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Editorial

 

The main areas of investment in Montenegro in 2016 were tourism, energy and transport infrastructure. The Adriatic Coast provides a lucrative area for hotel development, and recent amendments to property tax and VAT laws resulted in a favourable outcome for the construction of four- and five-star hotels. In the energy space, in line with the country’s bid to achieve EU integration by focusing on legal harmonisation in key sectors, a new law was introduced resulting in a higher level of protection for the end customer. The government is also striving for 36% of overall energy consumption to come from renewable sources by 2020. And in infrastructure, construction of the largest project in the region is underway: the BarBoljare motorway is being financed by China Exim Bank and constructed by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), and BDK Advokati/Attorneys at Law is advising on the project. Harrisons Solicitors was also in the thick of the action, having advised on two key transactions: the sale of landmark tourist development Porto Montenegro, and the sale of Delta City Podgorica.

Radonjic Law Firm was formed after Vladimir Radonjic departed Harrisons Solicitors, and was the only new firm established in 2016. Schoenherr was successful in two international investment arbitrations on behalf of the government, while a third is ongoing. The small legal market is typically dominated by Serbian firms with local branches, alongside a handful of domestic firms.

Harrisons Solicitors acted as local counsel to South African shopping centre REIT Hyprop Investments in its €200m acquisition of Delta City Podgorica; name partner Mark Harrison led the advice. Senior associate Lana VukmirovicMisic is a key contact in the team, which saw the departure of Vladimir Radonjic to start his own firm. Consultant Ines MatijevicPapulin is leading advice to Shanghai Electric on the construction of a new wind power station and the subsequent establishment of a project company, and Harrison advised Adriatic Marinas on the sale of Porto Montenegro to the Investment Corporation of Dubai.

Moravcevic Vojnovic and Partners in cooperation with Schoenherr’s lawyers ‘provide costeffective, timely advice’, and are ‘incredibly knowledgeable, professional and clientdriven.’ The team advised the Privatisation Council of Montenegro on the privatisation of Novi duvanski kombinat, the national tobacco company. Serbiabased Miloš Laković, who is ‘a pleasure to work with’, led the matter, and is also assisting Enemalta plc with the acquisition and development of the 46MW Mozura wind farm. Clients say ‘it is the best for arbitration in the region’, and practice head Slaven Moravčević demonstrated this in representing the government in three international investment treaty arbitrations.

At BDK Advokati/Attorneys at Law, recently promoted partner Luka Popović is advising French power producer Akuo Energy on the development of a new 74MW windpower plant. Popović is also assisting Swiss retailer Tally Weijl with corporate matters relating to its Montenegrin subsidiary. Serbiabased Dragoljub Cibulić is acting for new client CRBC concerning the construction of the new €800m BarBoljare motorway.

CMS’ Podgorica office is led by Serbiabased Radivoje Petrikić, who is closely supported by Milica Popović. Popović led a matter for General Electric regarding the first wind park in Montenegro worth €148m. Leveraging his expertise in crossborder matters in Southeast Europe, Petrikić advised on the commercial, competition and antitrust elements of Michelin’s distribution agreements in Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Local lawyers in cooperation with Karanovic & Nikolic advised on the largest M&A transaction in Southeast Europe when it assisted MidEuropa Partners with its acquisition of Danube Foods, completed in June 2016. Senior associate Milena Rončević advised on the Montenegrin merger filing aspects and is the key contact.

Local firm Prelevic Law Firm is highly respected and has a reputation for handling highprofile privatisations of coal mines, hotels, telecoms companies, oil companies and retail chains. Radomir Prelevic, Dragan Prelevic, Aleksandar Vojinovic and Wolfram Zeihe make up the fourpartner practice. Real estate is another strength, and the team acts for international property developers with an interest in coastal acquisitions. Ericsson, Ford, TMobile, Amsterdam Trade Bank, Associated Press and Philip Morris are all clients.

Law Office Vujacic advised the EBRD and KfW IPEXBank on the project financing of a new wind farm. Senior partner Jelena Vujisić ‘understands how to support international clients’ and managing partner Sasha Vujacic is recommended. Other highlights included advising a global private equity firm on the proposed acquisition of a local retail business.

Law Office Miroslav Stojanovic, in cooperation with Wolf Theiss advised Swiss pharmaceuticals company Celgene on regulatory issues related to placing medicine on the Montenegrin market. While the team is based in Serbia, it has significant experience in commercial transactions, real estate and project financing, and competitionrelated matters in the local market.

NKO Partners is assisting Skoda Praha with the construction of a second lignitefired unit at the only domestic coalfired power station, in Pljevlja. Djordje Ivanovic is in charge of the Montenegro practice and is highly experienced in highprofile M&A transactions, and the ‘businesssavvyDjuro Otasevic in Belgrade is another key contact.

Ana Dukanovic Attorney at Law’s practice excels in the areas of tourismrelated real estate projects, privatisations and M&A. Ana Dukanovic is the main partner and Marko Hajduković is a key team member. Miroslav Adžić departed to found his own firm.

Based in Belgrade, radjonic/associates was founded in January 2016 by Vladimir Radonjic, ‘who possesses a rare mix of strong local knowledge and an international approach’. The team is assisting Toshiba as the main contractor in a power transmission interconnection project between Italy and Montenegro. Maja Velimirović is a key partner.

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  • Recent Amendments to Montenegrin Tax Legislation

    The Montenegrin Parliament recently enacted the new Law on Tax on Coffee and amendments to the Law on Value Added Tax, the Law on Real Estate Tax, the Law on Tax Administration and the Law on Mandatory Social Security. The purpose of these changes is to clarify existing provisions of these tax laws in order to improve their enforcement and to better control the tax liabilities of non-resident taxpayers. Changes to the Law on Real Estate Tax have introduced higher taxes, but also tax benefits aimed at stimulating the development of high-end tourism in Montenegro.
  • Law on Prevention of Illegal Business - Montenegro fights gray economy

    The Law on the Prevention of Illegal Business ( Zakon o spre čavanju nelegalnog poslovanja, „Official Gazette of tthe Republic of Montenegro" no.29/13) came into force on 23 June 2013. Its nature is largely declaratory, aimed at showing the declared intent of the state to fight corruption and black market. 

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