Insolvency and corporate recovery in Austria

Fellner Wratzfeld & Partners

Fellner Wratzfeld & Partners is a well-respected player in the reorganisation and restructuring space and has traditionally focused on advising credit institutions but has steadily expanded its client share in the corporate arena. The team led by founding partner Markus Fellner is a key fixture on some of Austria's most high-profile restructurings such as the restructuring of the Steinhoff Group and is well equipped to assist clients with associated distressed M&A transactions and insolvency proceedings, including enforcement claims. Florian Kranebitter is the main contact for refinancing and debt restructuring. Associate Stefan Sallat is noted for his expertise in contentious and non-contentious restructuring scenarios.

Practice head(s):

Markus Fellner; Florian Kranebitter

Other key lawyers:

Stefan Sallat

Testimonials

Very comprehensive knowledge, incredibly fast response times.’

‘The team is strong in insolvency and litigation, not to forget the profound expertise on regulatory issues.’

‘Very professional team focusing on tangible results.’

‘Immediate responses, perfect know-how, many years of experience.’

‘Highly appreciated interconnection between banking advisory and insolvency, litigation and recovery expertise.’

‘The team is ready to work more or less 24 hours a day, always available when you need them. They are experts in restructuring/insolvency law, know any jurisdiction and have very good partners outside of Austria. They are very good in representing their clients; high negotiation skills, very constructive, they never give up.’

‘I have worked with Markus Fellner very often – for me he is the best lawyer I have ever worked with. He always goes the extra mile, shows alternatives, is proactive and always does his best to show me the full picture, explaining the different ways we could go, so that I have a very good feeling, when I have to make decisions and/or have to present the case to other decision bodies.’

‘Markus Fellner is a leading practitioner with a broad knowledge in the fields of restructuring, insolvency as well as banking and corporate law.’

‘Markus Fellner – very experienced.’

Key clients

Steinhoff Europe AG

Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederösterreich-Wien Aktiengesellschaft,

Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich Aktiengesellschaft,

Raiffeisenlandesbank International Aktiengesellschaft

Erste Bank der oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG

UniCredit Bank Austria AG

OMV Refining & Marketing GmbH

Raiffeisenlandesbank Burgenland Aktiengesellschaft

Revisionsverband eGe

Work highlights

  • Advised the financing banks of the Huber Group, a global group of production and trading companies in the textiles industry, on the restructuring of the financing.
  • Advising Steinhoff Group AG on its restructuring; recently this included the implementation of the CVA which involved a number of restructurings and the prior change of the COMI (Centre of Main Interest) of Steinhoff Group’s Austrian holdings.
  • Advising UniCredit Bank Austria AG on the insolvency proceedings of Kremsmüller Industrieanlagen GmbH & Co KG.

GRAF ISOLA

Graf & Pitkowitz stands out for its insolvency administrator capabilities with team heads Alexander Isola and Stefan Weileder receiving regular appointments. In other work, the team provides assistance to creditors and investors with restructuring and refinancing issues as well as with the purchase of distressed M&A.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Isola; Stefan Weileder

Testimonials

‘Our experience with GPP is that their response is swift and accurate.’

‘People we have worked with are spot-on and think outside the box.’

‘Compared to competitors, the firm’s insolvency department is characterised by both extensive practical experience and academic expertise.’

‘Alexander Isola has been one of the leading insolvency experts in Austria for years.’

Stefan Weileder is a great young professional and has already made a name for himself throughout Austria in the field of insolvency law. It is a pleasure to work with him.

Key clients

Herbitschek Gesellschaft GmbH and Herbitschek Projekt GmbH

Borckenstein GmbH (acting as insolvency administrator)

Charles Vögele (Austria) GmbH

Creditors of Anglo Austrian AAB AG (former: MEINL BANK)

MAG Group

holzstark GmbH (acting as insolvency administrator)

CTP Chemisch Thermische Prozesstechnik GmbH (acting as insolvency administrator)

J. Bergler GmbH (acting as insolvency administrator)

G. Völkl GmbH (acting as insolvency administrator)

coman handling gmbh (acting as insolvency administrator)

MTC Gaich GmbH (acting as insolvency administrator)

Work highlights

  • Advising Herbitschek Gesellschaft mbH and Herbitschek Projekt GmbH on insolvency proceedings following a failed major project. This included advising the company’s shareholders on the take-over of parts of the company via an asset deal.
  • Appointed as insolvency administrators in the course of Borckenstein GmbH’s insolvency.
  • Advising five Anglo Austrian AAB AG (formerly Meinl Bank AG)’s creditors on insolvency proceedings.

Schoenherr (Schönherr Rechtsanwälte)

Schoenherr (Schönherr Rechtsanwälte) is recognised by clients and peers alike for its broad restructuring and insolvency expertise which is routinely called upon by lenders, and increasingly by distressed borrowers, who require assistance with pre-insolvency reorganisations and refinancings. The team has particular experience of the restructuring of financial institutions, while advising buyers on distressed M&A transactions constitutes another key area of strength. Wolfgang Höller, who specialises in insolvency law, debt restructuring and financial litigation, jointly heads the practice with debt restructuring and refinancing specialist Martin Ebner. Miriam Simsa is another key individual and focuses on out-of-court restructurings, distressed M&A and other restructuring-driven transactions across Austria and CEE.

Practice head(s):

Wolfgang Höller

Other key lawyers:

Miriam Simsa; Martin Ebner

Testimonials

‘Top-tier law firm with fully fledged insolvency and corporate recovery practice.’

Very comprehensive coverage of all related fields of law.

‘Very good knowledge of all insolvency matters and anything connected to distressed debt.’

‘Very task-dedicated and oriented. Almost 24/7 availability. Clear in advice and recommendation. High speed in answering questions, pragmatic approach.’

‘Miriam Simsa: pragmatic, target-orientated, very responsive, available almost 24/7. Careful and accurate.’

‘Miriam Simsa is an exceptional committed and very smart person. She showed a very high level of diplomatic capability and was very solution-oriented. Miriam has huge professional knowledge!

Key clients

ÖBB-Holding

COVID-19 Finanzierungsagentur des Bundes GmbH

ABBAG – Abbaumangementgesellschaft des Bundes

Thales

Voestalpine Böhler Welding Group

HETA

Sberbank

Project Fan/Galapagos

OVS

A-Lanes

Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich AG

Nortel Networks (Austria) GmbH

Work highlights

  • Advised the 100% state-owned Covid-19 Finanzierungsagentur des Bundes GmbH (COFAG) on the development and implementation of the  €15bn Covid-19 emergency fund.
  • Advised the board of the Austrian railway company ÖBB-Holding AG on the sale of its subsidiary Q Logistics GmbH.
  • Advised a consortium of Austrian banks on the €300m financing of Austrian Airlines.

Binder Grösswang

Binder Grösswang is frequently called upon to act as Austrian counsel to advise corporates on corporate and financial restructurings and has recently been particularly active in financial services, retail and aviation sector work. In the insolvency space, the team regularly acts for creditors but also counts debtors among its clients. This broad offering also includes assistance with distressed M&A - where the team frequently acts for the bidder - and is based on a close cooperation with the firm's banking and finance, corporate and dispute resolution teams. This interface competence is also reflected in practice head Gottfried Gassner's combined restructuring and corporate expertise, which he shares with associate Georg Wabl, while Emanuel Welten  is the key contacte for finance-related work.

Practice head(s):

Gottfried Gassner

Other key lawyers:

Emanuel Welten; Georg Wabl

Testimonials

‘Complex know-how, responsiveness.’

‘Fast reaction, pragmatic approach, regular partners involvement.’

‘Very fast, even when deadlines are tight.’

‘Gottfried Gassner: very commercial approach, clear focus on finding solutions for the client.’

‘Georg Wabl was very diligent implementing our interests, without giving the other side the impression that they are giving up on their interests.’

‘Gottfried Gassner led us perfectly through a very complex legal framework and presented an excellent bird’s view perspective, while the other side were losing themselves in details.’

Georg Wabl and Gottfried Gassber were responding immediately, providing us with all relevant information needed.

‘We work a lot with Georg Wabl. He became an extremely valuable interface for us and is an outstanding lawyer. He particularly helped us with a very complex insolvency case. He immediately became a trusted advisor and is really fun to work with.’

Key clients

Swissport Group

HEMA Group

Co-ordinating Committee in the restructuring of the Steinhoff-Group

Kettler Austria GmbH

Baker Hughes GE Oil & Gas do Brasil Ltda.

Lafayette Mittelstand Capital

Work highlights

  • Acting as Austrian counsel to Swissport Group, advising the client on the Austrian law aspects pertaining to its international financial restructuring.
  • Acting as Austrian counsel to HEMA Group, advising the client on a possible restructuring of its Austrian businesses as part of a group restructuring.
  • Advising Kettler Austria GmbH on a judicial restructuring proceeding.

DORDA Rechtsanwälte GmbH

DORDA Rechtsanwälte GmbH's clients, including corporates, funds and investors, benefit from the team's interdisciplinary approach to various regorganisation and pre-insolvency restructuring scenarios. This includes assistance with distressed M&A and refinancing matters with Christian Ritschka frequently handling the former and Tibor Varga the latter. In other work, the team acts for creditors in insolvency proceedings and insolvency-related litigation. Key contact Felix Hörlsberger has particular expertise at the intersection between insolvency and insurance law, leading to regular instructions from insurance sector players.

Practice head(s):

Felix Hörlsberger

Other key lawyers:

Tibor Varga; Andreas Zahradnik; Christian Ritschka

Testimonials

‘Insightful, commercial and to the point. Very user friendly experience.’

‘Very smart, dedicated and responsive team.’

Key clients

Ad Hoc Committee of Steinhoff Europe AG (SEAG) Lenders

Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality SE (AGCS)

Attestor Capital

Swiss Re

Work highlights

  • Acted as Austrian counsel for the Ad Hoc Committee of Lenders of Steinhoff Europe AG, a group of international funds holding a substantial amount of debt issued by Austrian Steinhoff Europe AG, and advised the client on the extrajudicial restructuring of debts.
  • Advising Attestor Capital, a London-based fund, on acquiring secured and unsecured claims against Alpine Bau GmbH with the result that the client is now Alpine’s biggest creditor.
  • Advising Swiss Re as prospectus insurer of Wienwert AG, an Austrian entity heavily investing in real estate portfolios in Austria, on proceeds from bonds.

E+H Eisenberger + Herzog

Thanks to its interdisciplinary approach and strong cooperation between the banking and finance and corporate teams in particular, E+H Eisenberger + Herzog has a strong profile for corporate and financial restructuring, which includes regular assistance with the acquisition and purchase of distressed loans alongside the restructuring of debt, bonds and loans. Marcus Benes is the key contact for finance-related work, while Michael Strenitz routinely handles work at the intersection with corporate and M&A. Clients include lenders and debtors.

Practice head(s):

Michael Strenitz; Marcus Benes

Other key lawyers:

Peter Winkler

Testimonials

‘Experienced team with legal and commercial background and a lot of experience in our wider region of operation (CEE).’

‘Excellent legal skills on all levels and high responsiveness.’

‘Marcus Benes is a highly skilled attorney. Extremely responsive and able to boil down complex problems so that they are understandable for clients not familiar with the Austrian legal system.’

Key clients

QuadraCir AG (formerly Asamer Holding AG)

Scholz Holding GmbH

Lufthansa AG

Owners of convertible bonds

Maredo Group

Work highlights

  • Advising QuadraCir AG (formerly Asamer Holding AG) as co-lead counsel on the restructuring of the group’s financial debt, the sale of all of the group’s assets and the group’s liquidation.
  • Advising Scholz Holding GmbH as local counsel on the restructuring of a retail bond issued by the client.
  • Advising Lufthansa AG on all its Covid-19-related Austria matters, including advice on a KfW loan.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwalte GmbH & CoKG

Working in close conjunction with various other practices, most notably banking and finance, corporate and dispute resolution, Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwalte GmbH & CoKG is adept at handling large-scale and cross-border financial and corporate restructurings as well as distressed M&A transactions, and predominately acts for creditors. The team has particular expertise in financial restructurings, leading to regular instructions concerning the restructuring of non-performing loans, debt and investments as well as associated claim enforcements. Financing transaction specialist Nikolaus Paul heads the practice, which includes key contact for insolvency-related litigation Eva Spiegel.

Practice head(s):

Nikolaus Paul

Other key lawyers:

Eva Spiegel; Andrea Gritsch; Andreas Schmid

Testimonials

‘Very efficient cross-border insolvency practice for Austria and Eastern European countries.’

‘Strong team of associates and partners. Excellent, practical advice. Reasonable fees in relation to excellent service.’

‘Eva Spiegel coordinates the team very well and serves as a very efficient and pragmatic single point of contact.’

‘Andreas Schmid: professional and practical – with consistently thoughtful advice.’

Key clients

Steinhoff Europe AG

Revetas Capital Fund

DDM Group AG and B2 Holding

Sempione Fashion AG

LCH Limited

Bain Capital Credit (European Advisors), Ltd

Erste Group Bank AG

Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft

Galapagos Group

MiBa AG

Work highlights

  • Advising Steinhoff Europe AG on its corporate and financial restructuring.
  • Advising Genesis Properties Investment GmbH on the restructuring and refinancing of the client and its entire group as well as on the existing external and internal debt.
  • Advising the Galapagos Group as Austrian local counsel on its financial restructuring.

ABEL Rechtsanwälte GmbH & Co KG

Led by highly respected insolvency administrator Norbert Abel, ABEL Rechtsanwälte GmbH & Co KG is experienced in the full spectrum of insolvency law and restructuring matters.

Cerha Hempel

Cerha Hempel's interdisciplinary approach is based on a strong cooperation between its restructuring, corporate, finance and litigation teams, which enables the practice to handle a wide range of restructuring and insolvency work. Its focus lies on representing creditors, such as national and international banks, in pre-insolvency debt collection and insolvency proceedings, while also advising corporates on insolvency avoidance measures, the reorganisation of debt and corporate reorganisations. Buyers also retain the practice to assist with distressed M&A transactions. Thomas Trettnak, who specialises in creditor protection, distressed M&A and reorganisations, heads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Trettnak

Other key lawyers:

Heinrich Foglar-Deinhardstein

Testimonials

‘Great team in restructuring and insolvency matters.’

‘The level of specialisation stands out, as well as the high-quality and accurate advice produced in a very limited time frame.’

‘Thomas Trettnak heads the team and is a go-to guy.’

‘Thomas Trettnak: a strong communicator, highly representative, perfect English.’

Key clients

PharOS Group

NTS Group

Emirates Airlines Group

Polymed Medizin Technik Group

Shipyard de Hoop Group

NIPPON Express Europe

Landesbank Baden Württemberg

Johnson Controls Austria GmbH & Co OG

SMS group GmbH

AIDA Cruises – German Branch of Costa Crociere S.p.A.

BDO Group

BIA Separations Group

TechnipFMC plc

CNH Group

MAGNA International Group

Work highlights

  • Advised NIPPON Express Europe (Netherlands) B.V. as Austrian local counsel on restructuring and reorganising its operations with an Austrian business partner, including the renegotiation of contractual relationships.
  • Advised SMS Anlagenbau Group on a contract with a major business partner who is close to insolvency.
  • Advised EMIRATES Airlines Group on the restructuring if its operations in Austria.

CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz Rechtsanwälte GmbH

CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz Rechtsanwälte GmbH typically acts for creditors in insolvency proceedings - Daniela Karollus-Bruner is the main contact for this. The team, and Günther Hanslik in particular, is also regularly called upon by banks to advise on insolvency-related financial transactions, the sale of NPLs and various other matters arising from restructuring scenarios.

Practice head(s):

Günther Hanslik; Daniela Karollus-Bruner

Key clients

Erste Group Bank AG

UniCredit S.p.A

DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach

As part of a global network, DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach receives regular cross-border instructions from financial institutions and corporates on restructurings and corporate reorganisations. Working in close cooperation with the firm's financing practice and Oskar Winkler in particular, means that the team is particularly well placed to assist with financing matters. Jasna Zwitter-Tehovnik is another key individual with a focus on this intersection.

Practice head(s):

Oskar Winkler

Other key lawyers:

Jasna Zwitter-Tehovnik

Key clients

KBC Group NV

INTL FCStone Inc

Work highlights

  • Advising KBC Group NV, an international finance corporation based in Belgium, on the restructuring of a troubled Croatian borrower.

Engelhart & Partner Rechtsanwälte OEG

Engelhart & Partner Rechtsanwälte OEG fields a strong team of insolvency administrators, including key contacts Thomas Engelhart  and Clemens Richter.

FREIMÜLLER/OBEREDER/PILZ Rechtsanwält_innen GmbH

FREIMÜLLER/OBEREDER/PILZ Rechtsanwält_innen GmbH is noted for its insolvency administration experience and also acts for debtors. Georg Freimüller is the key contact.

Riel & Partner Rechtsanwaltskanzlei

Stephan Riel is the key contact at Riel & Partner Rechtsanwaltskanzlei and heads a team of highly experienced insolvency administrators.

Saxinger, Chalupsky & Partners Rechtsanwälte GmbH (SCWP Schindhelm)

Primarily run from Wels, Saxinger, Chalupsky & Partners Rechtsanwälte GmbH (SCWP Schindhelm) receives regular instructions from distressed companies in Upper Austria but also handles national and cross-border mandates. Led by insolvency and restructuring expert Ernst Chalupsky, who also acts as insolvency administrator, the team is adept at advising creditors and debtors on liquidation procedures, insolvency-related litigation and restructuring plans including associated negotiations with banks.

Practice head(s):

Ernst Chalupsky

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Anderle

Taylor Wessing enwc Rechtsanwälte GmbH

Taylor Wessing enwc Rechtsanwälte GmbH handles various insolvency-related matters, such as asset purchases and claim assertions for creditors. Team head Susanne Fruhstorfer also routinely acts as an insolvency administrator.

Practice head(s):

Susanne Fruhstorfer

Testimonials

Competent lawyers with international connections.

Susanne Fruhstorfer has deep knowledge in restructuring and insolvency law. She supports pragmatic solutions. Her advice and services are very helpful.

Key clients

SBI Mechatronik GmbH / Lohia Group

Immopro Immobilienentwicklung GmbH

AZvin Global Trading & Construction Company GmbH

Freiraum – Büro für Spiel, Sport und Reisen, Spielwarenhandel Gesellschaft m.b.H,

Broadway NYC Fashion GmbH

WENS Handelsgesellschaft m.b.H.

WienWert Getreidemarkt 10 Immobilienbesitz GmbH

Erste Bank

KGAL Asset Management Österreich GmbH

Sparkasse Neunkirchen

Work highlights

  • Advising SBI Mechatronik GmbH/ Lohia Group on the purchase of assets during insolvency proceedings.
  • Advising Erste Bank on parallel enforcement proceedings in Austria and Hungary.
  • Acting as insolvency administrator in SZA GmbH’s (the debtor) insolvency proceedings.

Urbanek Lind Schmied Reisch Rechtsanwälte OG

Ulla Reisch is the key figure at Urbanek Lind Schmied Reisch Rechtsanwälte OG and best known for her extensive expertise in insolvency administration but is also well versed in representing debtors.

Vavrovsky Heine Marth Rechtsanwälte

Operating from Salzburg and Vienna, Vavrovsky Heine Marth Rechtsanwälte is best known for its expertise in insolvency administration - with team head Karl Ludwig Vavrovsky receiving regular insolvency administrator mandates in the Salzburg region - but the team also provides regular pre-insolvency, corporate restructuring and refinancing advice to debtors and creditors and handles associated disputes.

Practice head(s):

Karl Ludwig Vavrovsky

Other key lawyers:

Nikolaus Vavrovsky; Dieter Heine

Testimonials

‘Vavrovsky Heine Marth has a strong standing in restructuring and insolvency matters, especially in cross-border cases. The team is capable of handling the most complex challenges and is utmost creative in finding solutions. They draw from a great wealth of experience paired with outstanding economic thinking and utmost solution orientation. I also value their calm in any given circumstance as well as their straightforwardness.’

‘Vavrovsky Heine Marth is a well-known and highly respected institution on the Salzburg market. The team has legal expertise and in-depth experience. They are resourceful, hard-working and provide accurate and practical advice to their clients. They are also absolutely service-oriented.’

‘Having worked with them for years, Vavrovsky Heine Marth has proven to be a reliable counsel in any given situation. Uniting a high level of legal expertise with a clear commitment to their clients and utmost professionalism, they find solutions that match their clients’ needs.’

‘Karl Ludwig Vavrovsky represents the client and acts for the client in a convincing and very competent way. He always keeps his clients informed and discusses all details.’

‘Karl Ludwig Vavrovsky has excellent expertise in insolvency and corporate recovery and has an outstanding understanding of economic connections.’

‘What sets Karl Ludwig Vavrovsky apart are his practical and focused approach to matters, his ability to set a reliable frame for negotiations, his credibility and his personal dedication to his clients. He does not rest until he has found a feasible solution.’

‘In restructuring matters, Nikolaus Vavrovsky is brilliant in identifying feasible solutions. He has the talent to approach even the most complex matters with absolute calm and professionalism and solves issues with utmost efficiency and solution orientation. He has impeccable legal know-how, is absolutely business-savvy, and goes above and beyond for his clients. His assertiveness and communication skills are outstanding. He is personally available and absolutely dedicated to his clients.’

‘Nikolaus Vavrovsky is an excellent and strong lawyer who stands out with his extraordinary commercial judgement. Being a great communicator with a wealth of experience, he immediately gets to the heart of issues and manages to move matters along. Standing strong for his clients in negotiations as well as in court, he is the person to have on side.’

‘Dieter Heine has been our counsel in restructuring-related litigation for years. He is a very good legal expert, utmost business-oriented with fantastic tactical and strategic instincts. Even in the most complex situations, he calmly keeps the big picture in mind, still tending to all details. He is professional, a creative thinker and brilliantly smart in finding solutions. I have absolute confidence in him.’

Key clients

Administration of GOLDprofessional Austria GmbH

Administration of Hans-Jörg Reinhart Privatstiftung

Administration of IPM Concept GmbH

Administration of Manuela Schmid (sole proprietorship)

Administration of Martin-Meat KFT, Niederlassung Österreich (Austrian branch)

Administration of SVZ Salzburger Volkszeitung GmbH & Co KG

HBI-Bundesholding AG (HBI-BH) and Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank S.p.A

Immigon portfolioabbau ag

You Will Like It Hotels GmbH

You Will Like It Investments GmbH

Siemens AG Österreich

Work highlights

  • Advising HBI-Bundesholding AG (HBI-BH) and Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank S.p.A. on the €2.3bn winding-down of an Italian bank; recently this included a legal opinion on the sale of remnant assets.
  • Advising adeo Alpin Holding GmbH, which operates affordable hotels in high-end Austrian skiing resorts under the trademark COOEE, in corporate restructurings following Covid-19-related financial difficulties.
  • Long-running administration of SVZ Salzburger Volkszeitung GmbH & Co KG, the publisher of the regional daily newspaper the Salzburger Volkszeitung (SVZ).