We are pleased to announce that Karanović & Nikolić has won the 2017 CEELM Deal of the Year Award for Serbia for the EBRD and IFC financing of Vetrolektrane Balkana – Čibuk 1 Windfarm. Organized by the renowned CEE Legal Matters magazine, this is the first year that these awards were held and they are a way of recognizing the biggest and most important deals by leading law firms in Central and Eastern European jurisdictions.
The prestigious accolade was awarded on 6 June at the CEE Legal Matters Annual Dinner and Awards Banquet in Prague. Before an audience of over 100 senior legal professionals from across the region, Rastko Petaković, Managing Partner at Karanović & Nikolić, accepted the award on behalf of the firm.
“It is a huge privilege to receive this prestigious award, which came as a recognition of the enormous effort put in by everyone involved in this landmark deal which marked 2017 and had a huge impact on the energy sector in the region”, said Mr. Petaković. “I am particularly proud of our young generation of Karanović & Nikolić partners who led the team and once again proved our firm’s dedication to excellence. We would also like to congratulate our clients, the EBRD and IFC, and thank them for an opportunity to work on deal of this significance and magnitude.”
The deal for which Karanović & Nikolić won the award is the EUR 215 million financing of Čibuk 1, developed by Vetroelektrane Balkana. With an installed capacity of 158 MW, Čibuk 1 will be the largest windfarm in the Western Balkans. Apart from creating hundreds of new jobs and improving local infrastructure, this project should give a critical contribution to Serbia meeting its commitment to have 27% of its gross energy consumption coming from renewable energy sources by 2020.
The Karanović & Nikolić core legal team – led by partners Maja Jovančević Šetka and Petar Mitrović, with partner Katarina Gudurić and associate Marija Vićić, acting as the local counsel for EBRD and IFC, advised on all local law aspects of the financing, including the preparation of due diligence and support in the negotiations of the facility agreement and other financing and project documents. Norton Rose Fulbright from London acted as the international counsel to the lenders in this deal.
Out of a total of three deals which are in the finals for the jurisdiction of Serbia, Karanović & Nikolić has been shortlisted with two – the Financing of Vektroelektrane Balkana and the National Bank of Greece’s sale of Vojvođanska Banka to OTP.