Firm Profile > Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL > Brussels, Belgium

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 1

Although Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's banking work is primarily weighted towards advising lenders/financiers, the firm is experiencing a notable uptick in sponsor/borrower mandates. Led by 'very professional' EMEA region practice head Antoine De Raeve, the dedicated transactional banking team demonstrates particularly strong capabilities in areas such as syndicated lending and real estate finance. Michael Van Acker is particularly well-known for his knowledge of leveraged acquisition and leveraged real estate finance transactions. Raeve and Van Acker are 'smart, knowledgeable and commercial'. In 2017, Van Acker, recently promoted counsel Eric Blomme and senior associate Hélène Van Steenberge acted for Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis, Crédit Lyonnais, ING Belgium, KBC Bank and La Banque Postale (as arrangers and lenders) on the provision of financing to Fedrus International and certain subsidiaries for the purpose of acquiring building materials company VMZINC from Umicore, and also to takeover French company MCP Defrancq. The group's other areas of expertise include structured finance, export finance and asset-based lending. Blomme also recently acted as the lead adviser to BNP Paribas Fortis on financing the purchase of rapier weaving and airjet weaving machines by Turkish textile manufacturing company Kipaş Mensucat Işletmeleri Anonim Şirketi from Belgian exporter Picanol; Belgian export credit agency Credendo backed the financing. Koen Vanhaerents, who heads up the global capital markets practice, is active in both equity (including IPOs and secondary offerings) and debt capital markets transactions. Another key figure is Roel Meers, who was part of the group that assisted Mithra Pharmaceuticals with a €77.5m accelerated bookbuild private placement.

Environment Tier 1

Senior counsel Pascal Mallien, who is 'a great negotiator', and Jean-François Vandenberghe jointly lead Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's practice, which covers the environmental laws of all three Belgian regions, as well as European environmental law. The team 'stands out for its experience and insights'. Noted for its work for domestic and international corporate clients, the group's varied workload includes advice on zoning and planning regulation, permitting issues (including in relation to chemicals plants and wind farm projects), soil decontamination procedures, environmental litigation and the environmental aspects of real estate projects. Mallien and associate Mario Deketelaere are representing Lukoil Belgium in litigation concerning historical soil pollution at certain gas stations and former fuel depots. Monsanto, Orange Belgium and Haskoning also turn to the firm for advice.

EU regulatory: Food Tier 1

Geert Bovy's European food law group at Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL has been kept busy with labelling issues, advertising matters, product classification, and nutrition and health claims.

EU regulatory: Privacy and data protection Tier 1

GDPR compliance instructions have been prominent in Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's workload, but the team is very well known for its expertise in cross-border data transfers, international investigations, and data security obligations. The client roster includes prominent global clients from the telecoms, postal, technology, financial services, retail and healthcare sectors, among others. Belgium managing partner Daniel Fesler and Elisabeth Dehareng are key names.

Real estate and construction Tier 1

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's real estate team had another buoyant year in 2018, acting on a number of high-value transactions for financial institutions and developers involving residential, office, commercial and hotel acquisitions. Highlights included advising Equity Estate Participations on terminating a Murabaha structure with Kuwait Finance House and acquiring a cross-border portfolio of logistic properties from the entity. Jean-François Vandenberghe is the name to note. Rudy Dupont moved to Allen & Overy LLP in January 2019.

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 2

The 'very efficient and knowledgeable' corporate finance team at Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL has the ability to handle domestic and cross-border transactions, with particular experience in the biotech and financial services sectors. The group recently acted for Suspa Holding on its cross-border acquisition of the Suspa Group from Andlinger & Company. In another work highlight, a team led by Dominique Maes and Davinia Martens was instructed by Brussels Airlines on its acquisition of Thomas Cook's Belgian airline business. Roel Meers, alongside partners based in New York, advised Van Herk Investments as shareholder of Ablynx on the unsolicited tender offer for Ablynx by Novo Nordisk. Koen Vanhaerents heads the practice, which also includes Luc Meeus, who has considerable expertise acting for private equity firms. The department also counts Panasonic and Mondelēz International among its clients.

Competition: Belgian law Tier 2

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's first-rate reputation has made it a go-to for Belgian competition law advice among domestic and international clients. It is highly regarded in major behavioural investigations; its team has advised clients on matters connected with insurance, financial services, automotive and wholesale pharmaceuticals, among other areas. The 'very proactive' group, which is co-led by Kurt Haegeman and recently promoted partner Joost Haans, also excels in large, industry-significant mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. Recent highlights for the team, which is praised for its 'excellent communication and technical skills', include advising Cardoen on the competition aspects of its sale to Aramis Auto/PSA, and assisting D'Ieteren with obtaining unconditional phase one clearance of its acquisition of Care. At senior associate level, the team was strengthened by the arrival of Bram Hoorelbeke from Stibbe. Senior associate Vincent Mussche 'really goes the extra mile for his clients'.

Competition: EU and global Tier 2

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's team has an excellent record of negotiating clearances of big-ticket mergers. It also has a strong track record securing favourable outcomes for clients in antitrust investigations and litigation. The firm's EU state aid practice, which is led by of counsel Nina Niejahr, is also a major area of activity. The firm has strengthened its offering by hiring associate Bram Hoorelbeke from Stibbe. Another notable individual in the group is Werner Berg, who led a team that assisted Sappi with the merger control aspects of its acquisition of Cham Paper's entire paper business. Recently promoted partner Joost Haans and others are acting for Archer Daniels Midland in its $1.8bn acquisition of French animal nutrition business Neovia, and also its first investment in Africa via a joint venture with Cargill. In recent developments, Bill Batchelor moved to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLPFiona Carlin is the global head of the practice. The highly regarded team also includes Gavin BushellKurt HaegemanAnahita Thoms and of counsel Paul Johnson.

Employment Tier 2

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL is adept at handling collective bargaining, transactional support, restructuring, and collective dismissal programmes. François Gabriel heads the department, which includes key contacts Nancy Luyten and Sebastian Burg.

Intellectual property Tier 2

Koen De Winter heads the IP department at Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL.  The 'very proactive' team is adept in non-contentious and contentious copyright, trade mark and patent matters; in an example of its strength in the patent space, the group is defending 15 companies of the Becton Dickinson group in a patent infringement dispute brought by B. Braun Melsungen and B. Braun Malaysia. Elisabeth Dehareng is another name to note.

Private equity Tier 2

The private equity practice group at Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL is instructed by funds on a range of transactions and advisory matters, with particular experience in sectors including life sciences, energy and financial services. The department acted for Korys Investments and Etablissementen Franz Colruyt on the acquisition of the shares in the Newpharma group. A team, led by Dominique Maes, also advised Ergon Capital Partners III on its €150m buy-out of Keesing Media Group from Telegraaf Media Group. In another work highlight, the team was instructed by the Federal Investment and Participation Company to advise on the tax, corporate and legal aspects of the structuring of a €400m fund. The practice, headed by Koen Vanhaerents, also counts Vendis Capital, Gimv and TA Associates among its clients. Luc Meeus is another key name to note.

Tax Tier 2

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL is a strong choice for domestic and international tax planning and litigation. Its longstanding clients include Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Tupperware and Johnson Controls. The firm's international reach makes it well placed to provide planning advice on a company's international tax structure across multiple jurisdictions. It also has an excellent record handling the tax aspects of inbound and outbound M&A, private equity and corporate finance transactions, as well as fund structurings. The team includes Géry Bombeke, who heads up the Belgian transfer pricing practice, and Brussels practice head Alain Huyghe, who focuses on tax controversy work. Also recommended are Luc Meeus, and senior associates Thomas Gernay (a recent hire from Tiberghien) and Julie Permeke.

Dispute resolution Tier 3

IP and IT litigation dominates Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's caseload, and the practice is also widely recognised for its strength in construction, environmental and financial services disputes. The client roster includes Orange and Van Ratingen. Koen De Winter and Daniel Fesler share leadership of the group.

Industry focus: IT and telecoms Tier 4

The TMT practice at Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL has expertise in IP, IT, e-commerce and data protection matters. Key names to note include practice head Daniel Fesler and Elisabeth Dehareng.

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Photo Name Position Profile
Dr Werner Berg  photo Dr Werner Berg
Mr Eric Blomme  photo Mr Eric Blomme
Mr Géry Bombeke  photo Mr Géry Bombeke
Mr Geert Bovy  photo Mr Geert Bovy
Mr Sebastian Burg  photo Mr Sebastian Burg
Mr Gavin Bushell  photo Mr Gavin Bushell
Ms Fiona Carlin  photo Ms Fiona Carlin
Mr Antoine De Raeve  photo Mr Antoine De Raeve
Mr Koen De Winter  photo Mr Koen De Winter
Ms Elisabeth Dehareng  photo Ms Elisabeth Dehareng
Mr Daniel Fesler  photo Mr Daniel Fesler
Mr François Gabriel  photo Mr François Gabriel
Mr Joost Haans  photo Mr Joost Haans
Mr Kurt Haegeman  photo Mr Kurt Haegeman
Mr Alain Huyghe  photo Mr Alain Huyghe
Mr Paul Johnson  photo Mr Paul Johnson
Mr Christopher Jones  photo Mr Christopher Jones
Mr Gregory Lebrun  photo Mr Gregory Lebrun
Mr Dominique Lechien  photo Mr Dominique Lechien
Mr Philippe Lion  photo Mr Philippe Lion
Ms Nancy Luyten  photo Ms Nancy Luyten
Mr Dominique Maes  photo Mr Dominique Maes
Mr Pascal Mallien  photo Mr Pascal Mallien
Ms Davinia Martens  photo Ms Davinia Martens
Mr Carlos Martinez Rico  photo Mr Carlos Martinez Rico
Mr Roel Meers  photo Mr Roel Meers
Mr Luc Meeus  photo Mr Luc Meeus
Mrs Nina Niejahr  photo Mrs Nina Niejahr
Mr Pierre Sculier  photo Mr Pierre Sculier
Mr Jef Slootmans  photo Mr Jef Slootmans
Mr Michael Van Acker  photo Mr Michael Van Acker
Mr Olivier Van Baelen  photo Mr Olivier Van Baelen
Mrs Annick Van Hoorebeke  photo Mrs Annick Van Hoorebeke
Mr Jean-François Vandenberghe  photo Mr Jean-François Vandenberghe
Mr Koen Vanhaerents  photo Mr Koen Vanhaerents