Karanovic & Partners > Belgrade, Serbia > Firm Profile

Karanovic & Partners

Serbia > Banking and finance Tier 1

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key clients

International Finance Corporation

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

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

City of Belgrade



Elicio Ali VE

Work highlights

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

Serbia > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

Karanovic & Partners‘ large corporate and commercial team is routinely involved in Serbia’s headline transactions and the firm regularly leverages the expertise of lawyers across multiple jurisdictions, including Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Dragan Karanović leads the group, which also includes renewables and mining law specialist Miloš Vučković and Marjan Poljak, who routinely advises on major M&A deals. Other highly regarded partners are Miloš Jakovljević, Ivan Nonković and Goran Radosevic, while Sava Drača, Igor Radovanović and Marko Ćulafić are experienced senior associates.


A well-staffed firm with experienced experts in every field.

I am extremely satisfied with the services they have provided so far, as their lawyers showed a flawless understanding of the M&A market and provided practical solutions for corporate issues.

Their in-depth knowledge of specific industries is one of their strongest assets.

Marjan Poljak has exceptional availability.

Ivan Nonković is one of the market’s leading M&A lawyers – he has exquisite knowledge of the banking industry, and is able to provide exceptional and creative solutions for the most complex issues, which for us is extremely important.

Key clients


Take Two

Mars Serbia

Carlyle Group

Mid Europa Partners

Digital Serbia Initiative

Inditex Group





DPE Deutsche Private Equity

Work highlights

  • Advised Take Two on the acquisition of Nordeus, a Belgrade-based mobile games company.
  • Advised Jasmina Knežević and Milan Knežević, the founders of Bel Medic, on their agreement to sell a 70% share in Bel Medic and partner up with Acibadem Healthcare Group.
  • In cooperation with other law firms, advised Pfizer on the separation of its Upjohn businesses in Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Serbia > Competition Tier 1

‘A ‘go-to antitrust law firm‘, Karanovic & Partners routinely assists with complex regional transactions and competition investigations. It also advises on clients’ day-to-day competition law needs, and acts in significant cases before the competition authorities. A senior partner, Rastko Petaković is particularly focused on private equity clients, and specialises in TMT and FMCG-related matters. Bojan Vučković is a merger control, abuse of dominance and restrictive agreement expert. Bojana Miljanović was promoted to partner in December 2021, while Stefan Savić and Mladen Vujić (a recent arrival from BDK Advokati AOD) are key associates.


My go-to antitrust law firm in both Serbia and the whole region – a very strong team with several very capable partners.

A market-leading team with great knowledge of local markets and legal issues, as well as corresponding EU law issues.

Their universally recognised ability and reputation allow them to act as true thought leaders in Serbia and beyond.

Valid advisers who are capable of answering all your questions.

They understand our needs and are very proactive – excellent pricing too.

Rastko Petaković is most likely the leading figure in the market. He combines a deep understanding of legal and economic issues with excellent managerial skills.

Bojan Vučković has built an impressive record for himself. He has excellent technical skills, is very reactive, and provides clear strategic guidance.

Bojana Miljanović has a very international profile, while being very much on top of local developments – very smart and a great pleasure to work with.

Key clients


United Group

Bain Capital








Providence Equity

Abris Capital Partners

MK Group


International Finance Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Peugeot on the multi-jurisdictional merger control filings for its merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
  • Assisted Volkswagen with multi-jurisdictional merger control filings, which concerned the acquisition of Navistar International Corporation.
  • Assisted International Finance Corporation and the World Bank Group with the competition law analysis of the rail freight transport sector in Serbia.

Serbia > Dispute resolution Tier 1

Acting for local and international companies, financial institutions and global investors, Karanovic & Partners fields specialists in ICSID, ICC and UNCITRAL arbitration. The Belgrade office leverages integrated regional coverage through its cooperation with local lawyers in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia. Areas of notable strength include construction, energy, shipping, employment and M&A disputes, along with IP, bankruptcy and white-collar crime cases. Milan Lazić heads up the regional arbitration and litigation practice, which showcases ‘excellent litigation and arbitration expertMilica Savić and highly regarded senior associate Aleksandar Novaković.

Practice head(s):


Their unique experience in international and investment law really separates them from the competition.

Great dispute resolution knowledge and experience.

Great service from lawyers who all stand out.

They will always find a way to explain even the most challenging or tricky legal issues and terms, so that they can be properly understood by non-legal clients.

Milan Lazić has a great deal of experience in international arbitration and general disputes work.

Milan Lazić has excellent litigation skills – he was very thorough and analysed every specific detail of the case. Strategically, he was of the utmost importance for our case.

Milica Savić is an excellent litigation and arbitration expert, who is very helpful during preparation for the witness stand, and has great organisational skills.

Milica Savić is an exceptional professional, who stands out for her commitment to the client and their needs.

Key clients

Bosnia and Herzegovina

MK Group Serbia

Henkel Serbia

Henkel Central Eastern Europe

OTP bank

Petrol Group

Italiana Costruzioni

Johnson Electric


Zijin Mining Group Co

Serbia Zijin Bor Copper

Hutchinson Group

Clean Earth Capital

Work highlights

  • Representing (in cooperation with local lawyers) Bosnia and Herzegovina in an ICSID arbitration against a foreign investor, which concerns a concession for hydropower plants.
  • Representing MediGroup in various commercial and civil court cases.
  • Representing Henkel in a number of employment and commercial disputes in Serbia and in Montenegro.

Serbia > Employment Tier 1

Widely esteemed for its handling of employment law matters, Karanovic & Partners‘ practice ranges from day-to-day employment issues to the labour aspects of M&A deals and labour disputes. Other areas of strength include advising on outsourcing, secondments, pension entitlements, harassment at work, whistleblowing and injuries at work. Practice head Milena Jakšić Papac focuses on employment terminations, redundancies, structuring compensation and benefits packages, trade union relations and collective bargaining. Also integral to the practice are senior associate Boris Radojčić, who joined from SOG Law Firm in January 2021, and associate Milijana Tomić.

Practice head(s):


Reliable service and high levels of professionalism.

Great knowledge and experience.

The team provides an outstanding service and very business-oriented advice. They are also pragmatic, always available and very reliable.

They provide fast and reliable answers to all of my enquires.

Super attentive, diligent, quick to respond, and they provide a highly courteous and professional service.

We trust Milena Jakšić Papac and Milijana Tomić – they protect our company’s interests, act to minimise risks, and find practical solutions.

Milena Jakšić Papac is an exceptional employment lawyer, who is very hardworking and has pragmatic solutions to every problem and incredible patience.

Boris Radojčić demonstrates high levels of professionalism, extreme availability, fluent English and great interpersonal skills.

Key clients



Inditex Group (Zara)



Johnson Electric International

West Pharmaceutical Services

Ericsson doo Belgrade



SAS Institute





Work highlights

  • Advised Mars on the employment aspects of its global reorganisation process, which included organisational changes of teams in Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro.
  • Advised Inditex on structuring the transfer of employees, as part of a merger procedure in which it merged all its Serbian-based companies into one corporate entity.
  • Advised Pfizer on the employment aspects of a transaction with Mylan N V (formerly Mylan Inc) that related to a business transfer.

Serbia > Projects and energy Tier 1

The energy and natural resources, infrastructure and transport team at ‘solutions-orientedKaranovic & Partners is constantly involved in headline projects in the electricity, renewables, mining, and oil and gas sectors. The group’s expertise ranges from the construction of power plants, power purchase agreements and energy trading, to mining law and public procurement. Active in corporate and commercial, real estate and energy law matters, Miloš Vučković has notable specialisms in renewables and mining. The ‘always availablePetar Mitrović‘s experience includes energy project finance, and Katarina Tomić is the associate to note.

Other key lawyers:


Responsive, fast-working, tough and solutions oriented.

The law firm with the best energy expertise in Serbia, thanks to the knowledge of its lawyers and overall practice.

They are very dedicated to each client, and are able to understand the overall issues associated with project development.

Petar Mitrović is always available to listen and provide advice to clients.

Key clients


Zijin Mining Group

Bechtel International



Rio Tinto

ZF Friedrichshafen

Serbia Zijin Mining

Akuo Energy

Windvision Operations

Economic Consulting Associates



City of Belgrade



Continental Automotive

Work highlights

  • Advised Elicio, an international Belgian renewable energy producer, on a senior secured loan with UniCredit Serbia to finance the construction, commissioning and operation of a wind power plant.
  • Acting as regional adviser of choice for French renewable energy power producer Akuo on the acquisition of a wind power plant project in Serbia.
  • Advised Rakita Explorations on project matters regarding the Cukaru Peki deposit in East Serbia (the Timok Magmatic Complex).

Serbia > Real estate and construction Tier 1

Through co-operation with local lawyers, Karanovic & Partners‘ large regional real estate practice covers Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in addition to Serbia. With such capacity, the firm is able to handle large-scale, cross-border projects on a consistent basis. Founding partner Dragan Karanovic has over 20 years’ experience in advising on energy and infrastructure deals. Promoted to partner in November 2021, Ana Luković‘s workload covers sales and acquisitions, property developments, FIDIC contracts, hotel operation agreements, and property joint ventures. Luković is ‘a real star, who is very knowledgeable‘.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


Responsive, fast, tough and solutions oriented.’

‘A professional team that is into the details.’

One of the best legal practices in the region.

They are very professional and experienced in the real estate and construction field.

Experience, professionalism and great individuals are what makes them one of the best in the legal market.

‘Ana Luković is a real star, who is very knowledgeable, particularly in FIDIC contracts. She is also personable and very easy to work with. I would trust her with any of my construction clients working in Serbia.

Ana Luković provides both legal knowledge and flexible solutions – and is available online, offline, after working hours, and on weekends.

Ana Luković is a real professional, who is easy to communicate with, knowledgeable and very supportive.

Key clients

BIG Shopping centers

Bechtel International

Take Two

Epic Games



Africa Israel Group

CTP Group



Work highlights

  • Advised BIG Shopping Centers on purchasing two projects in Serbia, the Kragujevac Plaza shopping centre and Kruševac Shopping Park.
  • Acting for Bechtel, which (together with Enka) is engaged in the construction of the Morava Corridor, a road connecting Pan-European Corridors X and XI.
  • Advised Epic Games on the construction of a campus in Novi Sad.

Serbia > Intellectual property Tier 2

Karanovic & Partners has ‘extraordinary knowledge of IP law that goes beyond standard practice‘. The team is sought out by clients for its assistance with trade mark portfolios and the enforcement of IP rights, as well as advising on patent registration processes and anti-counterfeiting matters. It also advises software and FMCG companies on copyright issues. Senior associate Nikola Kliska, who ‘understands the nuances and risks that are specific to IP law‘, heads the IP practice group. Dispute resolution specialist Milica Savić provides partner-level support.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


The firm has a very practical and detail-oriented team that is full of excellent professionals.

The lawyers are quick to analyse legal problems, and always provide clients with practical and business-oriented advice.

Extraordinary knowledge of IP law that goes beyond standard practice.

Lawyers who are very open-minded and capable of providing logical reasoning and sound judgement.

This team possess high levels of skills and delivers great quality of service.

Possesses the depth of knowledge, international network of co-operating IP offices and professionalism that we need for our clients. The collaboration with this office is flawless and very efficient.

‘Nikola Kliska is an experienced legal professional, who has provided us with valuable legal advice on numerous occasions.

Nikola Kliska understands the nuances and risks that are specific to IP law, and provides great legal assistance for cross-border IP projects.

Key clients

Philip Morris International Management


Dutch Environment Corporation


Two Desperados



United Cloud

Work highlights

  • Managing Philip Morris’ trade mark registration and maintenance proceedings.
  • Managing Off-White’s trade mark registration and maintenance proceedings.
  • Managing Two Desperados’ trade mark registration and maintenance proceedings.

Who we are

We are a regional legal practice in Southeast Europe with tradition spanning two decades and cooperating offices in Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania. With more than 100 attorneys at law cooperating across the region, we take pride in our work, dedication and understanding of our client’s industries and needs.

What we do

We work with some of the most respected and reputable businesses in the world, banks, as well as governments, state-owned entities, startups and NGOs. We see our clients as long-term partners. We focus on straightforward solutions and tailor-made advice. Lawyers cooperating with us are fully immersed in our clients’ culture and industry to ensure that the work is delivered intelligently and reliably.

What sets us apart

For us, excellence is a must. We are reliable, adaptive and fast, operating under the “one team” principle, and combining our regional reach and local know-how to deliver coordinated legal advice necessary for achieving our clients’ goals

Banking and Finance Darko Jovanovićdarko.jovanovic@karanovicpartners.com+381 11 3094 200
Banking and Finance Maja Jovančević-Šetkamaja.jovancevic@karanovicpartners.com+381 11 3094 200
Corporate & Commercial Marjan Poljakmarjan.poljak@karanovicpartners.com+381 11 3094 200
Competition Rastko Petakovićrastko.petakovic@karanovicpartners.com+381 11 3094 200
Corporate & Commercial Dragan Karanovićdragan.karanovic@karanovicpartners.com+381 11 3094 200
Dispute Resolution Milan Lazićmilan.lazic@karanovicpartners.com+381 11 3094 200
Employment Milena Jakšić Papacmilena.papac@karanovicpartners.com+381 11 3094 200
Energy and Infrastructure Miloš Vučkovićmilos.vuckovic@karanovicpartners.com+381 11 3094 200
Real Estate Ana Lukovićana.lukovic@karanovicpartners.com+381 11 3094 200
Tax Branimir Rajšićbranimir.rajsic@karanovicpartners.com+381 11 3094 200
Sava Drača photoMr Sava DračaSenior Associate (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Katarina Gudurić photoMs Katarina GudurićPartner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Miloš Jakovljević photoMr Miloš JakovljevićPartner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Milena Jakšić Papac photoMs Milena Jakšić PapacPartner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Darko Jovanović photoMr Darko JovanovićSenior Partner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Maja Jovančević Šetka photoMs Maja Jovančević ŠetkaPartner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Dragan Karanović photoMr Dragan KaranovićSenior Partner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Milan Lazić photoMr Milan LazićSenior Partner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Ana Luković photoMs Ana LukovićPartner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Bojana Miljanović Hussey photoMs Bojana Miljanović HusseyPartner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Petar Mitrović photoMr Petar MitrovićPartner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Ivan Nonković photoMr Ivan NonkovićPartner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Aleksandar Novaković photoMr Aleksandar NovakovićSenior Associate (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Rastko Petaković photoMr Rastko PetakovićSenior Partner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Marjan Poljak photoMr Marjan PoljakSenior Partner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Boris Radojčić photoMr Boris RadojčićSenior Associate (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Goran Radošević photoMr Goran RadoševićPartner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Milica Savić photoMs Milica SavićPartner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Veljko Smiljanić photoMr Veljko SmiljanićSenior Associate
Mina Srećković photoMs Mina SrećkovićSenior Associate (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Milijana Tomić photoMs Milijana TomićAssociate (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Bojan Vučković photoMr Bojan VučkovićPartner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Miloš Vučković photoMr Miloš VučkovićSenior Partner (Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners)
Fee Earners : 77
World Services Group
International Bar Association
Cooperating law offices : Banja Luka*
Cooperating law offices : Ljubljana*
Cooperating law offices : Podgorica*
Cooperating law offices : Sarajevo*
Cooperating law offices : Skopje*
Cooperating law offices : Zagreb*

Karanovic & Partners as regional legal practice provides seamless integrated legal services by cooperating with lawyers in Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Bosnia and North Macedonia. In Albania our legal practice cooperates with a local independent law firm, which is not part of our practice, but with whom we had closely and successfully cooperated on a number of projects in the past. Additionally, in accordance with the Agreement on Legal Aid in civil and criminal matters between Serbia and Montenegro, attorneys at law from both countries may legally represent clients before authorities of both countries equally. 

Our network of legal advisors has been advising clients in some of the most high-profile projects in the SEE region over the last two decades and has a great amount of experience in assisting international clients with fully rounded legal assistance. We are also able to take the lead in international projects and complex cross-border mandates, and we have developed strong ties with law firms in other regional countries, ensuring that our clients receive full support whenever and wherever they need it. 

International Desks 

Our dedicated international desks consist of highly experienced partners and diligent attorneys at law throughout the entire South East European region, whose specialist know-how and expertise are combined with an in-depth knowledge of local legislation. We have a strong track record assisting foreign investors in the SEE region and are intimately familiar with the needs and requirements of our clients. This enables us to provide the best service under competitive terms in the region. We have the following international desks:  

  • German  
  • French  
  • Nordic  
  • Chinese 


Additionally, Karanovic & Partners is a member of numerous global networks of law firms and through these networks focused on various legal practice areas, we are able to cover the jurisdictions beyond the SEE region and cover complex and multi-faceted international projects. In this manner we have access to a wide range of the best law firms that are recognised on their markets and with whom we have had a long and successful cooperation on numerous multi-jurisdictional projects in this region. 

ZF opens Factory in Pančevo

A leader on the car industry market, the German company ZF opens its factory in Pančevo within the first phase of the EUR 160 million investment. The factory will start producing machines, generators for hybrid and electric drives, gearshift switches and microswitches in the first half of June.

Mid Europa Partners sells Knjaz Miloš to KMV and PepsiCo

Mid Europa Partners, the leading private equity investor in Central and Eastern Europe, announced today the agreement to sell its shares in Knjaz Miloš to a joint venture between Karlovarské Minerální Vody (KMV) and PepsiCo, Inc. (PepsiCo). The transaction is currently subject to customary regulatory approval and is expected to close in Q3 2019.

Karanovic & Partners wins the Law Firm of the Year Award

We are proud to announce that Karanovic & Partners is the 2019 winner of the prestigious Law Firm of the Year award, in the Eastern Europe and the Balkans category. This is the third time that Karanovic & Partners is selected among some of the best law firms in Europe to take home this renowned accolade, awarded by The Lawyer Magazine.

Mid Europa Partners sells Bambi to Coca-Cola HBC

Coca-Cola HBC announced the agreement to acquire Bambi, the leading Serbian biscuit and confectionary maker, from Mid Europa Partners, the leading private equity investor in Central and Eastern Europe. Karanovic & Partners, working together with White & Case and KPMG, advised Mid Europa Partners in this transaction – which is now subject to customary competition authority clearance and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

Top Ranked in the 2019 Chambers Global Guide

We are proud to announce that Karanovic & Partners has once again been top-ranked on the most recent Chambers Global leading law firm listing. The 2019 Chambers Global guide highlights the Corporate & Commercial practice group in the jurisdictions of Montenegro and Serbia as belonging to band 1.

Karanovic & Partners Shortlisted With 5 Deals for Deal of the Year Award

After winning the Deal of the Year Award in 2018, Karanovic & Partners is this year once again in the finals for this prestigious accolade – this time with 5 deals and in 5 jurisdictions. Organized by the renowned CEE Legal Matters magazine, these awards are a way of recognizing the biggest and most important deals by law firms in Central and Eastern European jurisdictions.

Karanovic & Partners Promotes New Senior Associates

Karanović & Partners is pleased to announce that Milorad GajićAndrej JelenkovićMina Srećković, Amina Đugum and Lejla Popara, have been named Senior Associates.* These talented individuals have established themselves as key members of our team, and their promotion reflects their professionalism, as well as exemplary service to clients.

Major Transaction: Epic Games Acquires 3Lateral

Karanovic & Partners is proud to support Epic Games in their acquisition of 3Lateral, the leading developer of digital humans technology and creative content.

Macedonia: Stricter Rules For Awarding New Exploitation Concessions

After a long, complex and nation-wide discussion, on 9 January 2019, the Macedonian Parliament introduced stricter rules for obtaining exploitation concessions. Effective immediately, the novelties from the Minerals Law target potentially new mines, and they came as a result of the broad interest shown during the last couple of years concerning the environmental effects of the mining sector, expressed by rallies, local referendums, constitutional challenges and various debates.

Zijin Mining Officially Takes Over RTB Bor

Zijin Mining, one of China's biggest gold producers and the second biggest producer of copper ore, became a major shareholder of the Serbia's sole copper complex RTB Bor. The Chinese company pledged to invest USD 1.46 billion in return for a 63% stake.

Karanovic & Partners advised Zijin Mining in this privatisation procedure. The services performed by the Karanovic & Partners legal team – led by Senior Partner Miloš Vučković and Partner  Ivan Nonković, included legal advisory, a due diligence of RTB Bor, the review, analysis and negotiations of the transaction documents, as well as assistance in the privatisation process.

Copper ore has been excavated and melted for more than 100 years in RTB Bor, which contributes 0.8% to the country's GDP. 

Zijin Mining Group Company Limited is a leading a Chinese gold, copper and non-ferrous metals producer and refine. The company employs more than 17 thousand workers in nine countries, and last year it was the 22nd most valuable mining company in the world. Zijin's annual operating income amounts to EUR 10 billion, with net profits exceeding EUR 230 million.

Zijin has pledged that it would keep all 5,000 workers currently employed in RTB Bor.

* Independent attorney at law in cooperation with Karanović & Nikolić.

Karanovic & Partners wins the 2018 Stanton Chase Most Innovative Talent Programme Award

We are honoured and delighted to announce that Karanovic & Partners won the Stanton Chase Talent Management Award in the Most Innovative Locally Developed Talent Programme category. These prestigious accolades are organized by  Stanton Chase, the leading international retained executive search and consulting firm and are now in their fifth year.

Renewable Incentives in Serbia Remain Unchanged in 2019

The Government of the Republic of Serbia extended the validity of the Decree on Incentive Measures for the Production of Electric Energy from Renewable Energy Sources and High-efficiency Cogeneration of Electric Energy and Thermal Energy (Decree) until the end of 2019. It was initially valid until the end of 2018.

Zijin Mining takes over RTB Bor for USD 1.46 billion

Zijin Mining, one of China's biggest gold producers and the second biggest producer of copper ore, won the tender to become a strategic partner in Serbia's sole copper complex RTB Bor. The Chinese company pledged to invest USD 1.46 billion in return for a 63% stake.

Karanovic & Partners advised Zijin Mining in this privatisation procedure. The services performed by the Karanovic & Partners legal team – led by Senior Partner Miloš Vučkovićand Partner ⃰ Ivan Nonković, included legal advisory, a due diligence of RTB Bor, the review and analysis of the transaction documents, as well as assistance in the privatisation process.

Copper ore has been excavated and melted for more than 100 years in RTB Bor, which contributes 0.8% to the country's GDP. 

Currently mining contributes 0.9 to 1% of Serbia's GDP, however, the aim is to raise this amount to 5%. By itself, RTB Bor.

Zijin Mining Group Company Limited is a leading a Chinese gold, copper and non-ferrous metals producer and refine. The company employs more than 17 thousand workers in nine countries, and last year it was the 22nd most valuable mining company in the world. Zijin's annual operating income amounts to EUR 10 billion, with net profits exceeding EUR 230 million.

Zijin has pledged that it would keep all 5,000 workers currently employed in RTB Bor.

⃰ Independent attorney at law in cooperation with Karanović & Nikolić.

Karanovic & Partners wins the 2018 Euromoney Real Estate Awards

We are proud to announce that Karanovic & Partners won the Euromoney Real Estate Survey in the Advisors and Consultants category for the second year in a row! Karanovic & Partners was once again chosen as the Number One Legal Service provider in Serbia in the Real Estate industry.

"It is truly a privilege to be honored with this award for the second time. This recognition attests Karanovic & Partners's commitment to outstanding client service, as well as the expertise and professionalism of our Real Estate team", said Rastko Petaković, the Managing Partner at Karanovic & Partners.

The Euromoney Real Estate Survey canvasses the opinions of the leading firms involved in the real estate sector worldwide – the advisors, developers, investment managers, banks, and corporate end-users of real estate are all invited to take part. These awards, now into their 14th year, are a way of recognising the leading providers of real estate products and services.

The renowned Euromoney magazine was created in 1969, originally to cover the re-emergence of the international cross-border capital markets. Today, their specialised journalists bring an authoritative round up of banking, capital markets, investment, foreign exchange & treasury, and regional markets including Asia, Latin America, and EMEA.

Changes in Serbian Employment Legislation 2018

The beginning of the summer brought amendments to several employment-related laws. The most notable changes are presented below:

The Law on the Employment of Foreigners
  • The duration of the labour market test - The labour market test within the work-permit acquisition process (through which the National Employment Service examines whether there are any Serbian citizens suitable for the vacant position), is shortened to 10 days, having previously lasted one month. This amendment is expected to expedite the procedure of issuing work permits.
  • A new type of work permit is introduced - the temporary work permit. This permit may be issued in cases of national interest or for the purpose of fulfilling Serbia's international obligations. In this case, the labour market test may even last less than 10 days, upon the Minister of Labour's decision. The temporary work permit may be issued with consent from the Minister of Interior to a foreigner who applied for a temporary residence permit, with a validity period of up to 45 days.

Serbia Amends Company Law

The Serbian Parliament adopted amendments to the Serbian Company Law (Law) on 8 June 2018, and they were published in the official journal on the same date.  

Serbia: Athletics Equipment Distributors Under Investigation for Failure to Notify Exclusivity

Following a tip, the Serbian Competition Commission (the "Commission") recently started investigating the business relationship between GR Sport and Polanik, a Polish company, concerning an alleged infringement of competition – the conclusion of a restrictive agreement which was not notified for prior exemption under the applicable legal framework.

Karanović & Nikolić at the 2018 Balkans M&A and Private Equity Forum

Rastko Petaković, managing partner at Karanović & Nikolić, held a presentation of the latest private equity trends CEE region on the 2018 Balkans M&A and Private Equity Forum. Organized by Mergermarket, a leading media company that provides specialist news, research, analysis and data on financial markets, this is the second year this conference was held in Belgrade.

Karanović & Nikolić Wins the 2017 Deal of the Year Award

We are pleased to announce that Karanović & Nikolić has won the 2017 Deal of the Year Award for Serbia for the EBRD and IFC financing of Vetrolektrane Balkana - Čibuk 1 Windfarm. Organized by the renowned CEE Legal Matters magazine, this is the first year that these awards were held and they are a way of recognizing the biggest and most important deals by leading law firms in Central and Eastern European jurisdictions.

New Serbian Law on Foreigners Adopted

In March 2018, the new Serbian Law on Foreigners was adopted, replacing the 2008 version of this law- in force until recently without any amendments. The new law will enter into force on 3 October 2018.

The Serbian Law on Foreign Exchange Amended

On 20 April 2018, the amendments to the Law on Foreign Exchange (the “Law”) were adopted and will enter into force on 28 April 2018. Exceptionally, the application of certain provisions related to the assuming of competencies over foreign exchange control by the National Bank of Serbia is delayed until 1 January 2019.

The use of AI in Law: How just is machine justice?

Artificial intelligence is a burning topic in many sectors today and the legal industry is no exception. Recently, at the World Services Group’s annual employment law conference held in February, AI was heavily debated along with its’ impact not only on the legal profession, lawyers, clients, the way business is done, but also our traditional understanding of concepts such as “law” or “justice”.

Montenegrin Competition Agency takes over State Aid control

As of recently, state aid control is a part of the Montenegrin Competition Agency's (the "Agency") scope of authority. The Montenegrin Parliament enacted a new State Aid Control Law (the "State Aid Law"), largely aligned with the EU legal framework - especially with Articles 107 and 108 of the TFEU. In the institutional sense, the new law grants the Agency the competence for reviewing state aid, since the former State Aid Commission was not considered a sufficiently operationally-independent authority - which represented an issue in Montenegro's EU accession negotiations (Chapter 8).

Karanović & Nikolić Recognized as Top Tier Law Firm by Legal 500

We are proud to announce that Karanović & Nikolić and its cooperating lawyers have once again been recognized as a top tier legal practice on the 2018 Legal 500 list of leading law firms. This prestigious UK-based directory provides comprehensive worldwide coverage on recommended law firms.

Karanović & Nikolić Supports The Belgrade Pre-Moot Competition & Arbitration Conference

With record breaking attendance this year, Karanović & Nikolić continued its traditional support to the Belgrade pre-moot and X Belgrade Arbitration conference, organized by the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Law.

Landmark Deal: PPF Acquires Telenor’s CEE Operations for 2.8 Billion Euros

Karanović & Nikolić, together with White & Case as lead international counsel, advised PPF Group, the Czech investment firm, on the EUR 2.8 billion acquisition of Telenor's assets in Central and Eastern Europe. The transaction includes the Norwegian telecoms firm's mobile operations in Bulgaria, Hungary, Montenegro and Serbia, as well as the technology service provider Telenor Common Operation. The transaction requires necessary regulatory approval and is expected to be completed within Q3 2018.

Karanović & Nikolić at the Symposium for Lawyers in Serbian Banks

Maja Jovančević Šetka, partner ⃰ at Karanović & Nikolić's Banking & Finance practice group, held a presentation titled "Risk Participation Agreement – Collateral or Derivative, Implementation of the Law on Foreign Exchange Operations" at a symposium for lawyers in Serbian banks. Organised by the Association of Serbian Banks, the conference was held at Lake Palić in Serbia, on the 8th and 9th of March, under the title "The Status of Banks and Legal Protection".

Karanović & Nikolić at the Intellectual Property in Serbia Conference

Tamara Bubalo, Associate in Karanović & Nikolić's Intellectual Property practice group, held a presentation on 5 March at the "Intellectual Property in Serbia" conference. Organized by the European Law Students Association (ELSA) as part of the "IP Law in Serbia" project, the event was held at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Law< premises and was attended by more than 140 eminent legal and business professionals and students.

Karanović & Nikolić: Managing Emotions in Labour Disputes – More than Law

On 21 March, Karanović & Nikolić held its traditional student workshop titled “Managing Emotions in Labour Disputes – More than Law”. The event was organised in cooperation with the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Law.

Karanović & Nikolić Ranks as Leading Law Firm in Chambers Europe 2018

We are proud to announce that Karanović & Nikolić has once again emerged on top of the rankings on the most recent list of leading European law firms – the prestigious Chambers Europe 2018. This year's edition of the Chambers Europe has highlighted seven different practice areas within the Karanović & Nikolić legal practice and cooperating offices as belonging to top tier level – Corporate/Commercial, Banking & Finance, Competition/Antitrust, Dispute Resolution, Employment, Energy and Real Estate.

Alltech Sells its Factory in Serbia to Lesaffre

Alltech - a leading global animal and crop nutrition company, sold its baking yeast factory in Senta, in northern Serbia, to Lesaffre - a leading global baking yeast and fermented products company. The acquired factory will continue to produce baker's yeast for the Serbian market and yeast extracts for the food and animal feed industries. The transaction is in line with Alltech's continued focus on its core business in animal and crop nutrition.

Serbian Commission Fines Another Bid Rigging Cartel

The Serbian Competition Commission (the "Commission") recently fined four undertakings for bid rigging in the public procurement for the maintenance of train wagons. The contracting authority, the "Nikola Tesla" power plant, which represents the largest electricity-producing complex in Serbia, informed the Commission about possible collusion in public procurement for repair services for the train wagons it uses in coal transportation.

Karanović & Nikolić Shortlisted To Win Another Law Firm Of The Year Award

After winning the Law Firm of the Year awards in 2014 and 2017, Karanović & Nikolić is once again a finalist for this prestigious recognition. The awards, now in their ninth year, are organised by The Lawyer, a prestigious British weekly magazine for lawyers and in house counsel. According to the organisers, this year's contest is particularly fierce.

Karanović & Nikolić Promotes New Senior Partner And Six Partners

Karanović & Nikolić is pleased to welcome Marko Ketler as its new Senior Partner, as well as Ivan Nonković, Goran Radošević, Ivana Dišović, Katarina Gudurić, Jaka Simončič and Petar Mitrović who have been named Partner. We are proud to announce the promotion of these attorneys at law cooperating with Karanović & Nikolić who have demonstrated their utmost professional excellence and in such a way contributed to strengthening our international practice and furthering the legal network’s reputation as a regional legal powerhouse.

Cross-Border Cooperation Between Competition Authorities In The SEE Region Intensifies

The national competition authorities in South Eastern Europe are evidently increasing and strengthening their cross-border cooperation and communication, allowing for a more effective regional approach in the protection of competition. Taking into account common challenges and economic interdependence, as well as similar goals in EU integration, the authorities appear to have recognized significant merit in a broader regional framework for competition enforcement.  

Societe Generale Acquires Jubanka’s Credit Portfolio

Karanović & Nikolić advised on Societe Generale Srbija's acquisition of a part of Jubanka's credit portfolio – which included housing and cash credits, credit cards, as well as credits for small and medium-sized enterprises. Societe Generale Srbija is now the third largest bank in Serbia in terms of credit volume.

Serbian Bankruptcy Law Amended

arbitrationAfter two long years of analysing and debating, the Serbian Parliament adopted changes to the Bankruptcy Law and they have entered into force on the 25th of December, 2017.

Transfer Of Claims No Longer A Problem In Enforcement

Ever since the latest Law on Enforcement and Security entered into force on the 1st of July, 2016, an issue arose over the wording and scope of Article 48, dealing with how creditors acquiring claims can initiate enforcement. The main idea behind this new law was to make it easier for creditors to collect claims.

Karanović & Nikolić Hosts The Empowering Students To Enter The Workplace Conference

Karanović & Nikolić hosted the "Empowering Students to Enter the Workplace" HR conference, held on the 30th of November in Belgrade, Serbia. The event was organised in cooperation with Stanton Chase, one of the top 10 global retained executive search firms, and the guests and panellists included leading professionals in the field of human resources, as well as employment law experts.

OTP Bank Buys Vojvođanska Banka

Hungary's OTP Bank bought Vojvođanska Banka, as well as NGB Leasing and the National Bank of Greece's corporate loan portfolio in Serbia. This is one of the biggest recent banking transactions in the region and it was closed on Friday, the 1st of December in Belgrade. Karanović & Nikolić advised the buyer – OTP Bank, one of the leading banks in Central and Eastern Europe, throughout all of the stages of the acquisition process.

Karanović & Nikolić Hosts The 12th Traditional Conference On Competition Law

Karanović & Nikolić, together with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, hosted the th of November, 2017, at the Metropol Palace hotel, Belgrade. The conference represents a traditional yearly gathering of experts from the business and legal community, as well as key regulators and stakeholders, to discuss the most important issues and practical implications in field of competition law.

The New National Employment Service’s Practice of Prolonging of Work Permits

The National Employment Service changed its years-long practice regarding the extension of work permits for persons on secondment.

In particular, pursuant to Article 19 of the Law on the Employment of foreigners, work permits based on secondment are obtained for a period of the duration of an agreement between the local employer - who is the service user, and a foreign employer, but no longer than for one year. Exceptionally, a work permit for a seconded person can be issued for a longer period in case the employee is seconded from a country with which the Republic of Serbia has concluded a secondment related bilateral convention.  

Slovenia Adopts Class Action Law

The Slovenian National Assembly adopted the Class Action Law, which will implement an important institute to the Slovenian legal system, i.e. mechanism of class action. This mechanism is already applied in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands and Sweden, but is yet to be implemented in numerous EU member states. The new mechanism of class action will provide for the injured parties, both natural and legal persons, to file a compensation claim in case of mass harm situations. Besides a collective action for compensation, the law also provides for the possibility to file a collective action for the cessation of illegal behaviour against the infringers, as well as the procedure of collective settlement in case of mass harm events. The law will come into force on the 21st of October, 2017, while it will apply with effect from the 21st of April, 2018.

Karanović & Nikolić Advises In The Signing Of The Landmark PPP For The Vinča Waste Treatment Proj

Karanović & Nikolić advised in the signing of the biggest PPP project in Serbia for the landfill remediation and development of the waste treatment facility in Belgrade, Vinča. The Belgrade Secretariat for Environmental Protection, the company "Beočista Energija" and the French-Japanese consortium, SUEZ Groupе - I-Environment Investments limited, signed a public-private partnership for the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the waste management treatment and disposal centre in Serbia.

Karanović & Nikolić Advises On AmSpec’s Acquisition Of Agri Services

Karanović & Nikolić advised AmSpec on the acquisition of Agri Services doo - an inspection and testing company serving the Agricultural and Petroleum market in the Danube region from their locations in Serbia and Hungary. The acquisition of Agri Services shows AmSpec's continued expansion into the Agri-market and is yet another strategic step for the company, as it maintains its focus on expanding its global service network.

The Untapped Potential of South Eastern Europe

We have seen emerging markets in Central and Eastern Europe opening up and developing quite quickly. Some of them have done so through their ascension to the European Union, and others by organising their legislation in accordance with European standards, opening up borders, having foreign investors come in, as well as putting in place free trade agreements and investment incentives.

New Way of Claiming Damages for Competition Law Infringements in Croatia

On the 22nd of July, 2017, the Law on Actions for Damages for Competition Law Infringements came into force in Croatia (the "Law"), implementing the EU Damages Directive​. Even though the existing Competition Law provides for the possibility of private enforcement in a relatively general manner, private claims for damages suffered from antitrust breaches have been underdeveloped and rarely utilised in Croatia (and in the rest of the region).

Karanović & Nikolić Advises on OTP’s Acquisition of Vojvođanska Banka

Karanović & Nikolić, in cooperation with the global law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, advised OTP Bank – one of the leading banks in Central and Eastern Europe, on the acquisition of Vojvođanska Banka. The National Bank of Greece signed an agreement to sell its Vojvođanska Banka unit in Serbia and NGB Leasing, as well as its corporate loan portfolio in Serbia to Hungary's OTP Bank, for 125 million euros.

Karanović & Nikolić advises on the Acquisition of Telenor Banka

Karanović & Nikolić advised River Styxx Capital on the acquisition of Telenor Banka. The companies signed an agreement by which the Bulgaria-based investment fund will acquire 85% of Telenor's shares in the Serbian online bank. Under this agreement of strategic partnership, the Norwegian telecommunications group will keep 15% of its shares in Telenor Banka.

Favouring Slovenian Origin Is Contrary To Eu Law

On the 8th of June, 2017, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) reached an important decision in the case Medisanus d.o.o. v General Hospital Murska Sobota (C-296/15) concerning public procurement procedures. The judgement is relevant from both the procedural aspect - since the National Review Commission (DKOM) was acknowledged for the first time as a “national court” for the purposes of Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), as well as from the substantive point of view – due to the emphasis on the principle of equal treatment and the prohibition of discrimination within public procurement procedures.

Croatian Competition Agency Found No Abuse Of Dominant Position By An Authorised Dealer Of Land Rove

The Croatian Competition Agency (the "Agency") initiated proceedings against Grand Auto – an authorised dealer of Land Rover and Jaguar cars for Croatia, after an initiative by the Auto Dealership "Karlo", a former authorised repairer of the said cars for Croatia. The proceedings were initiated in order to establish whether an abuse of a dominant position, in the provision of repair and maintenance services for the car-makes Land Rover and Jaguar, occurred on the territory of the Republic of Croatia. In March 2017, the Agency closed the proceedings by reaching a non-infringement decision.

The Slovenian Response To The Agrokor Crisis – “Lex Mercator”

The turmoil within the Croatian retail company Agrokor, which owns Mercator, the largest Slovenian retailer, caused a significant stir in the Slovenian public, with the suppliers and especially in politics. The response of the Slovenian Government – with which additional measures for the protection of Mercator as a company of systemic importance are being established is also the Act on Conditions of Appointment of Associate Member of the Management Board in the Companies of Systemic Importance for the Republic of Slovenia. The Act was adopted by the Parliament on the 25th of April, 2017. It will become valid immediately on the day following its adoption.

Antitrust Fine Imposed On Producers Of Cooking Oil In Serbia

Competition authority imposes fines on ViktoriaOil and Vital, the leading producers of cooking oil in Serbia. The authority stated in its decision that the two companies entered into a joint production agreement that featured restrictive provisions. In particular, the authority claims that the provisions effected the exchange of information and joint production and sales in a way that led to increased prices to end consumers. The authority has engaged in a detailed analysis of the effects on price using regression analysis and other econometric tools on this market with perfect substitutes.

VictoriaOil and Vital are fined approximately EUR 186,297 and EUR 64,799, respectively, which amounts to 0.33% of the total annual turnover realised in Serbia in 2014 by each of the companies. The two companies will now have the opportunity to challenge the Competition Commission's decision before the Administrative court - acting as the second instance court in anti-trust cases.

As a reminder, in accordance with Article 10 of the Serbian Competition Law, restrictive agreements are agreements between undertakings, which have as their object or effect the significant prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the territory of the Republic of Serbia. Restrictive agreements can take various forms, written and oral, and may yield fines of up to 10% of the turnover realised on the Serbian market in the year preceding the initiation of proceedings.

The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.

Networking: Cable Operator Merger Conditionally Cleared By The Competition Commission

Following a four month-long Phase II investigation, the Serbian Competition Commission granted conditional clearance to SBB's takeover of IKOM. This consolidation of leading cable operators in Belgrade represents a landmark case for the Serbian authority and is related to global trends in consolidation of cable network operators, which fosters the investments necessary for improvements to network infrastructure and competition with IPTV, OTT and satellite content providers. The merger provided an opportunity for the Commission to investigate the workings of the Serbian telecom sector in detail, especially in relation to fixed telephony, broadband Internet and the distribution of media content.

Macedonian Competition Commission Further Strengthens Its Leniency Policy

For several years now, a leniency model exists in Macedonia and it is shaped in line with the EU leniency model. Nevertheless, the Macedonian Competition Commission ("Commission") decided to refine the existing rules (contained in the Law on Protection of Competition and the accompanying Leniency Regulation) by recently adopting the Leniency Guidelines ("Guidelines").

Dawn Raid In Montenegro

In March 2017, the Montenegrin Agency for the Protection of Competition carried out an unannounced inspection (dawn raid) at the business premises of Sava Trans d.o.o. Cetinje, a company engaged in freight transport, in order to collect data necessary for undertaking further actions carried out by the Agency. In its public statement, the Agency stated that the dawn raid was conducted fully in line with the Law on the Protection of Competition, whereas the raided company showed a high degree of cooperation.

Gorenje Zagreb Fined For Resale Price Maintenance

​Resale price maintenance and price-fixing has been and still is under scrutiny by the Croatian Competition Agency (the "Agency"). Carrying on from a number of high-profile cases, in February 2017 the Agency fined Gorenje Zagreb, a subsidiary of Slovenia's premier manufacturer of household appliances for HRK 1,557,000 (approximately EUR 206,000).

Karanović & Nikolić Wins The Award For Law Firm Of The Year In Eastern Europe And The Balkans By T

The Lawyer Magazine, a weekly British magazine for top Commercial Lawyers and In-House Counsel, has named Karanović & Nikolić law firm of the year for Eastern Europe and the Balkans during their annual European Awards ceremony on March 16, 2017 in London. The awards, now in their eighth year, were the first initiative of their kind to reward and celebrate excellence across the European legal market. This year the Awards focused on and recognised the growing importance of cross-border instructions to firms across the continent.

New Serbian Data Protection Law In 2017?

After having prepared the first draft of the new data protection law back in 2014 (which was ignored by the Government in the meantime, and even dismissed by the Ministry of Justice's introduction of a separate draft law in 2015), the Serbian Data Protection Commissioner ("Commissionaire")1 published the second draft of the new law on March 6th, 2017 ("Draft"). As announced by the Commissioner, the new Draft was necessary in order to address the deficiencies of the existing Law on Personal Data Protection and in order to harmonize the law with EU legislation, particularly with the newly enacted General Data Protection Regulation.

Termination Due To Actions Of Employee Constituting Criminal Act

​Amending the Labour law in July 2014 raised some arguable and sensitive issues regarding termination of the employment contract when employee's behaviour represents criminal act. In fact, it was the employer who decided if an employee's behaviour represent a criminal act. This is why the Constitutional Court found it important to define (i) if an employer competent and authorized to decide if certain behaviour is a criminal act and (ii) if termination on this ground is in breach of the presumption of innocence.

Karanović & Nikolić Supports EFSE Extension Of Investment Portfolio

We are pleased to announce that Karanović & Nikolić team has supported the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) in a recently closed extension of the investment portfolio of EFSE to UniCredit Bank Serbia. The transaction involved new EUR 20 million financing of UniCredit Bank Serbia, which will serve to finance housing loans for private households in Serbia.

Karanović & Nikolić Shortlisted For IFLR’s “Deal Of The Year”

Karanović & Nikolić is pleased to announce that we, in cooperation with local lawyers, have been shortlisted by IFLR for "Deal of the Year" within the Project Finance category for our assistance in the SASA mine refinancing project in Macedonia.

Karanović & Nikolić Employment Team Contributes To The Shepherd And Wedderburn’s European Employ

Karanović & Nikolić employment team has assisted Shepherd and Wedderburn in the development of The European Employment Law Update for 2017.

European Employment Law Update for 2017 provides an overview of the vital reforms being introduced to European employment law over the next year, including areas such as seconding employees, increased protections for whistleblowers, and legislation changes related to increased work-life balance. Key considerations related to traditional employment areas such as increases to the minimum wage and unfair dismissal are also assessed.

Real Estate Deal Triggers Competition Issue

This article is originaly published in IBA International Real Estate News.

During 2015, one major acquisition of real estate property occurred in the Serbian real estate market. What happened was that a major international bank purchased over 8,000 sqm of space in two office buildings located in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. In fact, the buyer only acquired the parts of the buildings, while it already owned a significant part of this property. The purpose of the purchase was to localise the bank's management in Serbia in one place. The deal was completed by the end of 2015 after long negotiations with the sellers – four companies that are incorporated in Serbia with the sound of champagne popping. However, just as the party was warming up and the bank's employees were about to settle down in the newly purchased premises, an unprecedented event occurred – the kind of an event which may have long-term consequences for real estate acquisitions throughout the Balkans region.

Serbia: Criminal Sanctions For Cartels

The Serbian Parliament has recently adopted amendments to the Criminal Code. The amendments include a significant overhaul of the legal framework for white collar crimes, touching upon the rules relevant for antitrust enforcement as well.

Serbia: New Platform For Data Exchange And E-Filing In The Judicial Sector – Work In Progress

To the untrained eye, technology and the judiciary sector may seem rather far apart. IT is ever changing and dynamic, while courts are by design deliberate and slow. However, even the most resistant institutions are not immune to change; Serbian courts now appear to be further steps towards incorporating new technology for the ultimate goal of greater efficiency.

New Amendments To The Criminal Code Regarding Tax Avoidance

On 23 November 2016, the Serbian Parliament adopted amendments to the Criminal Code. Changes made include, among other, criminal offence of tax avoidance. Prosecution of tax avoidance was a matter of much controversy in the recent practice, and some of the changes made by the latest amendments are aimed to address these controversies. Though generally welcome, the scope of changes made are unlikely to bring significant improvements in the prosecution of tax avoidance. 

Serbia – Antitrust Sector Inquiries Up Ahead

After a remarkable year in both merger control and antitrust, the Serbian Competition Commission (the "Commission") is already starting to look ahead. The announcements made on the Commission's website during November and December of this year suggest that the Commission's focus in the year ahead will be directed at several industries in particular.

BiH – New Law on Financial Operations

The Law on Financial Operations

On the 30th of December 2016, the application of the Law on Financial Operations (Law) will commence in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Law is intended to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market by introducing adequate and systematic risk management measures and solvency measures, as well as to promote the competitiveness of local commercial enterprises by legislating a culture of prompt payment.  

Happy Holidays To The IT Sector

Near the tail-end of 2016, the Serbian Competition Commission initiated an investigation for an alleged competition infringement that took place in June of the same year. The infringement involved a failure to notify a merger for mandatory clearance. The transaction in question concerned an unreported acquisition of sole control on the IT market.

Serbian Parliament adopts changes to Tax laws

At the end of 2016 the Serbian Parliament adopted changes to Serbian tax laws, introducing a number of important changes in the area of VAT, excise duties and general tax procedures. Amendments to the laws governing these areas were adopted at the very end of 2016 – on the 28th of December 2016.

New Managing Partner Announced

Karanović & Nikolić is pleased to announce that Rastko Petaković has been elected as Managing Partner. Rastko takes over the firm's leading position from Dejan Nikolić who served as Managing Partner until 2016. Rastko's dedication and energy was evident from the beginning of his career when he joined the firm as a legal trainee back in 2005. He led in the development of the firm's corporate, competition and M&A practices and acted on major M&A deals and ground breaking antitrust cases. In 2009 and 2010 he has acted as lead counsel in two of the largest antitrust cases to date in the SEE region. More recently, in 2014 and 2015 he acted as lead local counsel in regional deals totalling EUR 4 billion.

Rastko's career enabled him to emerge as a highly competent lawyer who, in addition to his expert knowledge of the law, brings innovative and modern ideas that contribute to Karanović & Nikolić being a market leader in the SEE region. His track record in expanding the firm's network across the region demonstrated his vision and leadership, and most importantly, the perseverance to deliver on the vision and goals he sets for his clients and the firm.

In 2015 Rastko was selected as the winner of the 2015 European Emerging Leaders Awards by M&A Advisor.

Commenting on his appointment, Rastko said: "I'm honoured and privileged to be elected as Managing Partner. These are exciting times for the firm and our clients and we plan to work with them closely to help them achieve their goals and use every opportunity that this region offers. We thank Dejan for his strong leadership and vision."

Dejan Nikolić comments: "Karanović & Nikolić recognises true virtue, and potential. Rastko not only embodies these qualities but also consistently employs both his excellent organisational skills and his admirable dedication to client care, helping us sustain our reputable status in the market. He has been a fantastic role model to our younger associates and has continuously proven his vast capabilities. We are all excited to see where his fresh and bold energy and leadership will take us."

For more information please contact Alexandra Yoshida,

alexandra.yoshida@karanovic-nikolic.com, on +381 11 3094 200.

BiH – General information on the Law on prohibited advertising

Advertising in the Federation of Bosnia & Hercegovina is regulated through a series of laws and regulations (example: Law on Consumer Protection of BiH, Law on Media, Law on Medical Products etc.), but with the new Law on Prohibited Advertising (Official Gazette of FBiH 101 / 16, the "Law"), which entered into force on 31.12.2016, the control of illegal advertising is regulated, with regards to the relations between merchants, which in the Law on Consumer Protection of BiH remained open. By doing so, the protection of merchants from illegal advertising and the process of protection are regulated, additionally, the forms of prohibited advertising are established, which are misleading and prohibited comparative advertising.

New Senior Partners Announced

​Karanović & Nikolić is pleased and proud to announce the promotion of a new generation of Senior Partners - Milan Lazić, Marjan Poljak and Darko Jovanović.

EU Commission Investigates Planned Combination Of Bosnian And Croatian Cement Producers

The European Commission has opened an in-depth merger investigation into the planned acquisition of Cemex Croatia by Duna-Drava Cement ('DDC'). Registered in Hungary, DDC is jointly controlled by German construction material producers HeidelbergCement and Schwenk. DDC inter alia operates a cement plant in Kakanj, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Cemex Croatia, an arm of the international cement heavyweight Cemex, controls three cement plants in the Croatian coastal city of Split.

Google Charged Concerning Android OS

Recent media reports have informed us that the European Commission has issued an official charge sheet accusing Google of an abuse of dominance concerning its Android mobile operating system and contracts with smartphone producers and telecom operators. The European Commission considers Google dominant in the markets for general internet search services, licensable smart mobile operating systems and app stores for the Android mobile operating system. This is not the first time the Commission has been looking into Google's operations through an antitrust lens. The company has already faced heavy scrutiny concerning its search engine and treatment of competing shopping services and advertisements.

Registration Of Company’s Changes Will Not Be Allowed During Tax Audit

The Serbian Minister of Finance issued the Rulebook on the Manner and Procedure of Delivering and the Content of the Tax Administration's Notification on Commencement or Finalization of Tax Audit ("Rulebook").

Karanović & Nikolić, Together With Freshfields, Advise On UniCredit’s Takeover Of CEE Business F

We are pleased to announce that Karanović & Nikolić team, together with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, has supported UniCredit S.p.A. (Italy) in a recently closed take-over of the CEE business of UniCredit Bank Austria AG including shareholdings in 13 banks in Southern Europe and CEE as well as a relevant loan portfolio. Freshfields and Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner were the lead advisors on the transaction, while Karanović & Nikolić acted as the local advisor in Serbia and (through its corresponding law offices) in Croatia and Slovenia.

Amendments To The Montenegrin Tax Laws

Montenegrin Parliament adopted the amendments to the Corporate Income Tax Law ("CIT Law") and Value Added Tax Law ("VAT Law"). Below is a brief description of the main amendments.

Energy Community Goes Back On Suspension Threats For Serbia

​Latest news reports are informing us that the European Energy Community (EC) went back on their threats of suspending Serbia's membership, after a series of fruitful negotiations between EC's representatives and the Serbian Ministry of Energy. The agreement which allowed for this development stipulates that Serbia has accepted the plan of action regarding the restructuring of Srbijagas, at the same time complying with the requirements of the Third Energy Package. On 11 October, the Serbian government issued a decree that is binding all gas companies to act according to the agreement in question, while also outlining that the Ministry of Energy will regularly be reporting on related activities to the Community as part of a fully transparent process of cooperation.

Karanović & Nikolić Advises Affidea In Opening Serbia’s First Foreign Hospital

Karanović & Nikolić provided complete legal support to Affidea, a largest European medical service provider with respect to opening the first foreign hospital located in Belgrade. Our services consisted of extensive regulatory and corporate advice related to formation and start of operations of Affidea`s first hospital in Serbia.

EUR 2.6 Million Fine Imposed On The Electricity Distribution Company By The Competition Commission

The Competition Commission found that the company EPS Distribucija, the only operator of the electricity distribution network in Serbia, abused its dominant position in the market of electricity distribution in Serbia. The abuse consists of applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with trading parties, whereby some of those trading parties have been placed at a competitive disadvantage in comparison to their competitors. The abuse was the result of, amongst other things, a non-transparent business policy of EPS Distribucija.

Energy Community To Suspend Serbia’s Member Status?

Recent news  bring us an update from the Energy Community (EC), whose latest report has outlined that Serbia has not resolved the key issue of non-compliance with the aquis – something that presents a continuous violation of obligations under the EC Treaty – by not completing the separation of Srbijagas and Yugorosgaz activities in accordance with the "Second Energy Package". The EC's report specifies that, in the reporting period, Serbia has in a way cancelled much of its prior efforts when it comes to the separation of these activities, effectively slowing down the process of harmonising secondary legislation. Furthermore, the EC has also requested Serbia to complete the transformation of its Electric Power Company into a joint-stock company by 1 July 2016 – another deadline that has been breached.