Firms To Watch: Banking and finance

At boutique firm AP Legal, managing partner Aleksandar Preradović specialises in project financing transactions and cross-border financings, where he advises both lenders and borrowers on syndicated loans, leveraged acquisitions and mergers.
Vujinovic & Djokic‘s experienced name partner Djordje Djokic assists domestic and international clients with matters including cross-border transactions, restructurings and the collection of receivables, and has notable project finance expertise.
Bridging finance and real estate law, Zavisin Semiz Law Office’s founding partner Stojan Semiz advises on various real estate, asset and acquisition financings; he also has significant experience in private equity-driven, cross-border leveraged finance.

Banking and finance in Serbia

BDK Advokati AOD

Acting for sponsors, government authorities, contractors and lenders, BDK Advokati AOD‘s full-service finance department is sought out for the Serbian market’s largest financing projects, and the group is also able to leverage the firm’s membership of the South East Europe Legal Group (SEE Legal), which facilitates the assembling of regional teams for cross-border transactions. The practice is co-led by managing partner Tijana Kojović, who takes a leading role in the team’s transactional work, and greenfield real estate, energy and infrastructure project expert Dragoljub Cibulić. Counsel Dragoljub Sretenović is ‘an excellent lawyer‘.

Testimonials

The banking and finance team is extremely professional and responsive.

They are very aware of the local laws and procedures, and are well respected by the authorities and other firms in the market.

The team has been extremely responsive and very professional.

Dragoljub Sretenović is an excellent lawyer, who is well versed in Serbia’s procedures and regulations.

Key clients

JPMorgan

UK Export Finance

EBRD

IFC

OeEB

Proparco

Bank Zachodni WBK

BC Partners

Société Générale

EFET

Bank of Cyprus

Payoneer

MoneyGram

Frontier Pharma

Volkswagen Payments

Binance

Clearstream

DUAL Deutschland

Work highlights

  • Advised JPMorgan and UK Export Finance on the €430m guaranteed loan to the Republic of Serbia for the construction of a 110km motorway from Pojate to Preljina.
  • Advised the EBRD and Enterprise Expansion Fund on a secured credit facility loan to High Tech Engineering Center (a software developer and technology research and development service provider).
  • Advising Binance on the regulatory requirements for both foreign cryptocurrency exchanges and the acquisition of virtual assets that are issued abroad by Serbian and Montenegrin residents.

Karanovic & Partners

Karanovic & Partners‘ practice routinely works on large regional project financings, particularly in the real estate, energy and infrastructure development sectors. Its experience also includes syndicated loans, non-performing loan (NPL) portfolio transactions, and crowdfunding lending platforms. Co-heading the group are senior partner Darko Jovanović, who specialises in construction, infrastructure and energy financing and PPP matters; Maja Jovančević Šetka, an expert in large-scale financings, regulatory matters, structured finance and distressed deals; and Katarina Gudurić, who has a broad banking and finance practice. Mina Srećković and Marija Vićić Simić are the senior associates to note.

Testimonials

They have a large team of lawyers, who are always accessible. Most importantly, they consistently give us great advice.

All of them are extremely helpful, very experienced in the financial sector, and keep track of details meticulously, and they are able to provide advice on multiple jurisdictions in the region, which we highly appreciate.

Great suggestions on how to deal with the issues we struggle with.

Good team and a mix of experienced professionals and young and innovative lawyers who pay attention to detail.

Darko Jovanović has flawless knowledge of the banking sector and financial markets, and always strives to provide appropriate advice for the most challenging situations.

Maja Jovančević Šetka is always on top of her game, knowledgeable and experienced, and she knows how to handle every regulatory issue that comes up in Serbia’s financial sector. Maja is also able to co-ordinate work with other countries in the region when we need broader assistance.

Maja Jovančević Šetka is not just a seasoned professional who knows the regulatory framework in detail, but also a skilful advocate for her clients.

Mina Srećković always finds suitable and immediate solutions for the most challenging issues.

Key clients

International Finance Corporation

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Serbia

City of Belgrade

USAID

Bechtel

Elicio Ali VE

Work highlights

  • Advised USAID on crowdfunding lending platforms in Serbia.
  • Advised Bechtel on the financing for the construction of the Morava Corridor motorway.
  • Advised both the International Finance Corporation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the €215m financing of wind farm Čibuk 1.

Schoenherr North Macedonia

Moravcevic Vojnovic and Partners in cooperation with Schoenherr has an enviable track record in restructurings, public takeovers, acquisition and project finance, property development, and investment-grade corporate lending. Co-heading the group are banking and finance, capital markets, and restructuring and insolvency specialist Nikola Babić and Matija Vojnovic, a capital markets and corporate finance expert. The second line of key advisers includes ‘skilled negotiatorVojimir Kurtić and attorneys at law Jovan BarovićJelena Arsić and Dušan Obradović.

Practice head(s):

Nikola Babić; Matija Vojnovic

Testimonials

They really know what they are doing in capital markets deals and their associates are top notch.

I really admire the team’s ability to find legal solutions for extremely complex transactions.

They are fast, accurate and competent.

Nikola Babić is available 24/7, knows matters inside out and is 100% reliable.

Vojimir Kurtić is a fantastic lawyer and skilled negotiator. He is very knowledgeable and able to look at transactions from different angles.

Great cooperation from Matija Vojnovic and Jelena Arsic. They are always available, very up do date, efficient and transparent. In addition, they have great knowledge of both the legal issues and commercial aspects – I would definitely recommend them.

Jelena Arsić is an excellent lawyer – very reliable and solutions oriented, and gives the best legal advice no matter how complex the transaction is.

Dušan Obradović is an outstanding banking and finance law professional. He manages complex financing deals successfully and with ease, and I believe that he will accomplish great things in his career given the knowledge and professionalism he already has.

Key clients

Deutsche Bank

UniCredit Bank

Credit Suisse International

Commerzbank

National Bank of Greece

Renaissance Capital

Erste Bank

Banca Intesa

HETA Asset Resolution

Bank Of Cyprus

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

International Swaps and Derivatives Association

Société Générale

OTP Bank

ABN AMRO Bank

PNB Paribas (Suisse)

Magyar Export-Import Bank

Raiffeisen Bank International

Citigroup Global Markets

VTB Bank (Europe) SE

Deutsche Bank

J P Morgan Securities

Sun Valley

Oaktree Capital Management (UK)

Victoria Oil (Serbia)

Work highlights

  • Advised a syndicate of major regional and international banks on a €125m project financing for the development of one of the region’s largest shopping malls.
  • Advised J P Morgan Securities, Deutsche Bank (London Branch), UniCredit Bank and BNP Paribas on the issuance of $1.2bn notes by the Republic of Serbia.
  • Advised Export-Import Bank of China on the Serbian law aspects of a facility agreement pursuant to which loans are to be granted to the Republic of Serbia to construct a district heating pipeline.

BOPA Bojanovic & Partners

BOPA Bojanovic & Partners‘ experienced banking and finance team specialises in financial regulation, capital markets, syndicated lending, PPPs, derivatives and structured finance. Other key areas include restructurings, distressed transactions, insolvencies, and the representation of creditors and debtors; the firm has also established a network of SEE-based law firms called Adriala, which serves as a one-stop shop for clients doing business in the region. Heading up the sizeable banking and finance department, ‘dealmakerVladimir Bojanović has notable expertise in the energy, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, TMT, food and beverage, FMCG and automotive sectors.

Practice head(s):

Vladimir Bojanović

Testimonials

Led by senior lawyers with high levels of finance-focused specialisations that are equal to those found at London-based finance law firms.

Prompt, comprehensive answers and solid analysis of all Serbian law matters.

Keen commercial acumen and adaptability.

A great Serbian firm for banking and finance work.

The service is unrivalled in the market.

Nobody comes close to this team.

Vladimir Bojanović is business oriented, delivers prompt responses and detailed analysis, and has a wide spectrum of knowledge.

Vladimir Bojanović is an established name in the industry and well known as a dealmaker in the business community.

Key clients

SCCF Structured Commodity & Corporate Finance

Morgan Stanley

Alpha Bank

Alumil

MasterCard

EBRD

Zagrebačka banka

Fevo

Nutanix

Blue Sea Capital

Rhinestone

Paramount Pictures

NLB Group

Generali Group

Work highlights

  • Advising Alpha Bank and National Bank of Greece on a complex financial transaction worth over €350m.
  • Providing banking regulatory advice to MasterCard on an ongoing basis.
  • Advised Alumil on a loan from Greek banks.

Harrisons Solicitors

The only English law firm in Serbia, Harrisons Solicitors is regularly sought out by both the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation on major transactions. Recent areas of focus include pandemic-related financings, the purchase of NPL packages, restructurings and bankruptcies, project finance and supply chain financing. Heading the finance and capital markets group, consultant Ines Matijevic-Papulin is ‘a great professional‘, who advises investment banks and corporations on structured finance and derivatives, debt restructuring, credit facilities, and trade, receivables, construction and acquisition finance.

Practice head(s):

Ines Matijevic-Papulin

Testimonials

Very proactive and diligent people.

Highly client orientated and very easy to work with.

Highly professional, great attention to detail, solid legal knowledge and abundant experience.

The Harrisons team is very professional and 100% client oriented.

The team is very diversified and able to respond to a broad range of tasks.

Engaged with a number of clients from various industries, enabling them to extract the best possible solutions from the lessons learned.

They provide both English and local law expertise (which is important for our line of business), making them a one-stop shop, which makes the whole process straightforward.

Ines Matijevic-Papulin is a great professional.

Key clients

EBRD

IFC

DEG

Citibank

OTP Bank

BNP Paribas

Erste Bank

EOS

Fortenova Grupa

ING Bank

Intesa Sanpaolo

Unicredit Bank

JP Morgan

Credit Suisse

Eurobank

KKK Capital Markets

AFD

Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe

Work highlights

  • Advised JP Morgan, KKR Capital Markets Partners, Credit Suisse Securities, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Morgan Stanley & Co International, Raiffeisen Bank International, UniCredit Bank, BNP Paribas and ING Bank (as initial purchasers) on an offering by United Group of fixed and floating rate senior secured notes, among others.
  • Advised the EBRD on its €25m loan to Sojaprotein to strengthen Serbia’s agribusiness potential.
  • Advised the EBRD on a €20m loan to UniCredit Leasing Serbia seeking to assist local small and medium-sized enterprises.

Joksovic, Stojanovic & Partners

Joksovic, Stojanovic & Partners consistently advises multinational, local and regional companies, along with banks, on banking and financing law. Key work includes advising on insurance-related regulatory issues under the supervision of the National Bank of Serbia, foreign exchange transactions, subordinated loans, debt restructurings and the issuance of various licences. The practice also has notable fintech sector expertise, in addition to a strong regional presence through the Adriatic Legal Network, of which it is a founding member. Petar Stojanovic has extensive banking and finance experience, including handling major NPL deals (both in Serbia and in Montenegro).

Practice head(s):

Petar Stojanovic

Other key lawyers:

Milan Joksovic

Key clients

AVAG Holding

Merck Sharp & Dohme

MCM 965

Vizlore Digital Asset Management

Organon

Infrastructure Development and Construction

GrECo International

Work highlights

  • Advised Infrastructure Development and Construction on a financing agreement for the purchase of equipment and materials.
  • Advised MCM965 on obtaining a licence for digital asset management, including the sale and purchase of virtual currencies in accordance with the new Law on Digital Assets.
  • Advised GrECo International on complex regulatory matters before the National Bank of Serbia.

JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic

JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic‘s banking and finance practice fields experts in project finance, PPP work, NPLs, restructurings and reorganisations, along with other complex financial transactions. The team is co-led at senior partner level by mining and energy department leader Jelena Gazivoda, who consistently acts on highly complex finance matters, along with substantial transactions in the financial services sector, and corporate practice head Nenad Popović, whose expertise includes major strategic deals and complex regulatory issues. In addition to leading the competition department, Nikola Poznanovic has notable banking and finance experience.

Other key lawyers:

Nikola Poznanovic

Testimonials

The JPM lawyers are always dedicated and provide exceptional legal services.

They are solutions oriented, open minded, and extremely good in terms of responsiveness and availability to work odd hours and on weekends (when required).

Great understanding of the commercial angle of deals, along with superior regulatory knowledge.

The service is up to the highest market standards at all times, regardless of the project.

Jelena Gazivoda is a great lawyer with broad expertise, and she has a proven track record of acting as a lead partner on major transactions in the energy sector.

Jelena Gazivoda is extremely responsive and professional.

Nikola Poznanovic is business oriented, hardworking and solutions driven. His key strengths are knowledge, fast thinking, attention to detail and good communication.

Key clients

Gastrans

Work highlights

  • Advising Gastrans on a large natural gas infrastructure project in Serbia.

Law Office Miroslav Stojanovic, in cooperation with Wolf Theiss

Law Office Miroslav Stojanovic, in cooperation with Wolf Theiss‘ banking and finance practice is able to leverage the firm’s specialist regulatory, litigation and restructuring teams, and in addition to the group’s expertise in real estate, energy and infrastructure-related project finance, clients particularly benefit from the team’s ability to cover the entire CEE/SEE region. Belgrade managing partner Miroslav Stojanović consistently advises on complex banking and finance projects, restructurings and bankruptcy-related reorganisations, and Nataša Lalović-Marić has broad banking and finance experience that includes capital markets work. Katarina Stojaković is an experienced counsel.

Other key lawyers:

Katarina Stojaković

Testimonials

Knowledge, quality of service and availability.

Key clients

Toyo Tire Corporation

Suez Groupe

I-Environment Investments

Beo Čista Energija

J P Morgan (UK)

Morgan Stanley UK

Western Union Corporate Legal Administrator

Erste Group Bank AG

Erste Serbia

NLB Slovenia

UniCredit Bank Srbija

North Channel Bank

Work highlights

  • Assisted a provider of investment funds with the regulatory analysis and novel structuring of viable alternative solutions for a master-feeder fund structure that would serve as a wrapper for an insurance product to be marketed in Serbia.
  • Advising several international private equity funds and investors on the indirect acquisition of shares in a Serbian bank, along with the associated regulatory requirements.
  • Advised a banking syndicate comprising Erste, Erste Serbia, Komercijalna banka and NLB (Slovenia) on a cross-border €70m facility extended to a Serbian borrower to finance the development of a shopping centre in Belgrade.

Petrikic & Partneri AOD in cooperation with CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz

Petrikic & Partneri AOD in cooperation with CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz‘s practice advises on the full spectrum of banking, finance, regulatory, restructuring and capital markets work, and it is particularly well known for syndicated and bilateral cross-border lending transactions, acquisition leveraged, project, real estate, structured commodity and trade financings, debt restructurings and NPL portfolio sales. Heading up the group in both Belgrade and Podgorica, Milica Popović has 20 years’ experience in Balkans-related legal work, and senior attorney Ksenija Boreta acts for international financial institutions, commercial banks and regulatory authorities.

Practice head(s):

Milica Popović

Other key lawyers:

Ksenija Boreta

Testimonials

Expertise in the Serbian market and an international network for complex transactions.

High levels of professionalism and involvement in transactions.

Key clients

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

International Finance Corporation

Development Bank of Austria (OeEB)

Sberbank Europe

Raiffeisen Bank Serbia

Santander Bank Polska

Bank Polska Kasa Opieki

UniCredit

AIG

Chubb

Sportina Group

OTP Bank Group

Hypovereinsbank

A syndicate of lenders led by Wilmington Trust and UniCredit London

Work highlights

  • Assisted the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with the financing of Al Dahra’s investment in agriculture production facilities in Serbia.
  • Assisted the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation with amendments to the financing terms for Hystead’s acquisition of malls in Serbia, Montenegro and North Macedonia.
  • Assisted the Development Bank of Austria (OeEB) with arranging a Covid-19 liquidity facility for Serbian fertiliser producer Elixir Group.

Bojovic Draškovic Popovic & Partners

Bojovic Draškovic Popovic & Partners‘ finance experience covers cross-border M&A and local transactions, along with aviation industry matters. Standing out for her ‘client management skills‘, Marija Bojović has longstanding banking and finance expertise, with key support provided by name partners Vuk Drašković and Uroš Popović, and senior associate Milica Pešterić.

Practice head(s):

Marija Bojović

Testimonials

A reliable and highly professional firm.

Excellent knowledge and command of banking and finance projects.

Offers what clients need.

Great capacity and knowledge.

In comparison to other law firms, they stand out for their responsiveness, knowledge and professionalism.

Extremely responsive and fast in their turnaround.

Vuk Drašković and Uroš Popović stand out for their professionalism, flexibility and responsiveness. They are always pleasant to work with, very friendly and able to establish genuine relations with clients.

Marija Bojović stands out for her client management skills.

Key clients

HPS Investment Partners

Goethe-Institute Belgrade

Dun & Bradstreet

Philips

AerCap Ireland

EBRD

Cymbria Corporation

FitPass

ABL Solvent

Telia Carrier

Work highlights

  • Assisting an international law firm in advising investment fund HPS Investment Partners on local law issues relating to the refinancing of a €1.1bn priority loan initially granted by Knighthead Capital to Croatia’s Fortenova Group (former Agrokor).
  • Advised AerCap House (a commercial aircraft owner and trader) on the lease of an Airbus A330-200 aircraft valued at $53m to Air Serbia.
  • Advised ABL Solvent on the high-value acquisition of a portfolio of receivables from approximately 1,200 companies.

Prica & Partners

Prica & Partners routinely advises banks, financial institutions, insurance companies and real estate investment firms on banking and finance matters. The client list also includes private equity funds, corporations, state-owned enterprises, asset managers and debt collectors. Department head Mihajlo Prica‘s broad practice includes general lending and acquisition, asset, structured and project finance, along with NPL portfolio acquisitions, and Tijana Lalić specialises in banking and finance, insurance and financial services.

Practice head(s):

Mihajlo Prica; Tijana Lalić

Testimonials

The team provides timely and relevant advice, and is dedicated to making sure the deal succeeds.

They have good contacts with various registers and authorities, and are dedicated to finding practical solutions to obstacles.

We were extremely happy with how the team managed the deal’s various pressures.

Manages to find practical compromises with opposing lawyers.

Large, experienced team with practical knowledge and a business-oriented approach.

Very knowledgeable in banking and finance transactions.

Good cooperation, very responsive and nice to work with.

Great local knowledge and experience, with a straight-to-the point approach – very good value for money and very responsive.

Key clients

The Rohatyn Group (TRG Management)

UniCredit

Banca Intesa

The China Development Bank, Fujian Branch

The Government of the Republic of Serbia

ING Bank (Shanghai Branch)

Mercator (member of Fortenova Group)

Istrabenz Plini

Crédit Agricole

Direktna banka

Work highlights

  • Advised (alongside Lazard as financial adviser) the Government of Serbia on the sale of a majority shareholding in Komercijalna banka to Nova Ljubljanska Banka.
  • Advised Mercator, as guarantor, on FNG’s €1bn financing.
  • Assisted the China Development Bank, Fujian Branch on a new loan facility for Zijin Bor Copper (the Serbian unit of China’s Zijin Mining Group) for the reconstruction and extension of the Bor copper project.

SOG Law Firm

Acting for several large domestic and international banking entities, SOG Law Firm‘s ‘talented team‘ assists with the full gamut of banking and securities work, as well as related regulatory issues. Particularly active in relation to investment fund-related regulatory matters and the fintech industry, Miloš Velimirović also advises on project financing. At senior associate level, Milan Novakov has ‘impressive knowledge of the regulatory framework‘.

Practice head(s):

Miloš Velimirović

Other key lawyers:

Milan Novakov

Testimonials

They recognise clients’ needs and know their field of work very well.

Offers an extremely professional service within a very demanding market.

They impose very high professional standards and provide a very good service.

A young and talented team with the ability to provide rounded, high-quality legal advice.

Efficient and solutions-oriented attitude that they maintain at all times.

Good communication skills from attorneys who aim to simplify complex matters and offer practical solutions with a good understanding of the financial sector’s commercial intricacies.

Miloš Velimirović has a lot of experience, thinks strategically when dealing with legal issues, adapts to real-time developments and manages the team efficiently.

Milan Novakov is young but has impressive knowledge of the regulatory framework.

Key clients

NLB Banka

H-Planet

IMORGON Tanácsadó

Vascular Soundworks

Namara Wealth Advisors

Eiffel Investment Group

USAID (Cardno Emerging Markets USA)

DB Schenker

Alca Trgovina

Work highlights

  • Advised H-Planet on the financing for a wind farm project in eastern Serbia.
  • Advised Namara Wealth Advisors on the purchase of Universal Capital Bank in Montenegro, which included negotiations with the Central Bank of Montenegro in order to receive approval for the acquisition.
  • Assisting Slovenian bank NLB Banka with the management of its assets in Serbia.

Stankovic & Partners (NSTLAW)

Stankovic & Partners (NSTLAW) advises international financial institutions and borrowers on substantial cross-border financings (including acquisition, asset, real estate and project finance), along with major restructurings and insolvencies. A key client for the group is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Name partner and banking and finance specialist Nenad Stankovic leads the department, and associate Luka Marosiuk‘s broad practice includes real estate, energy, infrastructure and insurance-related financings.

Practice head(s):

Nenad Stankovic

Other key lawyers:

Luka Marosiuk

Key clients

Banjalucka pivara

Edelweiss Balance

Edelveys Holdings

Beauvallon Europe

British American Tobacco

Titantex

Siemens

Apatinska pivara

Galenika

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Monster Energy

Serbian Innovation Fund

Heta Asset Resolution

Celanova group of companies

Work highlights

  • Assisted Banjalucka pivara with numerous matters, including securing initial financing for the company.
  • Advising Edelweiss Balance on several matters, including the assignment of an intercompany loan.
  • Advising both foreign and domestic clients on a large banking litigation matter.