Fellner Wratzfeld & Partners is a key player in the Austrian restructuring and reorganisation market and has traditionally been best known for its work for credit institutions. This is not least due to the group’s know-how at the intersection with banking and finance as routinely demonstrated by co-heads Markus Fellner and Florian Kranebitter. Both are also experienced in matters that crossover from corporate and M&A, making its restructuring and insolvency offering equally attractive to corporates, who make up a growing share of its client base. This can be seen in the group’s on-going work for the Steinhoff Group, one of Austria’s most high-profile restructurings, providing assistance with the implementation of restructuring measures that began in 2019. The team’s expertise extends to enforcement claims alongside personal liability issues.
Insolvency and corporate recovery in Austria
‘Good analytics, senior boss available and engaged, personal commitment, super network.’
‘Markus Fellner is one of the stars in corporate restructuring in Austria. Great experience and track record.’
‘We highly appreciate the high quality of advice in all relevant topics as well as the reliable and quick responses.’
‘Markus Fellner is a very tough negotiator with a hands-on approach, well connected and a real deal maker who is always focussed on finding a solution.’
‘All areas of law are very well covered. Tasks are handled quickly and expeditiously. Top quality is delivered at the speed of light.’
‘Markus Fellner: Holistic, strategic view and very solution-oriented. Recognises the sticking points (weak points) very quickly and offers appropriate solutions.’
‘Efficient and strategic.’
‘The team is very responsive and prepared to work to strict deadlines. The practice is well established and has a leading position among Austrian law practices.’
Raiffeisenlandesbank Niederösterreich- Wien AG
SFL technologies GmbH
SFL technologies kft
Steinhoff Europe AG
UniCredit Bank Austria AG
Vorarlberger Landes- and Hypothekenbank Aktiengesellschaft
- Advising the Steinhoff Group on the implementation of restructuring measures that began in 2019.
- Advised BAWAG P.S.K., Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich, UniCredit Bank Austria AG, Commerzbank AG, Vorarlberger Landes- and Hypothekenbank Aktiengesellschaft as the financing banks of the Huber Group; advice was provided as part of the insolvency proceedings of four of the group’s Austrian entities and concerned the financing banks’ contribution in order to secure a reorganisation plan.
- Advising UniCredit Bank Austria AG on the insolvency of Kremsmüller Industrieanlagen GmbH & Co KG.
GRAF ISOLA (previously known as Graf & Pitkowitz) is co-led by insolvency administrators Alexander Isola and Stefan Weileder. The team stands out for its capabilities handling in and out-of-court insolvency proceedings but also advises debtors, creditors and investors on restructuring and reorganisation measures, which includes refinancing negotiations with banks and distressed M&A. Its work spans a wide range of sectors and has recently included a number of insolvency proceedings in the banking and engineering space.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very dynamic and responsive team, from small to larger teams. Graf Isola can cater to all requirements.’
‘Graf Isola: Elder statesman of insolvency and restructuring law in Austria. Excellent knowledge also in German and international insolvency law. A great communicator at both advisor and C-level meetings. Knows creditor negotiations and comes up with smart strategies.’
‘Stefan Weileder: Smart and strategic thinker. An absolute joy to work with and a great communicator of legal concepts.’
‘The strength is the huge experience, the relationship to former university profs and the courts in Austria.’
‘Alexander Isola is highly convincing and can transport even difficult legal issues to persons with no legal knowledge.’
Herbitschek Gesellschaft GmbH and Herbitschek Projekt GmbH
Borckenstein GmbH (acting as insolvency administrator)
Creditors to Anglo Austrian AAB AG (former: MEINL BANK)
CTP Chemisch Thermische Prozesstechnik GmbH
coman handling gmbh
Gosch & Zmugg
CodeBridge Softwareentwicklungs GmbH
Hubert AUER KG
MTC Gaich GmbH
- Advising Herbitschek Gesellschaft mbH and Herbitschek Projekt GmbH following Herbitschek’s insolvency application; this included advice to Herbitschek’s shareholders on the takeover of parts of the company by way of an asset deal.
- Appointed as insolvency administrators by Borckenstein GmbH.
- Advising several creditors of Anglo Austrian AAB AG (formerly known as MEINL BANK) in the course of its insolvency proceedings.
Schoenherr (Schönherr Rechtsanwälte) has a strong track record in the Austrian restructuring and insolvency space, routinely advising lenders and corporates on corporate and financial restructurings, and investors on distressed M&A and NPL transactions, while also handling insolvency proceedings. The group’s broad offering is not least thanks to the individual specialisms demonstrated by its joint team heads: Wolfgang Höller is a key contact for insolvency law, debt restructuring and financial litigation and has recently been particularly active advising distressed Austrian banks on proceedings under the European Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive; Miriam Simsa, with her background in M&A, has a focus on out-of-court restructurings and distressed M&A; and Martin Ebner, head of the firm’s banking, finance and capital markets practice, is frequently called upon to assist with debt restructurings and refinancings. The group’s expertise at the intersection between banking, M&A and restructuring was further strengthened by the arrival of Michael Magerl in September 2020. He joined the Linz office as office managing partner and was previously at Haslinger/Nagele & Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH.
Other key lawyers:
‘Wolfgang Höller provides comprehensive legal advice, which also incorporates an in-depth economic understanding of restructuring situations as well. Especially he is able to give quick legal assessments and also articulate a clear legal opinion.’
‘The team is very well known for its insolvency expertise.’
‘Wolfgang Höller is very accessible (also on short notice) and offers constructive and workable solutions.’
‘It is certainly one of the top teams in the Austrian market. Excellent technical skills, very pragmatic, lots of experience, well connected in Austria.’
‘Wolfgang Höller is one of the best restructuring lawyers in Austria.’
‘Very fast decisions.’
COVID-19 Finanzierungsagentur des Bundes GmbH
ABBAG – Abbaumangementgesellschaft des Bundes
HETA Asset Resolution
Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich AG
Nortel Networks (Austria) GmbH
Erste Group Bank
BENTELER International AG
STA Travel Holding AG; STA Travel Austria
Walter Moser GmbH and shareholder W. Moser Holding GmbH
metrica GmbH & Co KG, Senden, Germany
- Advised the 100% state-owned Covid-19 Finanzierungsagentur des Bundes GmbH (COFAG) on the development and implementation of the €15bn Covid-19 emergency fund and in connection with various re-negotiations and restructurings of the guaranteed financings.
- Advised the global automotive group BENTELER on its financial restructuring and refinancing of its €1.8bn existing debt.
- Advised a consortium of Austrian banks on the €300m financing of Austrian Airlines.
Binder Grösswang frequently acts as Austrian local counsel when advising corporates on corporate, financial and debt restructurings spanning various sectors including financial services, retail and manufacturing. Its recent work includes a number of Covid-19-related mandates, where the team was called upon to provide insolvency avoidance advice, while other instructions stemmed from creditors requiring assistance with insolvency proceedings. Gottfried Gassner complements this offering with expertise in distressed M&A, where he is assisted by recently promoted partner Georg Wabl and routinely acts for bidders. Gassner co-heads the group with Emanuel Welten, who is a key contact for finance-related work. For contentious mandates the team is able to call on colleagues from the dispute resolution practice.
‘Well known restructuring team in Austria.’
‘Gottfried Gassner is an exceptionally good lawyer. He understands the complex twists in international/ cross-border transactions and is very responsive.’
‘Gottfried Gassner is an expert in his field. He delivers high quality advice in a pragmatic way.’
‘We really liked working with Georg Wabl. He has a clear vision and approaches every problem in a strategic manner.’
‘Gottfried Gassner and his team are excellent. They are extremely easy to work with and fulfilled all our needs.’
‘They are extremely pragmatic, a breeze to work with.’
‘Stand out in the market for their ability to provide crisp and practical advice on complex topics.’
UniCredit Bank Austria
Raiffeisen Landesbank NÖ-Wien
Lafayette Mittelstand Capital
Superior Essex Inc.
- Acted as Austrian local counsel in the Swissport restructuring.
- Acted as Austrian counsel to the international co-ordinating committee formed by the Steinhoff Group’s main creditors (banks and funds); provided assistance with the ongoing negotiations on a group-wide restructuring.
- Representing a US-listed company as creditor in the insolvency of ATB Spielberg.
DORDA Rechtsanwälte GmbH’s broad offering attracts an equally wide client base consisting of lenders, borrowers, debtors and creditors. Lenders and non-performing borrowers retain the team for reorganisation and pre-insolvency restructuring advice, which includes distressed M&A typically led by Christian Ritschka, while creditors, and to a lesser extent debtors, are represented in insolvency proceedings and insolvency-related litigation. Team head Felix Hörlsberger is a key contact for litigation and, due to his insurance law expertise, is regularly instructed by insurance sector players. Financial restructuring mandates are often led by finance expert Tibor Varga.
‘Felix Hörlsberger, Christian Rischka: smart, approachable and hands on.‘
Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality SE (AGCS)
Attestor Capital LLP
- Acting for Attestor Capital LLP as the biggest creditor of Alpine Bau GmbH in the course of Alpine’s insolvency proceedings.
- Advising AIG as the largest surety provider of Alpine Bau GmbH on Alpine Bau’s insolvency.
- Advising Swiss Re as prospectus insurer of Wienwert AG on proceeds from bonds following Wienwert’s bankruptcy.
Following the retirement of co-head Michael Strenitz in July 2021, Marco Steiner now co-heads E+H Eisenberger + Herzog’s restructuring and insolvency group with Marcus Benes. Steiner’s expertise in corporate and M&A and Benes’ banking and finance capabilities constitute the team’s key strengths and lead to regular corporate and financial restructuring mandates, which have recently included the restructuring of loans and debt, refinancing matters and distressed M&A. Clients include banks and debtors alongside buyers and sellers of distressed assets.
Other key lawyers:
‘They are very professional and very solution-oriented.’
‘They take time for the client and work together to find solutions.’
‘E+H assisted us in the restructuring of a Romanian corporate. The transaction involved the coordination of four jurisdictions and three syndicated lenders and was adequately handled by the E+H lawyers.’
‘E+H has a very good reputation and a high-quality practice capable of handling both domestic and cross-border transactions.’
‘Marcus Benes is absolutely well versed in banking & finance.’
Raiffeisen Bank International AG
QuadraCir AG (formerly Asamer Holding AG)
- Advising BENTELER International Aktiengesellschaft’s supervisory board on insolvency issues pertaining to the group-wide restructuring.
- Representing Equinor ASA as creditor in the insolvency proceedings over the assets of Fertgas Handels GmbH.
- 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.
Wolf Theiss’ multidisciplinary approach with a focus on the intersection between restructuring and finance alongside the firm’s cross-border capabilities lead to regular banking and finance sector instructions. Typical work includes the restructuring of non-performing loans, debt and investments alongside distressed M&A, while the team is also well versed handling related disputes as well as in-court and out-of-court restructurings. With team head Eva Spiegel’s expertise in insolvency law and commercial litigation, she is a key contact for contentious work (but also leads on many non-contentious matters) and routinely assists creditors with insolvency proceedings and the protection of creditors’ rights. The team’s specialism in financial restructuring was further underlined with the promotions of Matthias Schimka and Marika Lomashvili to partner in June 2020 and June 2021 respectively. Lomashvili also heads the firm’s Russia desk.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is very responsive and has a well-deserved track record in landmark restructurings in Austria and Eastern Europe.’
‘Eva Spiegel is a very well connected practitioner, who provides high-quality advice with a good sense of what is possible and what is not from a business perspective. Especially this business sense stands her apart from her competitors.’
‘Matthias Schimka is a very experienced finance lawyer and really the guy you want to work with on complex matters.’
‘Excellent cross-border capabilities in SE Europe with a ‘one stop shop’ approach, which makes the team highly efficient.’
‘Eva Spiegel coordinates a team in various jurisdictions efficiently.’
DDM Group AG
Sempione Fashion AG
Erste Group Bank AG
Global Benefits Group
- Advising Adler Modemärkte on restructuring and corporate law issues following a significant drop in sales as a result of Covid-19 lockdowns.
- Advising Deutsche Bank AG, IBG Bank N.V. and ING DiBa AG as lenders in the bankruptcy case of Odebrecht S.A.
With offices across the CEE region, Cerha Hempel is an attractive partner for cross-border insolvency, restructuring and reorganisation work including distressed M&A and related employment, tax and commercial issues. Alongside its multijurisdictional capabilities, clients also benefit from the team’s multidisciplinary approach combining expertise in insolvency law, corporate, finance and litigation. This skill set is mostly called upon by creditors such as national and foreign banks and other lenders, including business partners of insolvent or near insolvent companies, but its client portfolio also includes debtors. Thomas Trettnak heads the practice and covers a wide range of insolvency and pre-insolvency matters.
‘Growing team with wide experience.’
‘Thomas Ttrettnak is a terrific practitioner and Holger Bielesz is a great contribution to Trettnak’s team as he brings 20 years of litigation experience.’
‘The team stands out in handling cross-border aspects of restructuring and insolvency law. They have in-depth knowledge with a practical approach.’
‘I was impressed by the high-quality and accurate advice provided by Thomas Trettnak in a rather brief time frame. In fact, the case has developed according to the client’s wishes.’
‘Very quick and great service.’
‘High legal quality.’
‘Very knowledgeable insolvency team in Austria; quick and experienced.’
CELEBI Aviation Group
EMIRATES Airlines Group
NIPPON Express Europe
NORTHWOOD International Acquisitions Ltd.
Johnson Controls Austria GmbH & Co OG
AIDA Cruises – German Branch of Costa Crociere S.p.A.
SB Slipform Limited
Polymed Medizin Technik Group
Shipyard de Hoop Group
Landesbank Baden Württemberg
SMS group GmbH
BIA Separations Group
RAFAKO S.A. w restrukturyzacji
- Advising CELEBI Ground Services GmbH on reorganisation matters in Austria as well as on the successful enforcement of a claim in the insolvency of LEVEL Europe GmbH.
- Advising FIAT/ CNH Group in the course of Fahrzeug- u. Maschinenbau-Prototypen-GmbH (FMP)’s insolvency proceedings.
- Advising long-lasting client EMIRATES Airlines Group as Austrian local counsel on the restructurings of its operations in Austria.
CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz Rechtsanwälte GmbH provides full-service restructuring and reorganisation assistance, which is routinely multidisciplinary in nature, including banking and finance, employment, corporate, tax and contentious elements. Daniela Karollus-Bruner is the key contact for insolvency-related dispute resolution and assists creditors, debtors and investors with the enforcement of claims and the defence against personal liability claims, among other issues. She jointly heads the practice with banking and finance expert Günther Hanslik, who has recently advised on distressed and non-performing loans.
With offices across Austria, Saxinger, Chalupsky & Partners (SCWP Schindhelm) stands out for its regional capabilities with a particular focus on Upper Austria, where insolvency and restructuring specialist Ernst Chalupsky and Sebastian Hütter are based. Together with Nina Pichler, who is the key contact in Vienna and Graz, Hütter has a focus on work at the corporate intersection, while Pichler also handles dispute resolution. This set-up attracts debtors, creditors and foreign insolvency administrators requiring assistance with insolvency filings, restructuring procedures, distressed M&A and insolvency-related litigation. Alexander Anderle (also based in Upper Austria) routinely acts as insolvency administrator.
Taylor Wessing enwc Rechtsanwälte GmbH’s restructuring and insolvency group is led by insolvency administrator Susanne Fruhstorfer, who also assists creditors, debtors and foreign insolvency administrators with claim assertions, debt restructurings and distressed M&A. Much of its recent work took place in the real estate, construction and retail areas.
Other key lawyers:
‘Individual experts and the capacity to support clients around Europe is outstanding.’
‘Highly educated experts and quick and uncomplicated support, even on daily business matters.’
HD Consulting & Communications GmbH
ESCADA Logistik GmbH
WAAW Architektur und Projektmanagement GmbH
AW Zaun- und Tortechnik GmbH
Freiraum – Büro für Spiel, Sport und Reisen, Spielwarenhandel Gesellschaft m.b.H,
Immopro Immobilienentwicklung GmbH
AZvin Global Trading & Construction Company GmbH
R & S VERHOEVEN Baugesellschaft mbH
- Assisting the German insolvency administrator of VERITAS AG in liquidating the Austrian assets of the debtor.
- Acting as insolvency administrator in HD Consulting & Communications GmbH’s insolvency proceedings.
- Acting for R & S VERHOEVEN Baugesellschaft mbH during insolvency proceedings with the aim of achieving a long-term restructuring of the client’s debts, providing creditors with a 100% recovery rate and protecting the ongoing business operations of the client.
Vavrovsky Heine Marth Rechtsanwälte
With insolvency administrator Karl Ludwig Vavrovsky heading the team as well as the firm’s Salzburg office, Vavrovsky Heine Marth Rechtsanwälte is best known for its insolvency administration work in the Salzburg region. Thanks to its close cooperation with various other departments, the team is also well placed to assist creditors and debtors with corporate restructurings and refinancings, debt collection, claim management and insolvency and restructuring-related disputes.
‘The team is made up of gifted professionals, who give their all for their clients. Based on their comprehensive understanding of corporate (re-)structuring, they guide their clients through the process safe and sound. The team’s availability and efficiency are remarkable. They are extremely strong in domestic and cross-border matters.’
‘In any sticky spot, it is a safe bet to choose Dieter Heine of Vavrovsky Heine Marth. I called him to a restructuring dispute which was not only complex but extremely long running and in a stand-off. With his intuition, strategic finesse, constructive approach and – of course – impeccable legal understanding, he was able to resolve the matter within only a few months. He is an exceptional lawyer, efficient and reliable, and much valued by everyone involved.’
‘The team consists of highly knowledgeable and distinguished experts, who are completely dedicated to their clients. They not only have the necessary legal skills, entrepreneurial understanding and knowledge of the regional market but they also work closely with the company’s management and listen to their needs. In addition, they are very flexible and adept quickly to new challenges. This truly marks them out from others and makes the firm a highly regarded institution on the Salzburg market. Clients are in great, capable hands.’
‘The department features highly knowledgeable, experienced professionals, who are impressive as to the level of depth of their legal expertise. The lawyers are clear and concise, know our business environment and make it their mission to understand what we need and to figure out a way to get there. They are also very responsive and impressively quick on their feet.’
‘Having accompanied countless insolvencies, Karl Ludwig Vavrovsky is an experienced practitioner, who knows what to look for. Comprehensive legal expertise, great commercial instincts and exceptional negotiation skills make him one of the best restructuring advisors and insolvency administrators in the country. What also sets him apart is his outstanding involvement and dedication to his clients as well as his assertiveness and credibility when it comes to getting everyone on board.’
‘Nikolaus Vavrovsky is a problem solver par excellence who sees a commercially sensible route through any problem. He is adept to advise on all aspects of an insolvency or restructuring matter, his flexibility and agility are impressive. Vavrovsky is absolutely efficient and responsive, especially in situations that come with a lot of pressure or factual difficulties. The quality of his legal advice and strategic recommendations is outstanding. Personally I like that he is very approachable and down to earth.’
‘Nikolaus Vavrovsky: Long-lasting experience, well connected in the branch, pragmatic approach leading to solid results, good risk analysis up-front.’
‘Law firm specialised in this field; experienced lawyers, quick and uncomplicated guidance, increased profile in supporting restructuring activities.’
Administration of Economizer GmbH
Administration of Frisör Klier GmbH
Administration of H. Moser Bekleidung Gesellschaft m.b.H.
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
HOGAST Einkaufsgenossenschaft f.d. Hotel- und Gastgewerbe reg.Gen.m.b.H.
Ing. Hans Bodner Baugesellschaft m.b.H. & Co KG
Siemens AG Österreich
You Will Like It Hotels GmbH
You Will Like It Investments GmbH
- Advised You Will Like It Hotels GmbH / You Will Like It Investments GmbH (COOEE Group) on the restructuring and unwinding of several hotels as well as the acquisition of a distressed hotel.
- Advising a group of clients including Siemens AG Austria, HOGAST Einkaufsgenossenschaft f.d. Hotel- und Gastgewerbe on matters arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, including corporate restructuring and (re-)financing.
- Appointed administrator in the insolvency of Economizer GmbH, one of the leading biogas plant engineers in Austria.
DLA Piper Weiss-Tessbach has a strong profile for corporate reorganisation and restructuring work in the CEE region, most notably in Croatia and Slovenia. This is thanks to Jasna Zwitter-Tehovnik’s legal qualifications, which in addition to her Austrian registration includes admissions in England and Wales, New York and Slovenia. She is a key member of Oskar Winkler’s team; he covers a wide range of finance and corporate restructuring matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team looks for solutions in an uncomplicated manner, also provides information needed at short notice and is extremely committed.’
‘The competence for all kinds of legal issues not only in Austria but also in the entire South-East-European region is absolutely outstanding.’
Jank Weiler Operenyi’s restructuring and insolvency expertise is twofold: on the one hand, Andreas Jank’s banking and finance capabilities translate into regular financial restructuring instructions and, on the other hand, the team has a strong track record handling non-performing loan transactions, which are mostly led by counsel Bernhard Köck. Assisting with insolvency-related litigation and representing creditors in insolvency proceedings complements this offering.
‘Andreas Jank: very experienced, hands on, very well connected, very approachable.‘
- Representation of Deloitte Financial Advisory Gesellschaft m.b.H. and Scharpenack GmbH in insolvency proceedings against several members of a group of companies seated in Austria and the US.
- Representing companies of the Iberostar group in the insolvency proceedings against Thomas Cook Austria AG.
- Advising a bank consortium consitsing of Raiffeisenbank International, UniCredit Bank Austria, BAWAG, Bank für Tirol und Vorarlberg on the financial restructuring of Wolford AG.