

Latham & Watkins has advised PIK Specialized Homebuilder on the secondary public offering of quasi treasury ordinary PIK shares by its fully owned subsidiary PIK Investproekt.

DLA Piper has advised e-commerce platform Ecwid on obtaining regulatory clearance from the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia for its acquisition by Lightspeed.

Karanovic & Partners has advised the Innovation Fund on launching the Katapult start-up accelerator in Serbia with support from the World Bank.

The Labour Law (“Official Gazette of RS”, no. 24/2005, 61/2005, 54/2009, 32/2013, 75/2014, 13/2017 – decision of the CC, 113/2017 and 95/2018 – authentic interpretation) (the “Law”) prescribes that employer shall be obliged, prior to the termination of employment agreement due to violation of working obligation or working discipline, to notify the employee in writing on the existence of reasons for such termination, as well as to provide the employee with a period of minimum eight days from the warning submission to declare on the subject allegations. Employer is obliged to state grounds for termination in the warning, as well as facts and evidence indicating the fulfilment of requirements for termination, and deadline for submitting the employee’s response thereof.

The OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (IF) has agreed on 8 October 2021 a two-pillar solution to address the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy. The Republic of Serbia is one of 136 jurisdictions that have agreed to the solution.

Dentons has promoted Patricia Gossanyiova to Partner and appointed her Head of the firm's Banking and Finance practice in Slovakia.

MCL has advised Slovakian Fun Media Group on the acquisition of Corporate Legal which owns a broadcasting license for Radio Vlna. The HKV Law Firm reportedly advised the seller.

Allen & Overy has advised a club of banks led by Tatra Banka on a EUR 177 million financing for Swan and Swan Mobile.

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.

Paksoy has advised DW Reusables on the acquisition of Turkish reusable transport packaging companies Etap Enjeksiyon from Ozgorkey Holding and Etap Dogan from Ozgorkey Holding and Daghan Unludogan. Herguner Bilgen Ozeke advised the sellers.

Istanbul-based Derin Altan and Ates Turnaoglu, Warsaw-based Marek Sawicki, and Prague-based Jan Stejskal, together with Paris-based Russian lawyer Olga Fedosova, have been appointed Partner at White & Case, as part of its global promotion round.

Distribution of assets sometimes leads to disputes between heirs and cause undesirable consequences. In this respect, many people prefer to decide how their estate will be distributed by making testamentary dispositions while they are still alive. Hence, in order to eliminate possible conflicts between heirs or for other reasons, individuals may choose to plan their estate prior to their death, based on personal wishes. Today, more people than ever prioritize estate planning.

Esquires has successfully represented Solum before the Darnytskyi District Court of Kyiv in lifting the arrest imposed upon a 3,500-square-meter property purchased at public auction.

Avellum has advised Kazakhstan’s financial technology firm Kaspi.kz subsidiary Kaspi Pay on its acquisition of Ukrainian online payment platform Portmone from Ukraine-based 4i Capital Partners. Kinstellar advised the seller.

CMS has advised DAI Global and the National Securities and Stock Markets Commission of Ukraine on the rules for clearing transactions with securities and licensing terms for clearing institutions.