Directories
Chambers & Partners

Austria

Banking & Finance (Band 2)

What the team is known for Esteemed practice acting on major financing deals in the Austrian and CEE markets. Active on acquisition financings, structured finance and private equity transactions. Noted for its strong regulatory capabilities, and is frequently seen advising management and supervisory boards on compliance issues. Clients include banks, investment funds and corporates.

Work highlights Advised voestalpine on a significant refinancing of its existing loans.

Significant clients Hypo Alpe Adria Bank International, Österreichische Industrieholding, Telekom Austria, OMV, BAWAG.

Notable practitioners  

Peter Knobl has broad banking and finance expertise covering both transactional and regulatory advice. He is visible in securities work and is frequently seen acting as counsel to investment funds. He supported Commerzbank in a number of matters including its preparation for Austrian market entry in the area of investment services for corporate customers. 

Volker Glas offers combined financing and capital markets expertise. Clients value that "he has very quick reaction times and doesn't waste time with formalities, he gets very quickly to the point."

Thomas Zivny divides his time between financing and debt capital markets instructions. He recently advised IMMOFINANZ on the refinancing of its domestic commercial mortgage-backed securities structure. 

 

Capital Markets (Band 1)

What the team is known for Cutting-edge capital markets team leading on complex, high-value transactions. Frequently advises on debt issuance programmes as well as large-scale capital increase projects. Also active in IPOs and delisting projects.

Strengths Clients remark on the firm's responsiveness, stating that "they are always very available, very attentive and an immediate response is always provided."

Another source notes the firm's client-oriented service: "What I like the most about working with the firm is that they understand their clients' needs."

Work highlights Acted for MIBA's majority shareholders on the company's process of going private, which included a squeeze-out of minority shareholders and a subsequent delisting.

Assisted IMMOFINANZ with the incentivised conversion of exchangeable bonds into shares in BUWOG, as well as the accelerated bookbuilding.

Significant clients Raiffeisen Bank, Wienerberger, Volkswagen Bank, STRABAG, Société Générale.

Notable practitioners

Senior practitioner Edith Hlawati is one of the most highly regarded capital markets lawyers in the Austrian market. Commentators revere her wealth of experience and her outstanding contribution to the field. Her flagship clients include MIBA. 

Volker Glas is a well-respected capital markets lawyer. Clients say that he "brings a lot of experience and has a very pragmatic approach to solutions." He assisted CA Immobilien with the public listing of a EUR150 million corporate bond. 

Thomas Zivny has earned a sterling reputation in DCM, with sources recognising him as "reliable and fast." He recently co-led the team in assisting Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederösterreich-Wien with the updates to its debt issuance programme.

Peter Knobl recently acted for Total Capital International on a number of fixed rate notes offerings in Austria. He has practical experience in drawdown queries and debt issuance programmes. Clients appreciate his proactivity and know-how.

 

Competition/European Law (Band 2)

What the team is known for Comprehensive competition practice offering national and EU advice on all competition and antitrust matters. Provides support during internal investigations and dawn raids by the Austrian Competition Authority and subsequent cartel proceedings. Also represents clients before the European courts and in merger control and state aid proceedings. Strong compliance capabilities including drawing up and implementing company-wide programmes. Also knowledgeable in abuse of dominance cases and vertical distribution agreements. Acknowledged cross-border expertise when it comes to projects involving CEE.

Strengths "What makes the firm stand out for me is that they have a very broad and very commercial perspective," asserts one client.

Market sources appreciate that the team's "first-rate knowledge was also supported by an academic background" and that "all lawyers have been extremely responsive, pragmatic yet careful, and great to work with."

Work highlights Represented SPAR in its cartel investigations and subsequent fine proceedings, including representation before the Austrian Competition Authority.

Advised IMMOFINANZ on merger control issues surrounding its acquisition of a 26% stake in CA Immobilien Anlagen, worth in excess of EUR600 million.

Significant clients STRABAG, Vienna International Airport, Hewlett-Packard, Telekom Austria.

Notable practitioners  

Bernhard Kofler-Senoner climbs to Band 1 this year following widespread recognition for his outstanding competition work. Clients mention his "high commercial awareness and effectiveness, quick and direct client service, and thorough technical and branch knowledge." He is recognised for his leading work on cross-border merger control proceedings. He recently assisted SES Spar European Shopping Centers with merger control proceedings surrounding the indirect acquisition of a 49.5% stake by Allianz in FISCHPARK.

Clients commend Hans Kristoferitsch for his "enormous technical knowledge in EU law" and "very effective method of working." He is knowledgeable in regulatory and state aid matters, with significant experience in representing clients before the European courts. He represented the Republic of Austria in its action against the European Commission's authorisation of state aid support for Hinkley Point, worth more than EUR30 billion.

Michael Mayer earns significant praise for his promising contributions in the competition law arena, assisting with merger control, cartel cases, price-fixing issues and compliance. Clients applaud his "precise and clear" communication style and his "technically outstanding advice on all issues."

 

Corporate/M&A (Band 1)

What the team is known for Highly respected team with a proven track record in acting for both buyers and sellers in public and private M&A. Offers notable expertise in takeovers involving listed companies. Well known for large-scale mergers and reorganisations, including cross-border matters. A popular choice for private equity mandates. Particularly experienced in advising financial services and telecommunications companies. 

Strengths "The team has vast experience and top-notch knowledge. They are quick, reliable and focused on the client’s interests."

"The lawyers are really great from both a technical and a business perspective."

"They didn't just see the purely legal context but really had a grasp on the economic and business context too and could apply that."

What's new? New client wins include Julius Berger International, Ahrenkiel and Shell. 

Work highlights Assisted Mitterbauer Beteiligungs-Aktiengesellschaft, the majority shareholder of Miba, with all issues related to Miba going private.

Advised Capita on its EUR210 million acquisition of avocis.

Significant clients Samsung, OMV, Spar, Telekom Austria Group, Stabag.

Notable practitioners  

Senior partner Edith Hlawati is a prominent and highly esteemed figure in the market, combining a profound wealth of experience with renowned technical expertise. "She has a very strong reputation for leading on CHSH's transactional and capital markets work," a source confirms. 

Albert Birkner is a market-leading M&A lawyer also offering expertise in corporate reorganisations, public takeovers and joint ventures. Clients say he is a "brilliant lawyer, most motivated on behalf of his clients. He is highly knowledgeable and absolutely passionate about what he does. He thinks on his feet and explains complex situations clearly." He is also highly active on cross-border transactions and recently advised Telekom Austria on the merger of its subsidiary Vip operator DOOEL Skopje with a subsidiary of the Telekom Slovenije Group.

Clemens Hasenauer's recent mandates include acting for IMS Health on its acquisition of Cegedim. Clients state: "We very much value his strong ability to think not only in legal but also in commercial terms. He gives us the feeling of security in every situation." Another client adds: "Clemens is one of the best negotiators who is not only very effective but also finds solutions that really work in highly complex situations." His key area of practice is takeover and acquisition law.

Thomas Trettnak lately represented the Tecalux Group in a variety of issues including significant corporate governance matters. He is active in corporate reorganisations and restructurings and often advises both venture capital and private equity clients. He is US-qualified.

 

Dispute Resolution (Band 3)

What the team is known for Well-rounded team experienced in complex litigation matters. Particularly knowledgeable in D&O liability, post-merger disputes, unfair competition proceedings and construction-related conflicts. Also acts on international arbitration matters in ICC and ad hoc contexts. Represents clients from a range of industries, including energy, real estate and infrastructure. Boasts a market-leading white-collar crime practice and an international network.

Strengths Clients appreciate the good working atmosphere: "It's 100% reliable, with pleasant co-operation."

Work highlights Advised SPAR and SPAR Holding on a case against Shopping City Seiersberg relating to an unfair competition matter surrounding allegedly incorrect investment prospectus information.

Represented Shangri-La International in arbitration proceedings relating to the delayed completion of a hotel in Vienna.

Significant clients PORR, Lidl, Magna, Austrian National Bank, UNIQA.

Notable practitioners  

Irene Welser is a renowned litigator and arbitration counsel, regularly acting for insurance and financial services providers in international proceedings. Clients report that "she has a very strong reputation and she's extremely practical; she knows when to object and when not to." She represented ASFINAG in a high-stakes case relating to a concession award procedure.

Benedikt Spiegelfeld is a well-respected arbitrator who is described as a "very nice and reliable" practitioner by sources.

Peter Vcelouch is a known name in the field of litigation and has recently represented Flughafen Wien in a variety of proceedings including contract, employment and billing disputes. He has a particular know-how of real estate and construction conflicts.

 

Employment (Band 3)

What the team is known for Well-regarded practice advising on all aspects of individual and collective labour law matters. Noted for its experience in negotiating collective bargaining agreements, in particular in the context of corporate restructurings. Also strong in litigation and M&A-related employment mandates. Maintains an enviable client roster of domestic and international companies. Expertise also encompasses outsourcing, data protection and compliance issues, in addition to pension and salary schemes, social plans and working hours arrangements.

Strengths "It is a real pleasure to work with them," states one client. "They have done a very good job and they are reliable." 

Clients value the team's "business-driven" approach, saying: "They don't tell you why something is impossible, but how to make it possible."

Work highlights Acted for Flughafen Wien on a variety of employment cases including collective bargaining negotiations, structuring of outsourcing and litigation regarding unfair dismissal charges.

Assisted Booking.com with the formulation of a new bilingual standard employment contract, alongside compliance advice and representation in a contentious employee action.

Significant clients ASFINAG, Philip Morris, SPAR, Primark, Global Blue.

Notable practitioners  

Julian Feichtinger is a trusted employment adviser, valued by clients for his redoubtable litigation skills. He is also highly capable of handling restructuring and transactional employment queries. He recently acted as counsel to Unibail-Rodamco Austria Management on its restructuring, which covered working hours, compliance and termination issues as well as collective bargaining agreements. Clients describe him as "a good listener" who "has a helicopter view" and "always follows client expectations."

 

Restructuring & Insolvency (Band 3)

What the team is known for Especially recognised for its experience in distressed M&A, corporate reorganisation and debt restructuring matters. Widely known for its creditor representation. Also acts on insolvency-related litigation. Assists company groups, particularly in corporate reorganisations. Clients include major players in the banking, technology, and oil and gas industries.

Strengths Clients describe the team as "excellent lawyers" who are "fast and think commercially."

Work highlights Advised the JSR Corporation as shareholders of BIA Separations regarding the latter's restructuring proceedings.

Assisted Mageba with its cross-border acquisition of the RWE Group out of insolvency, worth EUR150 million.

Significant clients Tecalux Capital, Kodak, HP, HETA, Whirlpool.

Notable practitioners  

Clients admire Thomas Trettnak for his "quick answers and clear communication," as well as his solution-oriented approach.

 

Real Estate (Band 3)

What the team is known for Comprehensive real estate and construction team, regularly advising on sizeable real estate developments. Handles property and land plot acquisitions, lease agreements and management contracts. Assists with construction contracts and related disputes. Frequently engaged in cross-border projects involving the CEE region.

Strengths Clients note the team's focus on clients' specific needs. A client praises the "pragmatic and tailored advice," adding: "Above all, they are real team players which makes it very pleasant to work with them on a deal."

Work highlights Advised Lidl Austria on a number of real estate acquisitions for new stores and development projects.

Assisted SES Spar European Shopping Centers with restructuring its lease contract model for all its Austrian locations.

Significant clients Ingenos Gobiet, Interspar, ASFINAG, IC Projektentwicklung, KGAL Group.

Notable practitioners  

Peter Vcelouch is a well-reputed lawyer who is active in real estate as well as construction matters. He represents clients in development projects and also handles construction-related disputes. He assisted Vienna International Airport with planning and construction contracts as well as contentious claim management including court representation. 

Mark Krenn is a respected transactional real estate lawyer, active in cross-border deals and also assisting with leasing matters. "He is client-oriented and has extensive knowledge of the real estate markets in Austria and CEE," a client says. Another client praises his attention to detail and says: "It's always a pleasure to work with him." 

Manfred Ton acts on domestic and cross-border acquisitions in a range of real estate sectors, including residential, retail and office space. He also assists with development projects. 

 

Tax (Band 3)

What the team is known for Strong tax division integrated into the firm's wider legal advisory practice of transactional deals, restructurings and financings. Enviable client roster includes major financial institutions, noteworthy investment funds and big-name retailers. Also covers tax litigation, complementing advice regarding both domestic and international corporate reorganisations.

New developments CORPUS SIREO, Datagroup and Tom Tailor are among the firm's new clients.

Work highlights Represented McDonald’s in a stamp duty appeal case before the Austrian Federal Tax Court relating to franchise agreements.

Assisted IVG Austria and IVG Institutional Funds with the tax-efficient integration of their Austrian subsidiaries.

Significant clients Fibria Celulose, Commerzbank, Raiffeisenlandesbank, Volkswagen Bank, Société Générale.

Notable practitioners  

Johannes Prinz is a well-regarded head of the firm's tax team. He recently co-led the team advising Sete Brasil on tax queries in the restructuring of its subsidiaries in Austria.

Head of transactional team Clemens Hasenauer also provides advice in the field of M&A and corporate taxation. He was recently instructed by Voith and its Austrian subsidiary to provide tax advice regarding the divestment of its stake in GAW technologies.

 

TMT (Band 4)

What the team is known for Well regarded for knowledge of telecoms, in particular when it comes to regulatory issues. Additionally, assists with IT matters, including M&A deals in the sector as well as outsourcing, software and cloud computing. Notable data protection expertise, ranging from data transfer and international regulatory advice to representation before the Austrian data protection authorities.

Work highlights Assisted HP with a variety of IT matters including data privacy, outsourcing and regulatory inquiries.

Advised Samsung on data protection, software and compliance issues.

Significant clients Telekom Austria, ASFiNAG, Microsoft, SPAR, AT&T.

Notable practitioners

Hans Kristoferitsch and Georg Konrad are first points of contact for TMT queries.

 

White Collar Crime (Band 1)

What the team is known for Outstanding team with widely praised experience across a wide range of white-collar crime matters. Expertise covers court representation and compliance advice as well as in-house investigations and related data protection issues. Supports a variety of clients, including international corporations and financial institutions as well as top managers. Well versed in cross-border matters. 

Strengths Clients appreciate the technical know-how and its practical application: "The combination of being involved in the key academic and political debates in the field as well as the largest and most complex cases is unparalleled."

The firm is praised for its ability to give high-quality answers in a short space of time: "They are extremely responsive, with answers that are always to the point. They are available 24/7."

Significant clients Wien Energie, HP, Sony, Oesterreichische Nationalbank, STRABAG.

Notable practitioners  

Peter Lewisch has a formidable reputation as a leading criminal lawyer and is admired by clients and commentators alike for his impressive knowledge of the field. Clients remark that "he is unique in combining academic excellence with a very hands-on and pragmatic approach."

Hans Kristoferitsch is well respected for his work on fraud cases, asset recovery, internal investigations and compliance matters. Clients praise his broad knowledge of the area and his excellent response times. 

 

 

 

Source: Chambers & Partners, Chambers Europe - Europe's Leading Lawyers for Business,

2017 Edition