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
  • 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...
  • Austria: Telecom contracts: Electronic Bill and/or Paper Bill?

    The amended Universal Services Directive 2002/22/EC requires EU Member States to ensure that their respective national regulatory authorities are able to oblige all providers of publicly available telephone services to make "itemised bills" available to their subscribers on a free of charge basis. Such bills identify in particular details such as the number called, date and time of call, call duration and the cost of separate calls. Thus, subscribers should be able to control the charges they have incurred and, consequently monitor, their usage and expenditure. read more...
  • PL: Crime of active corruption and commercial bribery

    A conviction for the crimes of active corruption and commercial bribery, which are defined in art. 229 and 296a of the Polish Criminal Code (CC), not only brings about consequences on the grounds of criminal law, but also implies negative consequences in other spheres of law. One of these involves administrative law, more precisely public procurement law, which provides that company officers convicted for the above-mentioned crimes are to be excluded from public contract award procedures.  read more...
  • AT: Ministry of Finance publishes its view on certain aspects relating to private equity funds

    With the amendment of the Austrian investment fund regime by virtue of including alternative investment funds into its scope, the tax aspects of re-qualifications of existing (private equity) vehicles into investment funds and thus the application of the Austrian investment fund tax regime were rather unclear. With a newly-published opinion, the Austrian Ministry of Finance has now shed some light on its view on selected tax aspects of such re-qualification.  read more...
  • CZ: Czech Competition Authority is not authorised to enter business premises without a warrant

    The European Court of Human Rights ("ECHR") recently acknowledged a complaint by Delta Bakery (the "judgment") and confirmed that the Czech Competition Authority ( Úřad pro ochranu hospodářské soutěže , "CCA") violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights ("Convention") when entering the Delta Bakery premises without first obtaining a warrant.  read more...
  • Hungary: What will banks need to (re)pay their borrowers?

    In recent years, bank customers in Hungary have initiated numerous litigations claiming that their loan agreements are illegal, invalid, or null and void for a variety of reasons. Mostly, these reasons centered on the legality of the application of spreads in FX-based loans and on the validity of the unilateral amendments applied by the banks regarding fees and interest rates.  read more...
  • 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...

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/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...
  • 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...