9th SEE Private Equity and M&A Forum 2016

For the 9th time EEL’s Southeast Europe Private Equity and M&A networking forum has been a great success with over 140 registered participants from Poland, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia.


Repeating the previous years the event took place in Nikola Tesla conference room in the 5* Metropol Palace Hotel, Belgrade, Serbia on the 6th of October 2016.

EEL Events would like to give a massive thank you to the sponsors: EY, Dentons, Karanovic & Nikolic, EOS Matrix, Wolf Theiss (Silver Sponsors) as well as BDK (Bronze Sponsor) and Opsago (Associate Sponsor) who helped make this event possible. 

The event began with the David Schoch, President of the Serbian Private Equity Association –our chairman welcoming speech about how important the development of the Private Equity in SEE.

The first presentation on the potential of investing in SEE was delivered by our honorary speaker Ms Mirna Marovic, President of the Croatian Venture Capital Association.  Afterwards, we moved to the first panel discussion of the day – “M&A”, which was moderated by Mr Rob Irving, Co-chair of the global Private Equity Group, Dentons. Mr Irving was accompanied by Mr Daniel Berg, Director in Serbia, EBRD; Mr Michal Kedzia, Partner, Enterprise Investors; Mr Sergej Pozar, Head of Corporate Finance Advisory Slovenia & Serbia, Mergers and Acquisitions, Investment Banking at UniCredit; Mr Luka Vesnaver, Partner, Head of TAS Slovenia, EY; Mr Branko Greganovic, CEO, NLB Bank Belgrade.

After the first panel Mr Miljan Zdrale, Head of Agribusiness, CSEE EBRD, Banking Division/ Industry, Commerce and Agribusiness presented about the Adria region-opportunities and pitfalls for equity investments and we moved in to the first networking coffee break.

The afternoon session was opened by Mr Vladimir Dasic, Senior Partner, BDK Advokati with the “Some PE Will Some PE Won't” presentation. The second panel on “Financing / Getting deal done” was moderated by Mr Robin Jowitt, Partner, Head of M&A Europe Middle East India and Africa, EY. Our panellists were:  Bill Fawkner-Corbett, Investment Director, CEE Equity Partners; Fabio Serri, Regional Head of SME D&F, EBRD; Rossen Ivanov, Managing Director, BlackPeak Capital; Jozsef Lazslo, Director Corporate & Investment Banking Hungary, Western Balkan and Baltics, Citibank; Bernd Gottwald, Director, Acquisition, Structured & Project Finance, RBI; Martin Paev, Chairman, SORTIS GROUP.

Mr Dragan Karanovic, Senior Partner, Karanovic & Nikolic delivered the Q&A session on M&A Project Management from PE perspective with invited guests: Mr Dragoljub Zdravkovic, CFO at AXA Serbia; Marko Micanovic, Distressed Assets Director at Sberbank Serbia; Branimir Gajic, Investment Director of SEAF Opportunity Serbia Fund.

The afternoon session was closed with the “Value Creation and Exits in SEE” panel discussion which was moderated by Edward Keller, Partner, Dentons and enhanced by Nikolas Stefanovic, General Director, SEAF; Andrei Krikliwy , Director, Bedminster Capital Management; Marius Ghenea, Investment Director, 3TS Capital Partners; Julian Gikov, Director M&A - SEE & CIS Region, RBI; Arnaud Jossien, Director, BNP Paribas; Viktor Manev, Partner, Impetus Capital.

The networking lunch ended, the conference’s doors opened and Ms Natasa Lalovic Maric, Partner, Wolf Theiss delivered the presentation on “NPLs in SEE - Focus on Transfer of NPLs in Serbia, Croatia and

Slovenia” which was followed by “Increasing opportunities for NPL and other types of distressed investments” panel where Ms Maric has taken the moderator’s position and was accompanied by Diana Gaftea, Associate, Darby Overseas Investments; Ines Rocha, Associate Director, EBRD; Gustav Hultgren, Managing Director, DDM Group; Savvas A. Liasis, CEO, Elements Capital Partners; Gojko Vrcelj, Head of Restructuring and Collection Department, Erste Bank; Jozef Martinak, Head of transactions, APS Holding.

Mr Chris Buckle, Managing Partner, Mezzanine Management spoke about the flexibility of mezzanine, support for private equity, mezzanine as growth capital and case studies from successful SEE transaction.

After our last networking break, Mr David Jakovljevic, Tax & Legal Associate, Eurofast presented on M&A Tax Overview for CRO, SRB, MN and BIH and M&A deal breakers in transactions.

The last panel of the day was led by Mirna Marovic, President, CVCA and enhanced by Baris Gen, Senior Investment Officer, Private Equity Funds – EMENA, IFC and Sasa Galic, Managing Partner, Blue Sea Capital.

The 9th edition was an excellent opportunity to hear the latest and main insights about the Southeast European market’s current stage and future developments.  The day ended with the all sponsors post-conference cocktail reception.  The reception was well attended and it gave our participants the opportunityto speak with each other further and discuss the days’ ideas whilst enjoying glass of wine.