Watson Farley & Williams LLP > Frankfurt, Germany > Firm Profile

Watson Farley & Williams LLP
ULMENSTRASSE 37-39
60325 FRANKFURT AM MAIN
Germany

Industry focus > Energy

With a newly opened office in Düsseldorf in January 2021, Watson Farley & Williams LLP expanded its regulatory practice with newcomers Thorsten Volz and Torsten Wielsch (formerly of Pinsent Masons Germany LLP) particularly on matters pertaining to power plant and infrastructure grid projects, as well as carbon reduction, network charges and levies on energy-intensive companies. The firm's traditional focus is on large-scale cross-border transactions, with a particular emphasis on offshore wind. However, the team, jointly led by Malte Jordan and Thomas Hollenhorst in Hamburg, is increasingly expanding with additional advisory capacities in geothermal energy, restructuring and public procurement law. The German team's integration into the firm's global work practice led to experience in projekt work in Scandinavian countries as well as growing markets such as Argentina and Uruguay. Eckrolf Berg joined FPS in July 2020 after Ahmad Khonsari left the firm the previous month. Jörg Walzer left the firm in December 2020 to work in the trust business.

Testimonials

‘Excellent expertise, good value for money.’

Malte Jordan: Excellent negotiating skills, excellent market knowledge/expertise, excellent feeling for the commercial value of topics. He knows how to manage a process extremely efficiently for his clients.’

Key clients

Macquarie

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP)

Deutsche ErdWärme GmbH

DIF

The Renewable Infrastructure Group Limited

Storengy

Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (NORD/LB)

EWE

KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH

APG

Tank & Rast

GP Joule

BayernLB

Energy Infrastructure Partners

Axpo

BayWa Re

Work highlights

  • Ongoing advice (currently refinancing) to the banking consortium consisting of KfW IPEX-Bank, Natixis, Santander, CIBC, Commerzbank, Helaba, National Bank of Canada, Rabobank, Société Générale and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation since the financing of the €1.3 billion offshore wind farm project German bay.
  • Advising Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners as borrower on the issuance of a €130 million bond issued by Crédit Suisse to MetLife to refinance the acquisition of certain offshore substations.
  • Advising the Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (NORD/LB) on the bridge financing of a wind farm portfolio in Poland in the amount of €45.5 million, which is being developed and built by the Danish developer European Energy.

Transport > Maritime and shipping

Watson Farley & Williams LLP advises on the full range of maritime matters: from shipbuilding to M&A transactions and litigation, the firm is a one-stop shop for clients in this sector. In addition to its original focus on ship financing, the team has expanded its expertise to include all classic issues of maritime law. The practice is further characterised by a growing focus on ESG, which includes, among other matters, ship recycling issues. Its regular case load also includes the drafting and implementation of contracts as well as corporate and public law. Practice head Christian Finnern primarily advises on investments, joint ventures and M&A transactions. Clemens Hillmer has expertise in advising banks, investors and leasing companies on ship financing.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team has experience and practical relevance at the same time, which means that you can provide solution-oriented advice.’

‘Dr. It is worth mentioning Christian Finnern, who has a strong network at the location, is always helpful and offers the most practical solutions possible. We strive to build and maintain a good relationship with our clients.’

‘Fully supportive, highly motivated and not watching the clock, always with the aim of completing a transaction in a timely manner. The interaction goes beyond the actual mandate and the current topic is always discussed conscientiously, even in the case of smaller issues.’

‘High professional competence in the branch, very good international experience in the subject areas important for banks, large number of available lawyers for the fast implementation of transactions. Very high problem-solving skills and very good negotiating skills with the parties concerned. Continued very fast response times, even outside normal business hours.’

‘Extensive specialist knowledge, strong communication, excellent demeanor, quick feedback and, above all, a detailed and precisely controlled process in which each individual step is clearly defined and made known in advance.’

‘Dr. Christian Finnern is uncomplicated and always available. The working method is well structured and the commercial understanding of the situation is very good. Working with him is fun.’

‘Dr. Clemens Hillmer: Regular contact with our company on current topics, high level of initiative. Fast response times for fee quotes. Very high professional competence.’

Key clients

MPC Capital Group

Ernst Russ AG

TUI Cruises

Hurtigruten

Work highlights

  • Advising TUI Cruises on the financing and implementation of the acquisition of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises from TUI AG.
  • Advising Hurtigruten on the establishment of a joint venture for the technical management of an expedition fleet with a German shipping company as JV partner.

Banking and finance > Project finance Tier 3

Watson Farley & Williams LLP continues to focus on project and acquisition finance in the energy sector, advising on onshore and offshore wind, solar farm and conventional energy projects. The practice’s second mainstay lays in the asset finance sphere where the team focuses on shipping and ship financing in particular, which is not least due to the group’s relevant bundled expertise at its Hamburg office; here, Clemens Hillmer, who heads the assets and structured finance group, is a key contact. He jointly heads the overall practice with Thomas Hollenhorst, who also leads the project and structured finance group.

Testimonials

‘Competent, pragmatic and pleasant to work with. Has prevailed against various large international law firms.’

‘Florian Kutzbach has excellent expertise and the personality to support in-house teams in the negotiation and documentation of complex transactions.

‘High professional competence in the branch, very good international experience in the subject areas important for banks; high number of available lawyers for fast implementation of transactions. Very high problem-solving skills and very good negotiating skills with involved parties. Furthermore, very fast response times even outside normal business hours.

‘Dr. Clemens Hillmer: Regular contact with our company on current topics, high level of initiative. Fast response times for fee quotes. Very high professional competence .’

Key clients

Deutsche Bank

UniCredit

Berenberg

Warburg

NordLB

HCoB

KMG Kliniken Gruppe

Work highlights

  • Advice to Berenberg on the refinancing of credit funds.
  • Advising Nord/LB on the €45.5m bridge financing of a wind farm portfolio in Poland to be developed and built by Danish developer European Energy.
  • Advising CIP as borrower on the issuance of a €130m bond placed by Crédit Suisse to MetLife to refinance the acquisition of certain offshore substations.

Corporate and M&A > M&A: mid-sized deals (sub-€500m) Tier 5

In addition to project M&A transactions, Watson Farley & Williams LLP increasingly advises on companies transactions and focuses on the energy, shipping, transport and infrastructure sectors. In December 2020, the newly-opened Düsseldorf office expanded the advisory capacities in the energy sector, among others. Since Torsten Rosenboom moved to Hogan Lovells International LLP in January 2022, Marcus Bechtel solely heads the practice. He is particularly experienced in transactional advice to private equity investors. Christoph Naumann joined Hogan Lovells International LLP in December 2021.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Uniquely broad and deep knowledge of renewable energies and excellent negotiation and transaction support.’

‘Marcus Bechtel: Outstanding negotiator, convincing in argumentation and careful in approach with a unique wealth of experience in the field of renewable energies.’

‘Quickly pragmatic in terms of the client as well as keeping an eye on the other side.’

Key clients

Deutsche Börse AG

Acarda Group

EWE ERNEUERBARE ENERGIEN GmbH

EWE AG

Naxicap Germany GmbH

GP JOULE IPP Assets GmbH

GP JOULE Holding GmbH & Co. KG

TUI Cruises GmbH

Tradebe Port Services S.L.

Elektrizitätswerk der Stadt Zürich (EWZ)

Storengy

Work highlights

  • Advising Deutsche Börse AG on the sale of Regulatory Services GmbH to MarketAxess.  
  • Advising EWE AG on the sale of its offshore subsidiary to VINCI.
  • Advised TUIC on the financing and implementation of the $1.3 billion takeover of HL Cruises.

Germany > Employment Tier 5

Watson Farley & Williams LLP mainly focuses on restructuring and reorganisation projects, including insolvency-related mandates, as well as employee data protection. The team also represents clients in labour court proceedings. The group is active in advising on redundany measures, negotiations with works councils on reconciliation of interests and social plans, as well as the introduction of new IT systems, including the negotiation of corresponding company agreements. This is complemented by capacities in the compliance area. Practice head Nikolaus Krienke demonstrates expertise in works constitution and collective bargaining law and advises on employee data protection as well as employee leasing.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Extremely committed and solution-oriented advice.’

‘Dr. Philipp Byers is an extraordinarily competent lawyer who combines specialist knowledge with negotiating skills.’

‘From our point of view, WFW is something special, because you always get a clear legal and risk assessment for all questions (that’s normal), but you always get clear recommendations for action on how to deal with very tricky cases in order to solve them as well as possible, noiselessly and in the interests of the company. The assessments of the legal cases are 100% correct for the subsequent outcome in court. Very short training period in very specific local regulations and very good market overview.’

‘Dr. Andreas Wiegreffe: Very precise analysis of the existing problems. Very quick and practical answers that get to the point. Thanks to his expertise, we were able to solve very difficult cases well and promptly. Clear assessments are made and clearly communicated. His role in internal discussions and negotiations with works councils and trade unions is outstanding, where his negotiating tactics and forward-looking approach were able to solve the most difficult conflicts, some of which had been smoldering for years.’

‘Good availability and coordinated communication within the team. So far, the law firm has always covered the skills we asked for and needed.’

‘Dr. Byers is always personal and available to us at almost any time. If you are prevented from doing so, you will always be contacted very quickly by Dr. Byers personally. This support is absolutely extraordinary. In addition, we are advised by Dr. Byers on employment law issues relating to the company merger and ideally covers the interface with employee data protection. In the case of cross-divisional issues, a division-specific expert from the law firm was always available for advice.’

‘Good coordination and responsiveness and informative value at all times!’

‘Pragmatic solutions and a good sense of humour.’

Work highlights

  • Advice and representation of the provincial holding and all subsidiaries in the labor law implementation of the merger of provincial Rhineland and provincial North West.
  • Extensive employment law support for the entire restructuring of the ADAC Group with staff reductions, which in particular also included the strategic design, coordination with the management consultants and close coordination of the project with the management and the board of directors.
  • Extensive advice on employment law to the München Klinik gGmbH as part of a multi-year restructuring plan, including negotiations with the general works council on reconciliation of interests and social plans.

Public sector > Public procurement Tier 5

Watson Farley & Williams LLP's practice extensively advises clients on infrastructure and digitisation projects with a focus on the health, telecommunications and transport sectors. Munich-based practice head Felix Siebler 'is characterized by a high level of expertise and great commitment' and focuses on infrastructure and digitisation. With the addition of senior associate Verena Sauer from PwC Legal (PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal AG Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft) in October 2020, clients can now also access procurement expertise at the firm's Hamburg office.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The cooperation is above all uncomplicated and can be practiced at any time, if required, completely independently of normal office hours. Furthermore, the law firm meticulously familiarizes itself with the respective subject-specific details. The personal approach of the law firm is always very customer-oriented and courteous.’

‘Dr. Felix Siebler advises us in particular on tender law and is characterized by a high level of expertise and great commitment. He is also willing to deal with the facts of the case and to check whether it makes sense before issuing a mandate .’

Key clients

DeRZ Deutsche Rechenzentren GmbH

Elektrizitätswerke Zürich (EWZ)

HJS Emission Technology GmbH & Co. KG

Klinikum Passau

Klinikum Landkreis Erding

Stadt Landshut

Gemeinde Pullach i. Isartal

Krankenhaus St. Josef Schweinfurt

Laber-Naab Infrastruktur GmbH

Klinikum Fürth

LANCOM Systems GmbH

München Klinik gGmbH, GRN Gesundheitszentren Rhein-Neckar gGmbH und Kliniken im Naturpark Altmühltal GmbH

Kreisklinik Wörth a.d. Donau

Kliniken Nordoberpfalz AG

Niedersächsische Landesbehörde für Straßenbau und Verkehr bzw. seit 1.1.2021 Die Autobahn GmbH des Bundes

Parkster GmbH

OMREX GmbH

Kreiskliniken Günzburg-Krumbach

PTC Telecom GmbH

Kliniken der Kreisspitalstiftung Weißenhorn

Jonas Better Place GmbH

Klinikum St. Marien Amberg

Work highlights

  • Advising the Lower Saxony state authority for road construction and traffic and, since January 1, 2021, the Autobahn GmbH des Bundes on the Europe-wide tender for a functional construction contract for the A1 federal autobahn in the section from AS Lohne/Dinklage to AS Bramsche.
  • Advice to the St. Josef Schweinfurt hospital on the Europe-wide tender for general planning services.
  • Advising Laber-Naab Infrastructure GmbH on the establishment of a municipal infrastructure company with 48 public shareholders in the districts of Neumarkt id Oberpfalz and Regensburg for the development and expansion of telecommunications infrastructure with task transfer by way of so-called in-house award and tendering of various framework agreements.

Private equity > Transactions

Watson Farley & Williams LLP has expertise in advising infrastructure funds as well as on transactions in the infrastructure and adjacent sectors.

Real estate and construction > Construction (including construction litigation)

A particular strength of Watson Farley & Williams LLP is the management of large infrastructure projects such as motorway construction - particularly in the form of PPP projects - and plant construction in energy production as well as the representation of international construction groups in defect processes.  
X

Dedicated to client care, industry focus and investment in our people
We are a sector specialist international law firm in the energy, transport and infrastructure sectors advising on complex transactions and disputes through local knowledge and an integrated international network.

Our business exists to help our clients achieve their goals, partnering with them to meet the challenges they face today and will face tomorrow.

Our values rest on developing deep and long-lasting relationships externally and internally through respect, sharing, communication and integrity.

We strive for excellence in all that we do and view investment in our people as key to achieving our business goals and values.

Our teams are integrated across legal disciplines and offices delivering consistently high levels of service locally and in combination across borders.

History: Sector focus has been at the heart of our strategy since we opened for business in 1982.  Having started life as an asset finance boutique focussing on the maritime and aviation industries, our transport focus quickly expanded to other supply-chain led industries, most notably, renewable and conventional energy and infrastructure across these industries.

Through our offices around the world, we provide a full suite of services within our core sectors enabling us to deliver exceptional value to our clients.

Facts

  • Founded 1982
  • 175+ partners
  • 580+ lawyers
  • 17 offices

Senior Partner: George Paleokrassas
Managing Partner: Lindsey Keeble

Global Sector Heads:
Aviation: 
Jim Bell, Charles Viggers
Energy: Malte Jordan, Henry Stewart
Infrastructure: Florian Kutzbach and Jose Maria Anarte
Maritime: George Macheras, George Paleokrassas
Mining & Commodities: Jan Mellmann
Oil & Gas: Chris Kilburn

PhotoNamePositionProfile
Nikolaus Krienke photoDr Nikolaus KrienkeNikolaus advises national and international companies on individual and collective employment law…
Torsten Rosenboom photoDr Torsten RosenboomTorsten specialises in domestic and cross-border M&A/private equity transactions, including M&A transactions…
: