Schoenherr > Sofia, Bulgaria > Firm Profile
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Schoenherr > The Legal 500 RankingsSchoenherr advises corporate clients and financial institutions on a wide range of matters, from project and acquisition finance to debt restructuring and refinancing, as well as financial transactions and regulatory issues. Tsvetan Krumov, who has experience in advising banks and other financial institutions on regulatory matters, leads the team and is supported by associate Milena Gabrovska. Ilko Stoyanov also plays a key role on major matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘Our joint cases are related to different forms of corporate financing, loans, syndicated facility arrangements, securities and related pledges, as well as questions about the tax and banking issues. Separately, we have also discussed specific cases regarding corporate transformations, restructuring and mergers and acquisitions. The term sheets and reports are submitted always on time and we have always satisfied by the value of their services.’
‘Ilko Stoyanov’s knowledge and experience are exceptional on the field of banking and financing law. He also has broad expertise in the regulatory legislation applicable to the credit institutions, investments and banks.’
China Development Bank
Credit Suisse Securities Sociedad de Valores S.A.
Balkan Advisory Company
Monroe Capital Investments
BNP PARIBAS (Suisse) S.A.
Société Générale Group
UniCredit Bulbank, Bulgaria
European Investment Bank (EIB)
J.P. Morgan Securities
ING Bank N.V.
Bulgarian Development Bank
International Swaps and Derivatives Association
Ares Management Limited
Raiffeisen Bank International
- Advised United Group on the Bulgarian legal aspects of its €2.1bn notes issuances and on the structuring of the Bulgarian security package under the financing of the acquisition of BTC/Vivacom.
- Advised Guggenheim Partners LLC on a $535m financing extended to a Bulgarian subsidiary of a global BPO company.
- Advised Monroe Capital Investments on the Bulgarian legal aspects of a series of $500m financings.
‘The law firm is well-placed to address urgent and complex corporate and M&A matters. Being one of the leaders on the market, Schoenherr combines great legal expertise with business perception and excellent client care. They offer very comprehensive and well-planned services.’
‘Ilko Stoyanov’s knowledge and experience are exceptional in the field of corporate transformations, restructuring and mergers and acquisitions. He also has broad expertise in the regulatory legislation applicable to the credit institutions, investments and banks.’
‘Schoenherr is an exceptional law firm to work with that achieves outstanding results for its clients.’
‘Recently, I worked with Ilko Stoyanov in a M&A deal and he represented the buyer. Ilko is very experienced, professional and cooperative. He is experienced negotiator and is constructive to close the deal to the benefit of both parties.’
‘The team is experienced and hardworking, with international know-how and practice.’
‘I have worked with Alexandra Doytchinova and Stela Pavlova-Kaneva, who both demonstrate great legal knowledge and commercial understanding. Alexandra stands out with huge practical experience and the ability to think one step ahead and, thus, help the client to best address all issues that might arise. Stela is exceptionally attentive, dedicated, with profound legal background and always reliable. I appreciate both their professionalism and ability to negotiate with multiple parties at short notice and even over the weekend.’
‘Schoenherr has an impressive M&A team: highly knowledgeable, very responsive, proactive and able to handle difficult negotiations in a professional and calm manner. Both Alexandra Doytchinova and Stela Pavlova-Kaneva rank among the top M&A lawyers in the country. They always provided us with tailored solution-oriented advice which took into consideration the specifics of the business and our priorities. Alexandra is really good at making strategic judgment calls, her wide-ranging experience allows her to see the big-picture and advise on the best course of action even in complex situations. Stela is our go-to-lawyer: besides being incredibly smart and legally skilled, she’s always available, client-oriented and a pleasure to work with.’
‘Alexandra Doytchinova is a great professional, always finding clever solutions for each and every issue.’
Bulgarian Telecommunications Company
Société Générale Group
Smurfit Kappa Europe BV
- Advised United Group on the acquisition of several telecommunications companies, including Net1, Digital Cable Television (N3) and NetworX Bulgaria.
- Advised Ringier on the acquisition of Sportal Media Group and Digital Ventures.
- Advised MET Group on the acquisition of a 60 MW operational wind park located in Suvorovo, Bulgaria.
Stefana Tsekova; Radoslav Chemshirov
Other key lawyers:
‘Schoenherr is a one-stop-shop for all law related matters that might arise in the energy sector, from the regulatory framework, project initiation, execution and operation to relationships with partners, counterparties, state bodies and dispute settlement, if necessary, of course. Any big law firm is capable of handling our legal needs. But what makes Schoenherr different is their client focus, flexibility and practical advice – this is not often found with its competitors.’
‘Schoenherr’s energy team is outstanding. Radoslav Chemshirov is a true expert in his field, a committed, persuasive and incredibly effective lawyer. And last but not least, he’s a great person to deal with.’
‘Schoenherr is regarded as one of the leading energy law firms in Bulgaria. They are focused and practical, they don’t waste your time but get straight to the key point. They are our first choice and we trust them.’
‘I have most impressions from Stefana Tsekova and Radoslav Chemshirov. They’re both an example of what a really good legal advisor should be; quick, responsive and providing well-reasoned advice. Stefana is very well positioned among major energy lawyers on the local market. She demonstrates great industry knowledge and practical experience, while Radoslav thinks of legal questions from the client’s point of view and thus saves us time and resources. They’re both one of very few energy regulatory lawyers whose advice I trust.’
‘Extremely easy to work with and cooperate. Great availability and responsiveness.’
- Advised Enery Development on the multimillion acquisition of Karadzhalovo PV park, with installed nominal capacity of 50MW and installed peak capacity of 60.4MWp.
- Advising MET Group on the acquisition of a 60 MW operational wind park located in Suvorovo.
- Advised Liechtenstein Group on its investment in PV-Invest, a renewable energy company active in Austria and southern and south-eastern Europe.
Ilko Stoyanov; Galina Petkova
‘My main point of contact is Galina Petkova. She is a very good lawyer who combines knowledge and long-term practical experience in compliance matters. She has the ability to explain complex competition issues to non-legal experts.’
‘The team provides prompt and high-quality services where the motivation of the lawyers and their level of expertise are constantly expressed. We assess the level of service as excellent and we emphasize that the answers to the legal questions were provided by the law office in due time. Responses were accurate and always provided in close cooperation with in-house lawyers of the company.’
‘We can mention Galina Petkova because her knowledge and experience are exceptional in the field of competition, antitrust and unfair competition local and EU legislation. Her advice is always practical and effective.’
‘The team is very responsive, reliable, with a deep understanding and provides a professional advice.’
MET Renewables Holding
Dimitar Madjarov- 2
BSH Domakinskii uredi Bulgaria
Smurfit Kappa Group
- Advised United Group on obtaining merger control approvals by the competition authorities of Bulgaria, Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro in light of its acquisition of the Bulgarian operators Net1, ComNet Sofia, Digital Cable Television and Networx-Bulgaria.
- Advised Ringier on the multi-jurisdictional merger control assessment with respect to the acquisition of Sportal.bg.
- Advising MET Group on obtaining merger control approvals by the competition authorities of Bulgaria and Serbia on the acquisition of Enel Green Power S.p.A.
‘Elena Todorova is very knowledgeable in food law. She is responsive and provides practical advice.’
‘Extremely professional and well-versed in all aspects of healthcare and life sciences, which is rare to find on the Bulgarian market.’
‘Great team that possesses all the necessary expertise to deliver accurate and timely legal advice and anticipate the client’s needs and issues.’
‘Elena Todorova has solid knowledge of the food law sector and a business oriented capability to provide efficient legal advice in a timely manner.’
‘Very professional law firm with excellent knowledge of complex food law issues and constantly updated lawyers, who are active participants in several food law-related unions and scientific communities.’
Pharma Vision Europe
Taisho Pharmaceutical Co.
- Advising Dimitar Madzharov on the creation of an innovative meat products brand, food law, matters of unfair competition and consumer protection law on a regular basis.
- Advised Amway on their market entry into Bulgaria and the subsequent regulatory, e-commerce and legal compliance matters.
- Advising OMV on consumer protection and food law-related issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘Small but very focused and experienced team.’
‘Ventsislav Tomov is our key contact. On all occasions, he has been accessible and is knowledgeable.’
Subway International B.V.
Heta Asset Resolution Bulgaria
Power Horse Energy Drinks
Power Horse Energy Drinks
Gallup International Association
- Advising Subway in a franchising trademark dispute.
- Advised and represented a leading automotive manufacturer in customs seizure and criminal proceedings against an importer of IPR infringing automotive spare parts.
- Advising Dimitar Madjarov-2 on the creation of an innovative meat products brand and matters of IP.
Bulgaria > Projects and PPP Tier 2The interdisciplinary team at Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) has experience of acting for public and private sector clients on major energy, infrastructure and industrial projects, as well as public procurements. Stefana Tsekova heads the practice group and is experienced in handling energy projects, including advising Alstom on an open €65m railcars maintenance tender procedure announced by the Bulgarian Railway Company. Office managing partner and M&A specialist Alexandra Doytchinova is another key contact in the team.
Stefana Tsekova; Alexandra Doytchinova
Other key lawyers:
‘Promptness, professionalism, extensive experience and easy to approach.’
‘Stefana Tsekova is a brilliant, experienced lawyer with a good and quick understanding of the case.’
‘Extremely easy to work and cooperate with. Great availability and responsiveness.’
China Development Bank
SAP LABS Bulgaria
- Advised Enery Development on the acquisition of Karadzhalovo PV park, with installed nominal capacity of 50MW and installed peak capacity of 60.4MWp.
- Advised MET Group on the acquisition of 42 MW wind park from Enel Green Power.
- Advised China Development Bank with respect to €330m loan agreements to support projects in Bulgaria under the Belt and Road Initiative.
‘Great all-round team with legal experts possessing extensive and in-depth experience and knowledge.’
‘Alexandra Doytchinova – Senior adviser with a sharp and quick mind, highly recommendable. Elena Todorova – Provides excellent, hands-on advice even in complex situations.’
‘Ability to successfully resolve complex issues and projects on extremely short notice. Legal advice that can turn the tables for their clients.’
New Europe Property Investments
SAP LABS Bulgaria
- Advised Leoni on its entry into the Bulgarian market and the construction and lease of a production factory in Bulgaria.
- Advising OMV Bulgaria in connection with its operation, storage, and geographical expansion on a day-to-day basis
- Advising Mall Varna on its day-to-day management and operation, including on relations with lessees, drafting and negotiating lease agreements, future development of the site.
Bulgaria > TMT Tier 2Commended for its ‘international know-how‘, Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova)’s ‘well-established TMT team’ has a track record in noteworthy transactions which continues to grow, as evidenced by its recent advice to United Group on the acquisition of several leading telecoms companies, including Net1, Digital Cable Television (N3) and NetworX Bulgaria. The practice is also active in matters concerning the provision of electronic services and e-commerce, as well as data protection issues. ‘Experienced negotiator’ Ilko Stoyanov, who specialises in corporate mandates and M&A deals arising out of the telecoms sector, leads the team alongside head of regulatory Stefana Tsekova. Radoslav Chemshirov left the firm in November 2021.
Stefana Tsekova; Ilko Stoyanov
‘The team is very responsive and quickly follows up on topics and inquiries. The span of expertise offered is very broad, and the level of knowledge is deep. The team readily shares experience accumulated from recent cases and knows the latest developments and changes in legislation. Whenever in a grey zone, the team offers a solid pro/con analysis, with pragmatic recommendations.’
‘Recently, I worked with Ilko Stoyanov in an M&A deal, and he represented the buyer. Ilko is very experienced, professional and cooperative. He is an experienced negotiator and is constructive to close the deal to the benefit of both parties.’
‘Schoenherr has a well-established TMT team to support country-specific nuances of regulatory work. They are very good in complex transactions as well, as they understand the customer’s business and add value.’
‘The team is experienced and hardworking, with international know-how and practice.’
Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (Vivacom)
GTS TELECOM (part of Deutsche Telekom)
- Advised United Group on the acquisition of several telecoms companies (Net1, Digital Cable Television (N3), and NetworX Bulgaria).
- Advised Ringier on the acquisition of Sportal Media Group and an affiliated IT company behind the leading international Sports Content Management System – Digital Ventures.
- Advised the French-based SaaS solutions provider SendinBlue on the acquisition of Metrilo.
‘Brilliant lawyers, fast to understand and react to client needs.’
‘Schoenherr has been doing a fantastic job. All the lawyers are solution-oriented, highly knowledgeable and very responsive. They really understand our business and corporate goals and demonstrate excellent ability to professionally address every issue arising from our activities.’
‘Experience, promptness and high-quality service.’
‘We work with most of the lawyers in the firm. They are expeditious and competent.’
China Development Bank
VA Intertrading AG
DIF CIF 1 Rail Transport 2 B.V.
- Advised China Development Bank with respect to a €330m loan agreements to support projects in Bulgaria under the Belt and Road Initiative.
- Advising OMV Bulgaria OOD on the renewal of its port licence and port operator’s permit for Port Vidin.
- Advised DIF CIF 1 Rail Transport 2 B.V. on international private law questions regarding the sale and transfer of (and the creation of securities in relation to) rail cars manufactured and registered in Bulgaria.
Schoenherr > 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.
LanguagesEnglish German Bulgarian
Press Releases25th November 2022 Schoenherr advised Vienna-based property company CA Immobilien Anlagen Aktiengesellschaft ("CA Immo") on the sale of its Romanian portfolio to Romanian investment entity Paval Holding.
14th September 2022 Schoenherr in cooperation with Moravčević Vojnović and partners advised Greiner Packaging International GmbH (Greiner) on all legal aspects of its 100 % acquisition of Serbian PET flake producer ALWAG DOO NOVA GAJDOBRA from ALING-CONEL d.o.o. Gajdobra (Serbia) and REIWAG Facility Services GmbH (Austria).
Austria/CEE: Schoenherr advises on the sale of significant parts of Kontron Group’s IT services business in eleven countries for EUR 400m15th August 2022 Schoenherr advised stock exchange listed technology group Kontron AG (formerly S&T AG) on the sale of significant parts of Kontron Group’s IT services business to VINCI Energies S.A. in the course of a competitive auction process for a purchase price of approx. EUR 400m.
Schoenherr advises NEXI on signing agreement with Intesa Sanpaolo regarding merchant acquiring business in Croatia6th July 2022 Schoenherr advised NEXI S.p.A. ("NEXI") on reaching an agreement with Privredna banka Zagreb d.d. ("PBZ Bank") and PBZ Card d.o.o. ("PBZ Card"), a Croatian company indirectly controlled by Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A., to purchase PBZ Card’s merchant acquiring business in the Croatian market, for consideration of EUR 180m.
4th July 2022 Schoenherr advised Caverion Österreich GmbH on acquiring all shares in PORREAL GmbH in Austria, also including its subsidiary ALEA GmbH (together "PORREAL Group").
9th June 2022 Schoenherr advised ARZ Allgemeines Rechenzentrum GmbH (ARZ), a technology service provider focused on the banking sector in Austria, on its acquisition by Accenture.
Austria: Schoenherr advises MedAustron in EIA milestone of fourth treatment room at centre for ion therapy and research and receiving operating permit24th May 2022 Schoenherr advised the Austrian cancer treatment and research centre MedAustron in the environmental impact assessment for the commissioning of a fourth treatment room.
20th May 2022 Schoenherr advised the Austrian scale-up Storyblok on its Series B financing worth USD 47m, one of several major transactions in the Austrian start-up scene on which Schoenherr has advised in the recent past.
9th May 2022
Schoenherr advised Austrian HS Timber Group on the acquisition of Luvian Saha Oy, one of the largest private sawmills in Finland, from private owners. The transaction closed on 29 April 2022.
4th May 2022 Schoenherr won the "CEE Wide Law Firm of the Year" award at this year's Chambers Europe Awards Gala hosted by the renowned legal publisher Chambers and Partners.
Schoenherr advises HS Timber Group and Blue Minds on the sale of Interfloat to Borosil Renewables, Limited, India4th May 2022 Schoenherr advised Austrian HS Timber Group and Blue Minds on the sale of Interfloat Corporation and GMB Glasmanufaktur Brandenburg GmbH to Borosil Renewables Ltd, listed on the Indian Stock Exchange. The transaction agreement was executed on 25 April 2022. Closing is expected in the first half of 2022 and is still subject to the fulfilment of customary regulatory approvals.
29th April 2022 Schoenherr advised S&T AG, an Austrian company listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, in connection with the voluntary partial public takeover offer by grosso tec AG (Germany) on issues of Austrian law. Hogan Lovells advised S&T AG on German law issues.
5th April 2022 Schoenherr was awarded the "Austria M&A Legal Adviser of the Year" by Mergermarket at the European M&A Awards Gala on 31 March 2022.
Schoenherr advises IMMOFINANZ supervisory board in bidding contest between CPI Property Group and S IMMO9th March 2022 Schoenherr advised the supervisory board of Austrian IMMOFINANZ AG in connection with the two competing takeover bids by CPI Property Group SA and S IMMO AG.
8th February 2022 Schoenherr has advised the board of the Austrian pharmaceutical wholesaler Herba Chemosan Apotheker-AG (Herba Chemosan) on the recent management buy-out (MBO).
Schoenherr advises RGREEN INVEST on unique EUR 15m green bond to finance photovoltaic plant in Bulgaria7th February 2022 Schoenherr advised RGreen Invest, a French management company representing a fund for green energy projects, on a EUR 15m bond to finance the construction of a photovoltaic plant near the town of Razlog in southwestern Bulgaria, as well as on a standard security package for it. The bond's issuer is a member of the Renalfa group, a leading Bulgarian clean energy and e-mobility provider with a focus on renewable energy generation assets.
3rd February 2022 Schoenherr advised Chaos, a global leader in photorealistic rendering technology, on the Bulgarian law aspects of its merger with Enscape, a leading developer of real-time rendering and design workflow technology for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industries.
2nd February 2022 Schoenherr supported the Austrian Mayr-Melnhof Holz group in the financing of its acquisition of Swedish sawmill group Bergkvist Siljan.
2nd February 2022 Schoenherr recently announced the promotion of three equity partners and two contract partners effective 1 February 2022. This round of promotions has now been extended to include four new counsels: Sara Khalil, Iliyana Sirakova, Marco Thorbauer and Bojana Vareskic.
24th January 2022 Schoenherr has, yet again, been named top M&A legal advisor in the Austrian market by Mergermarket. For over a decade, Schoenherr has been leading the Austrian Mergermarket M&A league tables.
20th January 2022 Schoenherr advised the Austrian high-tech company Easelink, a provider of automated electric vehicle charging solutions, on its EUR 8.3m Series A financing round.
Schoenherr advises Austrian unicorn Bitpanda on expansion of its product portfolio to include exchange traded cryptocurrencies20th January 2022 Schoenherr advised the Austrian fintech Bitpanda on the expansion of its product portfolio to include exchange traded cryptocurrencies. This product provides investors with easy access to crypto assets via a liquid financial instrument traded on a regulated exchange.
17th January 2022 Schoenherr advised Mirova and RP Global on the sale of two onshore wind farms in Dalmatia, Danilo (44MW) and Rudine (34MW), to Professio Energia d.d. (DLPR, Zagreb Stock Exchange). Before the closing of this transaction, Privredna Banka Zagreb d.d., a member of Intesa Sanpaolo Group, refinanced loans provided by the IFC and UniCredit. Schoenherr acted as lead counsel to Mirova and RP Global on both the sale and refinancing transactions.
13th January 2022 Schoenherr advised the Managers on the successful issue of EUR 750m 0.01 %. Mortgage Pfandbriefe due 2028 (AT0000A2UXM1) and EUR 750m 0.50 %. Mortgage Pfandbriefe due 2037 (AT0000A2UXN9) by Erste Group Bank AG.
4th January 2022 Schoenherr advised Palfinger AG, a leading provider of innovative crane and lifting solutions, on the reversal of the cross-shareholding with the SANY Group, a Chinese equipment manufacturing group.
Schoenherr advises UNIQA on successful issue of new EUR 375m green tier 2 notes and notes repurchase16th December 2021 Schoenherr advised UNIQA Insurance Group AG, one of the leading insurance groups in Austria and CEE, on its successful issue of new EUR 375m green tier 2 notes and concurrent repurchase of existing subordinated notes in the same principal amount.
14th December 2021 Schoenherr advised the RegTech start-up 360kompany AG and its shareholders on the sale to Moody’s Corporation, on what is purported to be one of the biggest exits in Austria's start-up scene to date.
3rd December 2021 Schoenherr advised Sanofi, a global leader in healthcare, on the acquisition of 100 % of the shares in Origimm Biotechnology GmbH, a private Austrian biotechnology company.
26th November 2021 Schoenherr advised Slate Asset Management, a global alternative investment platform focused on real estate, on the acquisition of a portfolio of essential real estate assets in Austria and Slovakia for approximately EUR 90m.
24th November 2021 Schoenherr advised the Liechtenstein Group on its investment in Tesvolt GmbH, a technology leader for energy storage in the commercial and industrial sector.
19th November 2021 Schoenherr Romania advised Aquila Part Prod Com on the successful completion of an initial public offering ("IPO") for the sale of some 66.6m new shares, for a total price of approx. EUR 74m.
Schoenherr to strengthen leadership across Austria and CEE by appointing new equity and contract partners5th November 2021 Schoenherr will substantially strengthen its leadership by appointing new equity and contract partners across Austria and CEE effective 1 February 2022.
22nd 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
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.
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?
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
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...
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...
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
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
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...
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
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.
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
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...
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...
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.
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 …