Insights


March 6, 2015


A business forum of Slovenian and Serbian businessman was held during the official visit of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić in Ljubljana. Both prime ministers attended. The Forum connected more than 200 businessmen from both countries, reflecting the ambitious interest in strengthening mutual cooperation.

The Forum highlighted as a key theme the cooperation of both countries and their joint appearance on third markets, the privatization of state and social enterprises in Serbia and Slovenia and providing information to interested Serbian and Slovenian companies that would like to participate in these activities.

Slovenian Prime Minister Dr. Miro Cerar said that Slovenia as an open and export-oriented economy still generates 90% of all export revenues in markets within a radius of a thousand km from its capital. Serbia has traditionally been an important trading partner of Slovenia. It was Slovenia’s 10th largest trading partner in 2013, while Slovenian investors ranked second among foreign investors according to direct investments in Serbia. He stressed that the potential offered by both economies has not yet been fully reached, therefore the conference may contribute to the further strengthening of cooperation and to accelerate the search for yet untapped business opportunities. He therefore welcomed the large business delegation, which clearly expressed the wish to strengthen their economic relations.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić pointed out that Slovenia and Serbia are friendly countries. Serbia always had Slovenia’s support on its way to join the EU and is counting on it in the future as well. Slovenian economy can take advantage of the fact that Serbia has signed free trade agreements not only with the EU and CEFTA, but also with Turkey, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which represents a market of almost a billion potential consumers.

Video about the conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ke613xp-HaY

Contact: slovenia@odilaw.com


March 3, 2015


Iva Miščević graduated at University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Law in 2011. She finished postgraduate studies in international law (LL.M.) in 2014 at University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Law. Before joining ODI team, she worked as a Junior associate at a well-known law firm in Novi Sad, Serbia and did an internship at law firm Jadek & Pensa in Ljubljana, Slovenia. She is a member of Bar Association of Vojvodina since 2012 and fluent in Croatian, English, Slovenian and Serbian. She will be mainly focusing on the fields of corporate and commercial law.

We welcome her in our team and wish her great career success.

Contact: serbia@odilaw.com

 

 


March 3, 2015


ODI is proud to have participated in the fourth annual Slovenian national student corporate law competition named “The Legal Solution” (“Prav(n)a rešitev”), which took place in Ljubljana on February 27th and 28th. It is the only competition in Slovenia bringing together promissing law students and leading Slovenian law firms, enabling the former to gain valuable experience in tackling real legal problems and to exhibit a high degree of knowledge and the ability to understand complex commercial transactions. This was the most successful year of the competition’s four year existence with almost 120 law students from all of the Slovenian law faculties competing on cases provided by 5 law firms.

For the final round of the competition, in which the best 15 teams competed for internships in the participating law firms, we have decided to provide a commercial dispute case with a wide range of legal issues from company law, law of obligations as well as procedural law. ODI’s three-man committee was impressed by the high quality of all of the students’ work but decided that a team which consisted of Matevž Fortin, Jakob Šešok and Klemen Kos should be declared the winner after their strong oral submission.

We are happy to provide the above three students with summer internships at our Slovenian office and jump start their legal careers. We are also keen on participating in future competitions and hope that an increasing number of students will identify the positive effects that this competition can have to their professional development.

Contact: slovenia@odilaw.com


February 25, 2015


The Slovenian Competition Protection Agency recently adopted a decision finding that the Slovenian gas distribution company Geoplin had been abusing its dominant position. The abuse in question was the result of Geoplin’s implementation of illegal clauses into long-term contracts for the supply of natural gas, thereby artificially increasing natural gas prices and hindering competition on the relevant market. The temporal element plays an important role here as most customers have only one gas supplier. Therefore, competition among gas suppliers commences only when the previous contract expires and ensues for a short period until the next long-term contract is negotiated and signed. The longevity of said contracts thus plays a vital role.

The Distrigaz decision

It is not the first time that the Agency has dealt with Geoplin with respect to its contractual freedom. In its previous decision on Geoplin’s abuse of its dominant position, it relied heavily on a European Commission decision in the case Distrigaz (COMP/B-1/37966). In that case the Commission reviewed and condemned long-term contracts concluded by Distrigaz, a Belgian gas supplier with a dominant position on the relevant market. Volumes of natural gas were tied to Distrigaz by virtue of said contracts, thereby foreclosing other suppliers’ access to customers.

Some contracts stipulated a fixed annual contractual gas quantity and an annual minimum gas quantity, while Distrigaz had a contractual obligation of a maximum gas quantity. Moreover, even further strengthening its dominant position, Distrigaz was a member of the Suez group together with Electrabel, the largest gas consumer in Belgium.

As a result of the case, Distrigaz agreed to the proposed, and later modified, commitments prohibiting it (inter alia) from concluding contracts with industrial users and electricity producers for periods longer than five years and contracts with gas resellers for periods longer than two years. In addition, Distrigaz agreed to return on average 70% of the gas to the market per year, thereby giving other potential purchasers a fair chance. Finally, Distrigaz agreed to grant its customers a right to terminate a contract with six months’ notice, if their contract was concluded for a period longer than 5 years and still in effect.

The Geoplin case

The contracts in issue in the Geoplin case stipulate contractual quantities of natural gas as well as minimum amounts that are to be purchased. The contracts also set forth penalty payments that are to apply when in the event that these quantities are not reached. Additionally, purchasers are forbidden to resell any excess quantities of gas purchased. As a result, Geoplin has, in effect, bound its contractual parties to buy gas at prices much higher than those in comparable EU Member States (e.g. up to 50% higher than the prices in the Czech Republic, according to the director of the Agency) and, according to the media, the second highest price in the whole EU. These actions, in turn, have the effect of lowering the international competitiveness of its gas purchasers, which are mostly Slovenian companies.

The Agency decision is a continuation of a procedure started in the past. As a temporary result, Geoplin produced a document in which it made commitments not to conclude contracts for periods longer than 3 years, to refrain from limiting buyers of natural gas with the further disposition of gas purchased and to adhere to the progressive decrease of the required minimal quantity of natural gas purchased on a yearly basis.

The outcome

In its most recent decision the Agency gave Geoplin a 3 months’ notice to implement measures that will eliminate the anti-competitive effects, including but not limited to modifying the contracts in question. A fine of up to 10% of the annual turnover of Geoplin can be imposed in accordance with the applicable law. It has been estimated that such a fine would amount to several million euros. On the other hand, the Agency did not declare the contracts null and void, nor did it give the contractual parties a right of termination (a move, criticized by some of these parties involved).

Geoplin has stated that it deems the decision to be illegal and will make use of all legal means at its disposal in an attempt to overturn it. In the event they indeed follow up on their announcement and lodge an appeal, the procedure before the Agency will be stayed until a final decision with regard to the appeal is reached in a court of law.

The case in question may also have EU legal implications as the soaring prices coupled with market foreclosure through the tying of customers by way of long-term contracts may have driven away foreign purchasers of gas. This can be construed as “affecting trade between member states” in the sense of Article 102 of the TFEU. Due to this reason, while highly unlikely, a European Commission procedure could also be launched.

Contact: slovenia@odilaw.com


February 18, 2015


We would like to inform all our partners and other interested public that our ODI Office in Belgrade as of 18 February, 2015 will be located at:

Mileševska 7,  11000 Belgrade, Serbia

New telephone number: +381 (0)2430 407

New fax number: +381 (0)2430 935

 


February 2, 2015


Aleksa Anđelković graduated at University of Niš, Faculty of Law in 2005. He finished postgraduate (LL.M) in 2007 at Central European University of Budapest, Hungary with a thesis on Electronic communications & Telecommunication Law. He completed a specialization in EU and WTO law at the same University. In 2012 he completed another specialization in EU law at European University Institute of Florence, Italy. Before joining ODI team he worked as an Attorney-at-law at an international law firm in Belgrade, Serbia. He is a member of the Belgrade Bar Association since 2010 and is fluent in Serbian, English, French and Croatian. He will be focusing on corporate, antitrust, intellectual property and technology law and mergers and acquisitions.

We welcome him in our team and wish him great career success.


February 2, 2015


You are cordially invited to the 8th days of insolvency law, which will take place on February 5th and 6th 2015 in GH Bernardin, Portorož. The conference Days of Insolvency Law is an annual professional meeting of judges, receivers, prosecutors, financial professionals, tax professionals, administrators and other persons dealing with insolvency proceedings from the legal and economic point of view.

Mag. Uroš Ilić, attorney specialist for corporate and insolvency law will moderate the round table on the topic of “Restructuring of Cimos”. You are cordially invited to join in the Emerald Hall on the 5th of February at 16:30 pm. Managing partner of our law firm will also give his professional presentation on the topic of Municipalities indebtness – Detroit’s bankruptcy in the Emerald Hall on February 6th, starting at 9:00 am.

See you in Portorož!

Contact: slovenia@odilaw.com


February 2, 2015


ODI Slovenia is presenting two new members who joined ODI team in the beginning of February.

Ivo Grlica graduated from Faculty of Law in Ljubljana in 2011. He joined ODI after passing the Bar exam earlier this year. Before joining ODI, he acted as a legal and tax adviser at the Tax Administration of Republic of Slovenia and as a judicial trainee at the Ljubljana Higher Court. Leaning on his extensive experience in tax law, he will represent an important part of ODI’s new tax team. he will also be working in the areas of restructuring and Insolvency, banking and finance and corporate law. He speaks English, Croatian, Serbian and Russian.

Primož Mikolič graduated from Faculty of Law in Ljubljana in 2014. He has also been gaining legal knowledge through a student exchange program in Sweden as well. Before joining ODI, Primož worked in an international law office in Ljubljana, Wolf Theiss. In ODI he will be covering banking and finance, restructuring and Insolvency and M&A. He is fluent in English, Croatian, Serbian and German.

We welcome Ivo and Primož in ODI team and wish him a great career success.


January 5, 2015


Suzana Bončina Jamšek was born in 1982 and graduated from law at the Maribor Faculty of law in 2006 and from economics at the Maribor Faculty of economics and business in 2008. In 2011 she finished her master in laws (LL.M.) on London School of Economics and Political Science. In the past, Suzana worked as a lawyer in small law firms and as an economist at the Bank of Slovenia. That is why she represents an important new edition to our banking and finance team. She will also participate in the field of M&A, Corporate law and Restructuring and insolvency. Her international experience include a stint at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Slovenia to the United Nations in New York. She is fluent in English, German and French.

We welcome her and wish her a great career success in ODI.

ODI is pleased to announce that Katarina Škrbec has been promoted to the position of Senior Associate. She joined ODI Slovenia in May 2014 and has since utilized her national and international experience to advise clients in some of the law firm’s largest cases. Inter alia, she has participated in the largest privatization case in Slovenia, in a pilot case led in accordance with the Slovenian new rules on the compulsory settlement, as well as in other high profile cases. This promotion is recognition of Katarina Škrbec’s technical skills, her dedication to ODI clients and her past success.

We congratulate her and wish her a successful future.


December 19, 2014


We are happy to announce that we received the Top Sites Award, which was presented by the CEE Legal Matters in the December issue of the magazine. ODI is pleased to be rewarded for the hard work we’ve been putting in the making of our new web site. CEE Legal Matters recognized our efforts for setting up a personal, simple and convenient site for all interested public.

CEE Legal Maters noticed that the site is quick, the English is professional, and that the website engages the user immediately.

Our partner in Macedonia, who was leading the renewal of the site, Gjorgji Georgievski was delighted. »We were very pleased to hear that our website won the CEE Legal Matters Top Sites Award for Slovenia. The award means a lot to us as in the past several lawyers at the firm worked hard together with the designers on the development of the website. The main challenge for us was to create an appealing, clean and minimalistic design which would, at the same time, enable us to effectively communicate our expertise and services offered in Slovenia and in the other jurisdictions where we operate.«

For more information: http://ceelm.com/index.php/analysis/item/2158-topsites-award-poland-and-slovenia

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