Firm Profile > Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) > Sofia, Bulgaria
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Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) > The Legal 500 Rankings
A compact team led by Tsvetan Krumov at Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) punches above its weight in this sphere, demonstrated by its work for United Group on its €1.5bn bond issue to finance the acquisition of BTC/Vivacom. A varied caseload conveys capability across a range of financial transactions and regulatory issues on behalf of both domestic and international banks and financial institutions. Associate Milena Gabrovska is gaining high-quality exposure, assisting on the majority of key instructions such as Monroe Capital Investments' $250m financing to Marlin.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is very good. It was a challenging project.’
‘Tsvetan Krumov was very good in assisting in the delivery of the difficult risk financing product.’
‘Schoenherr’s team knowledge of the financial regulations and market is very extensive. Their excellent service has been moulded to our requirements and has inspired confidence and trust in our business relationship.’
‘Milena Gabrovska is a knowledgeable, innovative and skilled lawyer. When discussing new projects, Milena takes the time to really understand all the aspects of the transaction and, as a result, always identifies the most appropriate legal solution. ’
‘Great personalities, responisve and outstanding experience. They are very client oriented.’
‘The team is proactive, well organised, with a very good overall market knowledge and great experience.’
‘Proactivity, outstanding quick response time, patience, very good communication skills.’
Monroe Capital Investments
BNP Paribas (Suisse)
Société Générale Group
VTB Capital Plc
UniCredit Bulbank, Bulgaria
European Investment Bank (EIB)
JP Morgan Securities
ING Bank (the Netherlands) and ING Bank N.V. (Bulgarian branch)
Bulgarian Development Bank
Citibank Europe (Bulgaria branch)
International Swaps and Derivatives Association
Ares Management Limited
OTP Bank, Hungary
Raiffeisen Bank International
A popular referral choice among international law firms requiring CEE advice, Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) often handles some of Bulgaria's largest transactions. Recently, the firm worked as local counsel to United Group in its landmark €1.2bn acquisition of Vivacom/Bulgarian Telecommunications Company. The work was led in Sofia by Ilko Stoyanov, who provides 'very wise advice'. The 13-strong team is also led by dual Bulgarian and Austrian qualified Alexandra Doytchinova, who is noted for her experience in the energy and real estate sectors.
Alexandra Doytchinova; Ilko Stoyanov
Other key lawyers:
Katerina Kaloyanova; Stela Pavlova
‘We instructed the Schoenherr Bulgaria team in a complex cross-border deal, involving various regulators and actors, in the banking and insurance sectors. They provided us with high-quality advice on this project, interfacing very well with the regulators, the local management, their local counterparts and our firm (which was acting as lead counsel). They understood very well the needs of our sophisticated and demanding client and enabled us to successfully close the deal within the contemplated timeline, despite numerous regulatory constraints and unexpected business issues.‘
‘Ilko Stoyanov did a great job in leading his team, in particular in his discussions with both the local regulators and our local counterparts and his very wise advice. We recommended him and his team for other assignments. Katerina Kaloyanova, associate M&A, did a terrific job on the project, interfacing with all the teams (local management, specialists, local counterparts, regulators, etc.) and providing around-the-clock services to answer our challenging client.’
‘The team is proactive, professional and well organised with good market knowledge and great experience.’
‘Good communication, proactivity, patience, outstanding quick response time.’
‘They are very responsive and act very quickly in accordance with the highest standards and requirements of clients.’
‘Ilko Stoyanov was my key contact and he was war-sensible to clients’ expectations and delivered accordingly. ’
‘The team provided practical support for a merger of two sites in Bulgaria. The merger was processed effectively to the deadline.’
‘The team supported the process well. They explained the processes and documentation required and were available for calls and responded to emails quickly and professionally.’
Société Générale Group
OTP Bank Plc, Hungary
Smurfit Kappa Europe .
Globe Trade Centre (GTC) and Lone Star ECE and ECE
Energy and natural resources Tier 2
Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) has a very comprehensive offering and advises across all sources of energy and utilities, from renewables and electricity to oil and gas, including providing corporate, project finance, real estate, concessions and regulatory advice. The team has recently advised on mulitple solar park acquisitions, including Bulgaria's largest, Karadzhalovo PV park, while 'professional' Stefana Tsekova is leading advice to the European Commission on gas wholesale markets across the EU. She co-leads the practice alongside experienced attorney Radoslav Chemshirov.
Stefana Tsekova; Radoslav Chemshirov
Other key lawyers:
‘A well composed, balanced team of interchangeable experts.’
‘Stefana Tsekova is a professional who adapts to any situation extremely quickly and responds with the best solution. Ilko Stoyanov is a quick, smart, professional with hands on any process.’
Société Générale Expressbank
EU and competition Tier 2
Ilko Stoyanov at Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) handles top-flight merger control matters, often with cross border implications via the firm's regional network. Recent highlights include successfully obtaining competition clearance on behalf of United Group following its landmark €1.2bn acquisition of Vivacom. The firm also handles a broad scope of antitrust claims, investigations and competition compliance. Co-head of the team Galina Petkova provides valuable support in key mandates. Robert Bosch and Smurfit Kappa Group are two new clients.
Ilko Stoyanov; Galina Petkova
‘The team acts as a business partner and strategist. They provide advice founded on deep knowledge of the business.’
‘Galina Petkova stands out: she is always proactive and always offering ideas and suggestions. Together with Ilko Stoyanov, they do a lot more than the assignment requires.’
Dimitar Madjarov- 2
BSH Domakinskii uredi Bulgaria
Smurfit Kappa Group
Healthcare and life sciences Tier 2
The cross-practice food and life sciences team at Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) is led by attorney Elena Todorova, an emerging name in the food law space. Her practice also encompasses advice to pharma businesses, producers of medical devices and cosmetics, and marketers of chemicals and related products, among others. The firm ranks some leading names in the pharma and food sectors among its clients with a current highlight concerning the implementation of a pilot programme in Bulgaria.
‘I have worked with the colleagues from Schönherr for about six years now. The cooperation (legal exchange) is very efficient and pleasant. Elena Todorova was my main contact.’
Pharma Vision Europe
Taisho Pharmaceutical Co.
Intellectual property Tier 2
Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) acts for a number of high-profile brands in contentious and non-contentious trade mark, design and copyright mandates. They include Robert Bosch, which the firm advised on a combined competition and trade mark infringement matter, and representing an automotive manufacturer in customs seizure and criminal proceedings against an importer of IP infringing automotive spare parts. 'Reliable and knowledgeable' Ventsislav Tomov heads the practice and is assisted by associate Kristina Chakarova , who joined from Tokushev And Partners Law Office.
Other key lawyers:
‘Easy communication, transparent relationship between the law office and company, adequate proposals for business case solutions. The lawyers are acquainted in detail with the local and international regulation of copyright, judicial and administrative practice, as well as with the applicable procedures. Ventsislav Tomov and Kristina Chakarova are quick and provide a timely reaction and objective assessment of business cases.‘
‘Schoenherr’s IP team is reliable and knowledgeable. Our firms collaborate on IP matters and our common clients benefit from the value-added of our combined teams. One of the few practices on the Bulgarian legal market that can collaborate with other domestic law firms.‘
‘Ventsislav Tomov is reliable and knowledgeable, able to see a matter in a wider context, and is also personable.’
Projects and PPP Tier 2
Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) is active in infrastructure and public procurement on behalf of heavyweight public and private sector clients, such as the European Commission, OMV and car parts manufacturer Leoni. The firm is advising the latter on a new €32m production plant in Bulgaria, while procurement work includes representing transportation company Alstom in the public procurement for the maintenance of railcars for public needs. Advisers from across the firm comprise the team led by Stefana Tsekova and Alexandra Doytchinova.
Stefana Tsekova; Alexandra Doytchinova
Other key lawyers:
Radoslav Chemshirov; Dimitar Kairakov
‘They work professionally and diligently to get us the best possible outcome. Schoenherr (in cooperation with law firm Stoyanov and Tsekova) demonstrates a client-first attitude every time.’
‘Substantive knowledge and expertise, along with communication and responsiveness were key factors whilst working with Schoenherr’s team members. We valued most the excellent response time to questions via emails, patience, competence and thoroughness. We were very satisfied with the work of Dimitar Vlaevsky and Silvia Ribanchova. They were efficient, professional and personable, always ready to answer fully and eloquently all follow-up questions we had. We really appreciated the expertise, time and work put into our project.’
SAP LABS Bulgaria
Real estate and construction Tier 2
Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) is raising its profile in the real estate and construction arena, advising on some high-profile property acquistions, financings and developments, typically on behalf of strategic investors. Sophisticated corporate support work includes acting for Globe Trade Centre and Lone Star on the cross-border sale of Lone Star's stake in GTC, which owns a portfolio of 65 individual real estate properties, including office buildings, retail centres and projects under development. Senior lawyer Dimitar Vlaevsky is a full-time specialist and heads the practice.
Other key lawyers:
‘Schoenherr (in cooperation with law firm Stoyanov and Tsekova) has provided excellent services and put their thorough knowledge of real estate and construction on full display. They are real professionals and made all legal matters a walk-in-the park for us, being a trusted partner of ours.’
‘Schoenherr lawyers were helpful and responsive to all our questions and concerns. We valued the good work ethic, the sound and comprehensive legal advice, all priced well. We can confidently say we enjoyed working with Dimitar Vlaevsky. He returned phones calls promptly and went above and beyond the call of duty, while showing knowledge and availablilty when needed. ’
‘I was looking for German-speaking Bulgarian lawyers with real-estate expertise. Elena Todorova and Gergana Roussinova from Schoenherr perfectly fitted this request.’
‘Very pragmatic and tailor-made solutions for clients. Fast reaction times. Recommend Elena Todorova.’
Globe Trade Centre (GTC)
New Europe Property Investments (NEPI)
SAP LABS Bulgaria
TMT Tier 2
The team at Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) bagged the deal of the year in representing United Group on the Bulgarian law aspects of its €1.2bn aquisition of Bulgaria's largest telecom, Bulgarian Telecommunications Company/Vivacom. Corporate and commercial partner Ilko Stoyanov led the Sofia advice, and co-heads the TMT practice alongside head of regulatory, Stefana Tsekova. The firm is well-versed in corporate transactions, financing, regulatory and IP matters, and dispute resolution in the TMT industry. Robert Bosch and Abbott Laboratories are both new clients.
Stefana Tsekova; Ilko Stoyanov
Other key lawyers:
‘Schoenherr’s team is very professional. They solve problems effectively with precisely to-the-point consultancy. I like their rather practical approach and the fact that they do not theorise their advice like the other firms.’
‘Stefana is very down to earth, practical and business oriented. Elena is experienced, efficient and effective. They both have brilliant problem solving techniques – quick, quiet, no stress or drama.’
GTS TELECOM (part of Deutsche Telekom AG)
An expanding transport client base at Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) includes some national air carriers, automotive manufacturers and logistics companies, as well as a range of businesses supplying products and services to the transport sector. The firm advised Alstrom on the public procurement for the maintenance of public railcars launched by the Bulgarian Railway Company. The multidisciplinary team is led by head of regulatory, Stefana Tsekova and includes regulatory associates Radoslav Chemshirov and Dimitar Kairakov .
Other key lawyers:
Radoslav Chemshirov; Dimitar Kairakov
‘Schoenherr (in cooperation with law firm Stoyanov and Tsekova) proves its strong commercial focus, expertise and commitment to quality by understanding that the legal advice they provide is crucial to their clients’ business decisions.’
‘We valued the in-depth knowledge in dealing with international and local legal, regulatory and commercial ssues, delivered with comprehensive legal expertise and practical know-how focused on our specific needs.’
Pro Danube International
Dexia Crédit Local
Türkiye Ihracatçilar Meclisi (TIM)
Uluslararasi Nakliyeciler Dernegi (UND)
Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) > Firm Profile
Opened in 2004 the Schoenherr Sofia office is the international law firm with the longest history in Bulgaria and, accordingly, the most established track record. The team is composed of approximately 20 internationally trained lawyers, all experienced and focused on at least one of Schoenherr’s practice areas. Most of these lawyers have a strong working knowledge of English, German and Bulgarian. The team advises clients operating in various industries, including financial services, energy, manufacturing, real estate and constructions, retail, IT&C and technology, pharmaceuticals and healthcare.
In addition to the firm in Sofia, the Schoenherr – Attorneys at Law firm has offices in 13 other locations/countries in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as desks covering four further markets.
|Mariya Bakalova||Attorney at law||View Profile|
|Kristina Chakarova||Associate||View Profile|
|Radoslav Chemshirov||Attorney at law||View Profile|
|Alexandra Doytchinova||Partner||View Profile|
|Milena Gabrovska||Associate||View Profile|
|Dimitar Kairakov||Associate||View Profile|
|Katerina Kaloyanova||Attorney at law||View Profile|
|Tsvetan Krumov||Attorney at law||View Profile|
|Stela Pavlova-Kaneva||Attorney at law||View Profile|
|Galina Petkova||Associate||View Profile|
|Silvia Ribanchova||Attorney at law||View Profile|
|Gergana Roussinova||Associate||View Profile|
|Ilko Stoyanov||Partner||View Profile|
|Elena Todorova||Attorney at law||View Profile|
|Ventsislav Tomov||Attorney at law||View Profile|
|Stefana Tsekova||Partner||View Profile|
|Ivelina Vassileva||Attorney at law||View Profile|
|Dimitar Vlaevsky||Attorney at law||View Profile|
LanguagesEnglish German Bulgarian
Press Releases22nd October 2021 Schoenherr advised the leading French-based all-in-one digital marketing platform Sendinblue SAS on the acquisition of Metrilo OOD ("Metrilo"), a Bulgarian e-commerce metrics company, from its founders and several investors such as Speedinvest II International GmbH, LAUNCHub Fund Coöperatief U.A. and Eleven Capital AD. The advising team in Schoenherr's Bulgarian office advised on all major legal aspects of the transaction, including due diligence and negotiation of transaction documents.
Schoenherr advises Nice & Green S.A. on innovative convertible notes funding programme with Marinomed Biotech AG18th October 2021 Schoenherr advised Swiss investment firm Nice & Green S.A. on an innovative convertible notes funding programme (CNFP) with Vienna Stock Exchange listed Marinomed Biotech AG.
Schoenherr advises Joint Lead Managers on issue of EUR 250m covered bank bonds by Kommunalkredit Austria AG6th October 2021 Schoenherr advised the Joint Lead Managers on the successful issue of EUR 250m 0.01 % covered bank bonds due 2028 by Kommunalkredit Austria AG.
28th September 2021 Schoenherr advised ZECH Bau Austria GmbH, a German owner-managed construction company, on the acquisition of Implenia Baugesellschaft mbH's building construction business in Austria by virtue of an asset deal. The closing of the transaction is currently subject to merger control clearance.
22nd September 2021 Schoenherr advised P&I Personal & Informatik GmbH on the acquisition of 100 % of the shares in VRZ Informatik Gesellschaft mbH (Dornbirn) and its sister company ThinkCreateAct AG (Switzerland). The transaction is currently subject to the condition precedent of regulatory clearance. With the acquisition of the VRZ Group, P&I AG is expanding its presence in Austria and Switzerland.
17th September 2021 Schoenherr advised the owner and CEO of Dentatechnica EOOD, the largest distributor of dental equipment and consumables in Bulgaria, on a transaction with Dentotal (Romania), a subsidiary of Abris Capital Partners. Subject to competition authorities' approval, Dentatechnica will become part of Dentotal Group with the aim of creating a regional leader through organic growth and further consolidation of local markets in Romania and Bulgaria.
Schoenherr advises Wienerberger AG on the successful placement of 2.5 million treasury shares through accelerated bookbuilding8th September 2021 Schoenherr advised Vienna Stock Exchange listed Wienerberger AG, a leading international supplier of building materials and infrastructure solutions, on the EUR 81.25m placement of treasury shares with institutional investors.
31st March 2020 Once again, Schoenherr has advised on a billion-euro transaction in the CEE region: An international Schoenherr team assisted UNIQA on the acquisition of AXA subsidiaries in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia for a purchase price of around EUR 1bln.
31st March 2020 Schoenherr is strengthening the ranks of equity partner, contract partner and counsel with new promotions effective as of 1 February 2020. With Pawel Halwa and Thomas Kulnigg, Schoenherr promotes two longstanding Schoenherr experts to equity partners. Constantin Benes, Leon Kopecký, Günther Leissler, Laurenz Schwitzer, Manuela Zimmermann, Georgiana Bădescu, Mădălina Neagu and Miloš Laković are promoted to contract partners, and at counsel level, Dominik Hofmarcher and Clemens Rainer have moved up in the ranks.
Legal Developments26th September 2017
A landmark decision was issued yesterday (Judgement Bărbulescu v. Romania), a source of debate in the media, in which the European Court of Human Rights clarified the restrictions on monitoring employees in the workplace.
22nd September 2017
The Hungarian Ministry of the Interior recently submitted a legislative proposal to the Hungarian Government to amend the Act on Hungarian National Security Services (the "Proposal"). The Proposal suggests an amendment pursuant to which investors from non-EU and non-EEA countries who wish to invest in Hungary would have to obtain prior permission from the minister responsible for national security (the " Minister.
If adopted, investors from outside the EU and EEA would need to apply and obtain such permission if they intend to acquire more than a 25 % interest in an existing or yet to be established company with its registered seat in Hungary, provided that this company pursues activities that are deemed sensitive for national security.
11th August 2017
On 13 July 2017, the High-Level Expert Group ("HLEG") on Sustainable Finance published its interim report ("Interim Report") setting out concrete steps to create a financial system that supports sustainable investments.
This Legal Insight is part of our dedicated newsletter series on the European Capital Markets Union ("CMU").
The growing awareness of environmental challenges and sustainability risks as well as the adoption of the UN 2030 Agenda and the conclusion of the Paris Climate Agreement by the EU in 2015 call for an EU strategy on sustainable finance.
Establishing an EU strategy on sustainable finance is a priority action of the CMU. In December 2016, the HLEG was established to advise on the development of such an EU strategy. The recently published HLEG Interim Report was recently presented in a public hearing on sustainable finance on 18 July 2017. At the same time, the HLEG presented an online questionnaire on the Interim Report aimed at obtaining targeted feedback until 20 September 2017, which would be reflected in the final report of the HLEG scheduled for publication by the end of 2017.
11th August 2017
The Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition (the "Commission") recently intensified its antitrust activities before the new Administrative Act came into effect. In one week alone the Commission initiated four antitrust cases and conducted two dawn raids.
1. What/who will be on the Commission's radar?
11th August 2017
One of the core principles of the EU-US Privacy Shield ("Privacy Shield") is its Joint Review mechanism, which obliges the European Commission, the US Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission to jointly review the functioning of the Privacy Shield on an annual basis, together with its national security and law enforcement aspects. The very first Joint Review is scheduled for September 2017. This first review is considered especially important, as it will be the first opportunity for US and EU regulators to closely analyse the operation of the Privacy Shield, address possible concerns about its functioning, and seek to ensure that the Privacy Shield continues to be a valid legal basis for transfers of personal data from the EU to the US.
21st July 2017
The Hungarian Parliament recently passed new legislation on arbitration (Act LX of 2017 on Arbitration, the “2017 Act”) that will reform Hungarian arbitration law as of 1 January 2018.
The 2017 Act, considering both the shortcomings of the current Hungarian legislation (Act LXXI of 1994 on Arbitration, the “1994 Act”) and the amendment of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration adopted in 2006 (the “Model Law”), repositions arbitration by reforming the choice of arbitrators, the institutional system of Hungarian arbitration panels, and the power of the panels ordering interim measures and preliminary orders. read more...
21st July 2017
On 10 July 2017, the Commission announced the public consultation on the development of secondary markets for non-performing loans (NPLs) and distressed assets. Following the commencement of this public consultation, the Council introduced its Action Plan for NPLs.
21st July 2017
For the second time in less than five years, the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition ("Commission") has opened investigation proceedings regarding prohibited agreements and concerted practices against the major fuel companies in Bulgaria and closed them without issuing penalties.
14th July 2017
As violations may lead to enormous liabilities, start-up employers are advised from the outset to comply with the applicable laws pertaining to their personnel. In addition to being an underestimated factor when it comes to financial liabilities, employment-law-related mistakes may also result in difficulties in the course of a company's sales process. For a better understanding of what can go wrong in employment relationships, three of the most common mistakes that employers make are listed below. read more...
14th July 2017
After four months of negotiations, the Austrian National Council has finally reached an agreement on the amendment of the Green Electricity Act ("Ökostromnovelle"). The required two-thirds majority was reached by a last minute agreement between the coalition parties and the Green Party. The aim of the new legislation is to increase the percentage of green electricity and to achieve an expansion of renewable energy in Austria. read more...
Austria: Slightly Lower Fees, a Little More Liberalisation – The 2017 Amendments to the Austrian Tra14th July 2017
Following a year of intense political discussion, the Austrian Parliament adopted numerous amendments to the Austrian Trade Act 1994 (Gewerbeordnung 1994, "GewO") at the end of June. While the reform falls significantly short of the outgoing government's original announcements last July with the aim to liberalise market access and to cut red tape for businesses, it nevertheless introduces several material changes to business activity in Austria. read more...
14th July 2017
The EU Regulation on Insolvency Law 1346/2000 (EIR) was considered a milestone in the cross-border coordination of national insolvency proceedings. The recast of the EU Regulation on Insolvency Law 2015/848, applicable to insolvency proceedings opened after 26 June 2017, considers substantial developments in national insolvency laws. read more...
14th July 2017
The Hungarian Parliament passed an act in June 2017 with the aim of improving Hungary's business competitiveness. Among other things, the amendment has changed the regulation of trusts and their management, hopefully for the better, since the past three years have shown that a lack of such experience still exists. The legal concept of trust was introduced into Hungarian law in 2014, when the new Civil Code entered into force. Contrary to expectations, however, potential market players were hesitant to launch their businesses, mainly due to crippling bureaucracy and the vague regulation of trusts. read more...
11th July 2017
On 28 June 2017 the Austrian Parliament passed the government's legislative proposal on insolvency law (Insolvenzrechtsänderungsesetz 2017). After lengthy negotiations, the government finally agreed to shorten personal insolvency proceedings to a maximum five years and to abolish the minimum insolvency quota of 10 % under certain conditions. The amendments will be applicable as of 1 November 2017. read more...
5th July 2017
The newly adopted Government Emergency Ordinance No. 39/2017 (the "Ordinance") introduces significant changes to Romanian competition rules. For example, it implements the provisions on actions for damages resulting from competition law infringements, as regulated under Directive 2014/104/EU (the "Damages Directive") and sets out new provisions impacting the food/non-food retail sector, as well as the dawn-raid procedure and fines applicable by the Romanian Competition Council (the "RCC") to non-resident undertakings. read more...
The Austrian Law on the Responsibility of Associations: New tendency to prosecution authorities to t21st June 2017
The Austrian Law on the Responsibility of Associations (Verbandsverantwortlichkeitsgesetz, "VbVG") came into effect in 2006, stipulating that a company can be held criminally liable for certain criminal acts committed by its employees and decision-makers. According to new tendencies of prosecution authorities, the practical scope of the VbVG could expand in the future. read more...
31st May 2017
Lex Agrokor – behind the scenes
The hottest topic in Croatia right now is the Agrokor situation and the newly enacted Act on Compulsory Administration Procedure in Companies of Systemic Importance for the Republic of Croatia (Zakon o postupku izvanredne uprave u trgovačkim društvima od sistemskog značaja za Republiku Hrvatsku; the "Act"). The Act was immediately nicknamed "Lex Agrokor" because of what appears to be its main purpose.
22nd May 2017
On 15 May 2017, the European Central Bank ("ECB") published a guide on fit and proper assessments (the "Fit and Proper Guide"), which reflects the result of a public consolidation launched by the ECB on 16 November 2016.
22nd May 2017
National Room for Manoeuvre Despite the GDPR
About a year before the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into full effect, the Austrian legislator officially started a six-week consultation process for the national Data Protection Amendment Act 2018 (Datenschutz-Anpassungsgesetz 2018). The GDPR will harmonise the EU's data protection laws, but numerous so-called "opening clauses" allow national leeway. Besides, EU Directive 2016/680 requires implementation into national law and provides specific regulations on data processing by security authorities for the purpose of law enforcement. The published draft implements the Directive's provisions in a separate chapter (Hauptstück). read more...
European Commission Proposes EMIR Reform that will Minimise the Clearing Obligation for NFC and Cert16th May 2017
On 4 May 2017, the European Commission published its proposal for an amendment of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR). The Commission calls the proposed amendment a good example of "better regulation in practice" which is "essential to the creation of the Capital Markets Union (CMU)".
2nd May 2017
The Ministry of Justice has circulated its initiative for improving the legal environment with the aim of increasing Hungary's competitiveness by amending certain regulations and institutions. Among other things, the initiative concerns cross-border mergers and operation of trustees, and generally aims to lighten administrative burdens. Most notably, if adopted in its current form, it will reform the Hungarian arbitration regulation. read more...
7th April 2017
On 6 April 2017, the Austrian Parliament adopted significant amendments to Austrian competition law, as set forth in the Austrian Cartel Act ("KartG") and the Act on the Austrian Federal Competition Authority ("WettbG"). The amendments concern three main areas: (i) implementation of the EU Damages Directive; (ii) introduction of an additional transaction value test in merger control; and (iii) certain adjustments to strengthen public enforcement of antitrust infringements. read more...
7th April 2017
Employers may prohibit their employees from wearing Islamic headscarves and other religious or political symbols, subject to certain conditions. On 14 March 2017, the European Court of Justice (the "ECJ") adopted a corresponding ruling in Luxembourg and decided on two cases in this respect, one dealing with a receptionist from Belgium and the other with a software designer from France. read more...
7th April 2017
Slovenia adopted a new law regulating rescue and restructuring state aid, which entered into force in mid-February. When notified to the European Commission as a state aid scheme, it will allow the Republic of Slovenia to support companies and cooperatives in difficulty without having to notify support mechanisms in accordance with the provisions of the law as an individual aid measure to the European Commission. read more...
30th March 2017
What previously was impossible and not foreseen by local legislation is now possible. Starting 1 January 2017, the Tax Code of Moldova (the "Tax Code") was amended by Law 281/2016 to include a separate norm (Art. 136¹) on individual tax rulings ("ITR") for the benefit of entrepreneurs. Within the limits of its scope and in respect of a concrete beneficiary, an issued ITR is binding on the State Tax Service (the "STS"). The Government and the Ministry of Finance are expected to approve the secondary legislation to regulate the details of the procedure. read more...
20th March 2017
Most recently, the Bulgarian Energy Regulator has taken significant steps towards the full liberalisation of the natural gas market: In December 2016, the Bulgarian Energy Regulator adopted legislative amendments to the Rules for Trading of Natural Gas (Правила за търговия с природен газ, "Trading Rules") and the Rules for Access to the Gas Transmission and/or Gas Distribution Networks and the Natural Gas Storage Facilities (Правила за предоставяне на достъп до газопреносните и/или газоразпределителните мрежи и за достъп до съоръженията за съхранение на природен газ, "Access Rules"). Moreover, it adopted new Rules for Balancing of the Natural Gas Market (Правила за балансиране на пазара за природен газ, "Balancing Rules"). read more...
20th March 2017
In an aim to simplify state administration and support economic growth, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a new law abolishing the registration fee and the publication cost for incorporating limited liability companies ("LLC") (korlátolt felelősségű társaság), limited partnerships (betéti társaság), general partnerships (közkereseti társaság), and sole entrepreneurships (egyéni cég). The new law becomes effective on 16 March 2017. read more...
20th March 2017
Even at first blush, it is apparent that arbitration and insolvency make strange bedfellows.
The reason they make such an odd couple is the different underlying policies, objectives, and purposes they stand for. The heart of arbitration lies at the privity of contract and the existence of party autonomy independent from the state. In contrast, insolvency reflects a centralized and to a certain extent state-managed procedure that holds all creditors equal, within a set system of ranking – a transparent and accountable process governed by mandatory substantive and procedural law provisions. read more...
20th March 2017
Policyholders of unit-linked life insurance products pay an agreed sum for the unit-linked insurance to the insurance company, as a regular premium, or in one lump sum. These payments cover the life insurance component as well as the investment, administrative costs, contracting fee and the commissions. The "total cost charged" ("TCC") is an indicator – calculated in line with the rules of Hungarian insurance regulations – showing all costs charged on life insurance policies having a savings element, reflected as a percentage value. The regulation of the TCC in Hungary has been amended effective 1 January 2017. read more...
20th March 2017
On 7 March 2017, the Hungarian parliament adopted a law that increases the minimum sale price of a residential property in the enforcement procedure from the current 70% of its market value to 100% (market value to be understood as the price set by the appraisal of the bailiff), provided that (i) the claim to be enforced stems from a consumer contract; (ii) the real property is the debtor's only real property; and (iii) the debtor resided in that real property for at least six months prior to the initiation of the enforcement procedure. read more...
Legislative vacuum filled: Czech Republic introduces comprehensive new national legislation on e-cig9th March 2017
New legislation regulating e-cigarettes in the Czech Republic entered into force on 1 March 2017, introducing specific safety and quality requirements on e-cigarettes in the country for the first time. read more...
6th March 2017
The amendment aims at alleviating the existing regime for pricing of pharmaceuticals for home treatment of chronic, genetic and/or rare diseases and paid by the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF). It affects the interests of individuals with health insurance and the activities of more than 290 authorisation holders, of the wholesalers of pharmaceuticals, and of pharmacies (as retailers). read more...
27th February 2017
2016 has seen a surprising level of deal activity in the (private) Austrian hospital sector: in Vienna, PremiQaMed, a 100 % subsidiary of UNIQA insurance group, acquired a 75 % stake in the renowned private hospital "Goldenes Kreuz", and the hospitals Hartmannspital and St. Elisabeth announced a merger to form the new "Franziskus" hospital. In Linz (Upper Austria), the "Elisabethinen" and the hospital operated by the Sisters of Charity agreed to combine to form a regional player with approx. 1,200 beds. read more...
27th February 2017
On 16 December 2016, the Council of the European Union announced agreement on its negotiating stance in relation to the proposed regulation amending the European Venture Capital Funds ("EuVECA") Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 345/2013) and the European Social Entrepreneurship Funds ("EuSEF") Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 346/2013), which is now at the European Parliament's ECON committee, scheduled to be voted on, on 22 March 2017. On 31 January 2017 the call for expression of interest for selecting a fund manager of the Pan-European Venture Capital Fund-of Funds closed; and tax incentives for venture capital and business angels are expected to be proposed in the course of 2017 to foster investment in SMEs and start-ups, close the funding gap and thereby remove obstacles to economic growth in Europe. read more...
27th February 2017
Most start-ups are founded by first-time founders directly after graduation, with the founding team consisting, also in most cases, of not more than two members. Such founders are naturally not equipped for all of their business challenges. Founders thus often make mistakes, especially at the very beginning of their activities, e.g. in relation to developing and distributing their products, when and how to raise capital and developing or moving into new markets. read more...
22nd February 2017
Albania has one of the highest percentages of electricity produced from renewable energy sources (RES) in its electricity mix – more than 95 % of electricity generated in Albania comes from hydropower generation. In spite of that (or maybe because of that), Albania has not had a comprehensive policy on the support of RES in place to date. read more...
17th February 2017
One last hurdle – the signature of Czech President Miloš Zeman –before the so called Anti-Smoking Bill enters into force on 31 May 2017.
On 19 January 2017, the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic approved the government bill of the Act on Protection from the Harmful Effects of Addictive Substances (the "Bill"), which is due to enter into force on 31 May 2017, subject to signature by the President. read more...
Facilitation or Liability Trap for Foreign Employers? – The Revised Austrian Law against Wage and So3rd February 2017
On 1 January 2017, the revised Austrian Law against Wage and Social Dumping ("Lohn- und Sozialdumping Bekämpfungsgesetz" or "Revised LSD-BG") came into force. The Revised LSD-BG applies to matters arising after 31 December 2016.
23rd January 2017
If there are two or more conflicting water use projects (eg, hydroelectric power stations), the Water Act provides for a special conflict procedure. A pending conflict procedure suspends decisions in all underlying approval procedures. As a result of the conflict procedure, the project which serves public interests best will take priority over the inferior project. read more...
17th January 2017
In 2016, Austrian Criminal Law experienced some substantive legal developments in both, procedural and material aspects. The following overview reflects the most relevant developments in Austrian Criminal Law in 2016.
1. Material changes
1.1. Breach of trust
With effect from 1 January 2016, the offence "breach of trust" in sec 153 of the Austrian Criminal Code ("ACC") has been fundamentally revised. At first glance, sec 153 of the ACC is not a very complex provision. It states, quite simply, that whoever knowingly abuses the authority conferred to him or her shall be liable, if he or she intends to cause and eventually causes financial harm to his or her principal (eg the company). Thus, sec 153 ACC has three prerequisites: (i) an abuse of authority, (ii) financial harm and (iii) criminal intent. With the reform of sec 153 ACC the Austrian legislator finally addressed the concern that the scope of what constitutes an "abuse of authority" is not always easy to assess: read more
Austrian Supreme Court Establishes New Standards as Regards the Decisive Underlying Reasoning of Arb3rd January 2017
The decisive underlying reasoning ( motifs, Begründung) is, without doubt, an essential part of any arbitral award and as such bears the potential of frustrating parties and arbitrators alike. On the one hand, elaborate reasoning in arbitral awards more often than not comes at the price of long waiting periods for the issuance of the awards, and periods of meticulous drafting on the part of the arbitrator(s). On the other hand, a lack of elaborate reasoning may likewise be a headache, since it exposes the arbitral award to setting aside. read more...
The Czech Republic joins other European countries in regulating the sale and advertising of unhealth19th December 2016
From January 2017, selling and/or advertising chips, soft drinks or mayonnaise-filled sandwiches to children in schools will be illegal.
The Constitutional Court of Moldova has spoken: No Need for Acquirer of a Share Stake to Obtain Shar6th December 2016
Through its 27 September 2016 decision ("Decision 27/2016"), the Constitutional Court of Moldova ("Constitutional Court") has declared certain provisions of the local Law on Limited-Liability Companies ("Law 135/2007") unconstitutional. In particular, it ruled that the operation of amendments to constitutive acts cannot constitute a condition and impediment to an acquirer registering its property right over a share stake in the State Register of Companies. read more...
6th December 2016
On 30 November 2016 the European Commission published its "Winter Package" containing proposals for new rules for a consumer-centered clean energy transition. The 500 page Winter Package had been eagerly awaited by the energy industry since it was to contain the major energy regulations for 2020 onwards. As expected, the most substantial measures and amendments proposed concern renewables and energy efficiency in the European Union. In addition, the electricity market design is proposed to be amended. read more...
Protection of new and interim financings in restructuring? – The European Commission’s proposal on e2nd December 2016
Since the European Commission adopted the recommendation on restructuring and second chance in 2014, it has been working on the evaluation of its initiative and the introduction of a European legal framework. In 2015 the Capital Markets Union Action Plan included the announcement of a legislative initiative on early restructuring and second chance. Finally, on 22 November 2016, the European Commission published its proposal for a European Directive on preventive restructuring frameworks and a second chance for entrepreneurs. The proposal includes, inter alia, provisions protecting new and interim financing in restructurings. read more...
22nd November 2016 The Austrian Federal Government agreed in its 2013-2018 work programme, on the implementation of a nationwide ban on speculative financial transactions for the Federation, the Austrian Federal States, Austrian Municipalities, and other public bodies. read more...
The EU Capital Market Union – European Commission establishes expert group to develop strategy on su16th November 2016
On 28 October 2016, the European Commission decided to establish a High Level Expert Group on sustainable finance, one of the European Commission's primary objectives within the EU Capital Markets Union ("CMU").
This Legal Insight is the first part of our dedicated newsletter series on the CMU. We will provide regular updates on CMU-related topics. read more...
16th November 2016
The Slovenian courts were recently asked to rule on companies' right to be heard during unannounced investigations (so-called 'dawn raids') by the Competition Protection Agency. read more...
11th November 2016
As of 20 October 2016, new legal provisions are in place in Romania setting out how consumers should be informed of products that use frozen foods in their preparation. In this respect, the consumer protection authority enacted Order 183/2016 ("Order 183") published in the Official Gazette on 20 September 2016. read more...
Hungary – discouraging litigation?Since 2018, Hungary has a new act on civil court procedures (Act CXXX of 2017 – the Act) which has brought about significant reforms after 50 years. The reforms were aimed at healing previous shortcomings, such as lengthy and tedious procedures, and making court cases concise, yet professional in quite a tight structure. As almost …