Investment Positioning in Serbia for 2019-2020

Our 13th SEE Private Equity and M&A Forum 2019 will identify the opportunities and risks that will reshape the sector in 2019-2020. The high-level event will bring together decision makers from the local and international leading companies to examine the critical factors that will define trends and success.

We spoke to one of the speakers, Danica Gligorijevic, a Partner at Prica & Partners about where future transactions in Serbia are facilitated. Danica is a recognised legal expert for mergers and acquisitions who advises clients on mergers, joint ventures, divestments and investments in Serbia.

What big picture changes are you seeing in SEE M&A sector and how are they affecting transactions?

Generally, the legal framework in Serbia affecting M&A has been steady in the last couple of years, especially in relation to primarily applicable laws (Company Law, Law on Takeover of Joint Stock Companies, Privatization Law). In spite of rather significant amendments to the Company Law in 2018, food producer) from MID EUROPA PARTNERS nature that they did not affect the M&A. We have seen relatively lot of M&A activities in Serbian market, both involving PE players (new entries but also some the changes were of such existing ones) and also strategic investors.

What was the appetite of M&A transaction in 2018 in SEE and what to look for in 2019-2020?

Some important, big scale transactions happened in 2018 in Serbia:
– Privatization of RTB Bor – 66% acquired by Zijin Mining Group
– BC Capital Partners acquired SBB (the biggest cable provider in Serbia) from KKR
– Coca Cola acquired Bambi (Serbian
– MID EUROPA PARTNERS acquired participation in MEDIGROUP (biggest private health service provider in Serbia) from Blue Sea Capital
– TELEKOM SRBIJA acquired participation in KOPERNIKUS (local cable provider) from ABRIS
The privatization of Komercijalna banka is pending and will be significant, if not the most important, transaction in 2019-20.

Which industries in the region have the most investment potential for private equity in 2019 – 2020?

Interest is expected in fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, telecommunications sector, healthcare, retail, banking (Komercijalna banka).

How do you see the PE/VC landscape in SEE changing in 2019 – 2020?

As 2018 was rather active for PE, it may be expected that such activity will also continue in 2019 -2020. Exit of some PE may be expected by sale to strategic partners or new PEs.

What is the role of regulation and regulatory bodies in SEE when it comes to private equity and M&A sector?

Almost all PE transactions involved foreign players (thus not being subject to local regulator in respect of investment funds). However, they are subject to general legal regime applicable for the relevant industry (e. g. National Bank of Serbia for banking sector, Securities Commission for listed companies etc.). Due to relatively law thresholds and easily triggered concentration approval requirements, almost all transactions are subject to competition clearance by Competition Commission.

Why are you joining SEE Private Equity and M&A Forum?

I am joining SEE Private Equity and M&A Forum as we see it as an excellent opportunity to share the views on expected market developments and opportunities, as well as to meet with colleagues and partners that we cooperated with, but also to meet new ones.

To hear Danica’s and other high influencers’ insights on what the sector will look like in the next year, join us in Belgrade on 7th November.

Leave a comment