The Legal 500

Austria

Editorial

Legal market overview

While post-crisis fiscal pressure persists, Austria’s economy is performing comparatively well; GDP expanded marginally in the third quarter of 2013, and further growth is forecast for 2014.

Law firms’ banking and finance practices are becoming increasingly broad, covering issues including financial restructurings, bank and investor liability, and regulatory advice. With the ECM side remaining very quiet, debt products remain the focus of capital markets practices. In the corporate area, a sense of optimism is prevailing, based on a modest but steady increase in M&A activity. IP lawyers, however, are less optimistic; they fear that the arrival of the EU patent regime will further diminish Austria’s already small market for patent work, with Germany dominating European Patent Office work. In terms of international work, Austria remains an entry point to Eastern Europe, and a number of firms have also recently opened offices in Turkey. Some firms are also increasingly looking beyond CEE, to economies such as Brazil, India and China.

A continued trend is the establishment of smaller practices alongside the larger international firms, with spin-offs such as Grama Schwaighofer Vondrak Rechtsanwälte, Aigner Buzanich Rechtsanwälte, Jank Weiler Rechtsanwaelte OG and finance boutique Rautner Huber Rechtsanwälte OG successfully making their mark on the Austrian legal landscape over the past few years. Among notable recent partner moves, labour law expert Franz Marhold and M&A specialist Phillip Dubsky left DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach for Herbst Kinsky Rechtsanwalte GmbH, and renowned corporate lawyer Stephan Frotz left Schoenherr with plans to open his own firm. After ten years in the market Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP closed its Vienna office, with managing partner Rainer Wachter joining CMS’ corporate transactions practice.

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in Austria

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Austria: Constitutional Court confirms Constitutionality of non-Deductibility of Manager Remuneratio

    As of 1 March 2014, a restriction on the deductibility of manager remunerations for tax purposes exceeding EUR 500,000 per person and year was introduced in Austria. Any remuneration exceeding that threshold cannot be deducted for tax purposes on the level of the employer company. This restriction was subject to substantive discussions in media and legal literature, with some experts arguing that the provisions may be unconstitutional. read more
  • - A New gTLD Targeting the Financial Sector

    The industry-related generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD") <.bank> provides new opportunities and new challenges for online activities in the financial services sector.  read more...
  • Poland: Latest changes to the Act on National Court Register - will it become any better?

    The end of 2014 brought with it important amendments to the rules for registering companies in Poland. These amendments are aimed at facilitating the registration procedure, but they also pertain to already existing companies, which will have to adapt to the new rules.  read more...
  • Slovenia: Changes to Food Legislation - Part II

    Representing a year of constant changes and adaptations to (new) food law requirements, national authorities also adopted new guidelines for the definition of products that may simultaneously fall within the definition of medicinal products and products that are subject to other regulations for human use ("Guidelines") in October 2014. These Guidelines shall be observed as (non-binding) guidance in cases of so-called borderline products.  read more...  
  • Hungary: Shops Shall Close on Sundays – Against All International Trends

     
  • Slovenia: Changes to Food Legislation - Part I

    On 13 December 2014, the Regulation 1169/2011 on the Provision of Food Information to Consumers became directly applicable in Slovenia, repealing previous pieces of legislation such as the Rules on Pre-packaged Foodstuffs and the Rules on Nutritional Labelling of Foodstuffs. The main novelties food business operators will have to comply with when labelling products include emphasizing of allergens in bold or underlined text, the indication of nano-ingredients, and the use of different font sizes. The newly-introduced meas-ures are aimed at ensuring that consumers achieve higher levels of health protection and at guaranteeing their right to information. read more
  • Update on EU Sanctions against Russia

    On 6 December 2014, Council Regulation (EU) No 1290/2014 entered into force. This regulation is the latest in a series of regulations regarding "sectoral sanctions" against Russia.
  • Slovakia: Checkmate? New law regulates protection of employees when blowing the whistle

    So far, in Slovakia there has not been in force any regulation specifically addressing whistleblowing situations in which employees report wrongdoings, such as the commission of a crime which they learnt about in connection with the performance of their employment, work or function. Certain partial aspects related to whistleblowing have been regulated by the country's data protection, criminal and labour laws. read more
  • Croatia: A look at the Strategic Investment Projects Act One Year after Implementation

    Croatia's sixth consecutive year of recession
  • AT: Transparency International – Release of 20th annual Corruption Perceptions Index

    On 3 December 2014, Transparency International, the leading civil society organisation fighting corruption worldwide, released its 20th annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The index draws on surveys covering the views of business people, provides expert assessments, and ranks 175 countries by the perceived levels of corruption in their public sectors. The scale ranges from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). The CPI can be found under the following link .  read more...

Press Releases in Austria

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to
  • AT/USA: Schoenherr advises AIM Software Group on investment by Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe

    Schoenherr advised AIM Software Group ("AIM") on the receipt of an investment from and transfer of a majority interest to U.S.-based private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe ("WCAS"). AIM is a leading provider of data management software products to the financial services industry. Under the terms of the transaction, which was announced on 14 January 2015, AIM's existing management team will continue to operate the business and maintain a significant ownership stake in the company. WCAS is also investing primary capital in the business which will be used to further accelerate AIM's expansion.  read more...
  • AT: Christian Herbst appointed as Co-chair of the IBA Corporate/M&A law committee

    Schoenherr partner Christian Herbst has been appointed Co-chair of the Corporate and M&A Law Committee of the International Bar Association (IBA). Herbst will serve in this top function for a two-year period starting 1 January 2015. The committee's other Co-Chair is Jocelyn Kelley from the Vancouver-based law firm Blakes.  read more...
  • SEE/ Austria: Schoenherr advises HETA on sale of Hypo Group's SEE Banking Network

    Schoenherr advised Heta Asset Resolution (HETA) on the agreement over the purchase of Hypo Group Alpe Adria, the South-Eastern European (SEE) banking network of the former Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International (SEE Network). The US-fund Advent International and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed an agreement on 22 December 2014 to acquire the SEE Network. read more
  • Schoenherr Corporate/M&A partner Florian Kusznier joins firm’s equity

    Schoenherr, a leading corporate law firm in Central and Eastern Europe, has invited its experienced Corporate/M&A specialist Florian Kusznier into the firm's equity. Kusznier has extensive know-how in advising Austrian and international clients on M&A and private equity transactions, public takeovers, and general corporate law matters. read more
  • Romania/Austria: Schoenherr advises Volksbank Romania shareholders in planned sale to Banca Transilv

    Schoenherr served as lead counsel to the shareholders of Volksbank Romania S.A. ("VBRO") - Österreichische Volksbanken-AG (VBAG), Groupe BPCE, DZ BANK AG and WGZ BANK - on their agreed sale of VBRO to Romania's third-largest bank, Banca Transilvania SA. Signing of the contracts took place on 10 December 2014.  read more
  • Austria: Schoenherr advises Roche on its acquisition of biotech firm Dutalys

    Schoenherr served as lead counsel to life sciences group Roche on its acquisition of Dutalys GmbH, a privately held biotechnology company based in Vienna, Austria. Dutalys specializes in the discovery and development of fully human, bi-specific antibodies based on their proprietary DutaMabs TM technology. The bi-specific antibodies developed with this platform are designed to provide novel, best-in-class molecules for several therapeutic areas. read more
  • AT/CEE: Schoenherr promotes EU & Competition law expert Christoph Haid to equity partner

    Schoenherr has invited Christoph Haid, a partner in the firm's EU & Competition department, to join the firm's equity partners. Haid's practice focuses on merger control and cartel proceedings as well as competition law advice throughout the entire CEE region, where he also helps guide Schoenherr competition lawyers in their respective jurisdictions in expanding their domestic business. In addition to his competition law practice, he serves as office managing partner of Schoenherr's operations in both Croatia and Slovenia. Haid will become an equity partner as of 1 February 2015, the start of the firm's financial year.  read more...
  • Moldova: Amendments to the Legislation on Pledges

    On 25 July 2014, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova (Moldova) adopted Act No. 173/2014 on amending and supplementing of certain legal acts (Act No. 173). Act No. 173 will enter into force on 8 November 2014 and will inter alia change the Act No. 449/2001 on pledges (Pledges Act). The effected changes will have a direct impact on both guarantees issued before the entrance into force of the Act No. 173 (which will have to be dealt under the new legal provisions) and on obligations to be secured under the new legal frame. Act No. 173 is also meant to introduce a series of novelties into Moldovan legislation.  read more...
  • Slovenia: Schoenherr advises on privatisation of Ljubljana airport

    Schoenherr advised the consortium of shareholders of Aerodrom Ljubljana -- headed by the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SDH) -- on the privatization of Slovenia's primary airport in Ljubljana. On 5 September 2014, the selling consortium signed a respective share purchase agreement with Fraport AG under which the Frankfurt Stock Exchange-listed airport owner and manager will pay EUR 177.1 mn for a 75.5% stake in Aerodrom Ljubljana d.d. The completion of the transaction is subject to merger control clearance by the Slovenian Competition Protection Authority. As part of the privatization process, Fraport intends to acquire 100 percent of the Ljubljana airport management company and, thus, will (after completion of the transaction) submit a takeover bid to the remaining shareholders, in accordance with legal and statutory requirements.  read more...
  • AT: Schoenherr advises Laakman Holding Limited on the increase of their participation in C-QUADRAT

    Schoenherr, a leading law firm in Central and Eastern Europe, advised Laakman Holding Limited on the increase of their participation in the listed fund company C-QUADRAT Investment AG from 9.4 % to 18.4 %.  read more...