On 15 January 2021, the National Bank of Serbia adopted amendments to two of its decisions related to cross-border loans:
- Decision on the Terms and Conditions of Using Foreign Financial Credits for Purposes Set out in Article 21, Paragraph 2 of the Law on Foreign Exchange Operations; and
- Decision on Conditions and Manner in Which Residents May Grant Financial Loans to Non-Residents and Issue Warranties and Provide Other Collaterals Under Foreign Credit Operations and Credit Operations Between Non-Residents.
The decisions have been amended to provide international financial institutions the same (i.e. less stringent) treatment in cross-border financings as introduced in 2018 for the non-residents seated in the EU. This applies to international financial institutions which Serbia is a member of or with which Serbia has signed an agreement governing their activities in Serbia, and whose articles of incorporation or an agreement governing their activities in Serbia has been ratified (such as the IFC or the EBRD, the “IFIs”). This effectively means that: (i) 1 year (and in certain cases 3 months) minimum tenor / 6 months minimum grace period which applies for certain loan purposes are no longer applicable to loans provided to Serbian borrowers by IFIs, and (ii) resident-legal entity may issue warranties and provide other collaterals for the loans granted outside of Serbia among IFIs and/or non-resident(s) with a seat in the EU, provided that the Serbian entity obtains collateral from a non-resident.
In addition, the NBS has used this opportunity to clarify in Article 4 of the second decision that an obligation of resident-legal entities to obtain collateral instruments from non-resident in cases of issuing warranties and providing other collaterals applies only when both borrower and lender are non-residents. In this way, the scope of the respective provision, which caused some doubts in interpretation in practice has been narrowed.
These amendments, which will start applying on 23 January 2021, are welcome and helpful development. They should provide more legal certainty and flexibility in structuring transactions, which is hoped also to contribute to improved access to finance in Serbia.
If you have any questions related to this article, please do not hesitate to contact:
→ Maja Jovančević Šetka, Partner
→Dimitrije Ilić, Associate
*Partner refers to Independent Attorney at Law in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners
The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.