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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
Kyiv, 11 August 2014 - Avellum Partners announced that it has acted as the Ukrainian legal counsel to Ferrexpo in connection with the following three export financing credits:
Avellum Partners announced that it has acted as the Ukrainian legal counsel to Ferrexpo in connection with the acquisition of an electrified railway of over two kilometers long and a power line.
Avellum Partners acted as the legal counsel to the owners of a leading Ukrainian FMCG producer in connection with its sale to a private investor.
KKR, a leading global investment firm, announced an investment in arago AG ("arago"). arago is a German-based high-tech company specialised in IT automation. KKR will acquire a minority stake in arago and support the global roll-out of arago's product portfolio with growth equity.
Funds Legal and Regulatory Update- Ogier
In early August 2014 „Popov & Partners" Law office was selected by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Bulgaria to perform public procurement named „Research and analysis of existing systems for enforcement in the EU Member States, research and exchange of the European good practices related to the construction of electronic system/portal for enforcement". The research is in the framework of „Effective and transparent enforcement, integrated with national and European electronic legal systems" implemented with the grant of the Operational Programme „Administrative Capacity", co-financed by the European Union through the European Social Fund.
In the middle of July 2014 "Popov and Partners" law office was awarded a public procurement, announced by the Ministry of Finance, with subject matter "Analysis of the structure of the Managing Authority of Operational Programme "Administrative Capacity" (OPAC) and development of an offer for structure of the Managing Authority of Operational Programme "Good Governance" (OPGG) in relation to the 2014-2020 programming period". The public procurement is part of a project for analysis of the structure of the Ministry of Finance and Operational Programme "Administrative Capacity" Directorate, realized with the financial support of Operational Programme "Administrative Capacity" (OPAC), co-funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund. The most fundamental aim of all project activities is to guarantee the effective execution of Operational Programme "Administrative Capacity" Directorate at the Ministry of Finance, in its capacity of Managing authority of the new Operational Programme "Good Governance" 2014 - 2020, which will replace Operational Programme "Administrative Capacity" and Operational Programme "Technical Assistance", implemented during the past programming period.
The international media company Bertelsmann is increasing its ownership of Gruner + Jahr to 100 percent by acquiring Jahr Holding's 25.1 percent shareholding. The transaction was agreed among Gruner + Jahr's shareholders. Bertelsmann's acquisition of the remaining shares in Gruner + Jahr will become effective on November 1, 2014. The purchase price is being paid in cash, and the parties have agreed not to disclose the amount.
Hengeler Mueller advises LEG Immobilien AG on acquisition of portfolio of around 9,600 residential uA subsidiary of LEG Immobilien AG ("LEG"), acting as the buyer, and Deutsche Annington Immobilien SE ("Deutsche Annington"), acting as the seller, yesterday signed an agreement for a portfolio transaction for around 9,600 residential units and related employees in North Rhine-Westphalia by way of share deal. The total transaction volume amounts to €484m. Following antitrust approval, the closing of the transaction is expected by the end of October 2014.