- How do the awards work?
- The Legal 500 United Kingdom Awards 2013
- The Legal 500 United States Awards 2014 - In-house winners
- The Legal 500 United States Awards 2014 - Law firm winners
- The Legal 500 Latin America Awards (coming soon)
- The Legal 500 Germany Awards (coming soon)
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Legal market overview
The Estonian M&A market picked up in the third quarter of 2013, with one trend being large multinational corporations selling off parts of their local businesses. Apart from East Capital’s acquisition of 51% of Starman the capital markets are still very quiet. The energy sector, especially in the renewables space, is increasingly busy, which is partly due to the electricity market being opened to competition in 2013. A continuous growth area is the IT and technology sector, where the Estonian start-up and venture capital community is thriving, attracting foreign buyers and investors. The real estate market is slowly recovering as major infrastructure construction projects are being tackled due to EU funding and public procurement initiatives by municipalities.
There has been some movement in the market: boutiques such as Rask have been formed by lawyers leaving major Baltic firms and the Big Four are also setting up their own law firms. Another such firm, Law Office Nordeus, became part of a pan-Baltic firm and rebranded as Fort.
Magnusson Advokatbyrå took on six attorneys from Concordia Attorneys at Law in November 2013 and Glikman & Partnerid merged with Alvin Rödl & Partner Law Office in January 2013, establishing Glikman Alvin & Partners, one of the largest law firms in Estonia.
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On 31st December 2010 amendments to the Law Obligations Act (hereinafter LOA) came into force in Estonia, introducing the regulation allowing claiming punitive and preventive damages. Though the new regulation allows exemplary damages to be awarded only in the event of non-proprietary damages, it nevertheless constitutes a general paradigm shift, allowing for a much broader protection of personal rights.
Until the adoption of Reorganisation Act Estonian legislation did not provide efficient regulation for companies which were in temporary financial difficulties, but could be “rescued” via certain turn-around proceedings to overcome the economically difficult period.
New Advertising Act has entered into force from 1st of November 2008. The main reason for drafting the new Act was the current situation in the advertising market – the legal regulation of the Advertising Act passed in 1997 needed to be modernized. Requirements for advertising goods and services, which are likely to cause controversy in the society, have been specified. Additional restrictions have been provided for advertising of alcohol products and financial services, while exemptions have been added to the advertising regulation of tobacco products and gambling. The efficiency of surveillance has been improved and additional measures have been taken. Consistency with the EU law is important in order to avoid discrimination of foreign manufacturers and service providers. Drafting a new act was expedient, whereas extensive amendments were to be made to the current legal regulation of advertising.
The Civil Chamber of the Estonian Supreme Court has thoroughly handled the topics of division of joint property, repeated some earlier principles and given the clear instruction in the proceeding of division of the joint property of spouses in the question of assessment of the value of the company.
The Estonian Supreme Court handled the taxation of the earnings of the physical persons through the application of the rule of economic interpretation (Taxation Act § 84) in its decision of 6 November 2008. In this case the Supreme Court gave the instructions which circumstances are important for establishing the existence of the objective of tax evasion. This is a significant decision in the cases of transfer of securities, where the tax authority has found that the substance and form of the transaction are not in compliance and in no doubt will have its impact to assessing the tax consequences of corporate restructurings.
The Exempted Limited Partnership Law, 2014 (the New ELP Law ) has replaced the Exempted Limited Partnership Law (2013 Revision) (the Previous Law ). The New Law includes significant changes to the Cayman Islands' statutory framework regulating exempted limited partnerships ( ELPs ) that will increase the attractiveness of ELPs and will be appreciated by managers, investors and creditors alike. Private equity sponsors in particular will notice substantial improvements that are indicative of Cayman's continuing commitment to balanced and commercially sensible legislation. Read more...
RESTRUCTURING - COURT PROCEDURES
On 23 May 2014, the States of Jersey passed the Companies (Amendment No. 11) (Jersey) Law 201- (the Amendment Law ). This will now be sent to the UK Privy Council for consideration, then laid before the States of Jersey for a final time before coming into force. The latest information we have is that the Privy Council will be approving the law on 19 July 2014 and it may come into effect as soon as 4 August 2014.
The Hague, 4 July 2014 - BarentsKrans has appointed Joost Fanoy as a partner in the Antitrust & Public Procurement department, effective as of July 1, 2014. Joost specializes in European law in general with a particular focus on European and Dutch competition, public procurement and state aid law and is the head of the Antitrust and Public Procurement Practice Group. Joost is also a member of the Cartel damages team of BarentsKrans.
PineBridge Investments Middle East, a global multi-asset class investment manager with regional headquarters in Bahrain, and nearly 60 years of experience in emerging and developed markets, has acquired a 50% equity stake in Romatem, the leading physical therapy and rehabilitation services chain in Turkey.
Isbank issued 750 million USD notes under its GMTN programme established in 2013. The notes are listed on the Irish Stock Exchange and bear interest at the rate of 5 % with a maturity date 2021. Mr. Omer Collak (partner) and Mr. Baris Kencebay (head of tax practice) have acted for the joint lead managers Barclays, Citigroup, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and The Royal Bank of Scotland.
Halkbank issued five-year term fixed interest rate US currency notes, with a total amount of USD 500 million with an interest rate of 4.765 % and an annual coupon rate of 4.750 %. The notes offered the lowest borrowing rate in the first five-month period of 2014, and total demand rose nearly nine-fold due to high investor interest. The note issuance drew great interest from international investors settled in the Middle East and Asia, as well as those investors based in the US and Europe. Mr Omer Collak (partner) and Mr Baris Kencebay (head of tax practice) have advised the joint lead managers.
Turkiye Finans issued the first ringgit sukuk originating from Turkey. The bank initially raised MYR 1 billion with a five-year commodity sukuk on June 30, with an annual return of 6 %. The sukuk under the programme will have tenure of one to 20 years. Funds raised will go towards general corporate purposes. The sukuk will be issued through TF Varlik Kiralama A.S., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Turkiye Finans. Malaysia's RAM Ratings has accorded the programme an indicative long-term rating of AA3. HSBC Amanah Malaysia and Standard Chartered Saadiq were the joint advisers. Mr Omer Collak (partner) and Mr Baris Kencebay (head of tax practice) have advised Turkiye Finans and the issuer TF Varlik Kiralama A.S.
Ziraat Bank, the largest state owned bank of Turkey, established GMTN programme on 21 May 2014, for the notes to be issued up to USD 2 billion listed on Irish Stock Exchange. The notes are unconditional, unsubordinated and unsecured obligations, and rank pari-passu with Ziraat Bank's other senior unsecured obligations.
Vakifbank issued EUR 500 million 5-year unsecured and unsubordinated notes under the first GMTN programme of Turkey established in 2013. The notes are listed on Irish Stock Exchange and bear interest at the rate of 3.5 % p.a. with a maturity date 17 June 2019. This is the very first EUR denominated RegS offering of a Turkish entity.