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- The Legal 500 United Kingdom Awards 2013
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Legal market overview
Positive messages from the Hungarian market included the full repayment of the country’s IMF loan in August 2013, but the weakening of the forint and sectoral taxation to the detriment of foreign investment mean the market outlook remains uncertain.
With certain taxation aimed at financial institutions and the lack of foreign investment contributing to the ongoing dearth of new-money financing, many law firms have shifted their focus from new projects to restructurings and refinancings of existing transactions. The real estate market remained quiet, as did the energy sector, which has been badly hit by the government’s push to lower energy prices.
The state has become an increasingly important player in the market, with recent transactions including its acquisition of stakes in two local banks, and state-owned energy group MVM’s acquisition of E.ON’s natural gas division; these and other examples ensured that law firms with connections to state entities remained busy through 2012-13. Firms with strong competition law practices also had an active year, with headline matters including the Hungarian Competition Office’s continuing cartel investigation into foreign exchange mortgage loans.
Among the prominent international law firms are Andrékó Kinstellar, CMS, Horváth & Partners DLA Piper, Kajtár Takács Hegymegi-Barakonyi Baker & McKenzie Ügyvédi Iroda and Réczicza White & Case LLP. Leading independent firms include Nagy és Trócsányi Ügyvédi Iroda, Oppenheim and Szecskay Attorneys at Law.
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Hungary's new law on information security will plug a hole in existing legislation, but may prove to be excessive in addressing security issues.
In 2013, Hungary has introduced a 10% household utilities price cut in the field of electricity, gas and district heating. To ensure thorough enforcement of the price cuts, the country's energy regulator was restructured and several barriers were set to prevent energy companies from passing on these burdens to consumers.
This guide provides the international practitioner and in-house counsel with a comprehensive worldwide legal analysis of the laws and regulations of real estate. This article appeared in the 2013 edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Real Estate; published by Global Legal Group Ltd, London. www.iclg.co.uk )
Hungary seeks to impose a 35% withholding tax on offshore assets.
The complicated Hungarian legislation on domestic company mergers can cause headaches, including in cross-border mergers. These headaches result mostly from the fundamental differences between Hungarian law and the national laws of other EU member states, which remain applicable alongside the harmonised rules for cross-border mergers.
On 9 July, the Hungarian Government adopted Act CXVI of 2012 on Financial Transactions Tax, which levies tax on payment services. The Hungarian government claims that this new tax - which is also being referred to as a "financial transaction levy" - is aimed at supplementing the extraordinary tax levied on Hungarian credit institutions. The tax comes into effect and will be payable as of 1 January 2013.
A recent second instance judgment by the Metropolitan Court of Appeal (“Court of Appeal”) provides some interesting insight into the court’s approach in cartel matters. The case before the Court of Appeal concerned the second instance review of a first instance judgment that annulled certain parts of the decision of the Hungarian Competition Office (the “HCO”).
Hungary is the first country in the CEE region to introduce the real estate investment trust (REIT) regime on the back of US and Western European examples. The new REIT regime took effect on 27 July 2011.
After the publication of the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) by the European Commission, the Hungarian Presidency undertook to implement the first ever "European Semester" a six-month period of each year in which Member States' budgetary and structural policies are reviewed to identify any inconsistencies and emerging imbalances, so as to facilitate coordination before major budgetary decisions are finalised.
BANKING & FINANCE . REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION . PROCUREMENT & REGULATORY . EMPLOYMENT & PENSIONS
Shortly after the signing of a USD 2.5 billion investment loan agreement, KGHM Polska Miedź announces the completion of another major financing project.
IKB Leasing GmbH (IKBL) has securitized a portfolio of lease receivables via German Mittelstand Equipment Financing SA (GMEF). The European Investment Bank (EIB) was one of the investors in the senior Class A Notes issued by GMEF.
Schoenherr, a leading law firm in Central and Eastern Europe, advised Laakman Holding Limited on the increase of their participation in the listed fund company C-QUADRAT Investment AG from 9.4 % to 18.4 %. read more...
Zavadetskyi Advocates advised a US private equity fund regarding USD 110 million divestiture from Ukrainian commercial real estate project.
Vienna, 28 July 2014. Fellner Wratzfeld & Partners (fwp) advises UniCredit Bank Austria AG on acquiring Immobilien Holding GmbH, which until now was wholly owned by Immobilien Privatstiftung.
AstapovLawyers International Law Group has provided corporate tax consulting and legal advisory to the joint stock oil company Bashneft, one of the Russia's largest integrated oil companies, due to its contemplated expansion into new market in the Southeast Europe.
On 6 June 2014, draft primary legislation to provide the Jersey Financial Services Commission with the power to impose civil financial penalties for material contraventions of the Codes of Practice and the AML/CFT Handbook was published.- Ogier
On 24 July 2014, Wild Bunch S.A. and the listed Senator AG announced their intention to merge into a European independent film distribution company. Wild Bunch is an important player in the field of international film sales and electronic distribution with a Europe-wide network in France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Senator AG is a German film productions and distribution company producing and distributing German and international movies since the 1970s.
Hengeler Mueller has successfully reached a temporary suspension of the prohibition order of the city of Hamburg against Uber, a provider for a smartphone-app for on-demand transportation services. Uber may thus continue providing its services in Hamburg until further notice.