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Legal market overview
The global crackdown on bank secrecy and tax evasion has had a positive impact on Luxembourg, which is now proving itself as a centre of financial transparency. Its stronghold on the investment funds industry remains tight as investors seek to move funds onshore for greater regulation, aided by the recent enactment of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD). The appealing tax environment is meanwhile attracting investors from BRIC countries; the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Bank of China and most recently China Construction Bank have all chosen Luxembourg as their continental base.
Where clients go, law firms will follow. Hogan Lovells (Luxembourg) LLP is the latest new entrant, stepping into the market with two key partners from NautaDutilh, Jean-Michel Schmit and Pierre Reuter. Other notable lateral moves include Linklaters LLP’s former head of corporate Jean-Paul Spang to Kleyr | Grasso | Associes; Luther’s former head of funds Max Welbes joining MNKS; CMS’ former head of tax Diogo Duarte de Oliveira joining Stibbe; and Allen & Overy Luxembourg’s former head of IT Cyril Pierre-Beausse leaving to establish his own firm.
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Professionals of the financial sector have, in the past, regularly been confronted with search and seizure warrants in respect of electronic data in criminal matters where the professional's entire database has been seized for mining purposes. By a recent decision of the Luxembourg District Court, this questionable practice has now been challenged. 2014.07.14_-_search_and_seizure_warrants_in_criminal_matters
The Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) has today published guidance on the notification to it by non-EU AIFMs of their intention to market their EU and non-EU AIFs to professional investors in Luxembourg pursuant to article 42 of the AIFM Directive (AIFMD). Such guidance is in line with the approach being taken in other EU jurisdictions and is a necessary step to ensure compliance with the law when the transition period ends on 22 July next. newsflash_-_the_cssf_publishes_the_article_42_aifmd_information_form
After the publication of the new CSSF Circular 14/587 on UCITS depositaries last week, it is now the European legislator's turn to adopt new rules on UCITS depositaries. Indeed, the Council of the European Union has formally approved today the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2009/65/EC on the coordination of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to UCITS as regards depositary functions, remuneration policies and sanctions (the UCITS V Directive). full_newsflash_-_the_ucits_v_directive_is_adopted
Our quarterly tax update is dedicated to the main changes which have occurred over the last 3 months with regard to Luxembourg and international tax law. tax_update_-_july_2014
Luxembourg's Financial Sector Supervisory Authority has published on July 18 the latest update to its Frequently Asked Questions document on the grand duchy's law of July 12, 2013 implementing the European Union's Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive and the European Commission's Level 2 regulation on implementation of the AIFMD.
Section 2 of CSSF Regulation No. 13-02 relating to the out-of-court resolution of complaints will enter into force on 1 July 2014, the other sections having already entered into force at the beginning of the year. complaint_handling_by_professionals_-_newsflash_-_27.06.2014
On 9 July 2014, the Luxembourg Parliament approved the bill of law on a sale and buy-back transaction of real estate assets to a wholly owned Special Purpose Vehicle ("SPV") by the Luxembourg State allowing the issuance of a Sukuk with a value of 200 million euros ($275 million). grand_duchy_of_luxembourg_issues_sukuk_-_newsflash_-_15.07.2014
In anticipation of the forthcoming directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2009/65/EC on the coordination of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to UCITS with respect to depositary functions, the CSSF has yesterday released a new circular aimed at clarifying the provisions applicable to Luxembourg credit institutions acting as depositary for UCITS (the "Circular"). Departing from a principle-based approach, the CSSF has enacted more prescriptive and detailed rules to govern UCITS depositary functions. the_new_circular_on_ucits_depositaries_has_been_released
Bill of law n° 6625, which will substantially change the legal regime applicable to bearer shares issued by a Luxembourg company was adopted by the Luxembourg Parliament on 16 July 2014. newsflash_-_changes_to_the_luxembourg_bearer_shares_regime
As, after more than four years of preparation, the European Union's Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive takes full effect for existing managers, Luxembourg finds itself in the position it wanted to be in - ideally placed to become a domicile and servicing platform for alternative funds distributed across borders in the same way that it has become for traditional retail funds under the UCITS regime.
BSkyB announced on 25 July 2014 that it had entered into agreements with 21st Century Fox to acquire 21st Century Fox's 57.4% stake in Sky Deutschland AG (SkyD) on a fully diluted basis and its 100% stake in Sky Italia. BSkyB also announced its intention to make a voluntary public takeover offer to the shareholders of SkyD for the purchase of their ordinary registered shares with no par value in SkyD against payment of a cash consideration of €6.75 per SkyD Share. The acquisition of 21st Century Fox's 57.4% stake in SkyD is for a consideration of €3.6bn, valuing SkyD at €6.75 per SkyD share. The total consideration for the acquisition of Sky Italia is £2.45bn with approximately £2.07bn to be paid in cash and the balance to be satisfied through the transfer of BSkyB's 21% stake in National Geographic Channel International to 21st Century Fox at a value of £382m. Subject to the number of SkyD minority shareholders that accept the offer, the total cash consideration overall may be up to approximately £7.0bn. The transactions are subject to regulatory and independent BSkyB shareholder approval. Read more...
Newly-established Opel Group GmbH assumes full responsibility as Single OEM Manufacturer for the Opel/Vauxhall business in Europe including Russia. Read more...
DONG Energy signed an agreement to sell 50% of the German offshore wind farm project Gode Wind 2 to a consortium of Danish pension funds (PKA, Industriens Pension, Lærernes Pension and Lægernes Pensionskasse). The total purchase price amounts to approximately €600m. According to the agreement, the wind farm will have a total capacity of 252 MW. DONG Energy will construct the wind farm, provide operation and maintenance services and will provide a route to market for the power production of Gode Wind 2. The purchase is subject to approval by the cartel authorities. Read more...
Carl Zeiss AG, Oberkochen has concluded a €500 Mio. syndicated loan for the purpose of refinancing existing financing. ZEISS is an internationally leading technology group in the fields of optics and optoelectronics with more than 24,000 employees and about €4.2bn in revenues. Read more...
Dürr AG, via its wholly-owned subsidiary Dürr Technologies GmbH, has reached agreement with several major shareholders of HOMAG Group AG (HOMAG) to acquire a total of 53.7% of HOMAG shares. The purchase price for the 53.7% of the HOMAG shares is € 219 million. An agreement was also reached with the Schuler family and the Klessmann foundation, who have so far held a 25.1% stake in HOMAG in the form of a share pool, on Dürr joining the pool. The share pool will consent to the completion of a control and/or profit and loss transfer agreement by Dürr. The execution of the purchase contracts is subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities. Dürr will submit a voluntary public takeover offer to the HOMAG shareholders to acquire all of the shares.
Gide's Warsaw and London offices have successfully completed another project for KGHM Polska Miedź. The largest Polish mining company officially announced an investment loan agreement for USD 2.5 billion for general corporate purposes which was signed on 11 July 2014. This is one of the most significant transactions of its type carried out in Europe this year.
Arbitration is a mechanism of binding dispute resolution which entails resolving disputes outside court in accordance with procedures and standards as determined by the parties in dispute. Arbitration is therefore an alternative to traditional litigation and is distinct from non-binding forms of dispute resolution such as mediation.- Ogier
As part of the Cayman Islands longstanding commitment to tax transparency and meeting international standards (most notably reflected in the fact that the Cayman Islands are on the G-20's 'white list' of compliant jurisdictions), the Tax Information Authority (International Tax Compliance) (United States of America) Regulations, 2014 (US Regulations) and the Tax Information Authority (International Tax Compliance) (United Kingdom) Regulations, 2014 (UK Regulations and together the Regulations), were gazetted and therefore brought into force in the Cayman Islands on 4 July 2014.- Ogier
The Gulf-based investor, Khalaf Al-Habtoor chose Lakatos, Köves and Partners again for a new hotel transaction in Budapest