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Dentons advises Aviva Investors on the sale of two warehouses in Wrocław

Dentons advised Aviva Investors on the sale of a portfolio of two warehouses (Wrocław Business Park) to a construction company managed by Dentons advised Aviva Investors on the sale of a portfolio of two warehouses (Wrocław Business Park) to a construction company managed by Griffin Real Estate.

Wrocław Business Park is a complex of two modern warehouse halls located in Wrocław at Bierutowska Street (Psie Pole district) with a total of 9,000 sq. m. of gross floor area. The divested portfolio enables to carry out orders based on the Crossdock Management System, which allows for repackaging of delivered goods and sending them directly to recipients without additional storage.

The transaction was managed by senior associate Hanna Żarska with the support of associate Adrianna Kończak from Dentons’ Real Estate team in Warsaw. Managing counsel Tomasz Krasowski advised on the tax aspects of the transaction.

Hogan Lovells Warsaw wins freedom of speech case in Poland

At the request of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the lawyers from Hogan Lovells Warsaw represented the Malta Foundation in the court case concerning an unpaid subsidy. The Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage decided not to follow the terms and conditions of the concluded contract, and refrained from paying out the granted subsidy for the Malta Festival. In its press releases, the Ministry revealed that it had disagreed with performances previously carried out by Mr Oliver Frljić, one of the festival’s curators. The Circuit Court in Warsaw awarded the Malta Foundation’s claim in its entirety. Recently, on 8 July 2020, the Appellate Court in Warsaw dismissed the Ministry’s appeal.

This case has set a precedent. It was the first case in which the Polish Ministry for Culture decided not to pay out a granted subsidy due to its disapproval of one particular artist. A theatre director Mr Oliver Frljić was one of the festival’s curators. He also happened to be the author of the play The Curse, which created a great deal of controversy in some sections of society, and was met with accusations of offending religious feelings.

The Constitution of the Republic of Poland guarantees everyone freedom of artistic expression and freedom to enjoy cultural events. In Poland, culture is financed mainly from public national funds. Leaving the Ministry in sole charge of the decision whether to pay out the granted subsidy creates a risk of the soft censorship. Therefore, it is critical that the Ministry follows the rules to which it originally consented in the concluded subsidy agreement.

In the Malta Foundation case, the court clearly stated that the Ministry violated its obligations. The judge explained that the choice of the curator could not have served as sufficient reason for the Ministry’s failure to pay out the granted subsidy. The contract did not give the Ministry the power to freeze the money because of its, even acute, dislike of Mr Oliver Frljić.

“We are very happy to have won the case in the Court of Appeal! We only wanted law and justice … and this is what we got! We have fought for three years against Minister Piotr Gliński’s censorship, whose “only right” ideology led to the unnecessary costs of this trial, the accrued interest to be paid by the Ministry, the two-year involvement of the Polish courts, and many people’s work. Once again, we wish to thank the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights: Dr Piotr Kładoczny, Dr Katarzyna Wiśniewska, and Mr Adam Klepczyński for their invaluable support, as well as Dr Wojciech Marchwicki and Mr Przemysław Tacij from the Hogan Lovells Warsaw office who represented, pro bono, the Malta Foundation. I would also like to thank the audience and artists for their gestures of solidarity with the Malta Foundation”, said Mr Michał Merczyński, the director of the Malta Festival Poznań.

Dr Wojciech Marchwicki, a counsel from the Hogan Lovells Warsaw office, who represented the Malta Foundation in the court proceedings, commented “In managing the public funds for culture, there are rules and there are contracts that must be abided by. The Ministry of Culture and Minister Gliński do not spend their own money, they only have public funds at their disposal. In this respect, the criteria should be as objective as possible. The court’s decisions confirm that the authorities cannot act ‘without following the rules.’ Punishing cultural institutions for cooperating with an inconvenient artist is unacceptable. This judgment rendered by an independent court proved the necessity of reminding the Minister of Culture of this obvious fact.”

“The trial of Malta Foundation against the Ministry of Culture is precedent-setting. The verdict in this case is also important for culture functioning in Poland. It shows that freedom of artistic expression is a constitutional value that cannot be limited by unilateral decisions only because the artist is, according to state authorities, controversial,” stated Mr Adam Klepczyński, a lawyer from the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. “It should also be remembered that culture in Poland is often financed from public funds, and therefore its support should be carried out transparently, without any restrictions which could violate the freedom of artistic creation,” added Mr Klepczyński.

The case is being handled under the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights’ Precedent Matters Program. The Malta Foundation was represented, pro-bono, by the lawyers Dr Wojciech Marchwicki and Mr Przemysław Tacij from the Hogan Lovells Warsaw office.

Hogan Lovells advise ISOC Group in latest acquisition

The Hogan Lovells Warsaw Office have advised ISOC Group in the acquisition of the A and B buildings of the Silesia Business Park from the Swedish investor, Niam.

The Silesia Business Park is located in the most dynamic business district in Katowice, Poland and the transaction involved two class A office buildings with a leasable area of over 24,000 sq.m. The transaction means that ISOC Group will become the exclusive owner of the entire Silesia Business Park complex and the acquisition marks another real estate investment of the ISOC Group in the Polish market.

ISOC Group is a real estate and industrial infrastructure investment company based in the Philippines, with stakes in telecommunications, logistics and cold chain. In 2019, ISOC was shortlisted for the real estate Eurobuild Investor of the Year award.

On the Purchaser’s side, the transaction was executed by counsel Bartosz Clemenz; Head of Hogan Lovells Warsaw real estate practice, partner Marek Grodek, supervised the transaction and coordinated the multidisciplinary legal team. The full real estate transaction team comprised of senior associates Ewa Kraszewska, dr Katarzyna Sulimierska, associate Adam Nowosielski, as well as lawyers Paweł Gnaś, Daria Kostewicz and Karolina Samocik. Partner Piotr Zawiślak, and senior associate Mateusz Dereszyński advised on the financing aspects of the transaction while counsel Ewa Kacperek, and Weronika Wołosiuk advised on IP law.

This is another significant deal concerning Asian investment into commercial property in Poland, which the Hogan Lovells Warsaw office have recently been involved in.

Schoenherr strengthens Warsaw real estate practice group

Schoenherr Warsaw further strengthens its real estate practice with the addition of three highly qualified specialists. They bring a wealth of knowledge and an excellent track record to Schoenherr’s dynamic Polish office. Prior to joining Schoenherr, the new team members worked in real estate and real estate finance with leading international firms in Poland.

  • Marta Bijak-Haiduk, joining as partner, has vast experience with various types of real estate transactions, including JVs, financing structures, asset and share deals. She has represented clients in negotiations of lease agreements concerning logistics, office and retail buildings as well as in build-to-own development agreements, and advised on the construction process. Marta takes over the helm of the firm’s real estate practice.
  • Dominika Sulak-Seyfried, senior attorney at law/advocate, focuses on advising domestic and international entities on real estate transactions, as well as construction and development projects, including various aspects of financing.
  • Patrycja Czarnecka, associate/advocate, works primarily on transactional real estate matters and her legal career has been focused on various real estate transaction related topics.

“Schoenherr has a strong real estate practice in the CEE/SEE,” said partner Sebastian Gutiu, who co-heads Schoenherr’s real estate practice. “As Poland continues to play a key role in the regional real estate market, we are confident that the consolidation of our specialised team in Warsaw will add value for our clients and our firm.”

“I am delighted to welcome Marta, Dominika and Patrycja to our Warsaw practice,” the office’s managing partner Paweł Halwa added. “I am convinced that they are a great fit for our team and that the strengthened real estate practice led by Marta will further boost our growth in Poland.”

“This is an amazing experience to be a member of Schoenherr and I am eager to continue to develop the real estate practice together with such an exceptional team,” said the new head of the Warsaw real estate team, Marta Bijak-Haiduk.

Schoenherr Poland

Schoenherr’s Warsaw office is a full-service practice that focuses on mergers & acquisitions, capital markets, banking & finance, real estate and energy. Our team of lawyers advises domestic and international clients on investing in Poland and on cross-border transactions. We have particular experience in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity, privatisations, public takeovers, initial public offerings, real estate acquisition, sale and development, financing of M&A and real estate projects and renewable energy. Our client list includes national and international corporate groups from several industries, including banks, real estate developers, investment funds, private equity funds, manufacturers, distributors and industrial companies.

Baker McKenzie announces record global revenues of $2.92B

Baker McKenzie has announced record revenues for the fiscal year ended 30 June 2019 (FY19) of $2.92 billion. In terms of constant currency, Baker McKenzie’s revenues were up 4.4% compared to the previous year. In US dollar terms, the Firm’s reporting currency, this translates into growth of 1.2%, after the effect of adverse currency exchange.

Baker McKenzie remains the most geographically diverse global law firm and all of our regions recorded growth as follows: EMEA +5.2%, AP +2.1%, LA +9.0% and NA +4.0%

All of our key financial metrics improved over last year: revenue growth, net income, profit margin, Profits per Partner (PPP), Revenue per Partner and Profits per Lawyer. We are especially pleased to accomplish this amid a market with flat demand. PPP was up by 3% to $1.48 million in US dollars. Overall net income or profit rose by 2% to $1 billion. Over the last decade the Firm has grown by 40% in terms of revenue and 50% in terms of PPP, outperforming most of our competitors.

Among our standout markets, all with significant double-digit growth, include Bogota, Buenos Aires, London, Prague, Turkey and Warsaw.

Baker McKenzie Acting Chair Jaime Trujillo says, “Recording 4.4 percent growth in a market as challenging as this while maintaining our commitment to all of our offices and our full service offering is a good result. The investments the Firm continues to make in legal services, the centres of excellence we have opened in lower-cost locations, and more effective partnering with clients, supported by long-term investments in industry, practice and client programs have enabled us to show profitable growth.

“This is despite the distinct geopolitical head winds throughout the second half of the year, which prompted our clients to cancel or postpone projects. We are also one of the most geographically diverse professional services firms in the world, both one of our key strengths, and at times a challenge in markets impacted when the US dollar is so strong, as it was this past year.”

Our Future

Jaime concludes, “There have been moments in the past year when the Firm was tested as much as it has been in our 70-year history, but I am extremely proud of how we have come together and dealt with the issues that we have faced. Neither has it been an easy 12 months for the profession as a whole, with softening client demand as a result of geo-political uncertainty, an increasingly competitive market with new entrants and a declining overall market. It takes a Firm like ours with an enormous amount of resilience, experience and strong leadership from all our partners to be confident to face the challenges ahead.”

White & Case advises insurers on restructuring of Trakcja PRKiI

Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised AXA Ubezpieczenia Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń i Reasekuracji S.A., Credendo – Excess & Surety Societe Anonyme operating in Poland through Credendo – Excess & Surety Spółka Akcyjna Branch in Poland, Generali Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń S.A., Korporacja Ubezpieczeń Kredytów Eksportowych S.A., Sopockie Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń Ergo Hestia S.A., Powszechny Zakład Ubezpieczeń S.A. and Uniqua Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń S.A. on the restructuring of the financial debt of Trakcja PRKiI S.A. and its subsidiaries.

As a result of the restructuring, Trakcja PRKiI S.A. obtained overall financing of around PLN 1.2 billion in the form of various financial instruments including revolving loans, subordinated loans, funds from share capital increases, bank guarantees and insurance guarantees.

“This is one of the most complicated restructurings in Poland in recent years,” said White & Case partner Tomasz Ostrowski. “The document approval process took more than six months and involved more than ten financial institutions. The documentation is governed by Polish law, but the transaction also includes important elements of English and Lithuanian law.”

The White & Case team in Warsaw which advised on the transaction included partner Tomasz Ostrowski and local partner Aneta Urban.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.whitecase.com/