Croatia

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Croatian Bar Association

Competition authority: AZTN – Croatian Competition Agency

Financial regulator: Croatian National BankHANFA – Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:

Financial and corporateProject development

Jurisdiction overview

Croatia is a civil law jurisdiction and one of only two countries in the Balkans (along with Slovenia) to be admitted to the EU. The legal system contains elements of Austrian and German law, from the country’s time under Austro-Hungarian rule, and socialist law from the latter part of the 20th century. As with other EU states, new legislation is now often based on or closely aligned to EU law and principle.

The Croatian legal market is relatively open, from an individual perspective, in that as long as qualified lawyers are a Croatian or EU citizen they can be admitted to practice by the Croatian Bar Association. Since the country’s admission to the EU, the groundwork is also in place for firms from the EU, EEA or Switzerland to be able to open offices in the country, though rules around naming exist. 

As it stands the Croatian market is still dominated by local firms, with the only foreign firms present being the Austrian based regional groups - such as Schoenherr, Wolf Theiss and CMS - and Balkan regional firm Karanović & Nikolić. Though EU accession, as mentioned above, makes entry into the market for foreign firms easier than it has been the past, the size of the market and Croatia’s economic problems means that it is unlikely that many other firms will make the move.

Again, due to the market’s size, most lawyers tend to business law generalists and cover a range of work across the financial and corporate space.

Financial and corporate
Bardek Lisac Mušec Skoko in cooperation with CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz

The Croatian arm of regional firm CMS works in cooperation with local firm Bardek Lisac Mušec Skoko. The cooperation has resulted in one of the strongest offices in the country that has developed a good reputation in the banking and finance area. 

Notable for its work on distressed transactions, the firm has been advising creditors on the restructuring of Agrokor and working for banks on disposals of NPL portfolios. 

In other recent banking work the firm has been advising on syndicated loans for acquisitions and general corporate purposes. The firm typically advises local and international banks and financial institutions in their capacity as lenders. 

Foreign clients including private equity and investment funds have mandated the firm on Croatian acquisitions across various sectors including real estate and retail. 

The firm is also active in the energy sector, supporting EBRD on its energy efficiency programme in the western Balkans. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•DDM Group and B2Holding acquisition of Heta NPL portfolio

•INA $300 million revolving credit facility

•Porsche acquisition of 10% stake in Rimac

Client feedback

"BLMS provided excellent support throughout the whole process. They have perfect knowledge of the local market, industry and the law, and I enjoyed a very high level of service quality." – Banking

 "Very proactive, quick and reliable resources. CMS provided strong support on difficult topics considering the jurisdiction." – Project development 

Batarelo Dvojkovic Vuchetich Law Firm

Established in 2019, Bartarelo Dvojkovic Vuchetich is a young firm formed by lawyers from top tier local firms. 

The firm has been advising retailers and service providers on corporate and financial restructurings. It has also acted on the buy and sell side of NPL disposals. 

The firm has also advised foreign clients on notable investments in Croatia across several sectors. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Agrokor Group restructuring

•European Coastal Airlines insolvency

•INA 49% shares buyback

Client feedback

"They are very professional and are quick to answer any queries. They have high knowledge of commercial and labour law." – M&A

"The team were energetic and capable. They were thoughtful and understood well the issues that I raised. They handled the signing and a tricky valuation issue during closing, to ensure a successful deal.  I found them polite and respectful and I enjoyed working with them." – M&A   

"BDV provides excellent support and creative solutions. The extensive experience of their team was very helpful in reaching an ideal acquisition structure. Furthermore, BDV was very helpful in the structuring of the long-term partnership with our future minority partners." – M&A 

"Highly qualified legal advices, availability in general and in urgent situations and flexibility in traveling. As a foreign investor in Croatia, BDV gained our full confidence." – Project development 

Bradvica Marić Wahl Cesarec

Bradvica Marić Wahl Cesarec is largely active in M&A. It often works for foreign clients, including a number from Germany or German-speaking countries. 

The firm has been advising on corporate deals recently working on a mix of acquisitions, mergers, reorganisation, share transfers and private equity deals in Croatia across various sectors including real estate, retail and IT. The firm has also advised clients in relation to bankruptcy law.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Bemis acquisition of Ivanićplas

•Gryphon Invest acquisition of NOVO Gaming

•Wienerberger Group / Tondach merger

Client feedback

"Branko Skerlev spends a significant amount of his time focusing on providing support to fund managers, and has a great deal of experience in the field." – M&A 

"BMWC combine deep knowledge in various areas of law with personal commitment. They offer advice in at least three different languages (Croatian, English, and German) and have highly skilled partners with experiences of working with international law firms." – M&A   

"BMWC is a reliable law firm with a focus on problem-solving. It has a team of highly professional and skilled partners who are appreciated in the M&A field. They have strong experience and the clients are always impressed with their level of expertise and broad knowledge. There are also several young lawyers in BMWC team who already shown that they will be relevant players in the Croatian M&A market. The whole team is always available and they provide high quality advice in a short period of time." – M&A 

Čipčić Bragadin Mesić & Associates

Čipčić Bragadin Mesić & Associates is active in M&A, and has recently secured work advising on a mix of buy and sell side roles on cross border transactions.

During the research period the firm hired two new corporate partners Ivan Juričić and Marina Mesić from private practice.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Flixbus acquisition of Auto Poduzece Imotski

Divjak Topić & Bahtijarević Law Firm

Divjak Topić & Bahtijarević Law Firm is a full service firm that advises on some the largest and notable deals in the jurisdiction. 

In banking the firm advises large international and domestic banks on financing, refinancing and distressed transactions including NPL sales and restructurings. 

In M&A, international law firms often mandate it as local counsel on large multijurisdictional transactions, such as the acquisition of United Group. However, the firm has experience of lead counsel roles on high value M&A mandates. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•BC Partners acquisition of United Group

•Constabella Resort €60 million financing

•INA / Prvo Plinarsko Drustvo €40 million acquisition of Petrokemija

Client feedback

"Very good." – M&A

"Very efficient, good quality advice and quick." – Real estate

"Lots of talented lawyers, highly responsible and trained. No major weaknesses noted." – Restructuring and insolvency

Andrej Žmikić

"Very responsive and knowledgeable."

Damir Topić

"Calm personality, demonstrates above average skills with client and team management. Highly trained and helpful."

Jasna Belčić

"Thorough, comprehensive and answered all the questions."

Dominković & Osrečak Law Firm

Dominković and Osrečak Law Firm is an independent that worked in cooperation with Deloitte Legal until 2018. 

The firm focuses on the energy sector, advising on project development and corporate transactions such as acquisitions and joint ventures of companies active in the sector. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•INA acquisition of 50% ENI joint venture stake

Client feedback

"Initially we met the firm's partner as the lawyer of the other side in one of the transactions we were involved in and immediately decided to engage her on our future projects. They have always been proactive and attentive to our needs, notifying us of potential opportunities & risks in the market. We are always confident that we will receive top quality advice but they will also provide it in a form that suits us the best."

"Knowledgeable, experienced and well connected."

Ivana Dominković Cecelja

"Ivana is a great lawyer but also a very pleasant person to be around. She always has time to explain the situation from a legal perspective, and is compatible with clients form technical background. She clearly explains legal concepts to us. On the other hand, her knowledge of renewables industry is impressive, and she is always interested to learn more."

"Ivana is a trustworthy lawyer with profound industry knowledge and extensive hands-on experience."

Glinska & Mišković

Glinska & Mišković has a strong banking and finance and corporate practices. Real estate is an active sector for the firm often advising real estate developers on acquisitions, share transfer and financial activities.

On cross border banking transactions the firm has advised international banks and financial institutions on construction related loans. 

The firm's corporate work is focused on international clients, often advising on acquisitions in Croatia. It has also advised on squeeze-outs and takeovers in Croatia across various sectors. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Agrokor restructuring

•EL-TO Zagreb

•Uljanik €77.8 million guarantee facility

Client feedback

"Very strong commitment, devotion and communication and technical skills." – Banking 

"Great service throughout the transaction and full availability. Great legal knowledge and skills." – Banking 

"Excellent quality of service at a very reasonable price. Very thorough, responsive, solution oriented and very high level of legal expertise." – Banking 

"Young, very responsive, business-focused and solution-oriented with good focus on client needs." – Project development 

Hanžeković & Partners

Hanžeković & Partners is a full-service firm with expertise in project development. The firm has experience on transport and energy infrastructure projects, and often advises the state. 

Recently the firm has been active in M&A and worked on deals involving private equity and public companies.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Adris Grupa takeover of Expertus

•Mid Europa Partners acquisition of Mlinar

Client feedback

"The firm always provide fast and timely answers. They are always available. The firm's insight and diligence helped us avoid some possible issues. No complaints in work we had with them." – Banking 

"We worked with the firm in several M&A transactions and found their services outstanding. We decided to retain their services on loan arrangements, which turned out to be the right decision. I think that the main strength of the firm is their vast experience and proactive approach. They are always trying to find the best solution and model of dealing with the issues at hand." – Restructuring and insolvency

Irina Jelčić

"Her experience and knowledge always gives us great confidence going forward. She is strategic in her approach, thorough and gets things done with excellent results."

Iva Burić

"Very knowledgeable, smart and efficient lawyer. Always clear and on point."

Ilej & Partners

Ilej & Partners has a strong financial and corporate practice that focuses on cross border transactions. 

Acting as local counsel, the firm often advises on inbound acquisitions, and advises acquiring companies as borrowers on acquisition financing. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Aminolabs Group financing

•Fortuna Entertainment Group refinancing

•SAZKA Group financing

Client feedback

"Very proactive, always accessible and detailed-focused in combination with deep knowledge of law and local specifics." – Banking

"Pro-active, always available and knowledgeable" – M&A 

"Ilej & Partners provided us with high quality advice, offering to-the-point explanations and very little unnecessary lawyers' lingo. All input was provided in a timely manner, well within the agreed deadlines." – M&A 

"Very responsive, professional, strong local knowledge and good communication leading to an efficient collaboration." – M&A 

"They worked with focus on details, clear feedback and within the agreed time frames. They delivered, as per the agreement." – M&A 

"Timely and precise lawyers. They were available, concise in addressing the issues raised, goal-oriented and provided a professional and added value service." – M&A 

Kovačević Prpić Simeunović

A relatively young firm, Kovačević Prpić Simeunović has established itself as a strong financial and corporate firm in Croatia. It has experience in aviation finance, advising banks, lessors and leasing companies on aircraft acquisitions, leasing and financings. 

In general, the firm has a good relationship with banks and advises on lending transactions as well as their own corporate activities such as share offers, squeeze outs and insolvency proceedings. 

In the corporate area, the firm advises a mix of Croatian companies and regional entities, including private equity clients, on cross border and domestic acquisitions across several sectors including telecoms and insurance. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•AeroCentury aircraft portfolio refinancing

•Hrvatska poštanska banka and Jadranska banka dd Šibenik merger 

•Hrvatski telekom acquisition of HP Produkcija and Evo Tv business

Client feedback

"That is what we found In Kovačević Prpić Simeunović, we found a law firm we could rely on and trust based on their expertise. Their positive attitude, understanding of commercial issues and commercial approach provide us with very practical advices in regulatory matters. Their ability to find solution despite the uncertainty of new regulatory framework is based on the whole team's exceptional knowledge of regulatory compliance matters. KPS law firm followed us on every step through due diligence and M&A matters that led to a successful closing of the deal. I highly recommend them and am grateful for all they have done for us." – Banking 

"They are great in banking law." – Capital markets: equity 

"They are very focused and dedicated to work, never late on agreed deadlines and highly professional." – Project development 

Law Firm Kallay & Partners

Law firm Kally & Partners is active in M&A and project work mostly. It is known to advise bidders on public tenders for infrastructure projects in Croatia. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Cres solar power plant

Client feedback

Dora Krce-Ivančić

"Very intelligent, diligent and personable lawyer." 

Law Office Lacmanović

Law Office Lacmanović is a notable financial and corporate law firm that advises international clients. It primarily focuses on banking, M&A and restructuring and insolvency practice areas with expertise on the real estate sector. Active in the distressed asset transaction, the firm advises a mix of creditors, trustees and distressed companies on debt restructuring, insolvency and administration procedures. Foreign bad bank, US hedge funds, real estate and aviation companies are often the firm's clients. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•MK Group acquisition of Skiper Resort

Client feedback

"The firm is definitively one of the top Croatian law firms. The quality of the services is impeccable. It has capabilities to assist demanding corporate clients in complex matters and provide intelligent and practical legal solutions." – Banking 

"Easy to work with and good understanding of the financial background of the transactions." – M&A

"They are very good and professional. Natalija Lacmanović is one of the leading corporate lawyers in Croatia. The firm was overall very responsive and knowledgeable." – M&A

"Highly professional, excellent knowledge of International Law, good negotiation skills, well prepared for meetings and proactive." – M&A

Natalija Lacmanović

"Natalija Lacmanović is an outstanding lawyer. She has an impressive legal knowledge and extensive experience across various legal fields and a very good understanding of financial aspects, which was invaluable help in getting the deal closed. She is a real solution provider and always provides intelligent, practical and commercially driven legal solutions. What I found extremely helpful was that she managed to bridge the communication gap we had with another Croatian law firm acting for the counterparty."

"Fast, diligent and friendly."

"Good business understanding and easy to work with."

"Natalija is absolutely great! One of the best corporate and transactional lawyers in Croatia."

Law Office Mucalo

Law Office Mucalo has recently been active in corporate and project work in the energy and TMT sectors. 

During the research period the firm advised a Croatian electricity company on the construction of several bio mass power plants. In the TMT sector it advised domestic postal operator on the carve out of its paid TV service. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•BE-TO Osijek / BE-TO Sisak biomass power plant

•Ezpada acquisition of minority stake in Proenergy

Client feedback

"Fast, reliable and bilingual (English and Croatian)." – M&A 

"Excellent work! Very fast, accurate and always up-to-date with local legislation changes." – M&A

Macesic & Partners Law Offices

Macesic & Partners Law Offices is a Croatian firm with experience in energy and transport project development work and expertise in maritime law, which sees it secure finance and acquisition work for shipping groups. 

In the project area the firm works for European oil and gas companies on exploration projects, licensing issues and other corporate mandates including acquisitions and joint ventures. 

Other recent M&A work saw the firm advise a client in the technology sector – a domestic start up – on a series of fundraisings and acquisitions.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Bellabeat financing

•P&S Capital / DDM Group acquisition of Abanka loan portfolio

•Zagrebacka banka acquisition of Credit Suisse Hrvatske Autoceste loan portfolio 

Client feedback

"The firm provides high-end service; lawyers have in-depth knowledge of our business and are great people to work with." – M&A

"We are very satisfied with the services provided by the law firm. The legal work is very professional; the lawyers are very accessible, excellent and on constant service to their clients. The cost is very reasonable." – Real estate

Ivana Manovelo

"Ivana is a great person to work with. She is very practical, business oriented, highly experienced and knowledgeable. She is always available and quickly resolves any inquiry we may have."     

"True professional devoted to work and clients. She is very reliable, accurate, confident and accessible."

Madirazza & Partners

Madirazza & Partners is a strong domestic firm that is experienced in projects, M&A and restructuring work.

It is strong in the project finance space advising a mix of borrowers and lenders on transactions. 

In M&A the firm has recently advised private and public Croatian companies as buyers and sellers on acquisitions, joint ventures and divestments across various sectors including pharmaceuticals, real estate and energy. It often acts local counsel on international M&A transactions.

The firm often advises creditors on corporate and financial restructurings. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Agrokor Group restructuring

•RWE Hrvatska acquisition of Hrvatski Telekom asset

•Zagreb Airport

Marohnić Tomek & Gjoić

Marohnić Tomek & Gjoić is a leading firm in the market for energy regulatory advice, and recently has worked with the government on drafting industry legislation. An area where the firm has experience that is relatively uncommon locally is in fund formation. 

The firm is active in the real estate sector. In banking work it has recent experience advising buyers on the acquisition of NPLs related to property portfolios. It also advises international and domestic property groups, landowners and borrowers on finance work.

The firm's recent project work includes advisory roles for the developers and lenders on the development of waste water treatment and biomass plants.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Biljane Donje waste treatment plant

•Feelsgood Social Impact Investment Fund

•JP International holdings acquisition of OTP and Zagrebacka Banka loan portfolio

Client feedback

"Always available, young and very energetic, professional yet flexible and creative." – Banking 

"Very motivated and professional team of young experts, in-depth expertise and full support for problems solving." – Banking 

"Focused on tasks, delivering within deadlines, helpful and assertive." – Banking 

"They are very proactive and understand the commercial terms and see the whole picture in any dealings we do. They are highly professional and very pleasant to work with. They go the extra mile." – M&A 

"Great performance! Trustworthy partners with a 'no-nonsense' attitude." – M&A

"Very professional and easy to work with, punctual, detail oriented and always keeping the big picture in mind. They are effortlessly combining local and international regulations, making complex things look easy. Definitely our go-to law firm for any complex work." – M&A 

"Very professional, dedicated, highly knowledgeable and solution-driven personnel. We were able to find solutions to complex problems and facilitate transactions." – M&A

"High knowledge of public procurement and related laws." – Project development

"Energetic team of partners with different characteristics which function extremely well together. Team players, always available, great technical knowledge and are aware of the latest market trends. Not afraid to provide a clear opinion." – Project finance

Matekovic Law Firm

Matekovic Law Firm is recognised for corporate work and is active for clients various sectors in M&A recently. 

In other work it has advised domestic companies on a mix of insolvency, public procurement and financing.  

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Kompas Zagreb bankruptcy  

•UAB Renerga acquisition of Silent Meteor

Client feedback

"Matekovic Law Firm has a strong expertise in the field of personal data protection. Matekovic Law Firm understands the specific sector needs of the client and provide expert solutions." – Project development 

Šavoric & Partners

Šavoric & Partners has a strong corporate practice and is active in the real estate sector.

The firm often works for real estate developers and investors on M&A deals and on the development of retail real estate projects.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Enterprise Investors acquisition of Studenac Retail Chain 

Client feedback

"During the negotiations with the buyer, I was extremely happy Šavorić & Partners were on our side. Extremely competent, concise in identifying key issues, proactive communication and able to smooth out all the rough edges." – M&A

Schoenherr Croatia

The Croatian office of Austrian regional firm Schoenherr focusses on – and is able to secure cross border – transactions through its network. It is mostly active on banking, capital markets, M&A and restructuring work.  

International banks are among the firm's key clients. It advises them on their activities in Croatia ranging from capital raising via bond issues and private placements to distressed transactions such as NPL disposals and extraordinary administration proceedings in insolvency cases. 

It is strong in M&A and advises a mix of domestic and international buyers and sellers on cross border acquisitions, sales, joint ventures and mergers. It has advised on notable mandates in the technology and real estate sectors.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Agrokor restructuring

•Enterprise Investors acquisition of Studenac Retail Chain 

•SIA €375 million acquisition of First Data card processing business

Client feedback

"What we have seen in our cooperation with them is that they always have very sophisticated mandates which require deep and thorough knowledge and understanding of local but also EU law and practices. They are very precise and easy to work with, always keeping in mind all sides of the transaction. Their first goal is to protect the interest of their clients whilst ensuring the transaction goes smoothly for all parties. In simple words - banking is their thing." – Banking 

"It actively supported all steps of the transaction to ensure all steps were implemented correctly and on time. As such the firm was key factor for successful realization of transaction. Overall, the team is competent, committed, responsive and reliable." – M&A 

"Excellent knowledge of local practice and very pro-active approach." – M&A 

"Highly skilled and professional." – M&A 

"Schoenherr Croatia performed complex activities related to the formalisation of the transfer of company shares and court filings with superb professionalism. An additional strength is the ability of Schoenherr Croatia to deliver on time even in very tight deadlines, without compromising quality. The advice Schoenherr provides takes in consideration not only legal theory but also real-life practice, which we find very useful." – M&A 

Wolf Theiss

Wolf Theiss is one of the strongest firms in Croatia and its regional network gives its cross-border capability. The firm often advises on the largest local transactions. 

Strong across the board, the firm has established notable technology expertise in Croatia and has advised on some of the larger M&A transactions in the sector. 

It has also developed fintech expertise and regularly advises tech companies on blockchain and cryptocurrencies regulations in Croatia. 

In project space, the firm has a strong presence in transport infrastructure, recently advising port operators on concessions and operation of ports in Croatia. It also has public procurement expertise and often advises a mix of bidders and concessioners on several infrastructure projects. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Aluflex €25 million financing

•Hemisphere €750 million debt restructuring

•Zadar Gaženica port