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: Extension of the threshold regulation until the year 2016

    The "threshold regulation" adjusting (raising) the sub-thresholds of the Austrian Procurement Act ("BVergG") will be extended once again, namely for two more years. This plan was disclosed in the press briefing issued in conjunction with the retreat held by the members of Austria's federal government on September 27th and 28th this year. Thus, contracting authorities will continue to be able to benefit from substantial procedural simplifications when awarding contracts below the threshold in 2015 and 2016 as well. read more...
  • Serbia: Insolvency Act Amendments adopted

    As of 13 August 2014, the amendments and supplements to the Insolvency Act [Zakon o stečaju] are in force, published in the Official Gazette of RS no. 83/2014 ("New IA"). The New IA shall not be implemented retroactively, and those insolvency proceedings that were ongoing on the day the New IA entered into force will be continued under the previously valid rules. read more...
  • Hungary: New advertising tax feels like a bucket

    Hungary's new advertising tax, which has been introduced effective as of 15 August 2014, affects not only media companies, online and offline content providers and advertising agencies (media companies), but may also affect regular manufacturing and trading companies active in various industry segments (commercial companies). read more...
  • Voluntary ex ante transparency notice does not provide a clean bill of health...

    The ECJ has ruled that the so-called "voluntary  ex ante  transparency notice" under certain circumstances does not preclude review authorities from declaring a contract ineffective if it was awarded without prior publication of a contract notice. Moreover, the ECJ ruled that review authorities must declare a contract ineffective if the contracting authority could not legitimately hold that that the conditions for directly awarding the contract were in fact satisfied (ECJ 11.09.2014, Case C-19/13 Fastweb SpA ). read more...
  • Austria / EU: Latest EU Sanctions against Russia

    After introducing the "sectoral sanctions" against Russia on 1 August 2014 (see our  Legal Insight of 1 August 2014 ), the sanctions regime has been tightened further on September 12 as set out in EC Regulation No 960/2014. read more...
  • Austria: Judgment sheds light on joint ventures under the country’s merger control*

    Austrian merger control continues to capture non-full-function joint ventures. Joint ventures covered by merger control are sheltered against parallel assessment under the Austrian rules against anticompetitive agreements (no dual control). read more...
  • Czech Republic: Mergers, or thick red lines?

    In its decision no. 29 Cdo 3068/2013 dated 19 June 2014, the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic ("SCCR") once again ruled on the issue of the irreversibility of the legal effects of registration of transformation in the Czech Commercial Register. read more...
  • HU: New advertising tax feels like a bucket of cold ice for some companies

    Hungary's new advertising tax, which has been introduced effective as of 15 August 2014, affects not only media companies, online and offline content providers and advertising agencies (media companies), but may also affect regular manufacturing and trading companies active in various industry segments (commercial companies).  read more...
  • Slovenia: The Competition Protection Agency's fining policy as a black box

    The Slovenian media company Pro Plus already experienced the tough approach being applied by the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency ("the Agency") at the beginning of this year, when the Agency sanctioned it with a fine for obstructing an Agency investigation (for more information please see here ). According to media reports and as confirmed by the Company, Pro Plus has now been also fined with almost 10% of its 2013 annual turnover for a dominant position abuse on the television advertisement market.  read more...
  • EU/AT: Austrian gas law's possible non-compliance with EU Gas Directive

    On 18 July 2014, the Austrian energy regulatory authority E-Control released its affirmative decision in relation to the certification of Trans Austria Gasleitung GmbH (" TAG ") as a transmission system operator (" TSO ") for gas. In its decision, E-Control not only requires TAG to be comprehensively restructured, but also takes a stance on the European Commission's (" EC ") opinion on the potential non-compliance of the Austrian Natural Gas Act 2011 (Gaswirtschaftsgesetz " GWG ") with EU unbundling rules.  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
  • 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...
  • fwp advises Bank Austria on the takeover of Immobilien Holding from Immobilien Privatstiftung

    Vienna, 28 July 2014. Fellner Wratzfeld & Partners (fwp) advises UniCredit Bank Austria AG on acquiring Immobilien Holding GmbH, which until now was wholly owned by Immobilien Privatstiftung.
  • AT: Schoenherr advises Ashland on sale of its water technologies business to Clayton Dubilier & Rice

    Schoenherr, a leading corporate law firm in Central and Eastern Europe, advised Ashland on the Austrian aspects related to the sale of its global water technologies business to private equity fund Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R). The transaction is valued at approximately USD 1.8 billion. By this sale, Ashland intends to focus on their core specialty chemicals business.   read more...
  • AT: Schoenherr represents América Móvil in its successful Public Takeover Offer for Telekom Austri

    Schoenherr, a leading corporate law firm in Central and Eastern Europe, represented Carso Telecom, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the América Móvil group (AMX), in its successful public takeover offer for all shares in Telekom Austria AG not held by Carso Telecom, AMX, Telekom Austria, or the Republic of Austria's state holding company OIAG. The public offer was launched on 15 May 2014. The initial offer period closed 10 July 2014. Through the public offer Carso Telecom/AMX could increase its participation in Telekom Austria from around 27 percent to around 50.8 percent. With an offer price of EUR 7.15 per Telekom Austria share, the transaction volume exceeded EUR 740 million.  read more...
  • AT/RU: Schoenherr advises Rasperia/Basic Element in acquiring over 25 percent in STRABAG

    Schoenherr, a leading corporate law firm in Central and Eastern Europe, advised Rasperia Trading Ltd ("Rasperia") on its exercise of a call option to purchase shares and increase its shareholding in Vienna Stock Exchange-listed STRABAG SE to a blocking minority of 25 percent and one share. Rasperia, a company of Russia-based industrial conglomerate Basic Element, previously held 19.4 percent in the Vienna-based construction conglomerate.  read more...
  • BLS certified by TUEV AUSTRIA

    BLS Rechtsanwälte the First Law Firm in Austria to Successfully Be ISO 9001 Certified by TÜV AUSTRIA
  • Turkey/Italy: Schoenherr hires Rosario Sapuppo to head Italy desk in its Istanbul office

    Rosario Sapuppo has joined Schoenherr, a leading corporate law firm in Central and Eastern Europe, as the head of the newly established Italy desk in the firm's Istanbul office. In this role, Sapuppo applies his expertise in corporate/M&A, foreign direct investments and international commercial law to support the growing number of Italian firms with business activities and/or investments in Turkey. In addition, Sapuppo draws on his experience in working in Istanbul, founding the Milan-based Italian-Turkish Association, and in previously heading the Turkey desk of a leading Italian law firm. read more...
  • Schoenherr advises VB-Leasing International on sale of subsidiaries in Poland and Romania

    Schoenherr advised VB-Leasing International (VBLI), the joint venture between Österreichische Volksbanken-AG (ÖVAG) and German VR-Leasing AG, on the sale of VB Leasing Poland and VB Leasing Romania to the Polish company Getin Holding S.A. The relevant agreement was executed on 15 May 2014. With the sale, the two companies have achieved another milestone in their strategic re-alignment to focus on their core business. The sale of the remaining subsidiaries of VBLI remains ongoing. read more...
  • Slovenia: Schoenherr advises creditor financial institutions of Laško Group

    Schoenherr, a leading corporate law firm in Central and Eastern Europe, advised Sloveni-an creditor financial institutions in the debt restructuring of the Laško Group, a major re-gional beverage manufacturer and distributor whose companies include Pivovarna Laško d.d. (the largest brewery in Slovenia and a major brewery in the region), Pivovarna Union d.d., and Radenska d.d. Radenci (Slovenia's leading water distributor). The value of the outstanding loan debt addressed by this debt restructuring is EUR 370 million. read more...