The Legal 500

Serbia

Editorial

Legal market overview

Despite local reports of renewed momentum in corporate transactions, the air of uncertainty which hangs over Serbia’s economic and political stability has increased the difficulty of getting deals across the line. Headline transactions included KKR’s acquisition of leading pay-TV and broadband provider SBB from Mid Europa Partners; the privatisation of national airline Air Serbia; and Telenor’s share purchase of KBC Bank.

Serbia’s leading bracket of law firms is clearly defined by three domestic leaders: Karanovic & Nikolic; Jankovic, Popovic & Mitic o.d.; and, more latterly, BDK Advokati/Attorneys at Law. These firms compete with a small contingent of international firms for top-end work: Petrikic & Partneri AOD in cooperation with CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz; Harrisons Solicitors; Moravcevic Vojnovic i Partneri in cooperation with Schoenherr; and Law Office Miroslav Stojanovic, in cooperation with Wolf Theiss.

The market is also home to a large number of smaller specialist firms, in many cases the product of partners breaking away from larger counterparts. The most recent of these are Bojovic & Partners / Attorneys at Law, which was established by Marija Bojović, former senior and name partner of BDK Advokati/Attorneys at Law; DBP Advokati, formed by lead corporate partners from Karanovic & Nikolic and Jankovic, Popovic & Mitic o.d.; and, at the tail-end of 2013, Zavisin Semiz Law Office, which was opened by two partners from Petrikic & Partneri AOD in cooperation with CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz and one from Harrisons Solicitors. These new, hungry firms will further intensify the level of competition in the legal market, in which reports of low-balling and fee-dumping are not uncommon.

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Legal Developments in Serbia

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Amendments to Transfer Pricing Rulebook

    In our Newsletter 17/2013 , we presented novelties introduced into Serbian transfer pricing regulations by the new Rulebook on Transfer Pricing and Arm's Length Methods Applicable to Determination of Prices in Transactions Between Related Entities (" Rulebook "), which elaborates on the statutory requirement for mandatory transfer pricing documentation for FY 2013 and onwards.
  • Serbian brewery fined in Bosnia for abuse of dominance

    On 20 November 2013, the Bosnian Competition Council issued a decision establishing that the Serbian brewery "Apatinska" abused its dominant position on the relevant market of beer distribution in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Council imposed a fine on the brewery in the amount of BAM 430,000 (EUR 215,000).
  • Photographs and the current events exception in Serbian copyright law

    The High Court in Belgrade and the Appellate Court in the same city have issued a few decisions in 2013 rejecting arguments by the defendants that their use of photographs, without the authorization of the copyright owners, was lawful because the photos were used within the context of reporting about current events. While the outcome in each case was identical, the judgments differ in the interpretation of the law. A reader is left unsure as to what the Serbian copyright law actually says about the current events exception to copyright infringement.
  • Serbian parliament adopts amendments to Competition Act

    Amendments to the Serbian Law on Protection of Competition were published in the Official Gazette on 31 October 2013 and will come into force on 8 November 2013. The adopted amendments to a large extent follow solutions from the draft which the Government submitted to the Parliament back in July this year. We devoted two earlier blog posts to various drafts of the amendments (apart from the Government's July draft , we also analyzed the initial draft published in April). Now that the amendments have ripened into law, it is worth providing an overview of the most important changes to the competition legislation.
  • Serbian competition authority publishes its annual report for 2012

    The Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition has published its Annual Report for 2012 . Because the Commission publishes its decisions and opinions randomly, the report offers an informative scan of the authority’s activities in the course of the previous year.
  • Opinion issued on public procurement and consortium agreements

    The Commission for Protection of Competition has issued an opinion(1) on public procurement and consortium agreements concluded between competitors in tendering and public procurement procedures.
  • Opinion issued on public procurement and consortium agreements

    The Commission for Protection of Competition has issued an opinion(1) on public procurement and consortium agreements concluded between competitors in tendering and public procurement procedures. The commission views consortium agreements as restrictive agreements, as they inevitably set prices and other commercial requirements for performing specific transactions. Therefore, such agreements must be submitted to the commission for an individual exemption.
  • Competition Authority clears three-to-two concentration in sugar market

    In February 2013 the Competition Authority cleared the takeover of Hellenic Sugar Industry SA by Sunoko doo, subject to structural and behavioural measures. Hellenic Sugar is the only producer of sugar in Greece which also owns two sugar production plants in Serbia. Sunoko, on the other hand, is a producer of sugar in Serbia, part of MK Group, a vertically integrated producer of agricultural products and also has various other activities related to agricultural production. The authority prohibited the takeover at first, but clearance was issued on a second attempt.
  • Competition Authority publishes results of petroleum derivatives market analysis

    In February 2013 the Competition Authority published the results of its sector analysis of the petroleum derivatives markets in Serbia in 2011. The analysis, carried out between April and
  • Mergers & Acquisitions 2013. Chapter 37 Serbia.

    This guide provides corporate counsel and international practitioners with a comprehensive worldwide legal analysis of the laws and regulations of mergers and acquisitions. This article appeared in the 2013 edition of The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Mergers & Acquisitions; published by Global Legal Group Ltd, London. www.iclg.co.uk.

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