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Stibbe

CENTRAL PLAZA, LOKSUMSTRAAT 25/ RUE DE LOXUM 25, 1000 BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
Tel:
Work +32 2 533 52 11
Fax:
Fax +32 2 533 52 12
DX:
36 BAB
Email:
Web:
www.stibbe.com
Amsterdam, Brussels, Dubai, London, Luxembourg, New York

Belgium

Aviation
Aviation - ranked: tier 3

Stibbe

Stibbe's 'strong' group, comprising public, employment, corporate, litigation and environmental law specialists, handles a range of aviation work. The team represents a client base of airports, government authorities and manufacturers, among others, across a spread of non-contentious and contentious matters. Key clients include Belgocontrol and Brussels Airport Company. David D’Hooghe heads the practice.

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Banking, finance and capital markets
Banking, finance and capital markets - ranked: tier 2

Stibbe

Stibbe¬†has a strong position in the Belgian lending market, which is reflected by its work for borrower clients such as Vandemoortele, Cegeka and Proximus. Its 'client-oriented' team is 'easy to work with and very pragmatic'. The firm's broad banking practice spans acquisition finance, real estate finance and project finance, among other areas.¬†Wouter Ghijsels¬†(who succeeded Jan Peeters¬†as the Brussels managing partner in January 2019)¬†and counsel¬†Sofie Heremans¬†acted for Fedrus International on the ‚ā¨176m financing related to its acquisitions of Defrancq France SAS and Umicore‚Äôs building products business unit in France. Ghijsels is 'always reachable, even when working on multiple deals at the same time'. In another matter, Peeters¬†and senior associate¬†Pieter-Jan Van Houdenhove¬†assisted Novo Nordisk with negotiating the finance related to its purchase of Ablynx. In the real estate sphere, a highlight in 2017 involved advising Q-Park on the Belgian aspects of a refinancing following its takeover by KKR. The firm also has a strong client following among many of the largest and most active lenders, including Belfius Bank, National Bank of Belgium and KBC Bank. Ghijsels and senior associate¬†Pieter Nobels¬†advised¬†BNP Paribas Fortis, ING, Belgian real estate developer Immobel and CFE on the structuring and implementation of a financing package for the redevelopment of a mixed-use building complex located at the former headquarters of Solvay. Beyond banking work, the firm is also a major player in debt and equity capital markets transactions; this side of the practice is spearheaded by Ghijsels, Peeters and Pascal Vanden Borre. The firm also has a standout financial regulatory practice.¬†Julien Bogaerts¬†recently made partner.¬†Ivan Peeters¬†and¬†Philip Van Steenwinkel¬†moved to¬†PwC Legal.

Next generation lawyers

Sofie Heremans - Stibbe

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Commercial, corporate and M&A
Commercial, corporate and M&A - ranked: tier 2

Stibbe

The 'very experienced' corporate and finance team at Stibbe¬†attracts praise for its 'ability to handle any size transaction in Belgium in an efficient and cost-effective manner'. Jan Peeters¬†led a team advising US-based company Spirit AeroSystems on its ‚ā¨540m acquisition of Asco. In another work highlight, the group assisted Punch Powertrain on its joint venture with PSA Groupe in France. Dries Hommez,¬†who is 'an outstanding corporate partner with a strong business sense and the ability to direct all legal aspects of a M&A deal', led a team instructed by¬†General Electric on the Benelux aspects of the sale of its water treatment business to Suez, and its industrial solutions business to ABB. Stefan Odeurs¬†heads the practice, which also includes Pascal Vanden Borre¬†and¬†Jan Bogaert. Julien Bogaerts¬†was recently promoted to the partnership.

Leading individuals

Jan Peeters - Stibbe

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Competition: Belgian law
Competition: Belgian law - ranked: tier 2

Stibbe

Stibbe's standing in the Belgian competition market has enabled it to win work from new clients such as the Royal Belgian football association, D'Ieteren and MAN. Its team is led by Peter Wytinck, who is one of the leading names in the Belgian market for competition-related damages claims, and also has a stellar reputation in dawn raids and investigations. Senior associate Delphine Gillet is another key figure in the competition group, which is able to draw upon the expertise of practitioners in ancillary areas (such as administrative law, litigation and tax law) in highly complex cases. Wytinck, counsel Tom Ruys and members of the public law practice are representing Port of Antwerp in various proceedings arising from its decision to grant a reduction on the compensation owed by PSA and Antwerp Gateway for not meeting minimum tonnage requirements. Wytinck and Ruys are also acting for the Belgian Travel Organisation and Thomas Cook in two separate travel sector cartel investigations. In recent developments, Hendrik Viaene moved to Laga, while Bram Hoorelbeke departed for Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL.

Leading individuals

Peter Wytinck - Stibbe

Next generation lawyers

Delphine Gillet - Stibbe

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Competition: EU and global
Competition: EU and global - ranked: tier 5

Stibbe

Stibbe marries a first-rate Belgian competition law offering with strengths in EU-level matters, such as state aid complaints, cartel investigations and public procurement matters. Team head Peter Wytinck is particularly experienced in representing EU institutions in court litigation before the Court of Justice. Wytinck also excels in representing private companies, and is leading a cross-departmental team that is acting for the Port of Antwerp in court proceedings arising from the EC's investigation into aid allegedly being illegally granted to two container terminal operators. Other clients include Thomas Cook, MAN and Infrax. Senior associate Delphine Gillet is also recommended. Hendrik Viaene joined Laga in September 2018.

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Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution - ranked: tier 1

Stibbe

Hans Van Bavel's group at Stibbe handles a broad spread of work, including corporate and commercial, insolvency, and financial services disputes; cross-border cases are a key strength. Paul Van der Putten, Oliver Stevens and Nicolas Résimont are the names to note. Recent highlights include representing KBC Bank in a dispute regarding the recovery of credit facilities granted to Belgian diamond trader Exelco, which filed for bankruptcy protection in the US; the US proceedings were dismissed.

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Employment
Employment - ranked: tier 2

Stibbe

A recent highlight for the group at Stibbe was acting for radio network company RTL in a high-profile restructuring and collective dismissal procedure. Elisabeth Matthys¬†and J√©r√īme Aubertin¬†are the key names. Herman Craeninckx¬†moved to¬†Strelia¬†in September 2018.

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Environment
Environment - ranked: tier 1

Stibbe

Stibbe's market-leading reputation is reflected by its team's ability to handle the full spread of advisory and litigation work for private businesses and government agencies. The firm offers excellent coverage of the Belgian environmental law arena; practice head Jan Bouckaert, who is widely acknowledged to be one of the standout names in Belgium for environmental law, leads a team that focuses on issues that are specific to the Flemish Region. France Maussion heads up a group that specialises in Walloon Region matters. In addition, both Bouckaert, Maussion and their teams have comprehensive knowledge of environmental matters that relate to the Brussels Region. Complementing its knowledge of Belgian environmental law is the group's extensive expertise in European legislation, including REACH, WEEE and RoHS. The wide-ranging scope of the practice includes areas such as planning and zoning, nuclear law, pollution/contamination and waste management, and nature conservation. Bouckaert and senior associate Guan Schaiko are part of a multidisciplinary team, which is acting for Blue Gate Antwerp on the development of an eco-friendly business park in the Antwerp port area. Maussion and others are advising the Brussels Capital Region on the PPP renovation project of the Leopold II Tunnel. Counsels Pieter Vandenheede and Olivier Di Giacomo, and senior associate Bastiaan Schelstraete are also recommended.

Leading individuals

Jan Bouckaert - Stibbe

Next generation lawyers

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Fraud and white-collar crime
Fraud and white-collar crime - ranked: tier 1

Stibbe

Stibbe reports an uptick in instructions involving cybercrime matters, and is well known for handling tax fraud, corruption, and money laundering cases, to name a few areas. Practice head Hans Van Bavel's 'in-depth knowledge of Belgian criminal procedural laws and regulations is outstanding'.

Leading individuals

Hans Van Bavel - Stibbe

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Industry focus: Food
Industry focus: Food - ranked: tier 1

Stibbe

Stibbe leverages its litigation, competition law, employment, IP and corporate expertise to act for a range of food and beverage sector clients. The group acted for the Belgian Chocolate Group on the negotiation of a global master license agreement with Le Grand Café Enterprises for the opening of The Belgian Chocolate Café stores worldwide. This included advising on trade mark protection both within Benelux and globally. In another work highlight, it was instructed by the Belgian Association of Waters and Soft Drinks in litigation against SodaStream for misleading advertising. It also assisted Anheuser-Busch InBev with the recall of defected glass beer bottles.

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Industry focus: Healthcare and life sciences
Industry focus: Healthcare and life sciences - ranked: tier 2

Stibbe

Stibbe's broad expertise spans the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, life sciences, healthcare and medical device sectors. It has considerable IP and regulatory experience, as well as the ability to leverage the firm's wider full service capabilities in other areas. A team led by practice head Ignace Vernimme is representing Celltrion in patent infringement claims brought by Roche, Genentech, and Biogen relating to the client's biosimilar product, Truxima. In another work highlight, the department is acting for Perrigo in an arbitration concerning fraud and breach of warranties brought against the former owner of the company, Omega Pharma Invest. Of counsel Manuel Campolini is also highlighted for his litigation and regulatory capabilities.

Leading individuals

Ignace Vernimme - Stibbe

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Industry focus: IT and telecoms
Industry focus: IT and telecoms - ranked: tier 1

Stibbe

The TMT and IP departments at Stibbe handle a range of contentious and strategic matters in the IT and telecoms sector, and counts Microsoft-Skype, Lycamobile, Verizon and Google among its clients. A team, led by practice head Erik Valgaeren, is representing Anheuser-Busch InBev in a dispute relating to its data centre services outsourcing agreement with CapGemini. The team is regularly instructed in public sector IT projects and assisted Astrid with its procurement strategy for the renewal of the maintenance contract for its core telecoms and dispatching network. Hans Van Bavel is a name to note for cybercrime and compliance matters. Laurens Dauwe is now with Osborne Clarke.

Leading individuals

Erik Valgaeren - Stibbe

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Industry focus: Manufacturing
Industry focus: Manufacturing - ranked: tier 1

Stibbe

Stibbe fields a multidisciplinary team with the capacity to handle a range of matters for its manufacturing sector clients. Ignace Vernimme is leading advice to a group of companies including Recmix, Orbix, Recoval and Carbstone Innovation, on several issues including IP strategy and contractual issues. The group is also instructed in a range of corporate transactions in the sector including assisting Punch Powertrain with its joint venture with PSA Groupe, as well as acting for Dossche Mills on the acquisition of Meneba Holding Ignace. Stefan Odeurs and Vernimme jointly head the practice, which also includes corporate partner Dries Hommez.

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Industry focus: Retail
Industry focus: Retail - ranked: tier 1

Stibbe

Stibbe's retail-focused practice combines 'short response times and sector knowledge, with value for money'. Its impressive client roster includes Aldi, Carrefour and Hasbro. Practice head Rudy Nauwelaerts leads advice to Quares Real Estate Agency on commercial lease agreements, as well as on the redevelopment of a shopping mall in Antwerp. Pieter Bogaert and Pieter Vandenheede were recently promoted to counsel.

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Industry focus: Transport
Industry focus: Transport - ranked: tier 3

Stibbe

The cross-departmental infrastructure and transport team at Stibbe assists with a range of public law, commercial, transactional, real estate and construction matters. The department is assisting De Werkvennootschap with the redevelopment of the traffic system on the ring road around Brussels. In another work highlight, a team led by real estate and construction partner Rony Vermeersch and public law expert Bruno Lombaert is advising Brussels Capital Region on the renovation project of the Leopold II Tunnel. Brussels Airport Company, STIB/MIVB, Antwerp Port Authority and Daimler are also clients.

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Industry focus: energy
Industry focus: energy - ranked: tier 1

Stibbe

The 'extremely proactive' energy practice at Stibbe continues to be instructed on a range of regulatory, corporate, financing, project development and contentious matters. The team acted for Limburgse Reconversie Maatschappij on the development, contract negotiations and project financing of the Kristal Solar Park in Limburg. It also advised CGN Europe Energy on its acquisition of the Windvision-Enerconwind wind farm in Estinnes, Wallonia. In another work highlight, Rony Vermeersch led a team that assisted Google with power purchase agreement negotiations with Belgian offshore wind farm operator Norther. Frederik Vandendriessche, who is 'a leading legal expert in his field', heads the practice and attracts praise for his 'great interpersonal and communication skills'. Associate Cedric Degreef is another key name to note.

Next generation lawyers

Cedric Degreef - Stibbe

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Industry focus: media and entertainment
Industry focus: media and entertainment - ranked: tier 1

Stibbe

Stibbe's TMT and IP department counts Time Warner, Morris Comics, Belgian National Lottery and Skype among its media and entertainment sector clients. Practice head Erik Valgaeren led a team advising reality television producer Zodiak on several issues, including those relating to the development of a new television program, as well as GDPR compliance, tax and employment advice. In another work highlight, the department acted for a client on IP and regulatory considerations relating to the launch of a digital video streaming platform in Europe. The practice also assists the Flemish government and recently advised on a draft decree relating to social-cultural work for adults. Ignace Vernimme is a key name to note for IP issues. Laurens Dauwe is now with Osborne Clarke.

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Insolvency and restructuring
Insolvency and restructuring - ranked: tier 2

Stibbe

The restructuring and insolvency practice at Stibbe has experience acting for both debtors and creditors. In a recent work highlight, Paul Van der Putten and Pieter Wouters are acting for Nyobe in its judicial reorganisation proceedure.

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Insurance
Insurance - ranked: tier 2

Stibbe'

Stibbe's full-service capabilities and in-depth knowledge of the insurance market ensures that it attracts a strong flow of work from insurers, reinsurers, banks and other clients. Led by practice head Oliver Stevens, its team handles a wide range of matters, such as insurance sector M&A, insurance and reinsurance disputes, the launch of new insurance products, and regulatory advice. Stevens is leading a team - which includes Hans Van Bavel, and senior associates Elisabeth Baeyens, David Verwaerde and Sophie Bourgois - in the advice to Brussels Airport Company on all contractual and insurance matters arising from the terrorist attack at Brussels Airport in 2016. The team also undertakes a significant amount of work for reinsurer Monument Re; recent highlights include assisting the client with its separate acquisitions of ABN Amro Life Capital, the First A run-off portfolio and Aspecta Assurance International Luxembourg. Other clients include AXA Belgium, Belfius Bank, ING, Generali and AG Insurance. Jan Peeters has 'a solid grounding in the regulatory basics, and is also able to provide practical, creative advice in situations that are not clear-cut'; he is 'a wise lawyer to have working for you'. Jan Bogaert is another key figure.

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 1

Stibbe

Stibbe garners praise for its 'dedicated focus' on IP matters and is known for handling niche areas, including biotech, nanotechnology and technology transfer issues. The practice supplements its strength by drawing upon the expertise of other practice groups from across its Benelux offices, notably in the areas of corporate, tax and competition matters. The 'commercially astute' practice head Ignace Vernimme successfully assisted radiopharmaceutical company Anmi with litigation against a Belgian medical devices company concerning the ownership of two patents. In May 2018, Simone Vandewynckel, formerly a senior associate with the firm, moved to an in-house position with Velcro Companies.

Leading individuals

Ignace Vernimme - Stibbe

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Private equity
Private equity - ranked: tier 1

Stibbe

Stibbe's private equity practice acts for a range of domestic and international PE and venture capital funds, including Limburgse Reconversiemaatschappij, KKR and Serena Capital. The group was instructed by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on its acquisition of a 40% stake in Belron International, where it was also able to utilise its strong presence in Luxembourg to handle the cross-border matter. In another highlight, Jan Peeters led a team acting for Creafund on its acquisition of a 59% stake in Diresco. Stefan Odeurs heads the practice and led a team that assisted the management of Hudson Belgium and Hudson Luxembourg on a management buy-out of Hudson Benelux. Dries Hommez is 'an excellent lawyer' and is particularly noted for his expertise in corporate transactions.

Leading individuals

Dries Hommez - Stibbe

Stefan Odeurs - Stibbe

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Real estate and construction
Real estate and construction - ranked: tier 1

Stibbe

Stibbe¬†reports an increase in transactional work in the real estate space, which covers professional, commercial, residential, retail and hotel development projects. Financing work and PPP matters are other areas of instruction, for which the team works closely with corporate, public and environmental law experts.¬†Recent highlights include Rony Vermeersch¬†leading the advice to investment company LRM on the development and¬†project financing aspects of the 100MW Kristal Solar Park, and in another matter, assisting Grimbergen Abbey with the negotiations for the development of a micro-brewery. Rudy Nauwelaerts, counsel Pieter Bogaert¬†and¬†of counsel Beno√ģt Kohl¬†are also noted.

Leading individuals

Rudy Nauwelaerts - Stibbe

Next generation lawyers

Beno√ģt Kohl - Stibbe

Pieter Bogaert - Stibbe

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Tax
Tax - ranked: tier 3

Stibbe

Stibbe, which has a leading position in the Benelux market, bolstered its tax offering by hiring Henk Verstraete and three other practitioners from Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick in July 2018. Verstraete's varied experience includes advising on the tax aspects of corporate and financial transactions, tax litigation, transfer pricing and other tax advisory work. Wim Panis leads the team, which works alongside practitioners active in other disciplines to cover the full spectrum of Belgium and international tax matters for Belgian companies, multinational corporates and financial institutions, among other clients. Panis was part of the cross-practice group, which recently assisted property fund management company Eurocommercial Properties with expanding its retail portfolio by acquiring the Woluwe shopping centre in Brussels. Recently promoted counsel Giovanni Smet advised Monument Re on the tax aspects of a series of acquisitions, notably its acquisitions of ABN Amro Life Capital NV from ABN Amro, the First A Portfolio from Belgian insurer Ethias and of Aspecta Assurance International Luxembourg. On the contentious side, Panis and others are representing Port of Antwerp in a high-profile case, which concerns the Belgian income tax regime for seaports. Of counsel Thierry Denayer is also recommended.

Next generation lawyers

Giovanni Smet - Stibbe

Henk Verstraete - Stibbe

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