Canadian firm powers to success in Hungary

CANADIAN firm Stikeman Elliott has successfully completed a US$1.3 billion Hungarian electricity privatisation operation.

The practice, which opened an office in Budapest in 1993, believes the privatisation is one of the largest yet to take place in Central and Eastern Europe.

Under the privatisation scheme, the Hungarian Privatisation and State Holding Company sold off a majority of its shareholdings in the country's electricity companies.

The shares were offered by open international tender and electricity companies from France, Germany and Belgium snapped up significant shareholdings in all six of Hungary's electricity supply companies and two of its seven conventionally powered electricity generation companies.

Up to 30 Stikeman Elliott lawyers were involved in advising the Hungarian government at any one time over regulatory and other legal aspects of the privatisation.

The team was led by Jean Philippe Ewart, managing partner for central and eastern Europe, and William Scott, a partner at Stikeman Elliott's London office.

Scott said: “It took a lot of work and we were working to a very strict timetable as the decision to go ahead was only made last summer.

“It was easily the largest single project for the Budapest office and it was a huge success. We are looking forward to doing more work of the same kind in the region.”

Stikeman Elliott is one of Canada's leading international law firms. It boasts 325 fee earners and has seven offices outside Canada.

Its office in Budapest is staffed by 12 full-time Canadian lawyers specialising in privatisation and acquisition work.