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Legal market overview

Spain’s sustained economic growth in 2015 has finally given investors hope after years of gloom following the onset of the financial crisis. Despite ongoing political fragmentation after the general elections of December 2015, and Catalonia’s independence claim, the market mood is optimistic.

The confidence is attributable in part to several governmental measures: the cutting of public expenditure; higher taxes aimed at autonomous communities; and the results of labour and financial reforms of previous years. According to the European Commission, Spain is now one of the fastest-growing economies in the eurozone. It is expected to grow by over 3% in 2015, compared to 1.4% the previous year, marking its highest growth rate in seven years.

Law firms report an increase in M&A transactions, a consequence of an increase in credit lines to businesses and increased foreign investment. While there is still some activity on the insolvency front, the focus is turning to refinancing transactions relating to existing credit. Real estate is a core sector, and the country is seeing high levels of interest from investment funds, with the explosion of SOCIMIs (the local equivalent of REITs) being one of the main drivers of new work.

Three domestic heavyweights – Uría Menéndez, Garrigues and Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira – have a commanding presence in the market, closely followed by international names including the Magic Circle firms present in Spain and Baker & McKenzie. Other notable domestic firms include Gómez-Acebo & Pombo Abogados, Pérez-Llorca and the up-and-coming Rousaud Costas Duran SLP.

Firms in the spotlight

Gallego, Martos & Quadra-Salcedo Abogados

The Firm is a small (in terms of the number of lawyers), legal boutique established in 2008 by lawyers coming from multinational firms (Clifford Chance – all partners have had a common experience in said firm –, CMS Albiñana, Cuatrecasas, Cremades & Calvo Sotelo), with broad, practical experience and with strong participation in public and private Spanish universities as Professors (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, ICADE, Universidad Carlos III, etc).

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  • OLG Frankfurt: Misleading advertising featuring corporate history

    If over the course of its history a company was split up, advertising featuring the company’s history may be misleading. That was the verdict of the OLG Frankfurt (Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt) in a recent ruling (6 U 167/14).
  • Gender Pay Gaps: The Latest Reporting Requirements

    On average, male employees are paid more than female employees. In 2015, men working full-time were paid approximately 9.4% more than women working full-time. As a result, the government is working to introduce measures with the aim of reducing this gap.
  • European Commission Recognises The Importance Of Crowdfunding

    It has been announced last week that the European Commission (EC) has published a report on the EU crowdfunding sector, as part of its Capital Markets Union Action Plan. In doing so, the EC has recognised the growing importance of crowdfunding platforms – websites that allow fundraisers to interact with investors and donors – for the improved economic growth and job creation in Europe. Despite being acknowledged as relatively small at this moment in time, its rapid development has been noted, and for that reason, efforts are being made for crowdfunding to be appropriately regulated en route to becoming one of the key sources of financing for small & medium sized enterprises in the future.
  • Pitmans acts on Westcoast’s acquisition of Art Systems Holdings Ltd

    Pitmans LLP has acted on behalf of its longstanding client, Westcoast (Holdings) Limited on its acquisition of Art Systems Holdings Limited.
  • Dubai Investors Take Ownership Of Porto Montenegro

    One of the biggest news reports in the region last week was the acquisition of Porto Montenegro , the luxury yacht marina located in Tivat, by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD). The marina was handed over to the new owners during a press conference at the Regent Hotel, where the accompanying protocol was signed by ICD's Executive Director, Sheikh Mohammed Al Shaibani, and the CEO of the marina's previous owner – Adriatic Marinas, Oliver Corlette. The conference was also attended by the Montenegrin Prime Minister, Milo Đukanović, and the Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Branimir Gvozdenović.
  • Insolvency Update: Changes that take effect from April 2016

    The Department of Justice has issued a practice direction in connection with the new insolvency express trials pilot.
  • The Apprenticeship Levy

    Following last year’s autumn statement, HMRC has now published draft legislation which introduces the proposed new apprenticeship levy. The levy will have effect from 6 April 2017.

    Another piece of news related to our competition team in Serbia are the recent signings of a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement of Cooperation in the field of forensics between the Commission for the Protection of Competition and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).
  • Chinese Company To Invest In Bosnian Thermal Plant

    The Sarajevo Business Forum 2016 (SBF) was, among hosting a number of lectures and discussions, a platform for one of the largest post-war investments in the energy sector in Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH). The reason for this can be found in the latest reports that an agreement was reached for the EUR 722 million construction of Thermal Power Plant Tuzla's Block 7 between Elektroprivreda BiH and the China Gezhouba Group Corporation , with the official MoU signing taking place on the first day of the SBF 2016. The project financier for the deal in question will be the Export Import Bank of China (EXIM), and the repayment period – together with a five-year grace period, is reported to be 15 years.
  • Karanović & Nikolić Attends Commission’s Anniversary

    ​Karanović & Nikolić attorneys were among the guests at the Republic of Serbia's Commission for the Protection of Competition's 10 year anniversary celebration, which also included an international conference on the topic of the law and policy of competition protection. The conference was opened by Deputy Prime Minister, Prof. Dr Kori Udovički, President of the Commission for Protection of Competition, Dr Miloje Obradović, President of the National Assembly's Committee for Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy, Dr Aleksandra Tomić, and European Union Delegate, Steffen Hudolin.