Serbia Invites Bids for EUR 1.82 billion NPL Portfolio

Serbia's Deposit Insurance Agency has invited bids for the sale of a non-performing loan (NPL) portfolio of EUR 1.82 billion, was announced by the Finance Ministry. Investors can submit letters of interest by 8 November 2019 and the deadline for placing non-binding bids expires on 2 December 2019. The deadline for submission of binding offers is 15 April 2020.

Financing Agreements for the Vinča Waste-to-Energy PPP Signed

Financing agreements for the waste management public-private partnership project in Vinča, Belgrade were signed in the beginning of October. The project has a total investment size estimated at approximately EUR 350 million, envisaged to be financed by equity and non-recourse debt from IFIs – EBRD, IFC and OeEB. This is one of the largest and certainly the most complex project financing schemes in Serbia up to date. It is supposed to resolve the environmental hazard caused by one of the largest dump sites in Europe. BDK Advokati, alongside Clifford Chance as the international legal advisor, advised EBRD, IFC and OeEB on the project.

BDK Advokati Holds a Seminar on Data Processing in the Workplace

Milica Basta, senior associate at BDK Advokati, has held a seminar on the processing of personal data in the employment context for the representatives of Serbian companies. The event took place on 26 September 2019 in Belgrade and was hosted by Forum Media.

New Data Protection Law Discussed at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce

Bogdan Ivanisevic, partner at BDK Advokati, spoke on 23 September 2019 about Serbia’s new Data Protection Act to representatives of the leading Serbian companies. The event took place in the packed conference hall of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber co-organised the event with the Ministry of Justice.

BDK Advokati Advises Convex Holding

BDK Advokati advised Convex Holding from the UK in connection with the sale of 51% of their shares in Trizma d.o.o. to Meritus Upravljanje d.o.o. from Croatia. Trizma is a call centre provider located in Serbia while Meritus Upravljanje is the owner of M+ Group, a regional player in the area of contact center services and direct marketing, specialised in telecommunications, TV, energy, banks, insurance and FMCG industries.

The National Bank of Serbia on Zero-floor Euribor

Recently, the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) has refused to certify a report on amended loan agreement between a foreign bank and a Serbian corporate borrower because the original loan agreement, governed by Serbian law, contained a zero-floor Euribor clause. Zero-floor Euribor clause means that if Euribor is negative, it will be deemed to be zero for the purpose of the loan agreement and the bank will be entitled to the entire margin. The NBS’ position was that zero-floor Euribor is contrary to the general principles of the Serbian contract law embodied in the Obligations Act. Such interpretation of Serbian contract law is objectionable both on procedural grounds and on the merits.

Serbia: Yet another brush-up of the legislation on enforcement proceedings

The Amendments to the Enforcement Act (“Official Gazette of RS”, No. 54/2019) came into force on 3 August 2019 (“Amendments“) but will, all but one, become applicable only on 1 January 2020.

BDK Advokati Advises Tvornica Duhana Rovinj

BDK Advokati advised Tvornica Duhana Rovinj (TDR), a member of British American Tobacco Group, in connection with its exit from Serbian wholesaler of tobacco products Veletabak by the sale of 25% of shares to Authoritas, the owner of the remaining 75% of all shares. TDR acquired shares in Veletabak in 2008. The exit follows the expiration of the Shareholders’ Agreement between TDR and Authoritas.

A Misguided Call to Put Serbian Data Protection Law on Hold

In the past two days, the recently appointed head of Serbian data protection supervisory authority announced one radical move and sharply criticised some provisions in Serbia’s new data protection law. The commitment and audacity of Milan Marinovic should be encouraging to those who feared that the new data protection tsar would be the exact opposite of his very vocal predecessor, Rodoljub Sabic. However, when examined on the merits, Marinovic’s statements give a reason for concern. The main point Marinovic made in his appearance on the state-run television and in a statement to a news portal is that, in his opinion, implementation of the Data Protection Act 2018 should be postponed. The law, adopted in November last year, provided for a nine-month grace period. Therefore, the implementation of the law should commence on 21 August 2019. Marinovic is now calling for an additional one-year deferral. To strengthen his case, Marinovic made a few policy and legal arguments which are of dubious validity.

Milica Basta Speaks at AmCham’s Data Protection Briefing Session

AmCham Serbia hosted on 5 July 2019 a session on the main aspects of the new Serbian Data Protection Act. The topic attracted a significant number of attendees, mainly general counsels and IT specialists from the local companies – members of AmCham Serbia. Milica Basta, senior associate at BDK Advokati, was one of the speakers.

BDK Advokati Advises on Valvoline’s Acquisition of FAM

Ellis Enterprises, the Serbian subsidiary of lubricant producer Valvoline (NYSE: VVV), closed on Monday, 1 July 2019 the acquisition of the core manufacturing assets of Serbian lubricant producer FAM, Krusevac for EUR 9.5 million. Closing occurred upon approval of the Serbian Competition Commission and the approval of the transaction terms by six banks which are major creditors of FAM. Valvoline will initially employ 115 employees of FAM and will invest more than EUR 5.7 million in the modernisation of the plant.

BDK Advokati on Telecoms and Media

BDK Advokati has once again contributed to the Getting the Deal Through Serbia chapter on Telecoms and Media. The chapter, authored by partner Bogdan Ivanisevic, consultant Pablo Perez Laya and junior associate Zorana Brujic, contains an in-depth legal analysis on the telecom and media sectors in the country.