Slovak Republic

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Slovak Bar Association

Competition authority: Antimonopoly Office Slovak Republic

Financial regulator: National Bank of Slovakia

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction: 

Banking and finance, M&A, Project development

Jurisdiction overview

The modern Slovak Republic was formed following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia following the 1989 Velvet Revolution. The country has a civil law system that is strongly influenced by former communist law and, more recently, EU law. Because of their former union the legislative system also has a lot of overlap with the law of the Czech Republic.

The official title of lawyers in the Slovak Republic is Advokát. Lawyers must be registered by the Slovak Bar Association if they are to practice. As with other states in the EU, the country allows free movement by lawyers from other EEA countries, though they must partner with a Slovak lawyer if they wish to practice Slovak lawyer. Foreign lawyers from outside the EU cannot practice under the title of their home country.

The main restriction on foreign firms is that only law firms from EEA countries can open an office in the country and those firms may only employ Slovak or European lawyers.

The market itself is a mix of domestic firms, many of who have offices in both the Czech and Slovak republics, UK and regional CEE firms. A small number of US firms are also present where the office is a branch of their European operations.

Lawyers in the jurisdiction have a degree of specialisation, usually focusing more on finance or corporate matters.

Financial and corporate
Allen & Overy

The Slovak arm of 'magic circle' law firm is one of the strongest firms in the country. Its network offices and English qualified lawyers make Allen & Overy one of the best choices in cross border transactions.

In banking and finance the firm has a strong reputation for work on the lending side. It advises international banks and financial institutions on their role as lenders, arrangers and global co-ordinators on syndicated and bilateral loans in relation to acquisition financing and corporate lending. The firm also advises local banks and borrowers on domestic transactions where its Slovak qualified lawyers are highly regarded. 

The team also handles debt capital markets work for the issuers and arrangers. During the research period it was active in corporate bond issues and the establishment of covered bonds programme.

In the M&A space the firm is active on both buy and sell side, advising a mix of multinational and leading local companies across various sectors. During the research period financial services and technology were the most active sectors for the firm.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Alro $235 million financing

•PPF Group €2.8 billion acquisition of Telenor's CEE business

•SIA €387 million acquisition of First Data card processing businesses

•Tatry mountain resorts €90 million 4.4% bond issue

•Zapadoslovenska Energetika €250 million financing

Client feedback

"The firm has excellent professionals with outstanding sense for business and understanding the problems of their clients." - Banking

"High quality advice and client service. Strong lead lawyer (Attila Csongrady) and associate team (in particular Peter Redo)." – Banking 

"We are satisfied with the assessment of the law firm's work. In Slovakia, we always prefer Allen & Overy in relation to bond issues. We have been working with them for a long time and we can highly recommend them. We always appreciate their speed, precision, flexibility, willingness and attention to detail." – Project finance

Čechová & Partners

Čechová & Partners is a reputable local independent law firm that has strong financial and corporate offerings.

In the banking space the firm has a strong presence in the regulated sectors and as such it advises multinational financial institutions and insurance companies on regulatory matters. In the transactional space the firm has been primarily active on the borrowers' side acting for funds and automotive companies on acquisition finance and refinancing transactions recently.

In M&A the firm primarily acts as Slovak law advisor to international corporations, private equity and investment funds on global M&A and acquisitions of Slovak businesses.

In the projects space the firm typically provides regulatory advice to foreign clients in relation to licensing, exploration contracts and operations in Slovakia across telecommunications, energy and oil and gas sectors.

During the research period, corporate partner Jana Cernakova left the firm.

Client feedback

"The firm provides high level of service. The advice is pragmatic and user friendly." – Banking

CHSH Šiška & Partners

CHSH Šiška & Partners is a Slovak office of Austrian law firm Cerha Hempel Spiegelfeld Hlawati. 

The firm advises foreign clients (mostly German speaking) on expansion in Slovakia. It also provides support to its clients on reorganisations. During the research period it was active across e-commerce, renewable and agricultural sectors among others. It advised a European investment firm and a solar technology companies on acquisitions in relation to energy projects in Slovakia and Ukraine respectively.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Ringier Axel Springer Media acquisition of Autobazar.eu

Dentons

Dentons has a reputable banking team in Slovakia and a notable M&A practice that sees increasing an volume of work each year.

Dentons traditionally is the strongest firm in real estate space locally, advising both real estate companies and banks on development, acquisition and portfolio financings. However, it is also reputable in other areas of financing such as leveraged acquisitions and refinancing transactions where it is mostly active on the lender side.

The firm's capital markets work mostly includes secured bond issues for real estate developers and investors as issuers. 

Similar to the banking practice real estate is a strong focus for the M&A practice. It advises funds and real estate developers on acquisitions and disposals of real estate assets as well as joint ventures for the purpose of real estate development projects. 

The firm also provides Slovak law support on large global deals. During the research period the firm acted for a global pharmaceutical company on its high value divestment of European business.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Advent International €1.9 billion acquisition of Zentiva

•Calsonic Kansei €5.8 billion acquisition of Magneti Marelli

•Dr Max Group €495 million credit facility 

•HB Reavis €175 million financing

•Penta Real Estate €110 million financing

Client feedback

"Very professional and knowledgeable team." – Banking 

"Professional, kind behaviour, willing and cooperative." – Banking

"Top on the market. Professional and highly skilled experienced advisor capable of handling any corporate banking transactions on the market. Very good and wide team of professionals." - Banking

"The firm has outstanding experience with some of the most important financing transactions carried out in the Slovakia recently. It provides innovative solutions, tailor-made services to client's needs with the highest professional and ethical standard." – Banking 

"Very responsive, deep knowledge of LMA based debt transactions, but also pragmatic." – Capital markets: debt

"Knowledgeable, accessible, flexible and high quality advisory." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation 

"Competent, convincing, pragmatic, timely, innovative, approachable and strong network – a perfect partner." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation  

"They provide professional services and have good staff." – M&A

Hamala Kluch Víglaský

Hamala Kluch Víglaský is an independent full service law firm that focuses on corporate transactions specialising in the transport sector.

The rail industry is one of the major sources of work for the firm. During the research period the firm advised logistic company on acquisitions of railcar producers and rolling stocks. It also acted for international client on joint ventures with transport operators in the CEE region. The firm also advised on the financings of these acquisitions. Real estate financing on the banking side is another area of expertise.

In the projects space the firm traditionally advises the state on concession projects in the transport sector. It also advises the banks on project financing of road transport projects. The firm also represents bidders on public procurement tender on railway and electricity sectors.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Budamar Logistics acquisition of Tatravagónka

•Budamar Logistics acquisition of ŽOS Vrútk

•Tatravagónka acquisition of Waggonbau Niesky

Client feedback

"Firm has first rate knowledge of the legal issues and its solutions." – Banking

"Highly professional and structured work. They take a balanced approach, taking into consideration the financial and economical aspects of the transaction." – Capital markets: derivatives

"Delivering professional services with empathy for clients." – Project development 

Hillbridges

Hillbridges is a financial and corporate law firm that has strong corporate and project development practices. 

Historically the firm is known for its borrower side expertise in banking work but in recent years it has increased its lender side work. It has picked up mandates for international banks advising them on acquisition financing and refinancing under Slovak law. 

In the M&A space the firm works alongside international law firms on large multi-jurisdictional deals. During the research period it worked alongside Weil Gotshal & Manges on the sale of European business in the pharmaceutical sector. The firm is largely active in real estate, energy and technology sectors advising a mix of domestic and international buyers and sellers.

In the project space the firm is active across energy and infrastructure projects. It has advised a mix of project developers, potential investors and the state on motorway and power plant projects.  

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Advent International €1.9 billion acquisition of Zentiva

•Enterprise Investors acquisition of CBA Slovakia

Client feedback

"In-depth knowledge and pragmatic solutions, provided within a very short time. Nice people to work with." – M&A

"Skilled team avoiding formal approach to find appropriate solutions. They have in-depth knowledge and are research focused with great understanding of the issues from wider perspective. They also avoid formal approaches to find appropriate solutions and add value." – M&A

"The work was at all times to a very high standard. The Senior Partner attended the key meetings as well as taking the time to visit us on-site.  We were delighted with the high standard of the work and the follow-up in what is a very complex area. We do not have any specific recommendations on improvements as the work done was and remains to a very high standard requiring, as it does, liaison locally and with the USA Head Office." – Project development 

Kinstellar

Kinstellar is a regional law firm that has developed strong financial and corporate and project development practices in Slovakia. The firm's combination of regional network and English qualified lawyers add to the firm's appeal for international clients.

The firm's banking practice covers syndicated and bilateral loans for notable lender side clients. It advises international and domestic banks on financings of acquisitions, real estate development and projects. It also advises UK and US banks on Brexit related matters. 

In capital markets work the firm advises a mix of issuer and underwriters on bond issues. During the research period it advised Polish investor as underwriter on the private placement of bonds by a Slovak issuers.

In M&A the firm has sector wide focus where it works alongside its network offices on cross border transactions. The firm advises a mix of international corporations, venture and investment funds and private equity firms on transactions in financial services, real estate, energy, technology and automotive sectors among others. The research period also saw the firm act for Japanese investors on acquisitions in Slovakia.

In project development the firm is active in infrastructure and energy related projects. During the research period it advised sponsors on public procurement and commercial contract issues on a large road infrastructure project. It also advised a large aluminium producer on PPA with a Slovak energy supplier.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•HB Reavis €175 million financing

•Honeywell $1.66 billion spin-off

•Nidec Corporation $1.08 billion acquisition of Embraco

•NN Group €155 million acquisition of Aegon's Czech and Slovak insurance businesses

•Penta Real Estate €110 million financing

Client feedback

"The law firm provides good services." – Banking

"They have gained a lot of experience in the lending space in the last couple of years. They are the top loan transaction advisors in Slovak market, capable of providing comprehensive legal services to both banks and clients on local and cross border loan transactions. They are pragmatic when providing legal service to the banks." – Banking 

"The services are comparable with other big international law firms in Slovakia." - Banking

"We are very satisfied with the team and with their enthusiasm for work. Strengths include the professional quality of the team members, short reaction time and availability for consultations." – Banking 

"Overall satisfaction with services provided - prompt delivery, due cooperation and client-oriented." – Banking 

"Experienced, reliable service provider with dynamic business approach providing tailor-made services to client's needs with the highest professional and ethical standard." – Banking 

"They are very efficient, responsive and knowledgeable on various law fields." – M&A

"Very strong M&A capabilities, know-how and high added value in transaction work." – M&A 

"Kinstellar is supporting our processes pro-actively and in timely manner to achieve our targets." – M&A

Paul Q Law Firm

Paul Q Law firm's strength lies in corporate work. It is also strong in the real estate sector where it advises property developers on real estate developments, financing and M&A transactions. 

The firm's banking practice is primarily active on the borrowers' side. It represents domestic companies active in real estate and automotive industries on a mix of acquisition financing, refinancing and loan extensions. 

During the research period the firm's capital markets work has included advisory role to an international bank on its public offering. It also acted as local counsel to a Chinese client on its listing in the Hong Kong Stock exchange.

In the M&A space the firm has been active in corporate spin offs and acquisitions across the automotive, real estate and manufacturing sectors advising a mix of domestic and foreign clients.

In the projects space the firm is active in the energy sector advising local energy company on public procurement and claims settlements in the energy infrastructure project.

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Volex €18 million acquisition of Silcotec Slovakia

Ružička and Partners

Ružička and Partners is an independent local law firm that used to work in cooperation with CMS. Since the split the firm has continued its financial and corporate offering to local and foreign clients. It is perhaps the strongest in project development.

In the financing space the firm is largely active on the borrower side acting on syndicated loans and collateral arrangements among others. The firm also advises financial institutions and international banks on financings, regulations and development of payment platforms. 

In M&A the firm is active in the regulated space advising banks, insurance companies and private equity funds on the Slovakian aspects of cross border transactions. 

The firm's projects offering stands out for its public procurement expertise. It advises the state acting as grantor and corporates on the development of social infrastructure and road infrastructure projects. 

During the research period, EU Affairs counsel Michal Nižňan left the firm to go in-house.

Client feedback

"Highly professional and reliable legal services provider. Also, multiple times winner of the Slovak Law Firm of the Year title" – Banking

"Excellent expertise in public procurement legislation and jurisprudence and in corporate/M&A related matters." – M&A

"Excellent legal expertise and good understanding of client´s business and needs." – M&A

"Good support in understanding the regulatory system, good relations with authorities and proactive in structuring." – M&A

"The firm provides high level professional services. Their pro-client approach and understanding of complex situations and client needs makes them valuable and an effective support. We can always rely on their high level of technical expertise and strategic thinking." – Project development

Schoenherr Slovakia

The Slovak office of leading regional law firm Schoenherr has a strong corporate practice while the banking and finance practice is gaining ground in the local market with work on big-ticket transactions.

In banking and finance the firm's work is evenly split between advising lenders and borrowers. It has acted for global and large international banks on cross border financing, refinancing and debt restructuring transactions. On the borrower side, global companies active in energy, automotive and logistics sectors among others have mandated the firm as local counsel on several financings during the research period.

In the M&A space the firm is largely active in cross border transactions working in conjunction with its network offices. During the research period it acted as Slovak counsel on several regional and global transactions across automotive, pharmaceutical and energy sectors. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Jägermeister acquisition of Rémy Cointreau distribution units

•Kongsberg Group €275 million refinancing 

•Renergie Solárny Park Holding refinancing

•Samvardhana Motherson Grop €201 million acquisition of Reydel Group

Client feedback

"We can always rely on their professionalism, precision, expertise, availability and eager attitude.  They represent the 'whole package' for us. Their client-oriented approach and work ethic makes them really exceptional and compatible with our needs. It is very difficult to find someone like them. When issues arise, or we have concerns, we bring it up immediately and they find the solution quickly." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

"No other law firm we have worked with handled our matters as well as Schoenherr. It was very clear from day one that they know exactly what has to be done and they worked tirelessly around the clock to do so. They are experts in what they do." – Capital markets: structured finance and securitisation

White & Case

White & Case has carved out a strong reputation across all practice areas locally. 

In banking and finance the firm acts for a mix of lenders and borrowers on acquisition, project finance and corporate lending transactions. Its network offices give it advantage on cross border transactions and often advises regional and multinational banks on big-ticket deals.

In debt capital markets the firm advises a mix of domestic and international banks across bond issues, establishment and updates of debt issuances programme. During the research period it acted for the banks as managers on sovereign bond issues.

In M&A the firm's experience in pan-European and private equity transactions. The firm advises on both the buy and sell side. During the research period real estate, automotive and energy were among the most active sectors for the firm where it advised a mix of domestic and foreign clients on joint ventures, acquisitions and divestments. 

In the projects space the firm is primarily active as the state-side advisor on road infrastructure PPP projects in Slovakia and Czech Republic. The firm also represents energy companies on energy infrastructure projects in Slovakia. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Advent International €1.9 billion acquisition financing

•NEPI Rockcastle €121 million acquisition of Galéria Mlyny Shopping Center

•SIA €387 million acquisition of First Data card processing businesses

•Slovak Republic €1 billion 0.75% sovereign bond issue 

•Zapadoslovenska Energetika €250 million financing

Wolf Theiss

Wolf Theiss has a strong financial and corporate practice in Slovakia. Its close cooperation with network offices provides it with transactional support on cross border mandates and referral works. The firm is also favoured by Austrian clients active in Slovakia.

In banking and finance the firm acts for international banks and corporate borrowers on a mix of financing, refinancing, restructuring and portfolio sales across real estate and insurance sectors among others. 

In capital markets work the firm is active on the debt side advising foreign automotive companies on bond issues. 

The firm's corporate team has developed a strong restructuring and insolvency practice over the years. During the research period it acted for a dual listed international company on the disposal of its furniture businesses. 

Recent Deal Data highlights

•Allianz Group acquisition of DAS Rechtsschutz

•Czech Media Invest €73 million acquisition of Lagardère Active Radio International

•Energizer $2 billion acquisition of Spectrum Brands' battery and lighting business 

•Signa Group acquisition of Kika and Leiner Group

Client feedback

"Very dedicated law firm; the local counsel provided extensive explanations and support on Slovak law specific requirements during the process. In general they were very helpful, friendly and responsive." – Capital markets: debt

"Responsive and understands complex structure." – M&A

"Quick, very responsive, highly professional and even available on national holidays" – M&A