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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 > Real estate and construction > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Real estate and construction
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Next Generation Partners

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Who Represents Who

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Due to its 'sophisticated knowledge of complex real estate transactions', Baker McKenzie 'enjoys a leading role in the Swiss market'. It has notable expertise in hotel transactions, while also assisting with investment schemes and development projects. In recent work, it handled Mövenpick's sale of its worldwide hotel division to Accor Hotels; the 'excellent, business-minded and hands-on lawyer' Martin Furrer led the advice. Samuel Marbacher and Alexander Wyss were instructed by Fundamenta Real Estate to provide legal support concerning its CHF65m capital increase. Of counsel Daniel Peregrina is another key member of the team.

Bär & Karrer Ltd. handles real estate and development project transactions and sector-related capital market matters. Corrado Rampini and Thomas Reutter advised Andermatt Swiss Alps on the sale of a portfolio consisting of 25 properties to real estate joint venture Taurus Andermatt. Other clients include PSP Swiss Property and Porterhouse.

The real estate team at CMS focuses heavily on transactions, disputes and the development of shopping malls, hotels, retail buildings, offices and residential property. Sibylle Schnyder assisted Swiss Prime Site Immobilien with the share-deal purchase of a mixed-use building in Winterthur, while Stefan Gerster advised Credit Suisse Investment Foundation on the development of Zurich-based Project Pergamin II, including handling the acquisition of land and the construction of the residential complex.

Lenz & Staehelin is best known for advising on real estate financing, sale-and-lease-back transactions, commercial leasing, developments, public-sector matters and regulatory law. Subsequent to handling the acquisition, Beat Kühni is assisting Marriott and Ritz-Carlton with the transition and refurbishment of a luxury five-star hotel to be relaunched as "The Ritz Carlton, Hotel de la Paix Geneva". Eli Lilly and Z Capital Partners are among its other clients. Cécile Berger Meyer is the key contact in Geneva. Geneva-based Andreas Rötheli handles transactional real estate matters.

The 'prompt and proactive' team at Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd (MLL) is recommended for its 'high knowledge and experience in contract negotiation'. The range of services includes transactions, development, construction and financing projects, as well as construction and zoning litigation. Allianz Suisse Immobilien instructed Wolfgang Müller to obtain a construction permit and advise on the ongoing "Weltpost Park" project, which involves the construction of 176 apartments in Bern. Key names in Geneva include Philippe Prost, who stands out for his 'acumen and foresight in analysing legal problems and an ability to suggest pertinent solutions', as well as Frédéric Cottier and senior associate Cosima Trabichet-Castan, who are 'very efficient'.

Niederer Kraft Frey AG impresses with 'a fast and focused service, no-nonsense advice and a combination of capabilities in construction and real estate transaction law'. The team also handles investment, financing, leasing and management matters regarding commercial, hospitality and residential properties. Andreas Vögeli, who clients single out as a strong 'sparring partner', assisted Credit Suisse with multiple sale transactions concerning residential and mixed-use property in all language regions of Switzerland. Fortimo, Pocimmo, Ruag Real Estate and AXA Investment Managers also feature in the client list.

The 'reactive, available and helpful' real estate practice at Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd is known for its international expertise in all aspects of real estate contracts, transactions, construction, environmental law, special rights, owner's liability, financing and dispute resolution. Yves Jeanrenaud, who provides 'accurate and precise' advice, assisted DuPont de Nemours International and Credit Suisse with the due diligence required for the simultaneous disposal of land and building reconstruction in relation to three office buildings constructed on the land. Josef Caleff advised Barana Group on the sale of a large retail building in Lucerne to a Swiss institutional investor via a structured, two-stage auction process.

Walder Wyss Ltd's 'knowledgeable and trustworthy' team 'provides clear and practical advice'. While mainly focusing on real estate transactions, the practice also engages in niche sector-related crowdfunding work. Francis Nordmann assisted Luxembourg company Propz with the $65m sale of a property in Winterthur, while the 'reassuring and pragmatic' Johannes Bürgi, together with Thomas Müller, advised the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority on the development and letting of a shopping centre outside Lucerne. Lugano-based Davide Jermini acts as a regular adviser to various divisions of Artisa Group.

BianchiSchwald LLC impresses with its 'suitable knowledge, as well as good relationships with investors, architects, construction specialists and public authorities'. It provides assistance with transactions, construction, leasing, asset management, financing and investment, as well as public-law and Lex Koller matters. Geneva-based Yves de Coulon and Marc Metzger, who specialises in public-sector aspects and healthcare projects, are the main practitioners.

The real estate practice at Homburger has 'a very good reputation in the market' due to its 'hands-on approach, flexibility and responsiveness'. Its experience covers transactions, various types of contracts, agreements and permits, dispute resolution, infrastructure projects and financing matters. Recent highlights include handling the structuring and implementation of a mortgage financing platform for UBS Switzerland, as well as assisting Careal and Amag with obtaining a construction permit for the realisation of a public car park in central Switzerland. Key names include Daniel Hasler, Marcel Dietrich, Stefan Kramer, Balz Gross and Gabrielle Nater-Bass.

'Accomplished in handling real estate transactions', Pestalozzi 'provides efficient, solution-oriented advice and has an excellent understanding of its clients' industry and needs'. Focusing on a diverse range of industrial, commercial and residential construction projects, the department further assists with portfolio transactions, environmental and public-law topics. The 'exceptional' team of partner Michael Lips and associates Andrea Rohrer and Larissa Rickenbacher are advising luxury hotel The Capra on refurbishment, construction and expansion proceedings with authorities and neighbours. McDonald's is a longstanding client, for which the firm provides leasing and construction advice.

Mainly active in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, the real estate department at Python is considered to be 'very professional, client focused and reliable'. Key areas of expertise include residential and commercial transactions, construction projects, permit procedures and environmental issues, as well as financing, leasing, contractual and contentious matters. Marc Iynedjian, who 'has the capacity to translate the clients' need into contracts', advised Angelo Gordon and Westcore on the sale of an industrial building in Zurich to Akara Funds, and also assisted Realstone with the $130m share-deal purchase of an office building in Geneva. Clients also recommend the 'responsive and thorough' Olivier Klunge and Christophe de Kalbermatten.

VISCHER's practice group combines real estate, development and notarial services, with special expertise in foreign investment projects and urban housing developments. Recent highlights include handling Bâloise's majority shareholding acquisition of real estate company Pax Anlage and advising Biogen International on the acquisition of land and the construction of a biologic manufacturing facility. The team also assists Meininger Hotels with its expansion in Switzerland. Team lead Roland Müller, real estate specialist Andreas Albrecht , corporate partner Benedict Christ  and counsel Beatrice Wagner Pfeifer make up the core team.

BAUR HÜRLIMANN AG, which has offices in Baden and Zürich, advises on real estate, industrial facilities and infrastructure, and construction project matters and also represents clients in real estate-related proceedings. Specialist areas include environmental and liability issues, and public procurement law. Dispute specialist Roland Hurlimann, transactions lawyer and notary Erich Rüegg, public lawyer Michael Merker and construction expert Martin Werner form the core team.

Blum & Grob Attorneys at Law Ltd is 'fast, professional, hands-on and team-oriented' and stands out for 'thinking in solutions, not in problems'. In addition to its considerable experience in tenancy law, the practice handles all types of real estate transactions and structuring options, while also assisting with construction projects and disputes. The 'broadly knowledgeable and honest' Gian Marchet Kasper, who is 'appreciated for his involvement and skin-in-the-game mindset', advised Loreda Real Estate on its acquisition of a real estate portfolio covering five Swiss cantons, and 'competent and accurate tenancy specialist' David Schwaninger assisted WieRe with the termination of 40 lease agreements, involving negotiations and litigation proceedings. Transactions partner Adrian Hirzel is also noted.

BMG Avocats handles development projects and proceedings, construction projects and environmental issues, as well as transactions, leasing and tenancy matters. Nicolas Wisard and Isabelle Salomé Daïna are the names to note.

The private and public real estate law department at Bratschi Ltd is particularly experienced in the hotel sector, and also handles transactions, financing, contractual, planning, zoning, environmental and construction matters, as well as real estate-related disputes. Ion Eglin assists PSP Group Services with its first hotel development projects, and is also advising on the negotiation of a lease agreement for RIMC Schweiz Hotels & Resorts. St. Gallen-based Thomas Schönenberger advises Asga Pensionskasse on transactions and a construction project in Ittigen.

The 'very strong real estate team' at 'high-quality firm' Hartmann Müller Partners stands out for its 'tailor-made solutions and relationships of trusts with clients' at an international level. It is best known for handling transactions and financing matters, as well as commercial tenancy and private construction law issues, especially in connection with residential projects. 'Highly specialised and thorough contracts lawyer' Markus Aeschbacher provides 'a flexible and diverse range of solutions in order to meet special needs' and 'resolves disputes pragmatically and efficiently'.

LALIVE's specialism in real estate, construction and infrastructure law is dispute resolution, with the majority of clients stemming from the Middle East, Switzerland, Eastern Europe and Canada. Key partners active in the energy, construction and engineering sectors include Michael E Schneider, Matthias Scherer, Dr Bernd Ehle and Joachim Knoll.

Handling transactions, finance matters, environmental issues and development projects, the real estate team at Mangeat Attorneys at Law LLC assists developers, real estate companies, investors, architects and private clients located in Switzerland and France. Joël Chevallaz settled a contractual dispute and payment claims against a contractor for client Heka Constructeur d'Emotions, while Pierre Rüttimann advises Realswiss on the development of a residential portfolio in Switzerland, involving the creation and stock-exchange listing of a $100m real estate investment fund.

Assisting real estate and construction management companies, investors, pension funds, building owners, public clients and individuals, the eight-partner team at Wenger Plattner handles private and public construction law, transactions, tenancy and facility management matters. Practice lead Thomas Wetzel, transactions and tenancy lawyer Placidus Plattner and public-law specialist Gaudenz Schwitter are among the key practitioners.

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Legal Developments in Switzerland for Real estate and construction

  • 5 January 2017: Takeover of Pax Anlage AG by BaloĂ®se

    Baloîse (SIX: BALN) is to acquire a majority stake in publicly listed real-estate company Pax Anlage AG (SIX: PAXN). By entering into agreements with majority shareholders Pax Holding (Genossenschaft), Pax, Schweizerische Lebensversicherungs-Gesellschaft AG and Nürnberger Lebensversicherung AG, Baloîse Life Ltd will acquire around 70 per cent of the share capital and voting rights. Today, Baloîse published the pre-announcement of a public takeover offer for the remaining approx. 30 per cent of shares in free float at a price of CHF 1,600 per share (subject to dilution effects). The aggregate transaction value amounts to approx. CHF 288 mio. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.
    - Walder Wyss Ltd

Legal Developments in Switzerland

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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.