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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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Switzerland > Real estate and construction > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Real estate and construction
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Real estate and construction clients in Switzerland 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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Baker McKenzie’s clients ‘appreciate the quick and business-oriented support from the team, as well as the second-to-none work ethic and the strong international network’. The practice handles transactions, developments, restructurings and corporate real estate issues for companies, asset managers, private clients and investors, and in a recent highlight advised Migros-Pensionskasse on the transfer of its Swiss real estate portfolio to its newly established investment foundation. Zurich team leads Martin Furrer and Alexander Wyss are ‘very professional and experienced in international transactions and always available for questions’, while the ‘fabulous’ Samuel Marbacher is the team’s ‘young force with very profound technical skill and already very good credentials in the Swiss real estate industry’. The ‘well-connected’ Olivier Ducrey is also recommended. Daniel Peregrina heads the Geneva team.

Transactional and corporate advice are Bär & Karrer Ltd.’s mainstays in the real estate arena: in recent higlights, the practice assisted Valora with the sale of the La Praille building in Geneva to retail company Migros and further acted as transaction counsel for Swiss Prime Site during its CHF250m 0.25 convertible bonds placement. Swiss Life, TH Real Estate and Orascom also receive legal services from the team. Corrado Rampini in Zurich is the lead adviser.

CMS is ‘driven by long-standing client relationships, which make for very effective collaboration’. The practice covers real estate transactions, developments, financing and litigation matters and packs a particular punch in assisting with hotel transactions, related management agreements and construction projects. The team advised Sunrise Communications on the sale of more than 2,000 telecommunication towers in Switzerland. Another key client is Swiss Prime Site, whom the group recently assisted with acquiring two campus facilities near Lake Geneva and in the Canton Valais per share deal. Team lead Stefan Gerster is recommended.

Lenz & Staehelin is a ‘very efficient firm with strong capabilities in various related sectors and a strong network’. The team handles real estate finance, sale-and-lease-back transactions, developments, PPPs and regulatory matters for commercial users, investors, funds, public entities and private clients. Recent highlights include advising Eli Lilly & Company on the ongoing restructuring and sale of its real estate portfolio. Orox Capital Management is another key client. ‘First-class lawyerCécile Berger Meyer, who heads the Geneva practice, ‘is a dealmaker with strong attention to detail and excellent negotiation skills’; Beat Kühni heads the Zurich team, which also includes Andreas Rötheli.

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd (MLL)stands out for its efficiency and pertinence when finding solutions’, as well as its ‘smart strategic and tactical propositions’. The practice handles property transactions, project development, construction, zoning and litigation matters and is particularly adept at advising on Lex Koller aspects as well as cross-border investments and financing. Active clients include Allreal Holding, Strabag and Verenahof. ‘Strategic thinkerWolfgang Müller is ‘always two steps ahead’, while Christian Eichenberger has ‘broad knowledge and an entrepreneurial approach’. In Geneva, clients recommend Philippe Prostfor his acumen, availability and foresight in analysing legal problems’ as well as associate Cosima Castan.

Niederer Kraft Freyprovides a maximum of professionalism’, is ‘very responsive and highly committed’ and ‘offers incredible advice throughout the complete lifecycle of a property’. A particular focus lies on cross-border transactions in the hotel and leisure industry and in a recent contentious highlight, the group represented Eichhof Immobilien in an appeal proceeding concerning the development of a former industrial site in Lausanne. AXA Investment Managers, Schroders Asset Manager and RUAG Real Estate are key clients. ‘Good negotiator and tactician’ Andreas Vögeli has ‘tremendous real estate knowledge, can identify the critical issues and is very focused on the client’s needs’, while Sandro Abegglen has ‘comprehensive expertise and business acumen in relation to collective investment schemes regulation’. Also recommended is the ‘trustful’ associate Daniel Antognini.

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd‘s ‘hardworking team’ ‘has a very good reputation and excellent market knowledge’ in the real estate arena; areas of expertise include transactional advice, construction financing, contentious real estate matters as well as engineer, interior design and architect agreements and facility management issues. In recent work, the group advised SV Group on longterm hotel lease agreements in Germany and Switzerland and Foncia, Rockspring and SPG Intercity also regularly instruct the practice. ‘Very good dealmakerYves Jeanrenaudis a pillar in the Geneva real estate market and has undisputable expertise, excellent connections and incredible attention to detail’. Josef Caleff leads the team in Zurich.

Walder Wyss Ltdis well positioned with great experts in every field’, who offer a ‘highly professional service’. The practice deals with transactions, development projects and real estate disputes and recently advised Pradera on its acquisition of a Swiss real estate asset of the IKEA Centers portfolio. Other work included assisting Akara Funds with several purchase transactions of commercial and residential properties. Blackstone and Bricks & Bytes are other active clients. The ‘extremely experienced, efficient and helpful’ Francis Nordmann provides ‘quick responses, which are straight to the point’ and the ‘practical’ Nicolas Iynedjian ‘regularly exceeds clients´ expectations’.

BianchiSchwald LLC advises international investors as well as local developers, contractors and institutional investors on transactions, development projects, leases, asset management and financing. The team assisted HRS Real Estate with an acquisition offer for a property in the Geneva development zone. Yves de Coulon is the key contact for real estate matters in the Lake of Geneva region, while Marc Metzger specialises in construction matters for the healthcare sector.

Homburger is a popular choice for investors, developers, funds and industrial and financial companies seeking advice on transactions, contracts, leasing, financing, REITs or construction projects. The team advised IKEA on the international divesture of 25 European shopping centres and represented a Swiss real estate company against a Swiss city in an arbitration matter revolving around the right to build and operate a car park. Practice lead Daniel Hasler, regulatory lawyer Marcel Dietrich, M&A specialist Dieter Gericke and litigator Balz Gross are the key members.

The ‘experienced and highly specialised real estate group’ of Pestalozziprovides legally sound, pragmatic, solution-oriented and hands-on advice without lengthy theory’. Focus areas include transactions, commercial and residential leases, real estate pledges and encumbrances as well as regulatory and environmental issues. Valser Mineralquellen, Adam Opel and the UBS Personnel Pension Investment Fund form part of the client portfolio. The ‘eloquent and professionalMichael Lipshas exceptional depth and breadth of knowledge and takes a serious and cost-effective approach to his proposals’.

Python counts institutional investors, commercial users and private individuals among its clients, whom it advises on transactions, construction projects and agreements, Lex Koller matters, financing, leasing, environmental aspects and the full spread of contentious real estate issues. The practice assisted Promoroches with its sale of luxury resort Chalet RoyAlp Hotel & Spa to a Chinese financial group per asset deal. Christophe de Kalbermatten and Marc Iynedjian head the practice, while Jean-Christophe Hocke is the third key partner.

Vischer has particular expertise in development projects, but also handles real estate transactions. The group continues to advise Basler Versicherungen on the development of its new headquarters, the Bâloise Park building and assisted UBS with a mixed-use project in Basel, including advice on land registry, neighbour negotiations and property title aspects. Team lead Roland Müller and Andreas Albrecht are the main advisers.

BMG Avocats assists with land use management, planning, construction, Lex Koller regulation as well as environmental and expropriation aspects of real estate law for the cantons of Geneva and Vaud, and also offers transactional and dispute resolution services to real estate clients. Nicolas Wisard and Isabelle Salomé Daïna are the key contacts.

From its offices in Zurich and Baden, Baur Hürlimann AG advises clients on construction matters, industrial and infrastructure projects, including public, environmental and contractual claim management, as well as tenancy law. Roland Hürlimann is the key contact for contentious real estate issues, while Erich Rüegg handles non-contentious and notary matters. Additionally, Michael Merker provides advice on environmental and public law, and Martin Werner specialises exclusively in construction law.

Bratschi Ltdhas a deep understanding of the industry’, offers ‘entrepreneurial thinking and flexibility’ and complements its transactional, financing and contentious expertise with experience in public construction, environmental and zoning law. The team is assisting Vereinigung St.Gallische Gemeindepräsidentinnen und Gemeindepräsidenten with the creation of a new construction regulation template for all communities in Canton St.Gallen. Spital Thurgau, BS Bodensysteme Deutschland and Arbonia are also active clients. Thomas Schönenberger is recommended.

Lalive covers real estate transactions, financings, leasing, construction and infrastructure advice on both non-contentious and contentious level. The practice is representing an instrumentality of a Middle Eastern state in arbitration proceedings concerning transport infrastructure and also advised an international organisation on the refurbishment of its European headquarters and construction of new offices in Geneva. Alexander Troller, Michael Schneider, Bernd Ehle and Matthias Scherer are the main partners.

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Legal Developments in Switzerland for Real estate and construction

  • 5 January 2017: Takeover of Pax Anlage AG by Baloîse

    Baloîse (SIX: BALN) is to acquire a majority stake in publicly listed real-estate company Pax Anlage AG (SIX: PAXN). By entering into agreements with majority shareholders Pax Holding (Genossenschaft), Pax, Schweizerische Lebensversicherungs-Gesellschaft AG and Nürnberger Lebensversicherung AG, Baloîse Life Ltd will acquire around 70 per cent of the share capital and voting rights. Today, Baloîse published the pre-announcement of a public takeover offer for the remaining approx. 30 per cent of shares in free float at a price of CHF 1,600 per share (subject to dilution effects). The aggregate transaction value amounts to approx. CHF 288 mio. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.
    - Walder Wyss Ltd

Legal Developments in Switzerland

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Bär & Karrer Advises the Sellers on the Sale of Briner Winterthur

    The owners of Briner AG Winterthur sold the company. Briner is a leading family-owned trading and service company operating in the fields of construction services, steel services, supply systems and building services as well as heating and energy systems.
  • Bär & Karrer Advised GfK on the Sale of Four Divisions

    GfK has sold four global divisions (Customer Experience, Experience Innovation, Health and Public Affairs) to Ipsos. The sale included GfK's respective businesses in 25 countries.
  • Derivatives Trading under FMIA: Reporting Obligations

    On 14 September 2018, the Federal Council extended the transition period for the reporting of derivative transactions by small non-financial counterparties (NFC-) until 1 January 2024 under the Financial Market Infrastructure Act (FMIA). The amendment to the Financial Market...
  • Swiss Tax Reform Package Approved: Update and Outlook

    The Swiss National Council approves the proposed tax reform package! On 12 September 2018 the larger chamber of parliament adopted the proposal of the Economic Affairs and Taxation Committee of the Council of States on the Federal Act on Tax Reform and AHV Financing (formerly Tax Proposal 17), which is largely in line with the legislative bill adopted by the Council of States, the smaller chamber of parliament. Although slight differences regarding the capital contribution principle remain to be settled, the majority of member of the National Council sees the adopted text of the bill as a viable compromise.
  • Retrocessions: Criminal Consequences of Non Disclosure

    In a recent decision 6B_689/2016 of 14 August 2018, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court held that the failure to disclose adequately retrocessions may constitute an act of criminal mismanagement. After a short summary of the legal framework governing the disclosure of retrocessions, the present briefing analyses this decision and its practical impact in particular for Swiss financial institutions dealing with external asset managers.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Waterland on its Investment in Tineo

    Waterland Private Equity invested in Tineo AG after the carve-out from Quickline Holding AG. Tineo is an integrated enterprise solution provider of data centres, glass-fiber connections, high-speed internet and VoIP services with state-of-the-art infrastructure
  • Bär & Karrer Elects Ruth Bloch-Riemer, Daniel Raun and Philippe Seiler to Partner

    Bär & Karrer has announced the election of Ruth Bloch-Riemer, Daniel Raun and Philippe Seiler to the firm's partnership. The appointment is effective as of 1 January 2019.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Swiss Prime Site on its Rights Offering

    On 28 September 2018, Swiss Prime Site, the largest publicly listed real estate investment company in Switzerland, completed a capital increase by way of a rights offering to its shareholders in the amount of approximately CHF 320 million. 97,7% of the shareholders of Swiss Prime Site exercised their subscription rights in the rights offering. The remaining new shares not subscribed were placed in the market. The offer price was set at CHF 74.00 per share. Credit Suisse and UBS Investment acted as Joint Global Coordinators, J.P. Morgan and Zürcher Kantonalbank acted as Joint Bookrunners.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises SIG Combibloc Group as Issuer and Onex as Selling Shareholder on the IPO of SI

    SIG Combibloc, a leading provider of aseptic carton packaging solutions for the food and beverage industry, successfully priced its IPO and listed its shares on the SIX Swiss Exchange, where trading commenced on 28 September 2018. With a market capitalization of CHF 3.6 billion and a generating total gross proceeds of CHF 1.5 billion, this is considered as the largest IPO on the SIX Swiss Exchange in the last years. In connection with the IPO, SIG Combibloc Group Holdings S.A., the holding company of SIG Combibloc Group, migrated its legal seat and the place of management of the company from Luxembourg to the Canton of Schaffhausen, Switzerland by way of a cross-border relocation and thereby became a stock corporation governed by Swiss law prior to the first day of trading.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises the Joint Bookrunners in the Offering of an Aggregate of USD 8,000,000,000 Not

    Nestlé Holdings, Inc. completed an offering of USD 1,000,000,000 3.100% Notes due 2021, USD 1,500,000,000 3.350% Notes due 2023, USD 900,000,000 3.500% Notes due 2025, USD 1,250,000,000 3.625% Notes due 2028, USD 1,250,000,000 3.900% Notes due 2038 and USD 2,100,000,000 4.000% Notes due 2048. The notes were offered and sold by the Joint Bookrunners in the United States in reliance on Rule 144A and in transactions outside the United States in reliance on Regulation S under the U.S. Securities Act. Each series of notes is guaranteed by Nestlé S.A.

Press Releases in Switzerland

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  • Bär & Karrer Advises the Sellers of Astes4 SA

    The owners of Astes4 SA, a company based in Balerna, Switzerland, which is engaged in development, production and sales of patented automated sorting solutions for sheet metal laser processing machines, sold their interests in the company to Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Mitsubishi Electric is active in the manufacture, marketing and sales of electrical and electronic equipment used in information processing and communications, space development and satellite communications, consumer electronics, industrial technology, energy, transportation and building equipment. By acquiring Astes4, Mitsubishi Electric will further strengthen its lineup of automation systems together with sorting solutions for sheet metal laser processing machines to provide its valued customers with integrated solutions that require less manual loading, unloading and sorting to realize higher productivity and efficiency.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Constellium on the Sale of Rolling Business Assets in Sierre, Switzerland, to

    On 23 July 2018, Constellium Valais SA, a company of the Constellium group engaged in the aluminium plate and extrusions businesses for industry, aerospace and transportation applications, successfully completed the sale of its aluminium rolling business assets in Sierre, Switzerland, to Novelis Switzerland SA for EUR 200 million. The assets, consisting of real estate, machinery and equipment, were previously leased by Constellium Valais to Novelis Switzerland and both parties will continue to operate in Sierre following the transaction. Concurrently with the asset sale, Constellium Valais contributed the Sierre site's shared infrastructure to a newly established 50-50 joint venture with Novelis Switzerland.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Bank Cler in Connection with the Public Tender Offer by Cantonal Bank of Basel

    On 20 June 2018, the Cantonal Bank of Basel, which already holds 77.52% of the share capital and the voting rights of Bank Cler Ltd., published the preannouncement for a public tender offer for all publicly held bearer shares of Bank Cler, which is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Subsequently, Bank Cler concluded a transaction agreement with the Cantonal Bank of Basel regarding the public tender offer. The Cantonal Bank of Basel offers CHF 52 per share of Bank Cler. Taking into consideration the results of the Fairness Opinion of an independent Expert, the board of directors of Bank Cler recommends to its shareholders to accept the offer.
  • Bär & Karrer Successful in Appeal Proceedings before the Federal Administrative Court Against the F

    On 11 May 2016, the French tax authorities requested administrative assistance from the Swiss Federal Tax Administration. The request was made based on lists containing several thousand UBS Switzerland AG account numbers which are or were held by persons presumed to be French residents for tax purposes. The French tax authorities were asking for Switzerland to provide names and dates of birth of the persons connected to the accounts as well as the account balances. UBS Switzerland AG (which the Federal Administrative Court ("FAC") had granted party status in its judgment A-4974/2016 of 25 October 2016) and private individuals directly affected lodged appeals with the FAC against the Federal Tax Administration’s final decisions, which were issued on 9 February 2018.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises BZ Bank on Purchase of United Grinding Group

    BZ Bank Aktiengesellschaft, through its acquisition company LEMRO AG, purchased the United Grinding Group from Körber Beteiligungen GmbH. The United Grinding Group is one of the world's leading suppliers of precision grinding machines.
  • Bär & Karrer advised PSP Swiss Property on Sale of a Commercial Property

    PSP Swiss Property sold a commercial property in Petit-Lancy, Geneva. The property at the Av. des Morgines 8/10 (approx. 14'000 m2 of rentable space) was sold for CHF 55 million to an affiliate company of Epic Suisse AG.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs in a Combined Offering on the Placement of Sha

    Idorsia Ltd successfully placed 11,912,000 new shares by way of an accelerated bookbuilding in a private placement with institutional investors. The placed shares are sourced from the company's existing authorized share capital and the pre-emptive rights of the existing shareholders have been excluded. The offer price was set at CHF 25.62 per share. Additionally, Idorsia successfully placed CHF 200 million of senior unsecured convertible bonds due 2024 in a private placement with institutional investors.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Vontobel on the Placement of CHF 450 Million Tier 1 Bonds to fund the acquisit

    Vontobel Holding AG successfully completed the placement of CHF 450 million perpetual additional tier 1 subordinated bonds. The additional tier 1 subordinated bonds were issued at 100% of their nominal amount with an interest of 2.625% until 2023. The proceeds of this capital market transaction will be mainly used to finance the acquisition of Notenstein La Roche Private Bank.
  • Bär & Karrer Advised Swiss Re in the Offering of USD 500 Million Senior Exchangeable Notes with Iss

    Swiss Re Ltd (Swiss Re) has completed an offering of USD 500 million, 6-year senior exchangeable notes, which may be stock settled at the option of Swiss Re or may be exchanged at the option of noteholders for registered shares of Swiss Re, unless Swiss Re elects to settle the exchange of notes in cash. Swiss Re has purchased call options on its own shares, which allow it to settle an exchange by noteholders without issuing new shares.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Credit Suisse and Bank Berenberg in the IPO of Klingelnberg

    Klingelnberg Ltd, a global leader in developing and manufacturing premium machine tools for bevel gear and cylindrical gear machining and precision measuring centers for gears, successfully priced its IPO and listed its shares on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Trading in the shares started on 20 June 2018. The shares of Klingelnberg were priced at CHF 53 per share, near the upper end of the price range, corresponding to a base offer of CHF 241 million. The offer price implies a market capitalization of approx. CHF 470 million leading to a free float of 56.6% (assuming full exercise of the over-allotment option), whereas the remaining 43.4% remain with the Klingelnberg family as anchor shareholder.