Legal market overview
Iceland’s economy is still shackled by currency controls and the weak krona, discouraging investment in the country and also limiting spending power. The Icelandic government has appointed specialist advisers and a consultancy to help in negotiations with its banks’ creditors. Reaching an agreement with these creditors is vital to lifting capital controls: if well managed, the process of lifting capital controls would reintegrate Iceland into the international lending markets and the legal services that would bring.
Nonetheless, there is now more liquidity in the market than before. Foreign banks have been actively offering funding to businesses with revenues in foreign currency, such as the fishing industry and the energy sector. Moreover, M&A activity appears to be picking up in Iceland. A number of Icelandic businesses were taken over by Icelandic banks and have since been the subject of initial public offerings or have been sold off. There is also considerable investment appetite as local investment funds – having been prohibited by the Icelandic capital controls from investing abroad – have been particularly active in the domestic market. The increasing number of tourists that visit Iceland each year has led to several new hotels being built, with more in the pipeline.
Firms in the spotlight
The firm was founded in 1998 by Baldvin Bjorn Haraldsson and Asgeir A Ragnarsson, and was the first law firm in Iceland to build its practice exclusively on servicing the business sector. This focus has allowed BBA’s lawyers to gain substantial experience and a level of expertise which is second to none in Iceland in, among other areas, corporate law, finance law and general business law.
Arnason Faktor was formed in 2006 when two leading intellectual property firms in Iceland, A&P Arnason and Faktor Patentbureau, merged. Faktor Patenbureau was founded in 1969 and has been extensively engaged in intellectual property protection in Iceland ever since. A&P Arnason traces its roots back to 1985 and has been a pioneer in the promotion of intellectual property protection in the Icelandic industry and business community. Arnason Faktor is the largest intellectual property consultancy firm in Iceland with 27 employees. It has offices in Reykjavik, Copenhagen and Munich.
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