In our legal work in Montenegro, CMS has been engaged in a number of major mergers & acquisitions, representing both buyers and sellers, including Monte Rock’s acquisition of HIT Montenegro in connection with the Hotel Maestral in Budva-Przno, the Delhaize Group’s acquisition of food retailer Delta Maxi, KKR’s acquisition of SBB/Telemach Group, and OTP Bank’s acquisition of Societe Generale Montenegro.
The economy of Montenegro was severely impacted by the breakup of Yugoslavia into its constituent parts. In order to jump start its economy, calculated and efficient measures had to be undertaken. One of these measures was selecting a stable foreign currency as its own: first the Deutschmark (which was used in parallel with the Yugoslav dinar from 1999 to 2000), then, later, the Euro. This paved the path for economic growth and the creation of an open market, more welcoming to investors.
"The most important development in Montenegro is the recent change in government,” says Marko Ivkovic, Senior Lawyer at the Prelevic Law Firm in Podgorica, referring to the August 2020 victory of opposition parties and the fall from power of the DPS party, which had ruled the country since the introduction of the multi-party system in 1990.
By adopting the new Company Act on 11 July 2020 (the “Act”), Montenegro made a big leap in the area of Corporate Law, although “big leap” maybe isn’t a phrase strong enough to describe the number of changes the Montenegrin Corporate Law went through, having in mind that the new Company Act is three times more extensive compared to the previous one.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the Western Balkans right during a period of accelerating economic activity and a promising economic outlook for 2020. The rapid spread of the virus forced the governments of the Western Balkans countries to introduce protective measures, lockdowns, and temporary business shutdowns. These restrictions had a devastating direct economic impact on a wide range of sectors – particularly the hospitality and transport industries – and the measures had many indirect side effects that significantly decreased economic activity.
“As much as we don’t want to deal mess with politics – it seems to be messing with us,” says Milena Roncevic Pejovic, Partner and Head of the Montenegrin practice at Karanovic & Partners. “Montenegro is waiting for the new government to form, and until that happens, everything is on hold, more or less.”
Montenegro first introduced a State aid control framework in 2011 in preparation for initiating the EU accession process. Almost ten years later, as the candidate country currently furthest along its accession journey, Montenegro has largely harmonized its State aid framework with the EU acquis. Still, the current level of enforcement and transparency leave a lot of room for improvement.
The Law on Amendments to the Energy Act entered into force on 14 August 2020. It encompasses a set of changes aiming to simplify the existing procedures and to promote the development of the Montenegrin energy sector, especially in the context of the pending alignment of Montenegrin laws with the EU's acquis, as required under the negotiation chapter no. 15.
The SEE Legal law firm alliance has announced the formal launch of two new practice groups, one dedicated to Employment and Immigration, headed by Kolcuoglu Demirkan Kocakli Counsel Maral Minasyan, and one dedicated to Intellectual Property, headed by Selih & Partnerji Partner Natasa Pipan Nahtigal.
As Europe begins a tentative re-opening following several difficult months of quarantining, social distancing, and working-from-home, we spoke to CMS’s Warsaw-based Employment Partner Katarzyna Dulewicz and Vienna-based Dispute Resolution Partner Daniela Karollus-Bruner for their perspective on the process.