Serbian Ministry of Finance Clarifies - No Withholding Tax on Payments on a Notional Principal under Interest Rate Swaps

The Serbian Ministry of Finance has finally reversed its own 2007 opinion which incorrectly held that gross payments on a notional amount under an interest rate swap agreement between a Serbian resident and a non-resident are subject to withholding tax on interest. This opinion was obviously wrong as it overlooked the economic essence of the payments under interest rate swaps. Even though it was not binding on the tax authorities, it did create a considerable amount of legal uncertainty in the past 12 years

Steps towards Compliance with Serbia’s New Data Protection Act

BDK Advokati's senior associate Milica Basta participated in a conference on initial results and the most frequent dilemmas in the implementation of the new Data Protection Act. The conference, held on 27 November 2019 in Belgrade, gathered nearly 50 representatives from companies operating in the Serbian market. The agency Forum Media organised the event.

Labiana Closes Acquisition of Vetzavod

Labiana Group, one of the global leaders in animal health industry, closed the acquisition of all issued shares in Veterinary Institute of Subotica (Vetzavod), a Serbian leading animal vaccine producer.

Drivers and Issues for M&A in Southeast Europe

BDK Advokati’s senior partner Vladimir Dasic shared his thoughts on “Drivers, issues and countermeasures” at a panel organised by SEE Private equity and M&A forum in Belgrade. Other speakers at the panel were Alexandra Nagle from Alantra and Leo Morozov from Fortenova Group.

Serbia Has New State Aid Control Act

The Serbian National Assembly enacted on 10 October 2019 the new State Aid Control Act, which will become applicable only on 1 January 2020 (with the exception of the provisions regulating the organisation of the Commission for State Aid Control (“Commission“), which are already applicable). The new legislation was drafted with a view to harmonization with the European Union’s acquis in this field. It remedies to a significant extent the shortcomings of the existing State aid law.

MediGroup Expands in Serbia

MediGroup has acquired 100% of the shares in Zdravo Med, a healthcare clinic based in Subotica, while its human laboratory division MediLab has opened its laboratories in the city of Niš. MediGroup is the largest private healthcare provider in Serbia with 15 facilities across key cities, providing inpatient, outpatient, lab, IVF, ophthalmology and cosmetology services. Zdravo Med is MediGroup’s first bolt-on acquisition after MidEuropa Partners became the owner of 55% in MediGroup in 2018.

Legislative Novelties in the Gaming Industry

Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference, held in September this year in Budapest, gathered a prominent group of stakeholders in the gaming sector to discuss the most recent business and legal developments in the industry across the European markets. BDK partner Luka Popovic spoke at the Balkans panel about legislative changes in the Montenegrin and Serbian gaming sectors.

Advantages of Serbia’s New Data Protection Law

BDK Advokati has contributed to the Serbia chapter in the 2020 edition of Getting the Deal Through – Data Protection & Privacy (August 2019). The chapter presents the regulatory frameworks both under the data protection law from 2008 and under the law which became applicable in August 2019. The exposition of the two laws allows the reader to understand the changes which the new law brings into the legal regime governing the processing of personal data in Serbia. The new law is modelled under the EU General Data Protection Regulation. As the Serbia chapter shows, the law dispenses with most of the unnecessary restrictions on the processing of personal data. At the same time, the law strengthens the individuals’ rights and introduces new, but realistic, requirements from the data controllers and data processors

Tax Reform to Affect Serbian IT Industry

On 23 September 2019, the Serbian Prime Minister announced a reform of the taxation of self-employed sole entrepreneurs. The new rules are supposed to become effective as of 1 January 2020. If enacted in the present form, they will affect sole entrepreneurs who are engaged in service contracts exclusively with one employer. The largest effect will be on the IT industry.

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.

Clarity Needed on Data Protection Compliance Audit

For the second consecutive time, CEE Legal matters organised Balkan GC Summit in Belgrade. The event gathered general counsels, compliance officers and lawyers from the region to discuss vibrant topics in the legal industry. BDK Advokati’s partner Bogdan Ivanisevic held a presentation in which he addressed the issue of misunderstandings that often occur between companies and law firms concerning data protection compliance audits. Law firms consider such audit as a complex legal task which requires a comprehensive approach, while some companies believe it can be performed fairly quickly, or prefer a partial approach.

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.