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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. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

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Who Represents Who

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Bär & Karrer Ltd. has ‘a top-quality tax department for high-end international transactions and planning matters’, which delivers ‘fast responses with a pragmatic approach’. The group focuses on tax advice related to M&A, financing transactions and restructuring matters, as well as on international taxation and negotiations with tax authorities; it recently advised Regus on tax aspects of the establishment of new holding company IWG. Daniel Bader focuses on tax advice for private clients and jointly heads the team with the ‘commercial’ Susanne Schreiber, who has ‘amazing VAT and direct tax know-how, communicates well and is connected to every major tax player in Switzerland’. Daniel Lehmann is an ‘excellent tax adviser’ and Christoph Suter joined the team from EY Law AG in October 2017.

Homburger covers both Swiss and international tax aspects of M&A and capital markets transactions, corporate reorganisations, financings as well as relocation and employment issues; the team also handles tax litigation. Recent highlights include advising Nestlé on tax issues related to its ice cream and frozen goods joint venture with British R&R and assisting Nord Stream 2 AG with tax-efficient capital structuring. Dieter Grünblatt, Reto Heuberger, Stefan Oesterhelt and Peter Riedweg are the main advisers.

Lenz & Staehelin focuses on corporate and private tax planning, authority negotiations and contentious tax issues, but also advises on tax aspects of capital markets and employment matters. The team advised Groupe E on taxation issues related to BKW’s sale of 10% Groupe-E shares back to the client. Wal-Mart, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Börse and Monsanto are also active clients. Jean-Blaise Eckert and Pascal Hinny lead the teams in Geneva and Zurich, respectively.

Niederer Kraft Frey impresses with its ‘accurate, precise and to-the-point service’ and ‘high responsiveness’. The group exhibits particular tax expertise with regards to capital market products and financing transactions, while other core areas include corporate reorganisations, M&A, collective investment schemes, cross-border and private-equity transactions, as well as authority negotiations and contentious tax issues. In recent highlights, the team advised Actelion on tax aspects of the all-cash tender acquisition by Johnson & Johnson and assisted Trend International with the sale and subsequent re-investment of capital stock in Gotha Cosmetics to an SPV held by Capvis Equity. The ‘well preparedMarkus Kronauer is recommended. Thomas Graf leads the practice.

Oberson Abels Ltd’s ‘excellent’ twelve partner team covers both corporate and private client tax advice, especially in connection with transactions, financing and estate planning. Nicolas Buchel, Xavier Oberson, Alexandre Faltin and Pierre-Marie Glauser are the key advisers.

Walder Wyss Ltd’s ‘trustful’ tax team consists of ‘excellent lawyers’ who provide an ‘outstanding quality as well as great responsiveness’ and ‘can handle most legal issues without external support’. A big strength lies in transactional, financial, capital and corporate structuring-related tax assistance, as well as tax controversy and estate planning for private clients. The team advised Akina on its merger with Unigestion, while Thomas Meister assisted Allied World Assurance Company with its $4.9bn acquisition by Fairfax Financial Holdings. ‘Straightforward’ team lead Maurus Winzap ‘has a commercial approach, state-of-the-art industry knowledge and is very client-focused’, while Robert Desax is ‘very knowledgeable about Swiss tax issues and has a good business sense’. ‘Absolute tax specialist’ Samuel Dürr is ‘excellent in negotiations with tax authorities’ and the recommended counsel Jan Ole Luuk is the key contact for indirect tax.

Baker McKenzie’s ‘hands-on’ team impresses with ‘outstanding tax knowledge, technical depth, a result-based approach and quick responses’. The practice focuses on international tax planning, transfer pricing, VAT matters, restructuring and transactional support, as well as tax controversy and wealth planning. In a recent highlight, the group advised EXPERTsuisse on the notification procedure regarding the distribution of dividends in lieu of paying withholding tax. Of counsel René Matteotti is ‘analytical and clear’, Kilian Perroulaz is ‘technically excellent’ and the ‘professional’ Tobias Rohner, who joined from Froriep, shows ‘great commitment, readiness and devotion towards the best result’. Denis Berdoz leads the team.

Pestalozzi focuses particularly on cross-border tax and restructuring matters, but also assists clients with tax structurings of financing transactions, real estate and private wealth. The team advised HSBC Bank as lenders during the acquisition of Syngenta by ChemChina. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Glencore and UBS are also active clients. The ‘experienced’ Silvia Zimmermann and counsel Christoph Ramstein ‘find solutions which are openly discussed with the authorities in a very practical and favorable way’. Financial services tax expert Nils Harbeke leads the team.

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd has a ‘very strong, competent team for cross-border tax issues’, which it handles with a ‘very professional approach, good team-playing attitude and to-the-point advice’; other focus areas include financial markets-related tax assistance, VAT and customs matters as well as tax auditing and international double taxation. The practice advised a non-governmental organisation on its potential acquisition of a foreign commercial entity including assistance with potential tax issues. The client roster also includes Swiss RE, Julius Baer, Vontobel and Christie’s. Jean-Frédéric Maraia has ‘excellent technical knowledge and can explain complex situations in a very clear, pragmatic way’ and Geneva team lead Pietro Sansonetti is ‘highly experienced’. His counterpart in Zurich is Michael Nordin. Harun Can left the firm.

Outstanding’ boutique firm Tax Partner AG exhibits ‘very high professionalism, reliability and reactivity’ and focuses on ‘client satisfaction, as well as adaptive solutions for reasonable pricing’. The team is well versed in advising corporates as well as private clients on national and international taxation, with additional expertise in VAT matters and transfer pricing. Peter Vogtalways has the right solution and works on short notice’, Stephan Pfenninger is ‘proactive and pragmatic’, Kurt Wildcombines scientific precision with profound experience’ and Patrik Schwarbis familiar with all legal tax regulations and acts very promptly and professionally’.

ADB Altorfer Duss & Beilstein has a ‘solid practice in the taxation field’, which offers services regarding corporate and private tax matters, VAT, transfer pricing and tax litigation. The team advised Kuoni and Hugentobler-Stiftung on tax matters related to the transfer of its GTD business to Hotelbeds. Financial tax lawyer Marco Duss and tax M&A expert Jürg Altorfer are recommended for their ‘creativity and finding of alternative approaches’. Transfer pricing specialist Fabian Duss, litigator Marco Greter, cross-border structuring expert Andreas Helbing and private client lawyer Pascal Taddei are also key members of the practice.

The ‘excellent and uniqueFBT Attorneys-at-Lawis big enough for its lawyers to focus on specific topics and small enough to have a close and friendly relationship with clients’. Focus areas include administrative, criminal and contentious tax procedures as well as individual, corporate and real estate taxation. Deutsche Bank Suisse, Lombardier Odier Cie and Banque Julius Baer are among the active clients. The ‘organised, professional and empathicMichel Abtlistens to client’s needs and reacts to them in an effective and pragmatic way’; he jointly heads the practice with Jean-Luc Bochatay.

Loyens & Loeff’s ‘very professional’ team provides ‘fast, commercial responses’ and is particularly recommended for its ‘experience in employee share incentives and global share plans’. The team also covers cross-border tax structuring, tax-efficient investment structures, corporate reorganisations, financing, private client services, transfer pricing, indirect tax and contentious tax matters. The ‘concise and client-oriented’ Beat Baumgartner, who ‘can be trusted to meet deadlines and provide necessary advice’, recently advised a multinational investment group on tax issues related to its migration from Luxembourg to Switzerland due to a BEPS compliance restructuring. On associate level, Georges Frick is recommended.

Ludwig + Partner Ltd. often advises on domestic and cross-border tax aspects of corporate, real estate, financing, employment and private client matters and is particularly adept at assisting with transactional tax issues, tax restructuring and contentious tax issues. Hubertus Ludwig leads the eight-strong team.

MME Legal | Tax | Compliancestands for client understanding, creativity, quick answers and commercially aware advice’. Areas of expertise include corporate taxation, international tax planning, tax compliance, indirect tax, tax disputes, VAT and customs matters. The team assisted a US company with tax issues pertaining to the establishment of R&D facilities and commercial operations in Switzerland. Andreas Müller is ‘excellent, proactive and efficient’, Thomas Linder’s ‘efforts and knowledge are way above average’, Samuel Bussmann is ‘well connected and organised’ and Mónika Molnár is an ‘expert in EU taxation’.

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd (MLL) advises corporate clients on tax aspects of restructurings, investments and M&A transactions, tax structuring as well as tax controversy and also supports private clients regarding estate and tax planning. David Brönimann heads the practice, which also includes counsel Urs Behnisch, private client specialist Nicolas Didisheim and international tax partner Markus Huber, who joined from EY Law AG in July 2017.

Python assists with advance tax rulings, M&A-related tax issues, corporate reorganisations, investments and relocations. Other areas of expertise include tax audit litigation and criminal proceedings. Etienne von Streng heads the group.

Vischer’s ‘fast and efficient’ team establishes ‘very good personal contact with clients’ and advises on tax aspects of corporate and financial transactions, capital market matters and business reorganisations as well as on tax audits, transfer pricing and contentious tax matters. Recent highlights include advising Anokion on the tax structuring of its collaboration with Celgene and representing Swiss International Airlines in tax litigation. Christoph Niederer and Martin Dubach are recommended and Nadia Tarolli is another name to note.

BianchiSchwald LLC handles general corporate taxation matters and provides specialist expertise regarding banking and investment tax law, international double taxation as well as transfer pricing. The practice advised Medicxi Ventures on all direct and indirect tax aspects relating to the set-up of a separate investment fund. Joseph Merhai and Joseane Vieira Meier are the main advisors.

The ‘extremely professional, client-focused and efficientBratschi Ltdtreats its clients as partners’, provides ‘high-quality advice’ and is ‘easy to reach’. The group assists medium-sized and listed companies as well as banks with domestic and international tax planning and tax aspects of transactions, relocations, reorganisations and employee participation schemes. ‘Fantastic corporate tax expertMichael Barrotgives clear instructions’, is ‘very business-focused’ and has ‘international experience’. Walter Boss leads the team.

Burckhardt Ltd.’s ‘responsive’ team provides ‘advice of the highest quality’ on tax issues, especially in connection with cross-border restructurings and M&A transactions. Additional expertise exists in estate tax planning, social security and financing matters. The ‘practical’ Rolf Wüthrich has ‘great understanding of US tax issues, which he balances with Swiss law to achieve excellent results’.

CMS impresses with ‘very good response times, spot-on and personalised advice, as well as outstanding business acumen and industry knowledge’. The practice is well versed in corporate tax issues relating to business reorganisations and M&A transactions, but also assists private clients with wealth structuring and estate planning. The team advised Merbag on tax implications of its international expansion which included the acquisition of Mercedes-Benz Luxembourg. David Hürlimann ‘solves problems by taking the surrounding topics into account’, while Andrio Orler ‘understands both Swiss law and international tax consequences’ and ‘finds useful, outside-the-box solutions in a strictly compliant manner’.

Froriep provides tax advice in connection with cross-border and national M&A transactions, particularly within the banking, finance and cryptocurrency industry, and is also experienced in tax litigation. The client roster also includes companies in the transport sector and private clients. Dimitri Rotter heads the department, which recently welcomed counsel Catherine Morf, the former tax director of Credit Suisse. Michael Fischer left to found Fischer Ramp Partner AG, while Tobias Rohner joined Baker McKenzie.

Gillioz Dorsaz & Associés covers corporate and private client tax matters, as well as VAT issues. Particular tax expertise exists with regards to company reorganisations, investments, private relocations and wealth structuring. Stéphane Tanner has ‘great experience and an in-depth understanding of the tax administration’.

Prager Dreifuss AG’s tax department demonstrates ‘competence, creativity and a solution-driven approach’ in relation to corporate finance, insurance, private client and international tax matters. The ‘knowledgeable’ Roland Böhi is recommended. Danielle Wenger is the second key partner of the practice.

Wenger & Vieli’s ‘solid tax team’ provides ‘high technical expertise’ in both corporate and M&A and private tax matters; it also represents clients in tax appeals. Hybris AG is an active client. Private client and US tax specialist Bruno Bächli and corporate tax lawyer Barbara Brauchli Rohrer are the key partners. Senior associate Marc Gerber is a ‘truly devoted professional with strong VAT and transactional expertise’.

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Legal Developments in Switzerland for Tax

  • 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

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Press Releases in Switzerland

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  • Bär & 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".
  • 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.