Firm Profile > Karanovic & Partners > Belgrade, Serbia

Karanovic & Partners
RESAVSKA 23
11000 BELGRADE
Serbia

Banking and finance Tier 1

Karanovic & Partners consistently works on large regional project financings, particularly those involving real estate development, and energy and infrastructure. It also has robust capital markets experience and advises on high volumes of NPL-related matters in Serbia and regionally. The group is headed by Darko Jovanović, who specialises in infrastructure and energy financing, construction projects and PPP developments; and Maja Jovančević Šetka, who assists with large-scale financings, regulatory matters, structured finance and distressed deals. Katarina Gudurić provides additional support, while Mina Srećković is an experienced senior associate.

Practice head(s):

Darko Jovanović; Maja Jovančević Šetka

Other key lawyers:

Katarina Gudurić; Mina Srećković

Testimonials

A team of professionals who know the banking industry very well and who can meet even the most challenging job demands.

They are very approachable and easy to work with, and at the same time they provide exceptional legal advice on finance-related matters. Every team member is accessible, highly professional and pays attention to detail.

It is obvious they have vast experience and extensive knowledge in financial services. Also, they are able to provide advice for multiple regional countries, which we highly appreciate.

The team is focused on clients and their issues; they are capable of bringing broader viewpoints to each issue with complete professionalism.

The Belgrade banking and finance team stands out through its dedication to the entire project cycle, in addition to its significant and extensive expertise. Its advantage is its ability to answer questions, not only in relation to Serbian law matters, but also to co-ordinate work through its Western Balkans regional coverage. I would especially recommend them for cross-border project financings.

Darko Jovanović is open, solutions oriented and very detailed, with great knowledge of banking and financial matters.

Maja Jovančević Šetka and Darko Jovanović lead an exceptionally strong domestic and regional practice; it is a true pleasure to work with the team in Serbia and further afield.

Maja Jovančević Šetka is my first point of contact at Karanovic & Partners for all banking and financial matters. She is a true professional, really committed, highly experienced, grasps complex matters, and comes up with practical solutions. We always feel she is truly devoted to help us achieve our commercial goals in the best possible manner.

Key clients

PPF Group

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

PPF Group

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Airport City

Africa Israel Group (AFI Group)

USAID

Bechtel

Citi Group

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

'Recognised as a top-tier legal practice', Karanovic & Partners' sizeable corporate and commercial team is consistently involved in significant transactions involving Serbia. Clients particularly benefit from the firm's integrated practice that utilises lawyers across multiple jurisdictions, including Montenegro, Bosnia, North Macedonia, Croatia and Slovenia. Current managing partner Dragan Karanovic heads the corporate and commercial practice group, which includes renewables and mining expert Miloš Vučković and Marjan Poljak, who spearheads the firm's regional business development. Also highly regarded are Miloš JakovljevićIvan Nonković and Goran Radosevic. The key senior associate is Sava Drača.

Practice head(s):

Dragan Karanović; Miloš Vučković; Marjan Poljak

Other key lawyers:

Miloš Jakovljević; Ivan Nonković; Goran Radosevic; Sava Drača

Testimonials

Provides a comprehensive service in Serbia and other Western Balkan countries.

We’ve been pleased with the firm’s commercial sensibilities and thoughtful advice. Many of the people we work with have experience in the London or New York markets, and understand what international clients want in terms of legal advice.

‘We haven’t seen another firm with the same combination of international sophistication and local expertise.

They deserve to be recognised as a top-tier legal practice in the SEE region.

We have always been very satisfied with the quality of their legal services, especially their immense knowledge of different industries.

Their biggest strengths are professionalism and responsiveness, as well as accessibility and ability to meet tight deadlines.

Ivan Nonković has impeccable credentials – he is an internationally sophisticated partner who has invaluable experience in a range of matters. He and the entire team are very practical and give tailored advice rather than regurgitating statutes without any analysis.

‘Ivan Nonković is creative, problem-solving oriented, and very well organised.

Key clients

Epic Games

Mid Europa Partners

NIBE Industrier AB

ZF Friedrichshafen AG

PPF Group

Pfizer

Gucci

Inditex Group

Raiffeisen Bank International AG

Competition Tier 1

Karanovic & Partners' 'very efficient, very international team' is widely respected for its handling of complex merger cases before the competition authorities, as well as compliance and antitrust investigations and proceedings. The practice also comprises experts in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), pharmaceuticals and TMT sectors. Rastko Petaković consistently advises on complex antitrust matters; and Bojan Vučković has particular expertise in merger control, abuse of dominance and restrictive agreements. Bojana Miljanović is an experienced senior associate.

Practice head(s):

Rastko Petaković; Bojan Vučković

Other key lawyers:

Bojana Miljanović

Testimonials

A very efficient, very international team that knows the law very well.

Strong availability and good to work with.

Very high-quality law firm for competition law.

Great knowledge base of competition law theory and practice.

Rastko Petaković and Bojan Vučković are full of knowledge and experience, and all of them are very business oriented.

Key clients

Roaming Electronics

United Group (Serbia Broadband, Telemach, United Media)

MOL plc

Outotec Oyj

Hyundai, Daimler, Ford, BMW, Porsche

Cinven, KKR, Providence Equity LLP

Fedrigoni

MK Group

Volkswagen, Ford

Optimum Ventures (Optima)

Dispute resolution Tier 1

Karanovic & Partners fields 'a committed and motivated team of lawyers that is great for any dispute'. The dispute resolution practice is well known for its integrated regional coverage throughout Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. Milan Lazić is the head of the regional arbitration and litigation practice; possessing longstanding experience, he acts in both high-profile court cases and major investor-state and commercial arbitrations. Promoted to partner in late 2019, Milica Savić also assists with international arbitrations, while Aleksandar Novaković is an experienced senior associate.

Practice head(s):

Milan Lazić

Other key lawyers:

Milica Savić; Aleksandar Novaković

Testimonials

This is a unique, full-service law firm that works across the entire Balkan region. There is great communication between the dispute resolution practice and other practice groups and colleagues from other jurisdictions within the law firm, which makes them unique and differentiates them from other local law firms as well as law firms that specialise in just one area of work.

Having a large number of lawyers makes them capable of handling a large amount of work and they always respect the agreed deadlines. And by knowing our business and our goals, they simply make our daily lives much easier.

A committed and motivated team of lawyers that is great for any dispute.

Their understanding of the industry, availability and detail-oriented approach differentiate them from competitors.

They are our first choice when choosing reliable and dedicated professionals from the legal sector in Serbia.

Their dispute resolution team covers a wide range of disputes and industries and keeps us constantly in the loop, which makes us feel safe and in reliable hands.

They always think multiple steps ahead, and you know that your dispute is carefully prepared. Another great feature is that we act together as one team with our lawyer.

Milan Lazić is a great business partner who understands our goals, and always provides the correct advice.

Key clients

Bosnia and Hezegovina

MK Group Serbia

Henkel Serbia

Henkel Central Eastern Europe GmbH

OTP bank (formerly Société Générale Group)

Petrol Group

Italiana Costruzioni S.p.A.

Shandong Linglong Tire Co. Ltd.

Johnson Electric

University of Belgrade – Faculty of Law

Zijin Mining Group Co.

Serbia Zijin Bor Copper d.o.o.

Employment Tier 1

'A practice that never disappoints', Karanovic & Partners' team is widely recognised for its handling of a wide range of employment law matters, from day-to-day employment issues to more contentious and complex matters. Examples include the labour issues surrounding privatisations and M&A, labour disputes, employment terminations and outsourcing, along with secondments, benefit plans, pension entitlements, sick leave and work injuries. 'A hugely trustworthy and hardworking lawyer', Milena Jakšić Papac heads the employment practice group, of which experienced associate Milijana Tomić is a key member. The team also gained Boris Radojčić from Samardžić, Oreški & Grbović Law Firm.

Practice head(s):

Milena Jakšić Papac

Other key lawyers:

Milijana Tomić; Boris Radojčić

Testimonials

We have been working with this law firm for over twenty years, and this is a practice that never disappoints.

Fantastic support from Milena Jakšić Papac – a hugely trustworthy and hardworking lawyer, who provides very sound and business-friendly advice.

Senior associate Boris Radojčić provided great guidance and advice, ensuring that complicated processes ran smoothly.

Key clients

Epic Games

L’Oréal

Mars Wrigley

Bechtel

Johnson Electric International AG

West Pharmaceutical Services

Inditex Group (Zara)

Ericsson doo Belgrade

Swarovski

Wolt

Projects and energy Tier 1

Karanovic & Partners' energy and natural resources, and infrastructure and transport, teams consistently assist national and international clients with landmark energy projects in Serbia. Miloš Vučković is a senior partner with over 20 years' experience in corporate and commercial, environmental, real estate and energy law; he is particularly focused on renewables and mining. Petar Mitrović advises on high-profile developments of new energy facilities; he also assists with projects seeking to improve the regulatory framework for renewable energy sources.

Practice head(s):

Miloš Vučković; Petar Mitrović 

Other key lawyers:

Ana Luković

Testimonials

Tremendous experience in various fields of law, with good co-operation between different in-firm departments.

Highly effective in terms of problem solving.

Petar Mitrović is greatly appreciated for his experience and quality of work.

Key clients

Zijin Mining Group Co., Ltd.

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Brose Fahrzeugteile Gmb und Co. KG, Coburg

Bechtel International

EBRD

IFC

Rio Tinto

ZF Friedrichshafen AG

Rakita Exploration doo

Akuo Energy SAS

Tethyan Resources

Windvision Operations

Economic Consulting Associates Ltd.

Real estate and construction Tier 1

Regularly 'handling large-scale, cross-border projects', Karanovic & Partners' large regional real estate practice has 'thorough knowledge of the legal issues involved in the real estate development cycle'. Highly regarded senior associate Ana Luković, who 'ensures delivery of the team's work product within the requested deadlines', leads the group; she is focused on commercial real estate matters, including investment sales and acquisitions, property developments, FIDIC contracts, hotel operation agreements and property joint ventures. Providing key support at partner level, Dragan Karanovic's broad practice includes infrastructure transactions.

Practice head(s):

Dragan Karanović; Ana Luković

Other key lawyers:

Milorad Gajić

Testimonials

The team’s inputs are very well drafted, to the point and always on time.

The team has thorough knowledge of the legal issues involved in the real estate development cycle, including zoning and permitting, financing, construction and operation.

They are very responsive, fulfil their time and fee commitments, and deliver a  work product of very good quality.

Senior associate Ana Luković stands out – she keeps everything in perspective; she also ensures delivery of the team’s work product within the requested deadlines.

Key clients

Bechtel International

Epic Games

Optima Befektesi Alapkezelo (through Dentons)

Zijin Mining Group Co., Ltd

CTP (through White & Case)

Brose Fahrzeugteile Gmb und Co. KG, Coburg

Nutanix

Inditex

Africa Israel Group

Shikun & Binui Group

KWS SAAT SE

Intellectual property Tier 2

Karanovic & Partners' specific expertise covers trade mark portfolios, including IP rights' enforcement strategies, and anti-counterfeiting matters. It also advises software companies on copyright issue; licensing; patent registration processes; and IP-related unfair competition issues. Senior associate Nikola Kliska was hired from Živko Mijatovic & Partners to head the IP practice group. Former IP head Dragomir Kojić is now a senior director in charge of coaching (among others), but remains an IP team consultant.

Practice head(s):

Nikola Kliska

Other key lawyers:

Dragomir Kojić

Key clients

Philip Morris Products S.A.

Transamerica Corporation

Jaffa

Dukat

Mlekara Sabac

Bechtel, USA

Nirvana LLC Zagreb

Colgate

Bain Capital

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 and Bosnia and Herzegovina. 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

Department Name Email Telephone
Banking and Finance Darko Jovanović darko.jovanovic@karanovicpartners.com +381 11 3094 200
Banking and Finance Maja Jovančević-Šetka maja.jovancevic@karanovicpartners.com +381 11 3094 200
Corporate & Commercial Marjan Poljak marjan.poljak@karanovicpartners.com +381 11 3094 200
Competition Rastko Petaković rastko.petakovic@karanovicpartners.com +381 11 3094 200
Corporate & Commercial Dragan Karanović dragan.karanovic@karanovicpartners.com +381 11 3094 200
Dispute Resolution Milan Lazić milan.lazic@karanovicpartners.com +381 11 3094 200
Employment Milena Jakšić Papac milena.papac@karanovicpartners.com +381 11 3094 200
Energy and Infrastructure Miloš Vučković milos.vuckovic@karanovicpartners.com +381 11 3094 200
Real Estate Ana Luković ana.lukovic@karanovicpartners.com +381 11 3094 200
Tax Branimir Rajšić branimir.rajsic@karanovicpartners.com +381 11 3094 200
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Sava Drača  photo Mr Sava Drača Senior Associate
Ms Katarina Gudurić  photo Ms Katarina Gudurić Partner
Ms Milena Jakšić Papac  photo Ms Milena Jakšić Papac Partner
Mr Miloš Jakovljević  photo Mr Miloš Jakovljević Partner
 Maja Jovančević Šetka  photo Maja Jovančević Šetka Partner
 Darko Jovanović  photo Darko Jovanović Senior Partner
 Dragan Karanović  photo Dragan Karanović Senior Partner
 Milan Lazić  photo Milan Lazić Senior Partner
Ms Ana Luković  photo Ms Ana Luković Senior Associate
Ms Bojana Miljanović  photo Ms Bojana Miljanović Senior Associate
Mr Petar Mitrović  photo Mr Petar Mitrović Partner
Mr Ivan Nonković  photo Mr Ivan Nonković Partner
Mr Aleksandar Novaković  photo Mr Aleksandar Novaković Senior Associate
 Rastko Petaković  photo Rastko Petaković Senior Partner
Mr Marjan Poljak  photo Mr Marjan Poljak Senior Partner
Mr Boris Radojčić  photo Mr Boris Radojčić Senior Associate
Ms Milica Savić  photo Ms Milica Savić Partner
Mr Veljko Smiljanić  photo Mr Veljko Smiljanić Senior Associate
Ms Mina Srećković  photo Ms Mina Srećković Senior Associate
Ms Milijana Tomić  photo Ms Milijana Tomić Associate
Mr Bojan Vučković  photo Mr Bojan Vučković Partner
 Miloš Vučković  photo Miloš Vučković Senior Partner
Fee Earners : 69
Bosnian
Croatian
English
German
Macedonian
Serbian
Slovenian
Italian
French
Russian
World Services Group
International Bar Association
Multilaw
Nextlaw
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 

Networks 

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 2017Karanović & 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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.