Continuing our series on opportunities for investment in Serbia, we discuss the real estate sector. Historically, countries have been reluctant to allow foreigners to acquire real estate. In the past, real estate (primarily lands) symbolized its owners’ power, and today apartments, buildings, houses, properties, mines, and fields have significant worth. Nevertheless, globalization has increased the dynamics of “international” real estate trade. Real estate has thus become an important segment in international investment, both as a secondary part of the project (leasing or even buying space for the investors’ regular business operations) and as the very purpose of the investment (real estate construction, exploitation of mineral resources, construction of roads, etc.). As discussed in our previous articles, Bilateral Investment Treaties (“BITs”) play a crucial role in encouraging and securing foreign investors to invest in a foreign country, this time in real estate.
Karanovic & Partners, working alongside Baker McKenzie, has advised Colt Technology Services on its acquisition of Lumen Technologies’ Europe, Middle East, and Africa business for USD 1.8 billion. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner reportedly advised Lumen Technologies.
On November 10, 2022, the European Parliament finally adopted the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD“). The CSRD intends to expand the application of corporate sustainability standards across the market by including an even larger specter of business entities compared to the application scope of the Non-financial Reporting Directive (“NFRD“).
If one takes into account the applicable Law on Companies of the Republic of Serbia, every branch office, including a branch office of a foreign legal person, represents a separate organizational unit of a company through which such company conducts its business activities in Serbia. A branch office does not hold the status of legal person, it only acts in the name and on behalf of the company that founded it, in the respective legal transactions of the company.
Harrisons has advised the EBRD on its EUR 15 million loan to Banca Intesa Beograd.
Former London-based JMW Solicitors Real Estate Partner Petar Orlic has joined NKO Partners in Belgrade as a Partner.
Commercial disputes, especially complex commercial cases, are increasingly present in modern regional and Serbian arbitration practices. There are more and more international and local business contracts in which the contracting parties fully trust international and domestic arbitrations to resolve all disputes arising from such contracts.
With the war in Ukraine raging for more than six months, law firms across the region have reported increased workloads in corporate and M&A, tax, employment, immigration law, and inquiries on the sanctions regimes in relevant jurisdictions, noting that companies from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus are variously looking for a new home. Whether to avoid sanctions or escape the war, those companies consider a variety of factors in determining where to go.
Harrisons has advised the EBRD on a EUR 25 million loan to OTP Bank Serbia for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises.