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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Germany > Restructuring and insolvency > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Insolvency

Index of tables

  1. Insolvency
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Hubert Ampferl - Dr Beck & Partner GbR Rechtsanwälte
    • Rainer Bähr - HWW Hermann Wienberg Wilhelm
    • Axel Bierbach - Müller-Heydenreich Bierbach & Kollegen
    • Joachim Exner - Dr Beck & Partner GbR Rechtsanwälte
    • Lucas Flöther - Flöther & Wissing
    • Arndt Geiwitz - SGP Schneider Geiwitz & Partner
    • Ottmar Hermann - HWW Hermann Wienberg Wilhelm
    • Michael Jaffé - Jaffé Rechtsanwälte Insolvenzverwalter
    • Hans-Gerd Jauch - GÖRG Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB
    • Frank Kebekus - Kebekus et Zimmermann
    • Bruno Kübler - Kübler
    • Jörg Nerlich - GÖRG Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB
    • Horst Piepenburg - Piepenburg - Gerling Rechtsanwälte
    • Jan Markus Plathner - Brinkmann & Partner
    • Michael Pluta - PLUTA Rechtsanwalts GmbH
    • Christopher Seagon - Wellensiek Rechtsanwälte - Partnerschaftsgesellschaft
    • Sven-Holger Undritz - White & Case LLP
    • Rüdiger Wienberg - HWW Hermann Wienberg Wilhelm

Who Represents Who

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Görg Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB’s approximately 80 lawyers continued to be involved in large insolvency and property administration cases. The well-respected Martin Stockhausen and Jörg Nerlich lead the firm’s insolvency law practice. The latter is the insolvency administrator of the fashion company Strenesse. Jörg Bornheimer ensured that the retailer Butlers with 1,000 employees could continue to stay in business and Gerrit Hölzle is managing the self-administration of Volkswagen car dealership chain Max Moritz. Carsten Oliver Müller-Seils regularly acts for various creditor groups. Other clients include a building group and a company from the chemical industry. On the contentious side, the group is involved in a major litigation case involving the Arcandor trading group: in January 2018, the renowned Hans-Gerd Jauch succeeded in court with demanding the repayment of part of the millions paid in consulting fees to KPMG Germany shortly before the group’s insolvency.

White & Case LLP’s insolvency team of nine equity partners is particularly active in the automotive, energy and maritime industries. For example, administrator Bettina Schmudde handled the restructuring of automotive supplier Trompetter Guss Chemnitz and insolvency administrator Philipp Hackländer sercured the power supply for the insolvent Innowatio. Renowned practice head Sven-Holger Undritz is the administrator of erotic company Beate Uhse, for which an insolvency plan and a purchase contract were drawn up. In addition, the Christoph Schulte-Kaubrügger, who stands out for his commitment to keeping companies in business, acted as insolvency administrator for franchisees of the restaurant chain Dunkin’ Donuts. Biner Bähr is ‘an outstanding insolvency administrator with a very entrepreneurial approach and a high sense of responsibility’ and Jan-Philipp Hoos is ‘very creative and technically first class’; the latter served as provisional insolvency administrator for the fish wholesaler Product Trade Centre Germany (PTC), which generated €150m in sales and has since been sold. Felix Höpker, Béla Knof and Sven Hentschel were promoted to local partner.

The efficiency of the insolvency administration and administrative management of Dr Beck & Partner GbR Rechtsanwälte is based on the interdisciplinary cooperation of business economists, labour lawyers and corporate lawyers who support the work of the ‘experienced, assertive, communicative and goal-oriented’ insolvency administrators. The renowned Joachim Exner advised automotive supplier BOA, a company with 1200 employees which has been insolvent since February 2018, on the sale to Ring International Holding in August 2018. He also acted as administrator during the insolvency of automotive supplier Schäfer-Oesterle, which has approximately 500 employees. Hubert Ampferl is also well-respected; he assisted with the search for investors for Bavaria Yachtbau, which has been insolvent since April 2018. He also acted as trustee of the fashion company René Lezard, which was successfully restructured by the start of 2018 due to the involvement of an external investor and a creditor participation. Name partner Siegfried Beck is also recommended.

Brinkmann & Partner acts on matters touching upon restructuring, transactions, real estate and tax law, with these competencies incorporated into the firm’s insolvency administration activities. A recent highlight was advising automotive supplier Peine Umformtechnik, with Manuel Sack appointed as administrator from July 2018. He was also authorised as administrator of the mail order pharmacy Juvalis.de. In September 2017, in the case of the insolvent P+S Werften Stralsund, insolvency administrator Berthold Brinkmann pursued litigation against KPMG Germany as the parent company of the pre-insolvency management consultancy in a claim totalling €300m. Respected insolvency administrator Jan Markus Plathner ensures the continued operation of W-tec, a public limited company active in the IT sector and insolvent since April 2018. The group also acted for automotive supplier Küpper, with 600 jobs, which was transferred to the PCS Machine Group in April 2018 in a distressed M&A process.

Flöther & Wissing has strengths in self-administration, insolvency administration and administration of assets, while it also carries out liquidations of group insolvencies. Renowned name partner and practice head Lucas Flöther held a particularly high-profile role as insolvency administrator of the airline Air Berlin; in this case, around 6,000 employees and one million creditors are affected. He also advised Fly Niki until the case was transferred to Austria as a result of a court decision and a purchase agreement with an investor, which had been negotiated by the firm, became null and void. In other work, he acted as provisional administrator for HMW Möbel and as provisional insolvency administrator for Pflegeverband DRK Kreisverband Schönbeck and solar company Calyxo. Insolvency administrator Andreas Wissing and name partner Andreas Wissing are other key figures.

In addition to restructuring work, HWW Hermann Wienberg Wilhelm also has a high level of expertise in insolvency and self-administration proceedings. The respected team includes name partners Ottmar Hermann and Rüdiger Wienberg, and Rainer Bähr. Wienberg acted as insolvency administrator of the battery component manufacturer Litarion, which had to cease operations in May 2018. Insolvency administrator Henning Schorisch was involved in the sale of Bäckerei und Konditorei Brezel-Weber to an investor, thereby continuing its business. Christian Otto was appointed insolvency administrator for the insolvency proceedings of Air Berlin’s bonus programme Topbonus. Thorsten Konrad joined Römermann in February 2018, while Norman Häring joined M\S\L Dr. Silcher Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater as salary partner in January 2018.

The eight insolvency administrators at Jaffé Rechtsanwälte Insolvenzverwalter are active in the areas of self-administration, protection proceedings, restructuring and classic insolvency proceedings. Renowned name partner Michael Jaffé acted as insolvency administrator for the direct investment provider and container broker P&R, for which he sent prefilled claims forms with a waiver clause to investors in August 2018 in order to settle the claims. Insolvent solar company Phoenix Solar is also part of his client portfolio. As insolvency administrator for the insolvent Qimonda, he is also asserting claims against technology group Infineon Technologies amounting to billions of euros in proceedings, which has been underway since 2009. Insolvency administrator Max Liebig, who joined the practice with his entire law firm Dr. Max Liebig in January 2018, assisted expedition supplier Lauche & Maas.

In terms of the number of insolvency cases, PLUTA Rechtsanwalts GmbH is one of the largest administrative law firms; its competencies range from administrations in protective shield and self-administration proceedings, classical insolvency administrations and business continuations in insolvency, to restructuring-related services such as the enforcement of rescission and liability claims, as well as the preparation of insolvency plans. Managing director Stephan Thiemann was appointed insolvency administrator of the tourism service provider JT Touristik and is also active in the insolvency administration of Glückskäfer Reisen, which has attracted media attention due to the claims made by travel customers. As provisional insolvency administrator for insolvent elevator component manufacturer SLC Sautter, Matthias Lehr was able to ensure continued operations and to secure new orders. On the orders of the Bielefeld local court, Stefan Meyer, as provisional insolvency administrator, has been continuing the business operations of the 100-employee personnel service provider HKF Personalprojekte since August 2018. Name partner Michael Pluta is renowned and Ruth Rigol joined the firm in July 2018 from now-defunct law firm DR. RINGSTMEIER & KOLLEGEN.

In the first half of 2018, Schultze & Braun had by far the largest number of insolvency instructions in Germany with 178 insolvency proceedings. In recent work, Dirk Pehl serves as the insolvency administrator for the M&O furniture store and Dietmar Haffa is managing the Geno building cooperative, which has receivables of around €18m. Insolvency administrator Rüdiger Bauch is active in investment company Alphapool’s insolvency case: he filed liability claims against investors in July 2018 for possible sham profit distributions from a pyramid selling scheme. In February 2018, Holger Leichtle became provisional insolvency administrator of automotive supplier Süddeutsche Aluminium Manufaktur. Markus Lohmeier, who specialises in criminal insolvency law, joined the team from Ernst & Young Law in July 2017.

SGP Schneider Geiwitz & Partner has expertise in insolvency administration, property administration, claims for damages and non-performing transactions, among others. Respected name partner Arndt Geiwitz acts as insolvency administrator for drugstore chain Schlecker and initiated a claim for damages in the amount of more than €212m against several large groups for possible price agreements in their role as suppliers. In addition, he initially assumed the role of administrator, then as insolvency administrator for sand casting company MWS Friedrichshafen, selling the business to the investor Oakals Hill Advisors, thus securing a guarantee of employment for the 285 employees from September 2018. In addition to acting as insolvency administrator and restructurer, he advised Lufthansa on insolvency law concerning the insolvency of Fly Niki. Insolvency administrators Petra Heidenfelder, Christian Plail and Patrick Wahren are also visible in the market.

anchor Rechtsanwälte is active in insolvency administration and self-administration, while also active in management consulting. Instructions therefore also include reorganisation and restructuring matters. Martin Hörmann was appointed as insolvency administrator in the current insolvency proceedings of kitchen manufacturer Alno, which employs 2000 people, together with the companies Alno AG, Pino Küchen GmbH and Gustav Wellmann GmbH. He also acted as trustee of metal processing group SHW Casting Technologies. In addition, Robert Hänel is the chief insolvency administrator in Lutz Gruppe’s insolvency; the company is active in the slaughter and meat trade. Work on the administrative side includes advice to mechanical engineering company Banss Schlacht- und Fördertechnik, which is led by Silvio Höfer. Christoph Herbst and Christof Schiller are also noted.

Grub Brugger’s expertise includes not only insolvency administration but also insolvency employment law, liquidations, as well as administrator activities and protection proceedings. Since August 2018, Martin Mucha has acted as the provisional administrator of the Heer media group, which comprises 550 employees and generates sales of €120m; the proceedings are subject to updated guidelines from group insolvency law. In June 2018, acting as trustee, he was also able to sell envelope manufacturer Mayer-Kuvert, which generates €220m in turnover and employs 1600 people, to the Schwarz family of entrepreneurs in the Heilbronn area. Another recent case was the insolvency of tool manufacturer SHW in May 2018, for which the practice group obtained an instruction as provisional insolvency administrator.

Kebekus et Zimmermann is well versed in insolvency administration and administrative management, carries out distressed M&A processes, prepares restructuring measures and, under certain circumstances, orders company liquidations. The respected Frank Kebekus acted as insolvency administrator of Oschatz Anlagenbau, a company with 1,200 employees and a presence in the energy sector. In May 2018, he concluded the eight-year insolvency proceedings of automotive supplier Honsel with a payout of €70m to more than 3,800 creditors. One of his administrative mandates was the management of CD manufacturer Cinram, which employs around 1,000 people and has been operating as Avos Logistics with more than 400 employees since October 2017. In addition, he is increasingly active as a restructurer, for example as general representative of Air Berlin.

Leonhardt Rattunde, with five partners in the field of insolvency administration and property management, is particularly visible in the greater Berlin area and also acts as an insolvency consultant’s office. Name partner Rolf Rattunde administered the insolvency of the railway company Locomore, which became illiquid in May 2017. In addition, Torsten Martini, who is one of the managing insolvency administrators alongside Toralf Maatz, took on this role for Euverge, parent company of Eulenspiegel Verlag, in February 2018, having already acted as provisional insolvency administrator from November 2017. Other cases he has handled include the insolvency of camera manufacturer Panono in July 2017 and the online cut flower retailer Bloomy Days in October 2017. He was also appointed as trustee of KTG Energie in October 2017.

Clients of Bavarian law firm Müller-Heydenreich Bierbach & Kollegen are mostly from the automotive, telecoms and logistics industries. In August 2018, respected name partner Axel Bierbach, as insolvency administrator of now-defunct real estate fund Deutsche Fonds Management, succeeded in selling the 56,000 square metre former Post Technical Central Office in Darmstadt to Ferox Immobiliengruppe to cover the creditors’ claims. In addition, since June 2018 Stefan Debus has been acting as provisional insolvency administrator for the insolvent Thurn und Taxis retirement home, while Oliver Schartl was appointed provisional insolvency administrator for the associated insolvent operating company Eustra Services. The latter also acted as provisional insolvency administrator of football club SC Fürstenfeldbruck and was able to prevent the liquidation of the club in this capacity in May 2018.

The eight insolvency administrators and trustees of Piepenburg - Gerling Rechtsanwälte have a clear objective of achieving restructurings, competitive repositioning in the market, and the preservation of jobs. Renowned name partner Horst Piepenburg was appointed insolvency administrator in the insolvency of Solarworld in May 2017, which was sold to former company founder Frank Asbeck in August 2017. In the course of the insolvency of the hammersmith IPP van Triel, in January 2018, he, as provisional insolvency administrator, sought the return of machines as assets from a managing director who had been transferred abroad; in July 2018, he secured the sale to an investor as part of a distressed M&A process. Another key contact is name partner Klaus Gerling.

With nine insolvency administrators, Reimer Rechtsanwälte specialises in insolvency and commercial law. In December 2017, insolvency administrator Peter-Alexander Borchardt achieved a stop payment of €100m to investors as proceeds from the sale of sea containers in the case of Magellan, a container company insolvent since May 2016. He was also appointed as provisional insolvency administrator in February 2018 in the case of the 120-employee window and door manufacturer Baltic and was able to restructure the company in August 2018 and secure 80 jobs as part of a distressed M&A process. Since April 2018, Thomas Rittmeister has been acting as provisional insolvency administrator of the first league football club Samsung Frankfurt Universe; he had joined from Kübler with his team in October 2017.

Schmidt-Jortzig Petersen Penzlin is both an insolvency administration and a restructuring firm, often advising on matters touching upon distressed M&A transactions, regulatory law and insolvency law. The ‘excellent’ practice group is regarded as ‘highly qualified’, handles ‘surprisingly large instructions excellently’ and offers ‘very good value for money’. Leading insolvency administrator Dietmar Penzlin acted as an administrator in the context of the insolvency of the wind farm operator Prokon; the insolvency of maritime company Denmar Chartering & Trading; as an expert for an association for the avoidance of insolvency proceedings; and as an insolvency administrator of private individuals in the context of challenged insolvencies. He is ‘a professionally superior, valued network partner’, who is ‘tough in negotiations and pleasant to work with’. Senior associate Christian Mikolajczak is ‘flexible, competent and responsive’.

AndresPartner’s seven partners act as insolvency administrators, experts and trustees in the areas of consumer insolvencies, corporate and group insolvencies, as well as in the administration of property. However, the group is also regularly appointed as general representative for restructuring reports, insolvency plan proceedings and creditor advice in the case of restructuring instructions. Dirk Andres is, among other things, active as insolvency administrator of technology and service company Wollschläger, which is active in metallurgy, and management consultancy GibConsult. As insolvency administrator, Martin Schmidt sold assets of the insolvent Ruhe Textilreinigung to the newly founded Reinigung Ruhe. In July 2018, the plastics company Durocas with 100 employees also filed for insolvency, following which Claus-Peter Kruth was appointed as provisional insolvency administrator in the insolvency proceedings.

BBL Bernsau Brockdorff & Partner Rechtsanwälte accepts both insolvency administrator and trustee instructions and, if necessary, makes operational business decisions. Justus von Buchwaldt was appointed provisional insolvency administrator of the transport company Steckhan & Peters by the Flensburg local court, and insolvency administrator Christian Heintze succeeded in achieving the continued operation of the insolvent PVR Pro Vinyl Recycling, which was taken over by the Wesling Group in March 2018. Name partner Christian Graf Brockdorff was also involved as insolvency administrator in the case of the insolvent control technology company CMS Ingenium. Since June 2018, men’s clothing company Friedrich Klotz, which has more than 120 employees, has been under the insolvency administration of Marcus Winkler.

The practice group at BRL Boege Rohde Luebbehuesen acts as both insolvency administrators and trustees. Stefan Denkhaus is, among other things, insolvency administrator of agricultural group KTG Agrar; in this role, he demanded €189m for the creditors in August 2018 in the context of a claim for damages against the executive board for alleged delay in insolvency. Dorothee Madsen was appointed insolvency administrator of security company Samson & Krysztofiak in December 2017. In September 2017, insolvency proceedings were also instituted against investment consulting company and insurance and building society contract broker PS Haus- und Grundbesitzmarketing; Friedemann Schade acts as the insolvency administrator. Another key figure is Friedrich Kraft von Kaltenborn-Stachau.

CMS’ areas of activity in relation to insolvency administration cases include regular insolvency proceedings, special insolvencies, but also forced administrations. The work portfolio includes the regular insolvency proceeding of the insolvent Maple Bank and Maple Financial Europe, led by Michael Frege, Joachim Kühne and Charlotte Louise Schildt; in the latter case, secondary proceedings took place at the Toronto branch, with cross-border liquidation in Canada and the USA. In addition, Niklas Lütcke was appointed insolvency administrator of video technology company Clipkit. In addition to insolvency administration, the firm also has expertise in property administration cases. Alexandra Schluck-Amend heads the restructuring and insolvency practice.

Hoefer Schmidt-Thieme - Rechtsanwälte und Insolvenzverwalter is active in both insolvency administration and administrative management, but has been able to expand its advisory services by drawing up insolvency plans and taking over trusteeships. Highlights included the appointment of name partner Tobias Hoefer as trustee of Remag, which is active in the metal trade and has around 500 employees; all seven operative parts of the company were successfully sold to several investors in April 2018. In July 2018, the firm announced the arrival of partner Sarah Schmelzer from Nehrig, Braun & Sozien, whose Freiburg and Offenburg teams also joined the firm.

In addition to insolvency administration, Kübler also has outstanding expertise in the area of criminal insolvencies. The three equity partners include Sebastian Laboga and renowned founding partner Bruno Kübler; the firm has an additional 24 salary partners. New insolvency proceedings led by the firm include the insolvency of Erdmännchens Landschafts- Tief- und Straßenbau and of Jalou Media Germany. The group also handles the insolvency procedure of the complex company network around the Infinus group and the Future Business group (Fubus) in the largest German investor scandal in post-war history. Franz Ludwig Danko and Dominik Montag departed for Römermann in autumn 2017; Rainer Fröhlich and Christoph Nüsser joined AHW Steuerberater Wirtschaftsprüfer Rechtsanwälte in January 2018; and Thomas Rittmeister left for Reimer Rechtsanwälte in October 2017.

The two-partner team at LAMBRECHT Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB undertakes insolvency administration and administrative management, and is experienced in protection, self-administration and regular insolvency proceedings in insolvency-related cases. The firm is also active in restructuring consulting. It has notable expertise appearing before courts in Düsseldorf, Mönchengladbach and Wuppertal. Name partner Martin Lambrecht was appointed as mechanical engineer Emde’s provisional administrator in November 2017 as a result of its insolvency filing. In January 2018, he also succeeded in selling the precision tube manufacturer Duisburg Tubes Production, which has 90 employees and operates in the nuclear industry, to the Yantai Taihai Group. In addition to her work as a restructuring consultant, Annamia Beyer also acts as a trustee or insolvency administrator.

LECON Insolvenzverwaltung handles insolvency administration and property administration instructions, and is primarily present before twelve insolvency courts in Bavaria. Restructuring work, such as the restructuring of the insolvent automotive services provider TVS, is also increasingly becoming part of its workload. Michael George and Thomas Klöckner were appointed provisional insolvency administrators following the insolvency of construction companies Strasser Bauunternehmung GmbH and Strasser Bau-Personal GmbH in October 2017. Gunther Neef is the firm’s third partner; he also acts on insolvency administration as well as on the restructuring and reorganisation of companies.

The traditional core area of Wellensiek Rechtsanwälte - Partnerschaftsgesellschaft lies in insolvency administration, while the administration of assets increasingly plays a central role. The well-known and respected Christopher Seagon was appointed insolvency administrator of the wind power company Carbon Rotec; the company was closed down in the course of the insolvency and the production site was acquired by the Gustaf Zech Foundation in July 2018. Daniel Herper acted on the self-administration process of the seed marketer Strube, which was sold to Deleplanque & Cie and Suet Saat- und Erntetechnik in April 2018. Since conclusion of the research, the firm added three partners from the now-defunct Jost Roth Collegen and Silke Wehdeking was a further new arrival from Leonhardt Rattunde.


Restructuring

Index of tables

  1. Restructuring
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Restructuring clients in Germany using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is involved in a large number of non-performing M&A transactions and financial restructurings on the debtor, buyer and creditor side.The group advised Takata Europe, an automotive supplier in crisis, on the analysis of possible insolvency scenarios and on the sale of assets to Key Safety Systems. Another restructuring highlight was that of Air Berlin and Fly Niki, with the team assisting with the continuation of operations in insolvency, the sale of important assets and the implementation of a mass loan provided by KfW Bank. On behalf of a private equity investor, highly regarded practice head Lars Westpfahl’s team acted on the financial restructuring of €1bn in liabilities of a ship group to be acquired. On the creditor side, the group advised various lenders of insolvent furniture manufacturer Steinhoff on the fulfilment of loan claims. It also cooperates with insolvency administrators and, in one example of its work in this space, it advised insolvency administrator Horst Piepenburg on the sale of assets of the insolvent Solarworld.

Gleiss Lutz takes a holistic approach by covering classic restructuring, financial restructuring and distressed M&A transactions. The team acted on the restructuring of SKW Stahl-Metallurgie Holding with an investor and, from autumn 2017, drew up an insolvency plan for the restructuring within the current insolvency. It is holding negotiations with creditors for the European part of the Steinhoff furniture group regarding liabilities to secure the operative business. The group assisted Porterhouse group with the successful acquisition of the insolvent Paracelsus clinics. It acted on several other important instructions including advising potential investors on the Air Berlin case; Martin Hörmann’s appointment as insolvency administrator of kitchen manufacturer Alno; and acting for a creditor of an automotive supplier. Helge Kortz and Matthias Tresselt are also noted, as are practice heads Ralf Morshäuser and Andreas Spahlinger.

The 16-partners team at Görg Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB frequently acts for insolvent and insolvency-threatened companies on restructurings, as well as for creditors and potential investors, an area in which it can rely on its insolvency administration experience. The renowned Helmut Balthasar advised Solarworld on insolvency law issues in newly opened insolvency proceedings, in particular with regard to the utilisation of assets. Christian Bärenz assisted a hedge fund with a refinancing transaction for a €130m HSH Nordbank bad ship portfolio loan and highly regarded practice head Martin Stockhausen advised communication technology company Kathrein on a non-performing syndicated loan. ‘Excellent expert’ Michael Nienerza handled a restructuring case in the sports industry. Kirsten Schümann-Kleber advised an investment bank on automotive supplier Takata’s restructuring. Michael Schaumann made equity partner.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP primarily focuses on financial restructurings and advising creditors. It has increasingly made use of its international network, for example when advising Agrokor – the largest retail group in the Balkans, which is indebted by €7bn and has 60,000 employees – on the raising of interim financing of up to €1.1bn. For this instruction, the respected Leo Plank, who leads the practice together with Bernd Meyer-Löwy and Sacha Lürken, cooperated with the London office. The five-partner team’s broad workload includes the representation of bond creditors in Air Berlin’s insolvency proceedings, the representation of three major creditors of convertible bonds in the amount of €2.5bn in the Steinhoff Europe case, as well as the representation of toy retailer Toys R Us in US Chapter 11 proceedings and in a debtor-in-possession financing (DIP) of up to $3.13bn.

Allen & Overy LLP’s well-regarded ten-partner restructuring practice primarily advises creditors in the financial and insurance sectors, while also acting on insolvency administrations as well as assisting investors interested in the acquisition of insolvent companies. Well-known practice head Peter Hoegen advises a coordination committee consisting of lenders on the restructuring and recapitalisation of the furniture company Steinhoff. He also acts for Commerzbank and, in another highlight, is handling the restructuring of satellite manufacturer Kathrein Werke, which has already been agreed with creditors. Franz Bernhard Herding assisted chemical company Indorama Ventures with the acquisition of polyester fibre manufacturer DuraFiber Technologies’ French and Mexican branches, which filed for insolvency in October 2017.

Clifford Chance’s business model is primarily based on representing banks and creditors in the event of their debtors’ restructuring or insolvency, as well as advising insolvency administrations and potential investors. The highly regarded Stefan Sax is part of the creditors’ committee for the insolvency of a transport industry group; he is instructed by certain creditors concerned with the operative business, while a potential investor was also a client. In other work, he advised the management of a retail company on the structuring and implementation of a management incentive programme following the restructuring. Other restructuring instructions include matters pertaining to the insolvency of satellite technology company Kathrein, solar module manufacturer Solarworld and kitchen group Alno.

Dentons’ ‘solution-oriented’ approach and ‘strong professional competence and fitting team size’ guarantee ‘a very timely handling’ of instructions relating to creditor representation, the advice of insolvency administrations, distressed M&A transactions and the restructuring of financially troubled corporate groups. The group acted on the restructuring and reorganisation of the Paracelsus clinics, which are in self-administration. It also advised kitchen furniture manufacturer Alno on self-administration matters, and assisted Air Berlin Finance’s insolvency administrator with filing claims amounting to more than €500m. The highly regarded and ‘extraordinarily good’ practice head Andreas Ziegenhagen stands out for his ‘professional strength’ as well as his ‘convincing manner in negotiations’. With the addition of Petra Brenner from One Square Advisors GmbH and counsel Verena Etzel from Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP in April and May 2018 respectively, the practice was strengthened significantly. In November 2018 Giannina Kreutz joined from Baker McKenzie.

Latham & Watkins LLP acts for investors, creditors and companies on operational and financial restructuring. Practice head Frank Grell advised Air Berlin on the examination and enforcement of possible claims against the investor Etihad. Jörn Kowalewski assisted a consortium of banks with the financial and operational restructuring of the Kathrein group. The group is also instructed by a majority shareholder of Solarworld in negotiations with a co-shareholder concerning the filing for insolvency and insolvency proceedings. It also acts for a committee of bondholders in the restructuring of the furniture company Steinhoff. Ulrich Klockenbrink made counsel at the beginning of 2018, while former counsel Daniel Ehret joined King & Wood Mallesons as a partner in October 2017.

A team of eleven ‘high-class’ equity partners at White & Case LLP advises creditors as well as investors and also undertakes operational restructurings; in this area, it is able to draw on the firm’s insolvency administration unit. Practice heads Riaz Janjuah, Tom Oliver Schorling and the well-known Sven-Holger Undritz jointly advised HSH Nordbank on the ongoing restructuring of shipping company Rickmers Holding. The ‘experienced and extremely well-connectedBiner Bähr, who has a focus on keeping companies in business, advised a retail group on its restructuring. Another recent highlight was assisting an international furniture group in crisis. Felix Höpker, Béla Knof and Sven Hentschel were promoted to local partner. Sylwia Maria Bea joined from Wellensiek Rechtsanwälte - Partnerschaftsgesellschaft as local partner in April 2018.

CMS covers both insolvency administration and restructuring advice. The ten restructuring partners represent, among others, creditors in the enforcement of claims; insolvency administrators in the enforcement of liability claims; investors in distressed M&A proceedings; and companies in financial difficulty in the restructuring of business units. In recent work, Rolf Leithaus advised the German Airports Association on the insolvency proceedings of Air Berlin, including the assertion of creditors’ claims as a member of the provisional creditors’ committee. The group also acted for an investor in the insolvency of a company in the furniture industry. Insolvency administrator Malte Köster sought advice on the insolvency of Lüneburger Eisenwerk. Alexandra Schluck-Amend heads the practice.

Hengeler Mueller acts on distressed transactions, financial restructurings and is also active in the enforcement and defence of claims. A highlight was the enforcement of claims arising from deliveries and services as well as the defence against rescission claims for kitchen appliance manufacturer Bauknecht against the insolvent Alno Group. As in previous years, Daniel Kress is advising Lufthansa on a number of issues, including the insolvency of Air Berlin. Daniel Weiß assisted insolvency administrator Frank Kebekus with regard to the effectiveness of articles of association, loan agreements and loan collateral in favour of bondholders concerning the insolvency of textile group Steilmann.

With ‘an excellent service level’ and ‘a very good price-performance ratio’, Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek advises investors, restructuring companies and insolvency administrators, while also handling contentious work. Well-known practice head Georg Streit advised investors on the insolvency of a healthcare industry company. The group also assisted Deleplanque & Compagnie with the acquisition of seed producer Strube from self-administration. Erotic retail chain Beate Uhse is also part of the client portfolio. Thomas Jansen is ‘a hands-on and result-oriented consultant’, who ‘always keeps a clear head’ even in difficult situations; Stefan Proske is ‘very experienced’; and Arnold Büssemaker is ‘solution oriented, focused and has a good understanding of clients’ business’. Robert Güther was made up to equity partner and Philipp Jansen salary partner. Stephan Nikschick joined the practice group in January 2018 from FPS and Michael Pauli returned in September 2017 18 months with avocado rechtsanwälte; both are now salary partners.

Hogan Lovells International LLP impresses with its ‘excellent knowledge’, ‘short processing times’ and ‘a reasonable price-performance ratio’; the six partner-strong practice focuses on advising investors, debtors and creditors. This also includes the handling of contentious matters in the context of challenged insolvencies and the enforcement of creditors’ claims, in which practice head Heiko Tschauner in particular is regarded as ‘a prudent, shrewd and experienced litigator’. He acted in the insolvency case of Air Berlin and in the assertion of claims in the energy sector. The well-respected Christian Herweg is ‘particularly strong’ and proposes ‘very sensible’ courses of action. He is currently assisting an investor with the acquisition of a distressed real estate portfolio. Michael Sinhart left for Taylor Wessing in September 2017.

Linklaters is primarily involved in advising banks and creditors on important restructuring cases. The team’s expertise includes the restructuring of portfolios and the filing of liability claims against insolvency administrations. Practice head Sven Schelo is acting for a major banking group in the course of Air Berlin’s insolvency. In addition, the group handles ongoing instructions for creditors in the retail, construction and hotel sectors. On the contentious side, it represented the insolvency administrator of a large company in the judicial and extrajudicial assertion of liability claims. Tobias Klupsch made counsel in May 2018.

In addition to operational restructuring and advice on non-performing M&A transactions, McDermott Will & Emery Rechtsanwälte Steuerberater LLP also offers assistance with contentious matters for insolvency administrators, debtors and creditors in the examination and enforcement as well as the defence of any payment claims. Uwe Goetker and Matthias Kampshoff jointly head the practice: the former advised the insolvency administrator Lucas Flöther on the sale of several business divisions of the insolvent online service provider Unister to media investors such as Axel Springer Teaser Ad and Markets Inside Media; the latter represented, among others, an original equipment manufacturer in the context of Takata’s restructuring.

Areas of focus for Noerr’s ‘highly commendable’ and ‘very high quality’ practice include, in particular, advising insolvency administrations, banks and creditors as well as handling distressed M&A transactions. ‘Very good negotiator’ Thomas Hoffmann, who heads the group together with Martin Kleinschmitt, is ‘very pleasant to work with’, ‘technically competent’, and ‘reliable, pragmatic and solution oriented’. Hoffmann advised the airline Condor and its parent company Thomas Cook on the planned investment in the insolvent airlines Air Berlin and Fly Niki. Christian Pleister is also noted; he assisted private equity investor Alteri Investors with Basler Fashion Group’s self-management process with the financing of business operations through a mass loan. Marlies Raschke made equity partner.

Taylor Wessing’s ‘competent, reactive, creative and experienced’ practice group provides ‘a very good service level and high quality standard’ in operational restructuring, review, defence and enforcement of liability claims, creditor representation and board advice, and is ‘well connected with Germany’s insolvency administrators’. Salary partner Christian Saueressig assisted Air Berlin’s insolvency administrator Lucas Flöther with the determination and prosecution of claims for the airline’s insolvency assets. Hendrik Boss advised Takata’s board of directors and management on, among other issues, the preparation of continuation forecasts, negotiations with OEMs and creditor banks, the acquisition of Takata Europe, Africa and South America outside of insolvency and on liability matters. Michael Malitz, who led an examination of claims against a well-known former managing director, is also noted. Other work includes involvement in the insolvency cases of Rickmers Holding, Alno and Solarworld. Bernhard Kloft heads the practice.

Four partners at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP handle creditor consulting, legal support for operational restructurings, litigation and the examination of liability claims. Practice head Gerhard Schmidt recently advised the managing board of a company from the electrical industry on out-of-court restructuring matters; the company was thought to be illiquid and the team was instructed to examine claims for damages in the three-digit million range against the former parent company. It also advised China Fishery on the German law aspects of Chapter 11 proceedings in the US after it suffered losses in its fishing figures due to the El Niño weather phenomenon. The group successfully defended an investment bank in a long-standing case concerning claims brought by an insolvency administrator.

Baker McKenzie’s five-partner restructuring team advises creditors, debtors, shareholders and insolvency administrators. In recent work, practice heads Holger Ellers and Dorothée Prosteder assisted a foreign industrial producer with the sale of a German subsidiary at risk of insolvency. The group advised another company from the service sector on the acquisition of an insolvent company. In other highlights, it handled a defence against claims arising from the avoidance of insolvency, advised on the corporate and tax restructuring of balance sheets, as well as on the handling of current contracts in connection with a transport sector company’s insolvency. Burkard Göpfert left the firm in November 2017 and joined the renamed employment law boutique KLIEMT.Arbeitsrecht. In 2018, Giannina Kreutz joined Dentons.

BBL Bernsau Brockdorff & Partner Rechtsanwälte covers insolvency administration and property administration as well as restructurings, with particular expertise in restructurings in connection with self-administration. Litigation and shareholder liability proceedings are another area of focus of the practice. In a high-profile case, the well-known Georg Bernsau and Justus von Buchwaldt are acting as general agents for the restructuring of erotic product provider Beate Uhse, which has been operating under the name be you since the summer of 2018. In other work, the group assisted laboratory equipment specialist Köttermann group with a restructuring of its self-management. Alexander Höpfner acts as general representative for the restructuring of automotive supplier Peiner Umformtechnik and Peiner Services.

The ‘very good, responsive and very competent’ restructuring practice at DLA Piper is active in insolvency administrations as well as in non-performing loan transactions on behalf of investors, debtors and creditors. It is singled out for its ‘high level of experience in specialist areas and its extensive capacities’ as well as ‘an outstanding service level’. The range of services also includes handling insolvency crime issues and matters pertaining to the delay of insolvency. Practice head Dietmar Schulz advised a packaging manufacturer on the restructuring of a group of companies by means of self-administration. In addition to acting on several financial restructurings for financial service providers, the ‘smart and very well-connectedMike Danielewsky also assisted a pharmaceutical company with securing the continuation of existing supply contracts with an insolvent supplier.

The seven-partner restructuring practice at Greenberg Traurig Germany, which is led by Christian Köhler-Ma, Gordon Geiser and Jesko Stark, primarily advises on the enforcement and defence of claims, on the operational and financial restructuring of debtors in self and third-party administration, as well as on non-performing loan transactions on both the debtor and the buyer side. The group advises conductor rail developer Vibitech on business operations under self-management and is defending a client from the real estate sector in court against insolvency law challenges in the tens of millions. The team also assisted mechanical engineering company Setco with the acquisition of the business operations of the insolvent HeadTech. Kati Beckmann joined the partnership.

Grub Brugger is active in the area of insolvency avoidance and related restructuring advice, and assists clients with financial negotiations as well as with the enforcement and defence of liability and rescission claims. Hendrik Wolfer advises insolvency administrations on liability claims. The practice’s workload also includes handling distressed asset M&A transactions. Highlights included Michael Vilgertshofer acting for an automotive supplier on trust, Thilo Schultze advising an investor on the acquisition of a company in the plant engineering sector, and Hans Konrad Schenk assisting a group of investors with the insolvency of a transport company.

Jones Day is sought out for advice on out-of-court restructurings, distressed M&A transactions, contract re-negotiations, and the enforcement and defence of liability and rescission claims. A significant proportion of clients are from the automotive industry, including Toyota. Practice head Olaf Benning advised an investment firm on the review of documents relating to the acquisition of debt securities. He also advised a management consultancy on matters relating to Chapter 11 proceedings of the distressed parent company. Ansgar Rempp is ‘very good and clever’.

In addition to advising on insolvency and administrative management, Wellensiek Rechtsanwälte - Partnerschaftsgesellschaft also handles restructuring matters. It has core strengths advising on operational restructurings and distressed transactions. The group recently assisted General Motors with the restructuring of automotive supplier Takata. Patric Naumann advised flooring manufacturer DLW Flooring on self-administration matters. Together with Markus Stadler, who led the advice, the well-respected Alfred Hagebusch acted on the restructuring of steel wheel manufacturer mefro wheels, which was sold to investor Accuride in June 2018. Richard Scholz is also noted. Sylwia Maria Bea left for White & Case LLP in April 2018 and the highly regarded Sebastian Rudow retired from the legal profession in November 2017 and is now active as CEO of a recycling company.

Under the leadership of Thorsten Prigge, Aderhold Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH’s restructuring practice prepares restructuring opinions, handles insolvency and self-administration proceedings, advises on M&A transactions, and negotiates refinancing solutions. Patrick Klawa and Hubertus Freiherr von Erffa, who made equity partners at the beginning of 2018, advised insolvency administrator Rainer Bähr on the sale of Mittelächsische Textilreinigungs und -handels AG to the Elis group. The group also advised a bank on its financial relations with a company undergoing restructuring, and worked out a continuation financing solution and restructuring for a recycling company. Gesa Rebecca Max joined the firm in February 2018 and Michael Gödecke and Barbara Wenker made salary partners in January 2018.

Ashurst LLP’s restructuring practice acts for shareholders and creditors, where it assists with insolvency administrations and the settlement of non-performing M&A transactions. Since March 2018, ‘internationally connected’ practice head Alexander Ballmann has acted as the authorised representative for the three insolvent companies of container broker P&R Gebrauchtcontainer Vertriebs- und Verwaltungs-GmbH, advising on restructuring and insolvency law. In addition, he assisted medical technology supplier Varian with the restructuring of the Rinecker Protonen Therapy Centre and acts for a consortium of banks in pre-insolvency restructuring efforts and in the insolvency proceedings of an automotive supplier. Counsel Dorothea Maria Tachezy joined the team in February 2018 from Allen & Overy LLP. Counsel Christian Knittel left to join Brinkmann & Partner as a partner in September 2017.

HWW Hermann Wienberg Wilhelm has a restructuring practice in addition to its strength in insolvency and self-administration. Well-respected name partner Rüdiger Wienberg, as general representative of the iron foundry Trompetter Guss Chemnitz, led the financial restructuring as part of the company’s self-administration. Administrator Kai Dellit advised software manufacturer höltl Retail Solutions, which specialises in cash register technology and merchandise management systems in the retail trade, on a restructuring in self-management, which enabled a realignment to be initiated. Together with Robert Tobias and Werner Warthorst, Burkhard Jung and Stefan Weniger separated the management consulting division from the law firm and have acted as managing directors of newly founded firm Restrukturierungspartner since March 2018.

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH has ‘outstanding knowledge’ and is valued for its ‘very good service level’ and ‘excellent price-performance ratio’; the practice primarily advises on insolvency administrations, restructurings and distressed M&A transactions, and advises claimants on the enforcement of claims. Klaus Schaffner assisted a football stadium operating company with its restructuring, and Denis Ullrich represented an insolvency administrator in arbitration proceedings brought by a plastic product manufacturer in Beijing. The group was also involved in the renegotiation of purchase agreements between an insolvent supplier and a product buyer in the transport industry. Reinhard Willemsen and Marcus Backes lead the practice.

Mayer Brown LLP’s ‘highly recommended and highly committed’ restructuring practice focuses on financial restructuring, real estate and corporate restructuring, distressed transactions and actions for rescission. Practice head Marco Wilhelm is ‘precise and friendly in his communication, very professional and prudent even in complicated situations’; he assisted a magazine with the assessment of a fiduciary model’s insolvency strength. Together with Benjamin Büttner, Wilhelm also acted for a real estate group in financial crisis. Other highlights include advising a financial institution on the insolvency of a transport company, and assisting a shipping company with the insolvency of a different shipping company.

Schultze & Braun’s expertise in reorganisation and restructuring includes handling matters touching upon labour law, business administration and commercial law, as well as advising on the administration of distressed companies’ assets suitable as financial collateral. A recent example of its restructuring expertise is acting for the management of automotive supplier Michael Bubolz, with assistance provided by Stefan Ludwig and Detlef Specovius. Since November 2017, Ludwig Weber and Stefano Buck have been advising travel portal Air Berlin Holidays on the restructuring resulting from the insolvency of Air Berlin. The group saw the departure of Andreas Elsässer, Christoph Chardon and Jan Metzner, who left the firm in May 2018 to found Elsässer Restrukturierung. Torsten Cülter left for Beiten Burkhardt in January 2018, where he is now salary partner.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s ‘always commendable’ restructuring team is characterised by ‘an excellent level of service’ resulting from the ‘untiring dedication and fast turnaround times’ of the team members. Matthias Weissinger made partner at the beginning of 2018, becoming practice head at the same time. Winfried Carli is also recognised for his ‘excellent communication, negotiation skills and expertise’. Both acted for the airline Etihad, as shareholder, in the ongoing insolvency proceedings of Air Berlin. Other clients include banks and industrial groups on both the creditor and debtor side.

Simmons & Simmons LLP is particularly active in advising creditors and also handles operational restructurings. In July 2017, practice head Werner Meier joined from King & Spalding LLP and continues to advise financial investors as creditors of HSH Nordbank and Air Berlin. He also acted for Pepkor Europe Limited, as part of the Steinhoff furniture group, and various subsidiaries such as Poundland UK and Pepco Poland on Steinhoff’s refinancing and restructuring, which included advice on further loan financing. Stephan Ulrich assisted an IT company with the restructuring of its German business, including the relocation of production abroad and the closure of German locations. Counsel Regina Rath represented a solar company in ongoing litigation in rescission proceedings in the context of the insolvency of several solar companies.

Beiten Burkhardt acts on non-performing M&A proceedings and insolvency proceedings, on financing issues in restructurings, and on appeal proceedings and claims for damages. The group is currently advising an industrial group on the insolvency and financial risks relating to a pension fund arising from a potential merger in the client’s industry. It also acts, together with Frank R. Primozic, as adviser in insolvency administrations, in appeal proceedings and in claims for damages, some of which are also directed against other law firms involved in the restructuring advice. Guido Krüger and Heinrich Meyer jointly head the practice, which saw the addition of salary partner Torsten Cülter from Schultze & Braun.

BRL BOEGE ROHDE LUEBBEHUESEN frequently represents board members in insolvency and property administration cases. Recent highlights include advising the management board of Air Berlin and Lucas Flöther, the airline’s insolvency administrator, on various restructuring issues; Dominik Demisch and Stefan Denkhaus led the advice. The latter also assisted Fly Niki’s management with restructuring issues. The group also acted on the insolvency of kitchen builder Alno: it filed insolvency petitions, coordinated proceedings, and advised on self-administration and insolvency administration matters, taking into account mass loans and insolvency tax aspects. Friedemann Schade defended the management of JT Touristik in liability claims brought by the insolvency administrator and major creditors of the group.

GSK Stockmann is a trusted adviser of board members of large corporations, clients from the construction and real estate industries, and family businesses, among others, due to its expertise in real estate law, litigation and non-performing transactions. A highlight was assisting Frank Gebert, chairman of the board of the kitchen group Alno, with the enforcement of pension claims against the insolvency administration. The group also advised an airline on the planned takeover of assets from another insolvent airline. It also advised Starlinger on the acquisition of insolvent mechanical engineering company Maplan. The team is led by Andreas Dimmling and Raoul Kreide.

Milbank primarily advises creditors and debtors, and acts on non-performing M&A transactions. Mathias Eisen assisted the Apollo Aviation Group, BOC Aviation and Minsheng Financial Leasing with leasing 12 of the 100 aircraft of the insolvent Air Berlin. The group also advised solar company and secured creditor Qatar Solar Technologies on the insolvency of solar module manufacturer Solarworld. The team also assisted a consortium of banks led by UniCredit, as secured creditors, with the insolvency of fashion group Creatrade and its subsidiary Schneider Versand. In other work, it handled a court proceeding for a CEO from the metalworking industry.

AC Tischendorf Rechtsanwälte is ‘a very service-oriented law firm’ that is particularly visible in operational restructurings and ‘distinguishes itself strongly from other law firms through its personal support and the practicability of its solutions’. The firm recently advised airport service provider Acciona Airport Services on a restructuring including the sale of the ground handling activities and the short-term complete closure of the Frankfurt office as well as the transfer of airport activities to a competitor. The group also defended the managing director of a household goods manufacturer against liability claims brought by the insolvency administrator. Another highlight was advising the Tempton personnel services group on the management of its self-administration relating to Germany’s second-largest insolvency in 2017 in terms of the number of employees. The practice heads are Matthias Müller and ‘all-rounder’ Sven Tischendorf, who is known for his ‘business acumen’. Fabian Brocke made associate partner.


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