Patricia Gannon, Senior Partner, and Rastko Petaković, Partner, together with Associates Veton Qoku and Nevena Tomić Lučić, attended the Balkan Legal Forum ( BLF) 2016 – a conference organised by the IBA European Regional Forum and the Legal Development Foundation.
The Conference which takes place bi-annually was a good occasion to discuss the current investment opportunities and challenges for the next five years in South East Europe, as well as to reinforce existing professional relationships. As was the case in previous fora held since 2000, it gathered over 150 delegates from the legal and business worlds, from countries throughout Europe and beyond.
Prior to the conference, the firm participated in a panel discussion on issues faced when arbitrating construction and infrastructure disputes in the SEE, organised by the ICC Young Arbitrators Forum. Experts in this field exchanged their thoughts and different perspectives from the lawyers, in-house counsel's and independent expert's point of view, and presented new ideas and solutions on how to address the most important issues in this field.
At the BLF, panelists and participants discussed latest investment opportunities across the SEE region, as well as the political implications of Brexit on the region.
Rastko Petaković chaired a panel discussion on Private Equity activity in SEE. The discussion was driven by the increasing PE activity in the past few years, both in terms of deal size and complexity and the overall impression is that despite the limited number of attractive targets overall, there are opportunities to consolidate industries presenting real value to the funds.
Distressed Banks and NPL's as investment opportunities were one of the hot topics of the first day of the conference. Bankers, lawyers, and in-house counsel, reached consensus on the immediate need for regulatory improvements during their discussion but remain confident that this unresolved issue will be top of the agenda for Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia at least for the remainder of the year.
We end our overview on a positive note as Franz Hoerhager from Mezzanine Management revealed startling statistics on overall GDP growth predictions. Citing the Vienna Economic Institute as his source, he outlined predicted overall growth per country to be from 2-4 % for the upcoming three years with a constant upward trend. For this reason he was confident that we will see more fund activity and growth across all sectors as consumer spending increases.
For more information on the conference see http://www.tma-europe.org/annual-conference/detail-16.asp?ItemID=395