Capital markets in Austria
Binder Grösswang is particularly active in advising financial institutions and companies on bond issuance programmes and capital increases while also representing them in approval procedures before the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) and providing assistance with compliance issues. In a recent highlight, Florian Khol advised BKS Bank on a capital increase including a public offer in Austria, that included assisting with the prospectus preparation, approval procedures before the FMA and the registration with the Austrian Commercial Register. Together with Tibor Fabian, he also assists several housing banks with housing bonds issuance programmes. Michael Binder and Stephan Heckenthaler are other names to note.
Working in close co-operation with its banking and corporate finance teams, Cerha Hempel routinely assists Austrian real estate holding companies with capital market transactions but also acts for several other Austrian-listed companies, banks and investment firms. In recent highlights, Thomas Zivny and Volker Glas advised Buwog on its €300m rights offering, while Glas also handled S Immo's issuance of two fixed-coupon bonds totalling €150m, and assisted Voestalpine with the set-up of a base prospectus for a €1bn bond issuance programme and an inaugural issuance of €500m 1.375% senior notes. The group, which also includes Edith Hlawati, Clemens Hasenauer and 'go-to lawyer for regulatory matters' Peter Knobl, also handles delistings.
Dorda Rechtsanwalte GmbH is a popular choice for investment banks, issuers and investors to assist with the full range of equity and debt issuance matters, such as private placements and public offerings alongside structured and high-yield debt issuances, which the team frequently handles in co-operation with its M&A practice. In headline work, Christoph Brogyányi and Andreas Zahradnik acted as Austrian counsel on Bawag's initial public offering on the Vienna stock exchange, raising €1.9bn and making it Austria's largest IPO, and in other work, Tibor Varga and Felix Hörlsberger acted as Austrian counsel when assisting a committee of holders of senior unsecured notes and other debt instruments issued by Steinhoff Europe with matters pertaining to Steinhoff International's announcement of accounting irregularities. Andreas Mayr heads the team.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Benefiting from its superb international network, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer handles a steady flow of capital market transactions involving cross-border elements. Its practice handles the full spectrum of capital market products and transactions including issuances of debt instruments, ranging from straight bonds, commercial papers and medium-term note programmes to high-yield and hybrid bonds, alongside equity-linked bonds, derivatives and structured products as well as capital increases and IPOs. Highlight IPO work included Stephan Pachinger, who jointly heads the team with Friedrich Jergitsch, advising the underwriters, comprised of ten banks led by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, on Bawag's IPO, and assisting a banking consortium with Raiffeisen Bank International's placement of €650m perpetual additional tier 1 (AT1) capital.
Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwalte GmbH & CoKG is 'highly recommended' for debt and equity capital market transactions alongside regulatory matters, leading to regular mandates from investment banks, most notably in the CEE and SEE regions. With debt capital market expert Alexander Haas in the lead, the team advised Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), Erste Group Bank and Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich on various bond-related matters; the team also assisted RBI with the issuance of its first green bond in July 2018. Claus Schneider advised J.P. Morgan Securities and other bookrunners on the issuance of a hybrid bond and Richard Wolf provided regulatory assistance to Bitpanda and its subsidiary in preparation for an ICO. Other key individuals include Markus Heidinger and Andrea Gritsch. Christine Siegl was appointed counsel in May 2018.
Schoenherr (Schönherr Rechtsanwälte) has carved out a strong practice handling capital markets transactions at the interface of banking, corporate and restructuring law, while also having an excellent niche in the fintech sector. Practice head Ursula Rath has specialist expertise in the latter and, in co-operation with colleagues from the corporate practice, she is advising Conda on its ongoing ICO of its CRWD token. Together with Peter Feyl, she also assisted immigon portfolioabbau and its subsidiary with the sale of its 3% stake in RBI to institutional investors via accelerated bookbuilding. The team, which includes Martin Ebner, also handles securitisations, derivatives and high-yield bonds. Counsel Stefan Paulmayer moved to PwC Legal Austria-oehner & partner in July 2018.
Weber & Co. Attorneys-at-Law has a strong debt and equity practice, leading to regular instructions from Austrian banks, domestic issuers, listed companies and financial intermediaries. Mag Christoph Moser, who jointly heads the team with Stefan Weber, advised OMV on its €1bn bond issuance, constituting the largest corporate bond issue by an Austrian issuer in 2017, while also assisting the client with its €500m hybrid bond issuance. In other work, the team advised Erste Group Bank on the issuance of pre-IPO convertible bonds by a non-listed Austrian firm. J.P. Morgan, IT company S&T and Wienerberger are also clients.
Baker McKenzie • Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG's 'innovative' team is best known for its expertise in public takeover and US securities law, working in close co-operation with its teams in Frankfurt, London and the US, while also assisting clients with compliance and contentious matters. 'Very knowledgeable' counsel Stefan Arnold assisted the exchange trustees Commerzbank and Bankhaus Neelmeyer on Vonovia's public takeover bid, including an exchange offer, for Conwert Immobilien Invest, and team head Eva-Maria Ségur-Cabanac advised the placement agents BNP Paribas and Erste Group Bank on immigon portfolioabbau's sale of shares in RBI by way of a block trade.
As an integral part of the firm's corporate group, DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach's 'reliable' team is particularly strong at dealing with matters at the interface between corporate and capital markets law including debt and equity capital markets transactions. In a recent highlight, the 'knowledgeable and experienced' Christian Temmel advised UniCredit Bank Austria on matters pertaining to its role as the sole global coordinator for Voestalpine's €1bn debt issuance programme, and assisted a banking consortium in its capacity as global bookrunners with the €500m debt issuance by Voestalpine.
With a particular focus on ECM, bpv Hügel regularly advises issuers and underwriters on public offerings of shares and private placements, while also handling delistings. Christoph Nauer advised Immofinanz on its reverse stock split at a ratio of 10:1, combining ten existing shares into a single share. Autobank is also a client. Elke Maria Napokoj heads the team, which works in close co-operation with its corporate group.
Brandl & Talos Rechtsanwälte GmbH has regulatory and litigation work at its core and is well equipped to advise clients on bond issuances as well as matters pertaining to crypto currencies and blockchain-based technologies. 'Top governance and compliance specialist' Christopher Schrank, who jointly heads the team with Thomas Talos and Roman Rericha, defended a former board member of an ATX-listed company against allegations of infringement of the Austrian Stock Corporation Act.
While CMS has recently handled more DCM matters, the team also has substantial experience in ECM work, advising on IPOs, secondary offerings and debt issuances alongside regulatory matters. Team head Martin Zuffer advised Best in Parking Group on its €175m debt issuance programme and its admission to the official market of the Vienna Stock Exchange, among other matters. In the regulatory space, the Vienna Stock Exchange retained the team to assist with the restructuring of its Third Market segment. Other clients include Credit Suisse (Hong Kong) and J.P. Morgan.
With particular expertise in advising regulated industry clients, Eisenberger & Herzog acts for banking, insurance, transport and telecoms sector players on a wide range of capital markets transactions, while also providing compliance and regulatory advice. Team head Peter Winkler advises Fiba Beteiligungs- und Anlage, the controlling shareholder of Best Water Technology (BWT), on BWT's intention to delist from the Austrian stock exchange by merging with a non-listed subsidiary, and advised the target company Conwert Immobilien on Vonovia's voluntary takeover offer. In September 2017, Josef Schmidt joined from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP.
Herbst Kinsky Rechtsanwalte GmbH
The 'engaged and friendly' team at Herbst Kinsky Rechtsanwalte GmbH stands out for its fintech sector expertise, regularly advising on crypto currency matters, ICOs and ITOs, while also assisting clients with the placement of convertible bonds and compliance issues. Phillip Dubsky advised longstanding client ams, a supplier of high-performance sensor solutions, on its placement of senior unsecured zero-coupon convertible bonds amounting to €600m, and assisted Vienna-based Marinomed Biotech with its conversion into a public limited company and the subsequent placement of a convertible bond. Dubsky jointly heads the team with the 'hardworking and reliable' Philipp Kinsky.