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- 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 Greek economy may remain in turmoil, but for the country’s largest law firms business has been relatively buoyant. Foreign investors are seeking bargains in the market, which has spurred corporate activity. Meanwhile the government’s privatisation programme, as conducted by the Hellenic Republic Assets Development Fund (HRADF), and the recapitalisation and consolidation of the banking sector, as overseen by the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF), have generated considerable activity. The shipping market has also responded to the improved global economic climate, and shipping lawyers report a revival in ship financings and newbuilds, adding to the refinancings and disputes which have dominated the practice area in recent years. This uptick in maritime work has been good news for several of the UK law firms in the market, such as Norton Rose Fulbright, Watson, Farley & Williams – Greek Branch, Ince & Co and Stephenson Harwood.
Whether this overall increase in activity represents a genuine turnaround in the economy, or is simply an artificial market pumped up by government intervention, remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the ‘flight to quality’ that such deal activity entails has meant that the largest firms, including Karatzas & Partners Law Firm, Koutalidis Law Firm, Kyriakides Georgopoulos Law Firm (KG Law Firm), M & P Bernitsas, and PotamitisVekris, have been relatively busy.
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Over the last six years, Greece has been under an austerity restructuring and adjustment programme, receiving extended support from European financial institutions and international creditors, in an attempt to tackle its structural weaknesses, overly high deficits and incessant market stagnation.
M&As in Greece: Stellar opportunities for profits of emerging markets in the most mature market in..Lately, domestic and international financial and corporate players are looking closely on the Athens Exchange seeking for safe yet high return investment opportunities in Greece and the wider South East Europe through takeover bids on securities of companies established in Greece and listed on the local exchange with significant presence in the wider region. It is common knowledge that M&As consist the most transparent and efficient way to gain control of the desired "target" company, following a public offer on all or a part of the target's capital. However, this does not seem to be their unique advantage in Greek legal order. The speed of their conclusion, with an average duration of two months, allows the investor to begin with his businesses without considerable waste of time and resources. As of this, he is in position to choose a board of his own preference almost the very following day of the expiry of the public offer's time and to focus on what he primarily intended and is good at - making business.
As of 1 st February 2014, both Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes were implemented, replacing regulations that have been in force since 1968, drafted at a time when the political status quo in Romania not only discouraged but even forbade private initiative.
The Government of Albania has issued the final version of the draft law on Value Added Tax. According to the Minister of Finance, once approved by the Parliament, the new VAT law is expected to enter into force on January 1, 2015 and replace the current law on VAT, as well as all respective regulations. The draft law has been prepared with the support of the European Union, setting as its principal aim to harmonize legislation on VAT with the acquis communautaire , in compliance with the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
Since the beginning of the crisis, a heated debate is going on among politicians and scholars, inside and outside the country, on who's responsible and whether the austerity measures, adopted as a condition for the financial assistance by international lenders, has been successful, proportionate and fair.
The sovereign debt crisis in Greece has resulted in an unprecedented plunge of the GDP by 25%, whereas prices in the local real estate market have fallen as much as 50% since the crisis hit the country at the end of 2008. As a result, huge investment opportunities have arisen, as both the Greek State and the private sector are trying to liquidate as many assets as possible in order to repay their debts.
2012 was the Hellenic Competition Commission's (‘HCC') fourth year of operation since its reform and one year after the enactment of a new competition law, Law 3959/2011.
The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (the Fund) launches a tender for the sale of the shares of the HELLENIC COMPANY FOR ROLLING STOCK MAINTENANCE S.A. (ROSCO)
It is widely accepted that the proper implementation of transfer pricing regulation is subject to a clear and unambiguous definition of "affiliated" undertakings.
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.