GOFI SA’s Sale of Eurolink Osiguruvanje AD Skopje to GRAWE
Polenak advised Switzerland's GOFI SA on its EUR 17.5 million sale of 100% of Eurolink Osiguruvanje AD Skopje to GRAWE.
Eurolink Osiguruvanje AD Skopje, which was established in 2002, is a Macedonian non-life insurance company.
GRAWE is Austria-based insurance group, with subsidiaries in Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Macedonia, and Montenegro.
Polenak’s team was led by Managing Partner Kristijan Polenak, assisted by Partner Tatjana Shishkovska.
An interview with Kristihan Polenak
Please tell me about your involvement in the deal.
Our relationship with Eurolink starts in 2002, when we assisted the shareholders to create and license this insurance company. I was asked to join the Board and remained until 2005 as an independent member. Although a new player on the market, Eurolink started growing quickly, and today is one of the two leading insurers in North Macedonia.
In October 2019, we were asked to assist in the process of the sale. The seller had full confidence in us, so we were the main contact on legal matters on the seller side throughout the transaction.
The real challenge was timing.
Why is this a good deal for all involved?
Well, it is a good deal for the purchaser, because the market position of Eurolink is strong and its potential for further growth is stable. Its team is well trained and operates consistently, and the scope of services is wide and diverse.
As per the seller, I know that it was a hard decision, but it is my view that they sold the company at the market peak, given the circumstances that occurred later on with COVID-19.
What challenges arose? How did you navigate them?
2019 was a year of growth and expectations.
It was a relatively easy going transaction. The purchaser was reasonable and governed by business decisions and commercial reasons, which let the process to move on a regular pace, without critical points or tough negotiations on the documents. My counterpart on the purchaser side was their in-house counsel, who is an experienced and well trained lawyer, which is always helpful in transactions.
The real challenge was timing. From the moment of affixing the main commercial terms we had three weeks to develop the documentation, so the SPA was signed in mid of December, about three weeks after the binding offer. The following months were used for meeting the licensing requirements, and the transaction closed end of March 2020.
Can you expand on how the M&A and investment sphere has developed in your jurisdiction this past year? How does this deal reflect the developments you have seen?
2019 was a year of growth and expectations. Though not many, there were some, mainly financial, transactions. The biggest M&A on the market was the acquisition of a local bank by Sparkasse Stieirmarkische. In terms of investments, I would emphasize the decision of a major automotive parts producer to set up a plant in one of our technological development zones. Obviously, in 2020 the world has changed, so M&A transactions and investments on our market have gone quiet. Yet, any crisis brings opportunities, so we are happy to be stable and vivid in this new reality.