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EU and competition in Croatia

Babic & Partners Law Firm

Babic & Partners Law Firm regularly handles advisory, litigation and merger control work for its well-established roster of foreign and domestic corporate clients. Boris Babic is a thought leader and as well as involvement in shaping domestic legislation in the space, also regularly provides important articles/client alerts on hot-button issues. Iva Basaricis very dedicated and focused on problem solving’ and as well as regularly providing risk management expertise from a compliance perspective, also regularly handles litigation, including cartel and abuse of dominance investigations.

Practice head(s):

Boris Babic; Iva Basaric

Testimonials

Iva Basaric provides comprehensive advice, great legal knowledge and understanding of our business since the first day of our collaboration! She is very dedicated and focused on problem solving.’

Key clients

Beiersdorf

Gorenje d.o.o.

Magyar Suzuki Corporation

Merck Sharp & Dohme B.V.

Bradvica Maric Wahl Cesarec

Bradvica Marić Wahl Cesarec provides ‘high-end legal support on various competition law issues’, running the gamut from dawn raid preparedeness advice, cartel and abuse of dominant position matters and merger control mandates. Providing advice that is ‘not only legally grounded but also tailor-made and business-oriented’, team head Mislav Bradvica is a popular choice for clients across a range of contentious and non-contentious mandates and has particular insight into how the “other side thinks” by virtue of his previous tenure at the Competition Agency. Associate Kristina Rudec is also recommended and ‘provides great support and co-operation‘ to Bradvica across many of the matters he handles.

Practice head(s):

Mislav Bradvica

Other key lawyers:

Kristina Rudec

Testimonials

‘They are our first choice when it comes to EU and competition law matters. They have not only an extensive knowledge of competition law but also a personal commitment to the client. The team has performed several mock dawn raids and provide a high-end legal support on various competition law issues.’

Mislav Bradvica is a top expert in competition law matters. His advice is not only legally grounded but also tailor-made and business-oriented.’

I have worked with Mislav Bradvica, a well experienced, logical, transparent and practical person.’ 

Kristina Rudec – great support and co-operation, level of knowledge constantly increasing resulting in high level of trust and reliability.’

Key clients

Serotonin studio d.o.o.

Ledo plus d.o.o.

REWE Group / BIPA d.o.o.

METRO Cash & Carry d.o.o.

Totalna televizija d.o.o. (TOTAL TV)

Moslavina voće d.o.o.

Setovia voće d.o.o.

Agro gold d.o.o.

ALFI PE d.o.o.

Webasto Themo & Comfort

Delivery Hero Croatia

Mlinar d.o.o.

Work highlights

  • As part of its day-to-day advisory work to BIPA – one of the biggest cosmetics retail chains, the firm handles a range of various competition and unfair trade matters.
  • Provides daily advice to METRO Cash & Carry d.o.o. – one of the biggest grocery retail chains. This included various competition and unfair trade matters, but also providing compliance services and ad-hoc representation.
  • Successfully represented Webasto before the Croatian Competition Agency, securing win in the antitrust matter.

Divjak Topic Bahtijarevic & Krka

Divjak Topic Bahtijarevic & Krka has a core focus on EU and competition law matters and is therefore well-positioned to advise its impressive roster of domestic and international corporates on day-to-day compliance issues, litigation before the Agency, as well as on the concomitant competition law issues pursuant to transactions handled by the firm. Team head Mario Krka is at the forefront of the highest-stakes mandates handled by the practice, including in the context of big-ticket merger notification matters. Associate Dominik Glavina has particular expertise advising on the competition law issues associated with vertical agreements.

Practice head(s):

Mario Krka

Other key lawyers:

Dominik Glavina; Lea Mužić

Key clients

Nomad Foods

AR Packaging

Heineken

Hystead Limited, a subsidiary of Hyprop Investments Limited

Japan Tobacco International

Energia Naturalis

United Group

Google

Douglas

RTL Group

Work highlights

  • Supported Nomad Food in its acquisition of 100% shares in frozen foods business owned by Fortenov.
  • Provided advice to Google related to competition and antitrust aspects of dawn raid training for their CEE lawyers.
  • Advised United Group in the acquisition of a majority stake in Optima Telekom (offering a range of fixed internet and pay-TV services and serves around 125,000 broadband subscribers and 55,000 pay-TV customers) for the enterprise value of 100% shares on a debt free, cash free basis.

Bardek, Lisac, Mušec, Skoko in association with CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz Rechtsanwälte GmbH (Austria)

At Bardek, Lisac, Mušec, Skoko in association with CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz Rechtsanwälte GmbH (Austria), the three-strong team has ‘a very hands-on approach and provides fresh ideas’ to IT, tech and automotive clients on the competition law matters associated with their commercial contracts (including distribution agreements and supply chains), as well as in the context of transactions. Under the guidance of Marija Zrno Prošić, the team continues to be particularly active advising on the merger control issues associated with international corporates on the competition law ramifications of investments in Croatian start-ups. In addition, Prošić is also appreciated for the ‘very innovative ideas‘ she imparts to clients on training courses which incorporate ‘technology-based solutions’ to ensure that they are compliant and well set up from a risk management perspective to deal with any potential competition law issues, including in the context of dawn raids.

Practice head(s):

Marija Zrno Prošić

Testimonials

The team has a very hands-on approach, provides fresh ideas and speedy responses.’

Marija Zrno Prošić as the engagement partner was always at our disposal, ready to discuss at any point, is very kind and open, addresses questions and concerns openly… really good co-operation!’

‘Marija Zrno Prošić had some very innovative ideas when conducting my companies internal training course, combining classic methods with new, modern and technology-based solutions.’

Key clients

Bauhaus K.D.

GOODYEAR DUNLOP SAVA TIRES

Porsche AG

Invest4SEE RE

Ryanair Ltd.

Podravka d.d.

Era Holdings

Bet-at-home

Pentland

Airbnb

INA d.d.

Work highlights

  • Advising on all transactional and competition law aspects of Porsche’s investments in Rimac.
  • Advising a leading Italian pasta producer on competition law risks.
  • Analysing whether a new joint venture in Croatia between Porsche and a Croatian-based IT development company constitutes a concentration and whether merger filing requirements are met (in Croatia and at EU level).

KOVACEVIC PRPIC SIMEUNOVIC LLC

KOVACEVIC PRPIC SIMEUNOVIC LLC provides ‘workable and practical solutions’ to its impressive roster of corporate clients across the spectrum of non-contentious and contentious matters, including merger control, cartel-related work and compliance. Team head Martina Prpić  has ‘very sharp knowledge on EU state aid and competition law and is very client-oriented in her work’. 

Practice head(s):

Martina Prpić

Other key lawyers:

Danijela Simeunović 

Testimonials

‘They have profound legal expertise in EU competition law and state aid.’

‘They provide fast, sharp and accurate legal advice, never bending the law but offering workable and practical solutions for the client in a given situation, helping him/her to make a right and informed decision.’

‘Danijela Simeunović has a rare combination of sharp and broad legal expertise combined with outstanding social skills. She works great under pressure, never losing her calm and composed, yet proactive manner and finding the best practical and workable solution for her client.’

‘Martina Prpić has a very sharp knowledge on EU state aid and competition law and is very client-oriented in her work.’

Key clients

KUPOVINA d.o.o.

Autotechnica Fleet Services d.o.o.

BUTAN PLIN d.d.

SIGNIFY INTERNATIONAL B.V.

Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development

OTP banka d.d.

EBRD and Kreditanstalt für Wideraufbau (KfW)

EBRD

BANCA IMI S.p.A.

LONDON BRANCH

CRÉDIT INDUSTRIEL ET COMMERCIAL LONDON BRANCH

OTP Bank Plc

OTP banka d.d.

SIEMENS BANK GMBH

ZAGREBAČKA BANKA d.d.

Sberbank d.d.

Work highlights

  • Representing Kupovina before Croatian Competition Agency in relation to  alleged unfair commercial practices imposed on its supplier.
  • Advised local banks, including Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in relation to the financing to facilitate the construction of a vessel (this included issues relating to State Aid rules).
  • Representing Autotechnica Fleet Services in administrative litigation and misdemeanour proceedings against the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency, some of which also related to the EU law relating to regulation of leasing and financial services in general.

Krehic & Partners Law Firm in cooperation with Deloitte Legal

Krehic & Partners Law Firm in cooperation with Deloitte Legal is particularly effective at advising on the EU and competition law issues impacting clients within the telecommunications sector. Much of the success in this segment of the market can be attributed to Tarja Krehic who combines ‘the highest international legal standards with superior local knowledge, expertise and insight’. In addition, the team leverages the firm’s impressive M&A credentials and is regularly called upon to provide the competition law advice to transactions from a range of other industry sectors (often involving a multi-jurisdictional component). Perica Miović Petronio left the firm in October 2020 for an in-house role at Infobip.

Practice head(s):

Tarja Krehic

Testimonials

All the legal issues we work on require a joint combination of the legal work, bundled with comprehensive understanding of the complex telecommunications industry, which is highly regulated not only locally but from the EU-level regulatory framework.’

Tarja Krehic serves her clients by combining the highest international legal standards with the superior local knowledge, expertise and insight. She provides distinctive global approach together with the fluency in local market issues and opportunities.’

Tarja Krehic is devoted to comprehensive understanding of unique aspects and needs of her clients businesses. She resonates with individual approach, relationship building, dedication, availability, efficiency and high-quality communication.’ 

Key clients

NIPRO PHARMAPACKAGING INTERNATIONAL

ISKRA, Slovenia

INA, Croatia

Nexe Group, Croatia

Infobip UK and Infobip Croatia

Croatian Telekom Inc, Croatia

Iskon Internet Inc, Croatia

Inter Cars Ltd, Croatia

Stock Ltd., Croatia

MET Holding

Luxotica, Italy

Work highlights

  • Providing comprehensive and multi-jurisdictional structuring and merger filing advice to INA before the European Commission in connection with a merger between dominant sector players.
  • Providing multi-jurisdictional, Croatian and Slovenian, merger filing advice and successfully obtaining merger clearances in Iskra’s acquisition of the Croatian company ELKA cables.
  • Providing merger-filing advice to NIPRO PHARMAPACKAGING INTERNATIONAL in the successful acquisition of the Croatian target PIRAMIDA from the private equity fund Blue Sea Capital, as well as on other EU-level competition issues on vertical agreements.

Mamic Peric Reberski Rimac Law Firm LLC

Led by Natalija Perić and Luka Rimac, Mamic Peric Reberski Rimac Law Firm LLC handles a range of contentious and non-contentious competition/EU law matters, including advice to private sector clients on issues related to the abuse of a dominant market position and representing public utilities on state aid matters. The team is also well-versed at advising on any competition law issues associated with securities matters handled by the firm’s market-leading capital markets team.

Practice head(s):

Natalija Perić; Luka Rimac

 

Other key lawyers:

Vladimir Mamic; Nikola Kokot

Key clients

Fortenova Grupa d.d.

Work highlights

  • Advising FORTENOVA (the successor company to Agrokor) on competition law issues associated with its approx €15m sale of shares in Kompas Group.  

Law Office Mucalo

Led by the ‘very intelligent and fantastically experiencedIgor Mucalo, Law Office Mucalo has forged a particularly strong reputation defending clients before the Croatian Competition Agency. In this regard, it has been particularly active of late advising on abuse of dominant position allegations, including for Croatian telecom incumbent, Croatian Telecom. Other work includes assisting core corporate clients of the firm, including INA, on competition law compliance.

Practice head(s):

Igor Mucalo

Other key lawyers:

Kruno Kolak

Testimonials

‘Law Office Mucalo is a renowned law firm with a very experienced team of lawyers, professional, persistent and dedicated to each challenge. It’s a pleasure to work with them!’

‘Igor Mucalo is responsive and has a good understanding of business.’

‘Igor Mucalo is very intelligent, fantastically experienced lawyer!’

Key clients

Croatian Telecom

HP – HRVATSKA POŠTA

INA

Ezpada

Iskon Internet

Croatian Chamber of Pharmacists

Coca-Cola HBC Hrvatska (in cooperation with law firm Šurjak & Partneri)

Work highlights

  • Legal advisors and representatives of Croatian Telecom in the case before the Croatian Competition Agency (CCA) regarding abuse of dominance allegations on the bulk text messages market.

Wolf Theiss - Zagreb branch

As well as its strength in advising on merger control matters (including on multi-jurisdictional CEE transactions), Wolf Theiss – Zagreb branch is also adept at advising on compliance/risk management procedures, including the provision of dawn raid training. The team has also developed a particular niche advising food sector clients on the ramifications associated with new legislation prohibiting unfair trading practices in the food supply chain. Luka Čolić heads the team and recently provided the underlying competition law advice to DDM Group and B2 Holding in one of the rare cases of a merger filing being triggered in the context of NPL acquisitions.

Practice head(s):

Luka Čolić

Other key lawyers:

Luka Tadić-Čolić

Key clients

Alstom SA

Antares Vision S.p.A.

Arthrex SSC EMEA d.o.o.

Astaldi S.p.A.

B2 Holding ASA

Campforio Food Group Holding, S.L.

DDM Group AG

IC İçtaş İnşaat Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş

Work highlights

  • Advised DDM Group and B2 Holding as bidders in the merger filing triggered by the acquisition of a large chunk of the ex-Hypo Banks’s NPL portfolio consisting of claims and real estate in excess of €1bn nominal value.
  • Advised Antares Vision, an Italian listed company specialised in the development of track and trace system solutions, on the acquisition of start-up companies in Croatia and Serbia (Tradeticity Group), with a particular focus on IP/IT and competition law.
  • Advised Alstom in a transaction that would have merged Siemens’ and Alstom’s transport equipment and service activities to create a European transportation giant aimed at countering competition from China.

Šavorić & Partners

Leveraging its market-leading M&A practice, Šavorić & Partners‘ competition team is perhaps best-known for its merger clearance capabilities. Nevertheless, under the guidance of Boris Šavorić and Mia Lazić, the scope of work handled by the team is by no means limited to transactional matters and also includes compliance work and advising clients in cartel investigations before the Croatian Competition Agency.

Practice head(s):

Boris Šavorić; Mia Lazić

 

Testimonials

‘The firm provides very solid legal advice at the level of international law firms. Seamless client service.’

Key clients

Designer Outlet Croatia, held by Ingka Centres (part of IKEA Group) and Mutschler Outlet Holding AG

adidas

Agrofert

Work highlights

  • Represented Designer Outlet Croatia, held by Ingka Centres (part of IKEA Group) in litigation brought against a competitor whose practices are deemed to distort competition.
  • Represented adidas on potential competition compliance issues regarding their general terms and conditions of business operations and sale agreements.
  • Advised Agrofert on the competition law issues associated with its potential acquisition of 70% of the share capital of a agriculture company based in Croatia.  

Žuric i Partneri

Co-headed by the ‘experienced and client-orientedEdin Karakaš and the ‘very responsiveDaniela Mayer, Žurić i Partneri in cooperation with Kinstellar has a strong reputation across a range of contentious and non-contentious competition/EU law matters, including the merger control issues associated with domestic and cross-border M&A transactions handled by the firm. The team is also appreciated for its ‘entrepreneurial approach’ and ability to provide ‘tailored and client-focused legal advice’, enabling it to provide very effective compliance advice to the firm’s wide-ranging client base.

Practice head(s):

Daniela Mayer; Edin Karakaš

 

Testimonials

‘The team is entrepreneurial and recognises the need for tailored and client-focused legal advice. They respond in the shortest possible amount of time, possess extensive industry knowledge, and their advice is always appropriate and on time.’

‘Edin Karakaš is experienced, client-oriented and willing to go the extra mile regardless of the case and its complexity.’

Edin Karakaš – partner with very good and wide legal knowledge.’

Daniela Mayer is easy to work with and very responsive.’

Key clients

FORESIGHT ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE PARTNERS 1 S. À R.L.

EBRD

European Commission

Findos Investor GmbH

MMK SYSTEMS d.o.o.

Work highlights

  • Advised a German private equity fund on merger clearance advice related to a yacht charter business.
  • Advised a Croatian wholesale pharmacy company on a number of competition law issues due to the fact that the client is under close monitoring from the competition authority.
  • Participated in a multi-jurisdictional study regarding an evaluation of the functioning of the Market Definition Notice and assessment whether developments since 1997 merit an update of the Notice.

Matekovic Law Firm

Led by Krešimir Matekovic, Matekovic Law Firm has ‘strong market knowledge’, particularly within the pharmaceutical sector, and excels at advising clients within the space on the competition law issues associated with distribution agreements implemented throughout Croatia.

Practice head(s):

Krešimir Matekovic

 

Testimonials

‘The team has market knowledge and displays an ability to adapt to client needs.’

Key clients

Adriatic Luxury Development Ltd.

ASURA MULTISERVIS d.o.o.

AQUANAUTICA d.o.o.

B 4 B d.o.o.

China Dynamics (Holdings) Limited

DTX Handels GmbH

EVEREST SOLUTIONS d.o.o.

Hrvatska radiotelevizija (Croatian radiotelevision)

GEOTHERMAL SOLUTIONS d.o.o.

INDIUM d.o.o.

LEANPAY Ltd.

LEANPAY d.o.o.

Luxottica South Eastern Europe Ltd.

Luxottica Group S.P.A.

MAMUT FORTIS d.o.o.

METEOSENSE s.r.o.

MODULOR d.o.o. BEOGRAD

MODULOR d.o.o.

NOVO NORDISK Hrvatska d.o.o.

Omya S.p.A.

PROARH tri d.o.o.

Quada – projekt k.d.

Raiffeisen Leasing d.o.o.

Renesola Zagreb d.o.o.

RL – ETA d.o.o.

RL GAMMA d.o.o.

RL BETA d.o.o.

RL Jankomir d.o.o.

Sanofi Aventis Groupe

SANOFI – AVENTIS CROATIA d.o.o.

SIOIL d.o.o.

Shire d.o.o.

SUPER IGRA d.o.o.

TA-GRAD d.o.o.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals L.t.d.

Work highlights

  • Representing Spinnaker distribucija d.o.o., the Croatian subsidiary of the company Comtrade Serbia (exclusive importer of GO-PRO cameras in the Balkans) in a Competition Agency investigation regarding potential abuse of dominance.
  • Continuing to advise Luxottica South Eastern Europe Ltd., with respect to implementation of Ray – Ban selective distribution system in the Republic of Croatia with all interested undertakings.

Schoenherr in cooperation with Croatian lawyers

Benefiting from ‘in-depth knowledge of the competition principles and case law’ and also able to effectively leverage its CEE/SEE resources, Schoenherr in cooperation with Croatian lawyers is well-placed to advise on purely domestic and multi-jurisdictional matters. ‘Creative and solutions-oriented’ team head Ana Marjančić regularly advises on compliance issues, as well as merger control matters.

Practice head(s):

Ana Marjančić

Testimonials

The team has in-depth knowledge of the competition principles and case law. On the top of it, some of the work included several jurisdictions.’

The team is very committed, proactive and will always do its best to achieve the optimal results for the client.’

Ana Marjančić is an extremely competent and hardworking lawyer. She thinks strategically and has exceptional communication skills. She also has a very profound knowledge when it comes to competition, and is very responsive and easy to work with.’

Ana Marjančić is reliable, creative, and solutions-oriented.’

Key clients

Philip Morris Zagreb d.o.o.

HRANA-TEC d.o.o.

TUI AG

Intersnack

SIMMO AG

Polleo Adria d.o.o.

Work highlights

  • Providing regular competition law advice to Philip Morris in Croatia, including on the impact of the new Unfair Trading Practices Act, falling under the competences of the Croatian Competition Agency.
  • Advised Polleo Adria on compliance matters related with placing of their products on the Croatian market.
  • Provided the competition law advice pursuant to TUI AG/TUI TRAVEL OVERSEAS HOLDINGS LIMITED (TUI AG subsidiary)’s intended purchase of Karisma Hotels Adriatic Group of companies from Fortenova Group (exAgrokor) and Karisma Resorts International S.A.