Serbia > Corporate, M&A and privatisation
Corporate, M&A and privatisation
Maric & Mujezinovic in cooperation with Kinstellar
Zivkovic & Samardzic Law Office
CMS is advising Gazprom on the establishment of a gas storage facility in Serbia, and new client Lufthansa on the potential acquisition of a local target. The firm also continues to advise Delhaize on post-acquisition operations after its €935m takeover of Delta Maxi Group. Other corporate clients include IBM, Strabag and GTC. On the finance side, the team advised a syndicate of banks headed by UniCredit on a €470m loan to Telekom Srbija; and Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank on the restructuring of several Serbian projects. Radivoje Petrikić heads the practice.
Jankovic, Popovic & Mitic o.d. is acting for state-owned natural gas company Srbijgas on the negotiations and contract preparation relating to a potential joint venture pipeline construction with Gazprom; the pipeline, which aims to connect Russia with the Western Europe energy market, will involve a significant number of international law firms and has a total project value of over €1.5bn. In other work, the firm is assisting MK Group with its acquisition of Carnex, and advising the Serbian government on the restructuring of the indebted JAT Airlines. The highly recommended Nenad Popović heads the department.
Clients consistently refer to the high levels of professionalism and dedication at Karanovic & Nikolic. The 12-lawyer corporate team assisted an international construction company with its acquisition of a Serbian target. Slobodan Doklestić heads the department, and is advising a multinational holding company on the corporate restructuring of several of its Serbian businesses. Jelena Vučković is noted for her ‘extensive knowledge and experience’, and acts as lead adviser for Marriott International and Spanish fashion retailer Inditex.
Law Office Miroslav Stojanovic, in cooperation with Wolf Theiss advised United States Steel Corporation on the high-profile sale of its entire Serbian steel manufacturing operations to the Republic of Serbia; and Cooper Rubber & Tire Company on the €50m acquisition of Trayal’s passenger car tyre production assets. Other clients include Coca-Cola HBC, which the firm is advising on a minority shareholder squeeze-out; and Dr. Oetker, which it is advising on the €25m acquisition of Centroproizvod’s sweet and powder product assets. Miroslav Stojanović and Bojana Bregović are the lead contacts.
The three partners and 11 associates in Moravcevic Vojnovic i Partneri in cooperation with Schoenherr’s corporate team handle some of the region’s largest M&A transactions in the financial sector. Department head Matija Vojnović advised ÖVAG on the Serbian and Bosnian legs of its sale of CEE banking operation Volksbank International to Sberbank. RWE Innogy is another key client, and recently instructed the firm in relation to a €500m joint-venture hydroelectric power plant construction along the River Velika Morava.
‘One of the prime firms in Serbia’, BDK Advokati / Attorneys at Law attracts praise from clients for its industry-specific knowledge as well as the professionalism of its lawyers. Managing partner Tijana Kojović leads a corporate team of 24 fee-earners, and acted as Serbian counsel for StarBev on the sale of its CEE breweries to Molson Coors. Another prominent figure on high-value M&A transactions is Vladimir Dašić, who advised Watson Pharmaceuticals on the Serbian aspects of its global €4.5bn acquisition of Actavis. The practice has a dedicated capability handling mandates from the Republic of Srpska, and benefits from an office in neighbouring Montenegro. Marija Bojovic recently left to set up her own practice.
Harrisons Solicitors provides ‘service and value for money beyond comparison’. With practice head Mark Harrison maintaining strong links with UK law firms and investment banks, the practice has a strong financial focus, and the team recently advised JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank as joint lead managers on the Republic of Serbia’s second Eurobond issuance. It also advised Belgian lime producer Carmeuse on the cross-border acquisition of a Serbian facility. The 14-lawyer firm has a strong presence in the Montenegrin market, and has acted on some of the country’s largest corporate and financial transactions. Aleksandar Preradović is also recommended.
Established 25 years ago, Joksovic, Stojanovic & Partners is ‘a highly professional firm with high-quality service, knowledge and creativity’. Milan Joksović and Petar Stojanović lead the practice, which receives a high proportion of its corporate mandates from the automotive, electronics and energy sectors. The group recently advised OTE on the sale of its €380m minority stake in Telekom Srbija, and a global car manufacturer on the restructuring of its Serbian dealership network. The firm also has a dedicated IT department led by specialist Alex Petrović, who has ‘exceptional knowledge, ingenuity and commitment’.
The ‘fast, reliable and positive’ team at Prica & Partners has been kept busy by an increase in debt restructuring work and a number of new projects in the energy sector. The firm is conducting due diligence and risk assessment analysis of local targets for two international energy companies, and is also instructed by a Scandinavian mining business on a Serbian joint venture project. In other work, the ten-lawyer department is acting as local counsel for OTP Bank on its acquisition of the entire share capital of KBC Banka. Danica Gligorijević is praised for her reliability and strong negotiation skills, and Ana Čalić-Turudija is ‘very clear and precise’.
As part of Deloitte’s Central Europe network, Baklaja & Igric’s focus remains on providing commercial and corporate advice to foreign clients with Serbian interests. Djordje Igrić advised MRI Trading on the acquisition of a controlling interest in a local oil company, and is currently assisting the Republic of Serbia on a PPP spa development project. The firm is also benefiting from the upward trend in renewable energy investment; Boris Baklaja is advising Gascom on the development of Serbia’s first solar power plant, and Italian company Tersa on a biomass project.
Created in January 2011, Maric, Malisic & Dostanic o.a.d is the exclusive Serbian correspondent law office of Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.. The ten-lawyer firm is working with colleagues in the latter firm’s Paris office to provide feasibility studies for Egis International in relation to the proposed €1bn Belgrade Metro project. The practice is also advising international clients on various acquisitions in the energy market, and Société Générale Srbija on a RSD 1.7bn bond issuance. Rastko Mališić is ‘professional and responsive’, and the recent arrival of the ‘outstanding’ Oliver Radosavljević has been a boost to the young firm’s reputation.
Nikolic Kokanovic Otasevic comes highly recommended by clients – it is ‘excellent value for money’, and ‘all three founding partners provide commercial solutions as opposed to presenting legal problems’. The firm advised Fox International Channels on the acquisition of several satellite TV channel assets in Serbia, and also advised Dexia SA on the sale of its shares in Denizbank to Sberbank. Other notable clients include Actavis Holding and Merrill Lynch. Recommended for corporate matters, Cedomir Kokanović and practice head Djuro Otašević are ‘highly intelligent and efficient’; ‘their advice is practical rather than theoretical’.
‘Extremely responsive, proactive and user-friendly’, Maric & Mujezinovic in cooperation with Kinstellar attracts a significant flow of referrals from international law firms without a strong presence in the region. It is advising a consortium of international banks on the termination of a large collateral package provided to CVC Capital Partners for the acquisition of Starbev’s brewery assets, which were subsequently sold to Molson Coors. The corporate team is also assisting a large regional bank with security enforcement and insolvency issues related to a number of its Serbian debtors. The ‘superb’ Branislav Marić is the key figure.
Zivkovic & Samardzic Law Office has a team of around ten lawyers handling corporate mandates, and has seen an upturn in work after recent developments in the energy sector. The firm was involved in the privatisation of the Kovin coalmine, providing legal advice ranging from due diligence reports to preparation of the sale and purchase agreement for Titan Cementara Kosjeric. The firm also advised Green Energy Slovakia on a €60m wind farm project in Serbia. Branislav Živković leads the practice, and has been assisting several clients with harmonising their businesses with the country’s new company law.
The team of 15 fee-earners at Law Office Kosic acts for clients in the energy, automobile, financial services and telecoms sectors, among others. It advised an international car manufacturer on the restructuring of loans to local debtors, and is currently assisting a multinational metal producer on a potential acquisition in Serbia. Dubravka Kosić leads the team.
Long-established firm Mikijelj Jankovic & Bogdanovic provides the full range of corporate and commercial advice, and is also well known for its expertise in IP protection and litigation, as well as commercial disputes. Dejan Bogdanović and Mara Janković advised Nestlé on the transfer of trade marks from Centroproizvod. Vladimir Djerić’s experience includes representing the government of Serbia in a high-value ICC arbitration concerning a highway concession.
Recommended partner Ivan Kršikapa heads a ten-lawyer team at Ninkovic Law Office. He is advising Dutch pharmaceutical company Abbott Logistics regarding the restructuring and insolvency proceedings of debtor Velefarm Holding. The firm also advised Serbian games developer Nordeus on the acquisition of a stake in a gaming company, resulting in a subsequent joint venture agreement with Win Limited.
Stankovic & Partners is a recent addition to the Serbian market, and has a noticeable focus on the financial sector. It advised EBRD on various loan agreements and funding projects, and is also handling a number of corporate restructuring mandates. Former senior partner at Joksovic, Stojanovic & Partners Nenad Stanković heads the practice.
Tomic Stevic Dulic is acting on a privatisation project, involving the drafting of lease agreements and advising on the conversion of land ownership. The team is also assisting national broadcaster PRVA with corporate structuring, commercial agreements and media law matters. Other clients include the German Chamber of Commerce and Mercedes Benz Serbia. Ljubica Tomic is the key contact.
The team of 23 fee-earners at Law Office of Tomislav Sunjka attracts high praise from clients – ‘its responses are swift and precise, and the value/money ratio is very good’. The firm has been busy in the shipping sector, handling both corporate and litigation matters for large international clients, and has also been working on privatisation projects and transactions in the energy and agriculture sectors. The ‘competent and highly professional’ Tomislav Sunjka is noted for his ‘very good negotiation skills’ and ‘considerable experience in asset recovery litigation and fraud’.
Vicentic Atanaskovic Manojlovic is considered a professional and competent local firm which provides good value for money. The team advised Bauwesen on buying out the majority shareholder of a property development company. The ‘very professional, accurate and reliable’ Uroš Atanasković assisted Compagnie Nationale du Rhône in obtaining energy trading licences, and in harmonising its by-laws with the new company law. Also recommended is department head Borislav Vićentić, who successfully overturned a bankruptcy ruling made against his client Domiling d.o.o. Serbia.
Vucenovic in association with Specht Böhm’s four-lawyer Belgrade office works in conjunction with the firm’s other offices in the region. The team is particularly experienced in infrastructure projects, and has been advising on several major potential construction projects. It also provides a range of corporate and commercial advice to an international water supplier. Dušan Rakitić and Nikoleta Vučenović are recommended.