State aid in Germany

Gleiss Lutz

Headed by Ulrich Soltész, the state aid law practice at Gleiss Lutz advises German as well as international blue chip clients, particularly renowned industrial companies from the communication, logistics and automotive sectors. The team is increasingly active in state aid issues outside of Germany, for example in France, Italy, Austria and Poland. Advising the public sector also plays an important role as does the assistance with state aid-related compliance pertaining to high liability risks of state aid and subsidy regulations. The assistance with state aid aspects of transactions is another component of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Ulrich Soltész

Other key lawyers:

Burghardt Hildebrandt; Andreas Neun; Jacob von Andreae; Christian von Köckritz; Johann Wagner

Hengeler Mueller

Led by Jan Bonhage in Berlin and Hans-Jörg Niemeyer in Brussels, the state aid practice at Hengeler Mueller is one of the top addresses in this field and acts for beneficiaries, competitors of state aid as well as state aid granting authorities before the European Commission, national authorities as well as European and national courts. Particularly notable is the group's state aid assistance with proceedings in the energy sector, with complex issues related to road infrastructure and advising German and foreign corporations as well as the public authorities on internet and broadband expansion matters. Additionally, the team advises on issues related to privatisations and reorganisations. With regards to legal tech solutions, the firm can rely on its internal HM Legal Tech Center which has expertise in investigation tolls and e-reviews as well as document automation, workflow automation and due diligence automation.

Practice head(s):

Jan Bonhage; Hans-Jörg Niemeyer

Key clients

Cerberus Capital Management

Carl Zeiss

National Express

Work highlights

  • Advised Cerberus Capital Management on the acquisition of a minority interest of NORD/LB Norddeutsche-Landesbank Girozentrale.
  • Advised and represented Carl Zeiss in legal proceedings before the European Commission and the German Ministry of Economics for support of an IPCEI project.
  • Advised and represented National Express in talks with regional railway tansport association and contracting authorities on transport contracts and public donations.

Redeker Sellner Dahs

Redeker Sellner Dahs' state aid practice is headed by Bonn and Brussels-based Andreas Rosenfeld and assists federal and state ministries, municipalities and public entities as well as associations, public companies and banks. The team advises beneficiaries as well as grantors and has expertise in representing clients in review procedures before the European Commission, in proceedings before European courts and in proceedings pertaining to the domestic impacts of state aid before national courts. The group's main focus is the development of strategies and solutions for the state aid compliant structuring of public funding. Berlin-based Ulrich Karpenstein is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Andreas Rosenfeld

Other key lawyers:

Ulrich Karpenstein; Simone Lünenbürger

Key clients

Deutscher Sparkassen- und Giroverband

Vattenfall GmbH

Ministerium für Ländlichen Raum und Verbraucherschutz Baden-Württemberg

Gesellschafter des Flughafens Rostock-Laage

Wirtschaftsvereinigung Metalle

Hydro Aluminium

Kerkosand spol. s r.o., (Slowakei, Rohstoffunternehmen

Mehrere niedersächsische Wohlfahrtsverbände

Vereinigte Bonner Wohnungsbau AG (u.a. zu sozialem Wohnungsbau)

Warnow-Wasser- und Abwasserverband (WWAV)

SAD Trasporto Locale S.p.A. (Bozen/Italien)

Work highlights

  • Represented and advised Deutsche Sparkassen- und Giroverband on its negotiations to support Nord/LB bank.
  • Advising and representing Vattenfall GmbH before the European Commission and the Senate of the City of Hamburg for the complete reacquisition of the district heating system of Hamburg by the City of Hamburg from Vattenfall after a referendum.
  • Comprehensive state aid law evaluation of the draft of the state forest law, supporting and advising the Ministry of Rural Areas and Consumer Protection of the State of Baden-Württemberg in the legislative procedure.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's Brussels-based Andreas von Bonin specialises in European state aid law as well as regulatory procedures, including those related to privatisations and those resulting from tax-based state aid offences by EU member states. Thomas Lübbig acts before the European Commission and EU courts as well as for corporations, government agencies and associations.

Other key lawyers:

Andreas von Bonin; Thomas Lübbig

Müller-Wrede & Partner Rechtsanwälte

Under the joint leadership of Christoph von Donat and Gabriele Quardt, European state aid law is the core competence at Müller-Wrede & Partner Rechtsanwälte. The four-strong team acts for companies and public authorities and in contentious matters also for the European Commission. In addition, the team represents grantors, beneficiaries and competitors for state aid. Key activities include assistance with the implementation of recovery rulings by the European Commission related to insolvency proceedings as well as advice on notification and appeal proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Gabriele Quardt; Christoph von Donat

Work highlights

  • Advising with respect to the notification of state aid for a regional airport.
  • Advised a research institute on state aid law for cooperation and licensing contracts with a spin-off company.
  • Supervision of two legal remedies before the European Court of Justice due to the interpretation of the statute by the court.


WilmerHale's state aid practice advises on international, national and regional matters, in particular on state aid disputes. Sector focuses include transport and aviation as well as the tourism industry and the banking sector. Practice head Hans-Georg Kamann and special counsel Peter Gey are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Hans-Georg Kamann

Other key lawyers:

Peter Gey

Key clients

Bundesrepublik Deutschland – Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie

Gebr. Heinemann GmbH & Co. KG

Land Hessen, Hessisches Ministerium für Umwelt, Klimaschutz, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz

Land Hessen, Hessisches Ministerium der Finanzen

Jugendherberge Berlin Ostkreuz GmbH

Wirtschafts- und Infrastrukturbank Hessen

Work highlights

  • Advising and representing the youth hostel Jugendherberge Berlin Ostkreuz in court before the administrative court of Berlin against a state aid law claim by competitors A&O Hotel and Hostel Friedrichshain GmbH.
  • Advised Gebrüder Heinemann GmbH & Co. KG with respect to state aid law and public procurement concerning long-term lease agreements at international airports.
  • Advised the State of Hesse (Ministry of Finance) on state aid law and foreign trade law in relation to the planned sale of shares of the State of Hesse to the operating company of the Frankfurt Hahn regional airport.

Baker McKenzie

Due to the close cooperation with other areas, such as the firm's procurement, real estate and especially corporate and M&A practices, Baker McKenzie's state aid practice has expertise in advising on state aid and grant law aspects of corporate transactions. Furthermore, the team assists companies from research and development-heavy sectors, such as the life sciences and technology industries. Also notable is state aid advice provided to clients from the real estate sector on housing creation projects. The group is led by Marc Gabriel. Counsel Janet Butler is another key contact. Frank-Rainer Töpfer retired in January 2019.

Practice head(s):

Marc Gabriel

Other key lawyers:

Janet Butler

Work highlights

  • Advised Infracapital (infrastructure branch of M&G Prudential Group) on questions concerning subsidy and state aid law with respect to the acquisition of a majority stake of the CCNST Group.
  • Advised spanish company Parques Reunidos Group, one of the world’s leading operators of regional amusement and theme parks, on subsidy and state aid law for the acquisition of the Tropical Islands amusement park in Brandenburg.
  • Advised and represented Life Science VC-Investors Forbion Capital Partners on the entry in to OMEICOS Therapeutics GmbH within the framework of the series C funding round.

Chatham Partners LLP

Headed by Marco Núñez Müller, Hamburg-based boutique offering Chatham Partners LLP offers state aid advice and project support in the infrastructure, energy and real estate sectors; in the latter, advice on transactions and financings have been playing an increasingly important role. With regards to European state aid advice related to infrastructure projects, the team advises ports, airports and IT projects.  

Practice head(s):

Marco Núñez Müller

Key clients

Hansestadt Lübeck

LHG – Lübecker Hafengesellschaft mbH

CI III PQE (Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners)


Lübeck Port Authority

IUBH – Internationale Hochschule GmbH

VDB – Verband der Bahnindustrie

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented the Hanseatic City of Lübeck in a state aid investigation by the European Commission because of the restructuring of Lübecker Hafen-Gesellschaft (LHG) and the extension of important port terminals.
  • Advised IUBH Internationale GmbH, the city of Bad Honnef and Career Partners on the establishment and accreditation of international degree programmes with respect to EU law and state aid law.
  • Advised Hochtief AG on the bidding procedure for German motorway concessions with respect to state aid law.


The state aid practice at CMS is headed by Heinz-Joachim Freund in Brussels and Michael Bauer in Frankfurt. The team represents clients on state aid issues before the European Commission as well as the European Court of Justice. The client base includes federal states, cities, regional banks, financial companies as well as international industrial corporations and private companies.

Practice head(s):

Michael Bauer

Other key lawyers:

Heinz-Joachim Freund

Key clients

Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg

Land Niedersachsen (Landesregierung, Landesfinanzministerium)

Work highlights

  • Advised the senate administration of the city of Hamburg on the reacquisition of the district heating supply.
  • Advised and represented the state of Lower Saxony on the support of NordLB.


Dentons state aid team is jointly headed by Jörg Karenfort, who commutes between the Berlin and Brussels offices, and Andreas Haak, who until February 2019 acted as practice head at Taylor Wessing and is now based in Düsseldorf. The practice cooperates closely with the procurement teams in Berlin, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf as well as with the tax, banking and corporate experts of the firm. The group's advisory focus rests on the health and infrastructure sectors among others. But also the energy industry and digital transformation have been playing a mayor role within the practice, particularly in relation to state aid advice on subsidy applications and M&A transactions.

Practice head(s):

Jörg Karenfort; Andreas Haak

Other key lawyers:

Matthias Nordmann; René Grafunder


Excellent international network and experience combined with strong practical advice.

Valued colleagues with great know-how especially in European state aid law.

Excellent support through Andreas Haak. High technical industry expertise paired with a realistic assessment of circumstances. First-class results.

Matthias Nordmann is an excellent and valued colleague.

Rene Grafunder – very pleasant cooperation, technically skilled and client-oriented.

Key clients

Dt. Sparkassen und Giroverband (DSGV)

Duisburger Hafen AG (“duisport”)

Medien Union Gruppe

NeXovation Inc.


Prospitalia GmbH

Volotea S.A.

Work highlights

  • Comprehensive advice and representation of Deutsche Sparkassen- und Giroverband (DSGV) with respect to state aid law on possible support measures benefitting NordLB as well as HSH Nordbank.
  • Comprehensive advice on state aid law for the Spanish airline Volotea concerning a recovery decision of the European Commission from the 29 July 2016.
  • Advised and represented the US investor NexoVation on state aid procedures concerning the Nürburgring as well as in the subsequent court case.

Graf von Westphalen

The state aid team at Graf von Westphalen around Gerd Schwendinger advises public authorities as well as companies from various sectors such as food, real estate, infrastructure, agriculture, aerospace as well as research and innovation. The team acts for both beneficiaries and grantors and represents its clients before national and European courts. In addition, the team assists other practice groups with the full spectrum of state aid relevant issues.

Practice head(s):

Gerd Schwendinger

Other key lawyers:

Katja Göcke; Lothar Harings


Very quick combination of specific tasks with a rather confusing European state aid law that is open to various interpretations; good derivations and practical solutions and results.

GvW offers comprehensive skills in various legal areas and understands how to assemble a powerful team that will represent the client’s interest in the best possible manner. Here it must be emphasised that the firm considers technical aspects aside from all legal deliberations, also in the best possible way.

Pleasant cooperation with Gerd Schwendinger (Hamburg office) in state aid matters. High expertise and good matters.

The cooperation with Gerd Schwendinger is characterised by quick thinking, excellent proximity to EU legal practices, clearly structured analysis and precise representation of legal derivations as well as outstanding solutions. Highly recommendable.

‘Gerd Schwendinger: excellent knowledge in a legal area that isn’t commonplace to us.

‘Gerd Schwendinger has a good feel for the law, a practical approach and a lot of expertise in state aid law.’

Key clients

Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, Behörde für Wirtschaft, Verkehr und Innovation

HafenCity Hamburg GmbH

Landesbetrieb Wald und Holz Nordrhein-Westfalen

Mahr EDV GmbH

Makea Industries GmbH

Marktgemeinde Großostheim

Ministerium für Heimat, Kommunales, Bau und Gleichstellung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen

Ministerium für Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen

Nordzucker AG

Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen

SNP-Gruppe (großer Betreiber von Tierkörperbeseitigungsanstalten)

Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf

Allgäu Airport GmbH & Co. KG

Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle (BAFA)

Fine Art Print GmbH

Work highlights

  • Advised the state of North Rhine-Westphalia on state aid law with respect to a state aid law appeals procedure.
  • Represented the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (Landesbetrieb Wald und Holz Nordrhein Westfalen and Ministry for the Environment) in a legal dispute with the Austrian lumber company Klausner concerning wood delivery contracts.
  • Advised Makes Industries GmbH on subsidy law with respect to a research project.

Jones Day

Jones Day's state aid practice is headed by the frequently recommended Philipp Werner in Brussels. The team often cooperates across offices and practices, for example with the Paris office, and acts for German as well as European and US clients with particular expertise in the transport, energy and telecommunications sectors. The group's advice mainly focuses on rescue and reorganisation aid as well as on services of general economic interest and state aid implications of reform projects.

Practice head(s):

Philipp Werner

Kapellmann und Partner

Kapellmann und Partner's state aid practice, which is headed by Robin van der Hout in Brussels, specialises in European state aid and advises grantors and beneficiaries on state aid issues such as state aid compliant design of support measures, the registration of projects requiring approval from the European Commission as well as review and appeal proceedings before the Commission. The representation of clients before national and European courts is another important part of the practice. Christian Wagner is another key figure and Gregor Schiffers made equity partner in January 2019. Additionally, the practice can rely on two new lawyers, which previously trained at the firm.

Practice head(s):

Robin van der Hout

Other key lawyers:

Christian Wagner


Dietmar Reich, who is based in Hamburg and Brussels, heads BEITEN BURKHARDT's state aid practice, which advises corporations on state aid aspects of investments (for example in the automotive industry), plant's foundations, site openings in EU countries and subsidy programmes. The team is regularly involved in matters with Eastern European aspects. The group's focus is on the infrastructure sector as well as on research and development. In addition, the team assists clients with state aid complaints before the European Court of Justice and the European Commission.

Practice head(s):

Dietmar Reich

Other key lawyers:

Rainer Bierwagen; Christian Hipp; Ramona Tax

Key clients

USB Umweltservice Bochum GmbH

HEP Hrvatska Elektroprivreda

Klausner International AG

Work highlights

  • Represented Hrvatska Elektroprivreda on the EU notification of the construction of a power plant in Croatia.
  • Represented Klausner International AG in an EU complaint of NRW-Fortsbetriebe because of alleged state aid in support of the timber manufacturers Klausner subject to the wood delivery contract.

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH

Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH's two-strong team advises the public authorities and large corporations on state aid issues, thereby cooperating closely across offices and practices. In the energy sector for example, the group represents numerous companies in state aid proceedings related to the renewable energy law before courts of the European Union. The team also has expertise in the health sector and in subsidy law issues related to municipal construction projects. Helmut Janssen acts from the Brussels and Düsseldorf offices, while Ulf-Dieter Pape is based in Hannover.

Practice head(s):

Helmut Janssen; Ulf-Dieter Pape

Key clients



Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe

Stadt Dresden

Work highlights

  • Advised the city of Jena with respect to state aid law on a stadium project in consideration of planned grants, particularly the provision of notification procedures.
  • Represented ArcelorMittal Ruhrort GmbH before the European Court of Justice concerning a plea for annulment against a renewable energy law decision of the European Commission.
  • Statement concerning state aid law for EGW Gesellschaft for  Wiesbaden mbH on varying financial measures in favour of a city company in the healthcare sector.


Noerr's state aid practice assists a multitude of companies from the Eastern European region with the construction of production and business premises, especially with the state aid compliant design of these projects and contract applications. Another focus is the advice on state aid aspects of transactions as well as on restructuring measures. Frankfurt-based Fabian Badtke heads the practice and Helge Heinrich, who acts from the firm's Munich and Brussels offices, is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Fabian Badtke

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Birnstiel; Helge Heinrich


High technical skills in diverse areas, individual and problem-oriented advice, a main contact for this matter.

Pinsent Masons Germany LLP

Anke Empting heads Pinsent Masons Germany LLP's state aid practice, which demonstrates particular strength in advising in the science and research sectors, for instance in relation to European state aid compliance of research cooperation projects and subsidy programmes. Particularly notable here is the current cross-office cooperation with the firm's British offices in order to ensure the obtainment of subsidy opportunities even after Brexit. Advice at the interface between energy and European state aid law is another important pillar of the practice. Here, the group supports numerous companies with state aid advice related to matters such as reclamation of network charges and unapproved EEG cost allocation limits.

Practice head(s):

Anke Empting

Other key lawyers:

Julia Paul; Sebastian Niehues


Anke Empting has outstanding knowledge of the higher education sector.

Key clients

HZDR Innovation GmbH

PROvendis GmbH

BSB Business School Berlin

Univesity of Oxford

Work highlights

  • Supported the Business School Berlin on the project lead for the project “Kreatives Brandenburg” with respect to EU aid and procurement law.
  • Supported a British university on a research project supported by the EU through EIT Raw Materials with eight  cooperation partners from six (previous) EU member states with respect to EU aid law.
  • Advised a manufacturer of semi-finished plastic products on EU aid law concerning  legal actions against the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control for not granting a renewable energy law levy limit, as well as with respect to reorganisation.

Taylor Wessing

Taylor Wessing's advice focus in state aid matters rests on the infrastructure, health and public finance industries. In the health sector, the team advises hospital owners as well as state and federal ministries on state aid compliance of hospital funding. In the infrastructure sector, the group acts for ports, airports as well as for clients in the public transport area on subsidy applications and transactions. In the public finance sphere, the team assists companies with European state aid law. The competition, EU and trade practice is led by Marco Hartmann-Rüppel. Michael Brüggemann, who made equity partner in April 2019, is the main contact for state aid law. Andreas Haak joined Dentons in February 2019.

Practice head(s):

Marco Hartmann-Rüppel

Other key lawyers:

Michael Brüggemann; Frank Marek

Key clients

Amazon Europe Core S.à r.l.

Amedes Medizinische Dienstleistungen GmbH

Bundesministerium des Innern (BMI)


Berliner Vekehrsbetriebe (BVG)

Enviva Biomass Inc.


Flughafen Zweibrücken / Brinkmann & Partner

Hamburg Port Authority (HPA)


Lidl Dienstleistung GmbH & Co. KG

Niedersächsisches Sozialministerium


Stadt Duisburg

Stadt Mülheim an der Ruhr

White & Case LLP

Due to the close cooperation with other offices of the firm, White & Case LLP's state aid team is frequently instructed by Eastern European companies seeking advice on state aid reclamations by the European Commission. Moreover, the firm also acts as intervenor of the European Commission for corporations, in matters concerning the question if particular measures can be classified as state aid. Another important part of the practice is state aid assistance with transactions, for instance in the energy sector. Local partner Kai Struckmann leads the team from the Brussels office, while counsel Christoph Arnold commutes between Berlin and Brussels.

Practice head(s):

Christoph Arhold; Kai Struckmann

Other key lawyers:

Lars Ole Petersen

Key clients

Oltchim S.A.

Bayer Materials u.a. (jetzt Covestro AG)

Fortischem a.s.

Holland Shipbuilding Association – jetzt Netherlands Maritime Technology (NMT)

Republik Bulgarien


Streitgenossenschaft namhafter Chemieunternehmen (u.a. Aurubis, Covestro, DOW, Wacker und Vestolit)

Work highlights

  • Advised insolvent Oltchim S.A. on the insolvency case SA.36086. Primarily, and initially solely, the mandate encompassed the advising and representation of the client in the state aid law case with respect to the sale of assets of the insolvent client during the pending formal review process.
  • Supported NMT as complainant to exert pressure on the European Union to investigate the controversial Spanish tax leasing model for the financing of vessels, which effectively lowers the acquisition costs for vessels built in Spanish shipyards through the implementation of complex fiscal structures with banks as intermediary bodies.
  • Advice on the sale of 49% of shares of STEAG Fernwärme GmbH with respect to state aid law as well as on a shareholder agreement deal.