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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 > Tax > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

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

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The 'friendly, supportive and solution-oriented' tax team at Bär & Karrer Ltd. impresses with 'very strong technical skills', 'high availability' and 'a good client focus'. Core areas of expertise include assistance with M&A, capital markets and financing transactions, international corporate taxation, as well as tax restructuring for businesses and private clients, negotiation with authorities and tax litigation. 'Analytical and very successful' team lead Susanne Schreiber, who 'delivers tailored solutions', advised Saint-Gobain on the tripartite tax structure, including authority negotiations during the rulings, of its CHF3.2bn purchase of Sika. Co-lead Daniel Bader is 'an exceptional tax lawyer with very good commercial skills'. Christoph Suter and Paolo Bottini are the respective key contacts in Geneva and Lugano.

'Knowledgeable' firm¬†Homburger¬†'provides outstanding advice on all transaction-related legal areas, especially tax' and 'delivers appropriate solutions with a focus on implementation'. The practice also undertakes tax planning for high-net-worth individuals and handles contentious matters. The 'client-oriented'¬†Peter Riedweg¬†advised Avaloq Evolution on the tax structuring of an incoming $300m investment by Warburg Pincus, while the highly regarded¬†Stefan Oesterhelt¬†assisted Johnson & Johnson with the structuring and authority negotiation of its tender offer to acquire Actelion. 'Outstanding capital markets and tax expert'¬†Dieter Gr√ľnblatt¬†assists Nord Stream 2 with the implementation of a tax-efficient capital structure.

'Great law firm' Lenz & Staehelin 'has a large and competent team with comprehensive expertise in international tax structuring, which is able to provide clear and succinct advice'. The practice also handles tax dispute resolution and matters relating to the exchange of information. 'Excellent lawyer' Pascal Hinny advised on the tax issues arising from Sika's placement of senior convertible bonds on SIX Swiss Exchange, while 'highly skilled practitioner' Jean-Blaise Eckert represented several banks in various litigation matters relating to the refusal to withhold tax refunds due to alleged dividend stripping strategies. Other key practitioners include 'very smart and easy-to-work-with' Frédéric Neukomm and 'open-minded strategist' Daniel Schafer.

Niederer Kraft Frey AG's tax practice is 'extremely competent and understanding with clients, providing a high standard and creative solutions'. Focus areas include assistance with M&A transactions, capital markets matters and reorganisations, tax structuring, negotiation and litigation, both for corporate and private clients. Neue Helvetische Bank instructed Markus Kronauer  with the analysis of structured products for tax purposes and SIX listing documentation. Daniela Schmucki and Thomas Graf both 'have strong technical knowledge, combined with practical common sense'. In January 2019, VAT, customs and export tax lawyer Christina Rinne made partner, while counsel Elga Reana Tozzi joined from Baryon AG.

Oberson Abels Ltd is renowned for its advisory and contentious tax services for corporations, private clients and financial institutions, including transactions, financing and reorganisations, estate planning, financial regulation, as well as private equity and venture capital matters. The ten-partner team includes Xavier Oberson and Pierre-Marie Glauser, who focuses on corporate, transactional and VAT matters.

'Engaged and collaborative' firm¬†Walder Wyss Ltd¬†'has a comprehensive, solution-driven and strong tax team offering services regarding structuring, transactions and litigation'. The client base consists of domestic and multi-national companies, entrepreneurs and financial institutions. 'Reputable market leader'¬†Maurus Winzap¬†advised 40 North Latitude Master Fund on the acquisition of a significant stake in Clariant and the subsequent partial sale to Saudi Basic Industries, while the 'detail-oriented and very responsive' Thomas Meister¬†handled the tax aspects of client JAB Holding's sale of control in Bally International to Shandong Ruyi Investment.¬†'Very professional' Bern-based restructuring partner¬†Samuel D√ľrr¬†and 'great VAT knowledge resource'¬†Jan Ole Luuk¬†are also recommended.¬†Fouad Sayegh¬†joined from¬†Oberson Abels Ltd¬†in May 2018.

The 'experienced, focused and reliable team' at 'internationally capable law firm' Baker McKenzie impresses with 'considered and holistic answers, proactive thinking, clear communication and high competence in tax law'. Its strengths include cross-border tax planning, M&A, finance and restructuring support, as well as real estate tax, wealth planning, VAT, transfer pricing and controversy matters. Key individuals include the 'very skilful, energetic and committed negotiator' Tobias Rohner and 'outstandingly knowledgeable' Kilian Perroulaz. Hans Koch and Denis Berdoz are other names to note. Of counsel René Matteotti left for Tax Partner AG in November 2018.

The 'experienced' tax practice at Pestalozzi provides 'practical, quality advice' and covers M&A, financing and real estate transactions, as well as tax planning for corporate and private clients, including VAT, withholding and stamp taxes. Practice lead Nils Harbeke assisted with the tax aspects of the intellectual property integration arising from client Mylan's $5.3bn acquisition of Abbott's generic drug business. 'Up-and-coming' corporate tax specialist Jonas Sigrist, who acted for Resonetics on the set-up of a tax-efficient Swiss acquisition structure, financing and share remuneration, made partner in January 2018. Counsel Silvia Zimmermann is also noted.

Clients of Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd 'appreciate its competent, professional and pleasant collaboration' and the 'swift delivery of comprehensive and clearly worded expert views'. Its tax law experience includes corporate tax, finance and M&A transactions, audits, VAT and customs matters as well as individual tax, real estate transactions and tax litigation. 'Broadly experienced and well-connected' Geneva-based partner Pietro Sansonetti advised an international non-governmental organisation on the potential acquisition of a foreign commercial entity, while the 'business-driven and smart' Jean-Frédéric Maraia assisted Foncia with the tax consequences resulting from its purchase of Brolliet. 'Deeply knowledgeable' corporate tax partner Michael Nordin is the also noted.

Tax Partner AG is known for its 'pragmatism, precision, efficiency and reliability' and, due to its 'international network, can advise on all tax matters'. The team has 'exceptional knowledge and problem-solving capabilities' and advises both corporations and individuals on domestic and international tax issues, such as transactions, real estate, VAT and transfer pricing. David Ryser, who is able to take a 'long-term strategic' view, 'dedicated and straight-to-the-point' Patrik Schwarb, private client specialist Peter Vogt and real estate expert Stephan Pfenninger are recommended.

The 'broadly knowledgeable, well-connected and reputable' tax team at¬†ADB Altorfer Duss & Beilstein¬†is able to 'swiftly and proactively create tailored solutions through international and interdisciplinary collaboration'. It handles corporate and individual tax, as well as transfer pricing, VAT and litigation matters. A recent highlight for the 'very responsive, quick-thinking and team-oriented'¬†Fabian Duss¬†was his advice to Castle Alternative Invest and Castle Private Equity on their public-share buyback programme. Other key team members include transactions lawyer¬†Pascal Taddei, corporate taxation partner¬†Marco Greter, co-lead¬†J√ľrg Altorfer¬†and cross-border restructuring specialist¬†Andreas Helbing.

'One of the top experts in Swiss and French tax law', FBT Attorneys-at-Law impresses with its 'excellent level of competency, tailored advice and great interpersonal skills'. Areas of strength include administrative assistance with tax matters and procedures, wealth and estate planning, advising on the tax aspects of relocation from or to Switzerland and expatriation, as well as corporate, financial and real estate taxation. Michel Abt and Jean-Luc Bochatay are the practice heads.

The 'pragmatic and efficient' practice at Froriep delivers 'strong international tax expertise and litigation support'. It specialises in tax challenges arising from the digital economy, global tax transparency, international exchange of information and BEPS plans, while also dealing with transactions and tax planning issues for private individuals and corporations. Dimitri Rotter acts as a regular adviser to Elko Grupa, while Julie Wynne assisted Chapel & York with the establishment of a Swiss not-for-profit association. The 'proactive and innovative' Marcel Jung  joined from Reichlin Hess AG in December 2017.

Loyens & Loeff's 'proactive tax team is very skilled in Swiss and international matters'. Other areas of expertise include private wealth taxation, transfer pricing, litigation, employment tax, transactions, as well as indirect tax and VAT. 'Helpful and business-minded negotiatior' Beat Baumgartner assisted Bacardi with the tax-efficient structuring and financing of its complete acquisition of Patrón Spirits International.

With a focus on domestic and international corporate taxation and tax support on real estate transactions, Basel-based boutique firm Ludwig + Partner Ltd.'s team includes several Swiss-certified tax experts and one certified VAT expert. Thomas Ziegler advised the dental clinics of the University of Basel on the acquisition, financing and construction of a new campus, while Hubertus Ludwig assisted Barnes Group Switzerland with the merger structuring of its four companies into one entity. Beatrice Van der Haegen is another name to note.

'High-quality, multilingual firm'¬†MME Legal | Tax | Compliance¬†'treats every client individually' and has 'a harmonising team of real specialists in various tax areas', including VAT and customs, domestic and international corporate tax, tax services for private clients and transactional support. 'Outstandingly pragmatic and internationally experienced' partner¬†Samuel Bussmann¬†assisted a US biotechnology company with the tax aspects of setting up operations in Europe, while the 'experienced and business-oriented' Andreas M√ľller¬†advised a window manufacturer on the tax-efficient financing of its cross-border reorganisation and its tax-free IP transfer. 'Extraordinary project manager'¬†Thomas Linder¬†is a key contact for ICO tax structures.

Prager Dreifuss AG counts private, corporate and real estate clients among its portfolio. Typical work includes tax planning for wealthy individuals and families, inheritance and gift tax matters and administrative procedures, as well as restructuring cases, tax litigation and assistance during transactions and financing deals. Roland Böhi and Danielle Wenger are the main contacts.

Python creates tax-efficient structures and reorganisation solutions for clients, while also being able to represent them in negotiations regarding tax rulings. Structuring partner Etienne von Streng and Per Prod’Hom, who handles both corporate and private client matters, head the practice, which also includes tax authority expert Frédéric Gante.

The tax team at VISCHER consists of 'top professionals with broad experience and good internal collaboration skills', who provide 'clear advice'. With particular expertise in heavily regulated sectors, the practice assists with transactions, tax litigation and administrative representation, international restructuring and relocation matters, as well as employment tax issues. Co-lead Christoph Niederer advised Fidelium on the tax consequences arising from its acquisition of all shares in Wolfensberger, while Oculis instructed Basel team lead Nadia Tarolli Schmidt to obtain a tax ruling regarding a quasi-merger in order to establish the client's structure in Switzerland.

BianchiSchwald LLC is best known for advising on domestic and international corporate, M&A, financial, transfer pricing and white-collar criminal law tax issues, as well as providing services for private clients. Practice lead Joseph Merhai and counsel Dominique Christin form the core team.

The tax team at Bratschi Ltd 'demonstrates the highest level of professionalism through competence, attention to detail and efficiency'. It assists middle-sized and listed companies, as well as private clients and family-owned manufacturing businesses, with obtaining and negotiating tax rulings regarding tax planning, cross-border transactions, reorganisation and relocation, trading and employment matters. Michael Barrot, who advised Etihad Airways on the tax aspects concerning its sale to the Swiss subsidiary of Adria Airways, 'understands unconventional tax requirements and welcomes the challenge to provide personalised solutions'. Walter Boss is another name to note.

The 'broadly skilled team' at¬†Burckhardt Ltd.¬†has 'in-depth knowledge of major business- and tax-related fields in Swiss law, providing practical and executable advice'. It mainly handles transactions and cross-border restructuring matters, as well as long-term tax planning. 'Precise analyst'¬†Rolf W√ľthrich¬†is the main practitioner at partner level.

CMS¬†impresses with its 'intimate knowledge of Swiss law and compliance prerequisites, as well as its goal-oriented advice'. Key areas of expertise include corporate taxation, such as reorganisation and tax planning, as well as wealth structuring and estate planning for high-net-worth individuals.¬†David H√ľrlimann¬†in Zurich and¬†Andrio Orler¬†lead the practice. Sarah Busca Bonvin¬†joined the team from the Geneva Tax Administration in 2018.

The five-lawyer tax practice at Gillioz Dorsaz & Associés primarily acts for mid-sized international groups and domestic companies on tax structuring issues related to M&A, banking and employment matters. Nicole Fragnière Meyer and Stéphane Tanner are the names to note.

Business law firm Jeantet is known for its presence in the French-speaking markets of Europe and services aimed at Swiss and foreign bank subsidiaries, multinational corporations, investors and commodity businesses. The tax department provides advice on transactions and restructurings, international tax issues and transfer pricing, corporate taxation, audits and litigation, as well as real estate- and employment-related topics. Partner Patrice Lefèvre-Péaron heads a team of five associates

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd (MLL)'s tax team is best known for its tax-efficient structuring, regulatory and tax controversy expertise, transactional support and tax planning for private clients. Counsel Dr Markus Frank Huber specialises in the life sciences, consumer products and telecoms industries, while Nicolas P. Didisheim  focuses on private client taxation. Dr Prof Urs Behnisch is also noted. In 2018, David Brönimann left for an in-house position at Credit Suisse.

The 'strong team of professionals' at Wenger & Vieli LTD is recommended for its 'productive exchange of knowledge, proactive approach and ability to handle non-standard transactional tax cases', such as public takeovers and share-buybacks. Other services include international corporate taxation, tax advice for high-net-worth individuals and major tax appeals. Private client specialist Bruno Bächli and tax transactions partner Barbara Brauchli Rohrer, both certified tax experts, are the main practitioners. 'Diligent and practical' senior associate Marc Gerber is particularly noted for tax controversy matters.

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  • B√§r & Karrer awarded by Mergermarket as "Switzerland M&A Legal Adviser of the Year 2018"

    At this year's Mergermarket European Awards Ceremony on 6 December 2018 in London, Bär & Karrer has been awarded as the "Switzerland M&A Legal Adviser of the Year 2018".
  • B√§r & 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.
  • B√§r & 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.
  • B√§r & 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.
  • B√§r & 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.
  • B√§r & 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.
  • B√§r & 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.
  • B√§r & 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.
  • B√§r & 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.
  • B√§r & 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.