Baker & McKenzie announced today that it has established a Central European Transactions Team, a dedicated transaction team of over 40 partners focused on providing privatisation, M&A, project finance, securities and infrastructure advice to clients across Central and Eastern Europe.
The team will deploy its extensive experience in handling projects of this type to assist clients who are investing or doing business across the region, principally those located in countries preparing to accede to the EU. The team includes lawyers from the Firm’s European, CIS and North American offices.
Baker & McKenzie is already well established in Central and Eastern Europe and has undertaken a number of high-profile projects in these countries in recent years. These include advising the project sponsors on their implementation of a major privately financed motorway project in Romania, advising the government of Croatia on the privatisation of the state owned telecoms incumbent and the MATAV led consortium in Macedonia on the purchase through a privatisation tender of a majority stake in the state telephone company.
In addition, the Firm represented KBC Bank NV in its US$1.1 billion acquisition of the Investicni a Postovni Banka (IPB) enterprise from a forced administrator appointed by the Czech National Bank. In Hungary, Baker & McKenzie advised lenders on the largest domestic financing to date in connection with the Hungarian government’s motorway development program and the first PFI type financing in Hungary in relation to the national arena.
The Firm has been present in Central and Eastern Europe for more than 15 years and, with the opening of its Budapest office in 1987, was the first international law firm to open for business in the region. The Firm has since opened offices in Warsaw (1992), Prague (1993) and Vienna (2003). In addition, Baker & McKenzie was the first international law firm to receive accreditation in the former Soviet Union with the opening of its Moscow office in 1989. The Firm now has 5 offices across the CIS.
Commenting on the announcement at the Firm’s annual EU Law Conference in Brussels, Christine Lagarde, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Baker & McKenzie said, “The establishment of the Central European Transactions Team marks another milestone in Baker & McKenzie’s history in emerging markets. We have long been proud of our reputation for innovation and expertise in emerging markets and today’s announcement further underlines our commitment to supporting our clients who are doing business in potential accession countries. The combination of our extensive expertise and experience in this area, together with our unparalleled resources and geographic presence, makes for what I believe to be a unique offering in the market.”