Reff & Associates: "We have seen negotiations for deals worth hundreds of millions of euro put on hold"

Reff & Associates, the correspondent law firm of Deloitte Romania, saw a 40% increase in the volume of deals assisted last year, to almost 700 million Euro, with some major projects added to its local portfolio.

“2008 was extremely dynamic especially in the first part of the year, and our team was involved in negotiations initiated in various market segments, from real estate and financial services, where we already had solid references, to public procurement, media and advertising, publishing, transportation, IT&C, environmental services, agriculture,” said Partner Alexandru Reff.

He added that the firm had assisted negotiations for deals worth hundreds of millions of euro Euro (particularly in the financial services industry) put on hold due to uncertain market conditions.

“We certainly do not expect similar dynamics this year in the M&A market, but law firms are relatively versatile and should be able to adjust their services to a changed demand, most probably focused on public sector and EU-funded projects, corporate (re)structuring, employment, energy, competition compliance, litigation and others,” Reff added.

One of the major deals was announced in July, when Russian-based Luxoft took over the local ITC Networks, one of the most important software services suppliers for the telecommunications industry. Together with the Deloitte Tax team, Reff & Associates provided professional assistance to shareholders of the Romanian company, thus being part in the making of a group with more than 3,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues exceeding 90 million Euro.

Also, Reff & Associates assisted RHS Company– one of the most important IT&C distributors on the local market – in acquiring ProCa Romania, the IT&C distribution division of the RTC group. The deal, announced end-August, was a strategic one for RHS, since it aims at becoming the leader on the local IT&C distribution market.

During 2008, the public sector team in Reff & Associates, lead by Georgiana Singurel, assisted the PPP unit within Romanian Ministry of Finance, in drafting a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Toolkit and a PPP Manual and in training local and central authorities on the concession of works and public services legislation.

The team also advised a private investor on the Romanian legislation regarding the water management public utility services (procurement and regulatory).

The law firm has also assisted several financial institutions and borrowers in relation to finance deals worth 300 million Euro in aggregate (one example being the 48 million Euro loan finance provided by Westdeutsche ImmobilienBank AG to Creativ Invest Group).

Overall in 2007 - 2008, the Reff & Associates’ team for banking and finance, currently lead by Andrei Burz Pinzaru, has supported various banks and borrowers in financing deals worth over 600 million Euro.

Reff & Associates was also the sell side legal adviser in a landmark media deal concluded last year – Tempo Media’s takeover by Aegis Media.

“This transaction was in the first place a deal about human and professional quality, more than company and market value,” said Alexandru Reff. “Aegis bought owner Dragos Grigoriu’s knowledge and abilities and its main interest was to ensure his cooperation for the future.”

The successful sale of Romtrans to German DB Schenker concluded a busy year for Reff & Associates, the legal firm providing advice to the Romanian firm throughout the process.

“Beyond its strategic meaning for the logistics market, this sale was important because it had a less common legal structure, which required lots of skills and efforts that led to a successful completion,” Reff explained.

The list of completed deals would have been larger if not for the troubled times that have frozen the market almost entirely, according to the lawfirm.

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