Austria

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Österreichischer Rechtsanwaltskammertag

Competition authority: Die Bundeswettbewerbsbehörde (BWB)

Financial regulator: Die Finanzmarktaufsichtsbehörde (FMA)

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:

Energy and infrastructure (published June) - Energy and infrastructure

Financial and corporate (published October) - Banking and finance, Capital markets, M&A

Jurisdiction overview

The upper echelon of Austria’s legal market is dominated by the country’s larger domestic firms - Binder Grösswang, CHSH Cerha Hempel Spiegelfeld Hlawati, Dorda Brugger Jordis, Schoenherr and Wolf Theiss - with one exception in the form of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

A clear distinction can be drawn between the stronger domestic firms on the market: those that have expanded internationally into CEE (Central Eastern Europe) and, in some cases, the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), and those that opted against this strategy. CHSH, Schoenherr and Wolf Theiss are the most notable proponents of an international model; Binder and Dorda fall into the latter category. 

Looking at it from an Austrian context, there was a good rationale behind developing an international network. After the collapse of communism, Austrian businesses – most notably the larger banks and energy companies - expanded aggressively into CEE and, until the financial crisis, markets in the region were hugely profitable. 

However, there are benefits to the local model too. Purely domestic Austrian firms can offer clients the greater flexibility of choosing which firms they work with in other jurisdictions. Firms can pick the best firm for any given mandate, or simply work with the leading local firm in a jurisdiction, if the circumstances are right.  

Aside from Freshfields, only a few international firms have a presence in Austria, with most choosing to service their clients in the country from Germany. In terms of the size and calibre of their Austrian offerings, CMS and Baker & McKenzie also have significant practices. 

Spin-offs from local and international firms in Austria are not uncommon in Vienna. Some lawyers are frustrated by the limited options for partnership; in other cases there are frictions about the direction or remuneration policy of firms. There are a number of recent examples of this trend. Schindler and Partners was formed by partners from Wolf Theiss and Schoenherr; the Vienna branch of Eisenberger & Herzog was established by lawyers from Freshfields in Vienna; and, Benn Ibler is a boutique established by a team from DLA Piper. 

Ben Naylor - EMEA Editor

Financial and corporate
Binder Grösswang

Binder Grosswang is one of the leading firms in the market for transactional work, particularly in the banking and corporate finance area. It is unusual among the large Austrian firms with strong transactional practices in that it only has offices domestically, although this has never noticeably hindered its ability to secure cross-border work.  

Lending advice is a strength of the firm. When working on banking and finance deals it often advises lenders, and acts for most big domestic and regional banks. Project finance – especially in relation to wind power plant developments – is a type of work where the firm is among the more experienced Austrian firms. It also known as one the country’s stronger banking regulatory firms. 

The firm has a good capital markets team. The group is predominantly active on the debt side and often advises locally based lenders on commercial paper programmes but also has recent IPO experience on the underwriters. 

The M&A team secures a share of the market’s top deals and is often involved in cross-border inbound acquisitions involving financial sponsors (Adrian is a regular client), where it typically advises private equity firms as buyer or seller.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Canal+ Group acquisition of M7 

•Daikin Group acquisition of AHT Group 

•Emirates NBD Bank acquisition of Turkish DenizBank 

•Lenzing / Duratex joint venture 

•Steinhoff restructuring 

•Sun European Partners acquisition of ESIM Chemicals 

•Verbund €100 million green schuldschein issue 

•Verbund €500 million syndicated financing   

Client feedback

"Extremely focused on the case, highly practical approach and good time lines in delivering the expected documents." – Banking

"Emanuel Welten knows the debt market like no one else. He is very responsive, pragmatic and communicates extremely well. The firm has a good network and team behind the partner. They are well connected in the Austrian market and we use them for international deals as well." – Capital markets : Debt

"Very profound knowledge of investment fund regulation, and take a very practical approach." – Investment funds

"Competent. Friendly. Fast." – M&A

"Very responsive, highly professional and straight to the point." – M&A

"Quick, flexible and service oriented." – Private equity

"Overall they were perfect. On time and focused on client needs." – Project development

"I was extremely satisfied - Binder provides high level of responsiveness, elaborate advice and business guidance." – Project development

"Deep understanding, good experience in this topic." – Project finance

Project finance"A highly professional firm. Fast and precise work, creating a perfect cohesion between parties that helps a lot in the project development process."  

"Extremely impressed with the support we received. Timely advice and very responsive.” – Restructuring and insolvency

"Excellent, prompt handling; easy to reach; excellent understanding of the problems - it couldn't have been a better experience.” – Restructuring and insolvency

"Binder provided an excellent overall service, demonstrating professionalism, responsiveness and efficiency, paired with a hands-on and solution orientated approach.” – Restructuring and insolvency

"Profound knowledge, very flexible and client oriented.” – Restructuring and insolvency

"They are quick in assessing the situation and provide proper legal consulting for complex problems.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“Good partner involvement; great response time; solution oriented.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Stephan Heckentaler

"Excellent knowledge of industry and regulation, easy to reach and highly responsive. Very good practical approach when it comes to problem solving. Excellent negotiator in both English and German."

Gottfried Gassner

 "Competent, friendly, fast."

"Excellent, prompt handling; easy to reach; excellent understanding of the problems. It couldn't have been better ." 

Markus Uitz

“He is simply perfect. He provides advice on time and in excellent quality, he knows our business and is able to propose best legal solution for our business.”

“Markus is an extremely capable lawyer, versatile in both real estate, corporate but also energy related matters.”

Stefan Tiefenthaler

"Excellent ability to find solutions in difficult situations."

"Solution-focused, connects parties."

"Very friendly and professional client support, innovative."

Thomas Schirmer

"Smart, quick and reliable."

Georg Wabl

"Excellent responsiveness."

"Mr Wabl showed excellent knowledge of the discussed subjects, his accessibility and quick responsive time was crucial for the efficient handling of all time-sensitive matters in the connection with our assignment. He managed to find the balance between a practical, solution-focused and also risk-minimizing approach.  

"Very profound knowledge."

bpv Hügel

Bpv Huegel is active in corporate and M&A work, particularly in cross-border transactions. 

During the research period the firm advised the buyers and sellers in acquisitions, including a management buy-out transaction, in a wide range of sectors, including technology and software, real estate, hospitality and catering, medicine, sports and logistics and media distribution. It also advised on a joint venture in retail.  

The firm worked closely with key client IMMOFINANZ in a successful hostile takeover defence, the sale of shares in CA Immo and the parallel acquisition of shares in S IMMO.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•IMMOFINANZ €390 million acquisition of 29.15% stake in S IMMO 

•Starwood Capital €760 million acquisition of 26% stake in CA Immo 

•Swiss SoftwareONE acquisition of Comparex Group 

CERHA HEMPEL

One of the country’s largest firms, CHSH Cerha Hempel Spiegelfeld Hlawati has a network of offices in Central and Eastern Europe. The firm is broadly strong in transactional work but among the best in Austria for debt and local equity capital markets transactions and large cross-border M&A deals.  

The firm has a good, experienced banking team that works on large lending mandates and regulatory issues. It tends to act more for borrowers but does lender side work too. 

Capital markets has long been an area with which the firm is closely associated thanks to its work advising large Austrian corporates on going public and on managing these companies debt programmes. The firm continues to feature prominently on what larger deals there involving Austrian issuers, even on the mostly quiet equity side.  

The firm is notably strong on the corporate side and has relationships with a number of the country’s biggest companies and institutions, such as A1 Telekom Austria and OMV. The firm’s M&A team can be relied upon to secure buy or sell sides roles on large Austrian deals. It’s heavily experienced in the energy sector and frequently acts on deals for key client OMV. 

Recent deal highlights 

•Advent International $3.25 billion acquisition of GE's power unit 

•Fosun Industrial Holdings takeover of Wolford 

•Frequentis Vienna Stock Exchange IPO 

•Immofinanz €500 million 2.625% bond issue 

•OMV acquisition of 15% in ADNOC Refining 

•OMV / Sapura Energy Berhad joint venture 

•RHI Magnesita Vienna Stock Exchange listing 

•S Immmo €150 million two tranche (1.75% and 2.875%) bond issue

Client feedback

"Very fast and they can solve complex problems promptly and comprehensibly. They have a client-oriented strategy." – Banking

"High expertise in the relevant field, strong commitment, a very good cooperation." – Capital markets : Debt

“The law firm is the best partner in all legal matters. They have lawyers experienced in all kind of special legal areas. Communication is easy and the results of work are excellent.” – Financial and corporate

"Accurate, determined." – Financial and corporate

"Expertise and knowledge as well as analytical skills offered by Dr Knobl." – Financial services regulatory

"Highly professional and reliable. High banking, financial and regulatory knowledge. Services provided tailored to our business model." – Financial services regulatory  

“CHSH has a very strong corporate/M&A practice. They are capable of handling various large transactions simultaneously at a top notch service level, in particular when it comes to quality and efficiency, which we normally need very quickly. CHSH moreover provide an unbeaten price-performance ratio mainly due to the very flexible and efficient team led by Clemens Hasenauer." – M&A

"Probably the best M&A law firm in Austria - top M&A law expertise and excellent negotiation skills." – M&A

"Great firm - very responsive, great industry knowledge, works with passion and a strong identification with client's interests." – M&A

"Great results - highest possible commitment, reasonable pricing and high flexibility. Good cooperation with other international law firms. Senior partner Albert Birkner has the highest possible competency." – M&A 

"Prompt, practical solutions." – Project development

"Great firm - very good knowledge of the law, great business acumen and a practical, hands-on approach." – Project development

"Quick and reliable." – Project development

"Outstanding work. An engaged team led by Albert Birkner." – Project development

"Advice was provided on time and to the point, and was reasonably priced." – Restructuring and insolvency

Albert Birkner

“Highly knowledgeable, perfectly skilled when it comes to tough negotiations, surrounded by an excellent team.”

"Simply excellent in corporate and takeover law and transaction structuring. The highest possible commitment and endurance; solution driven; adapts perfectly to risk appetite of client."

“Outstanding work even in challenging situations; can call him any time, very responsive, excellent advice.”

Clemens Hasenauer

"Responsiveness; diplomacy; quickness; accuracy; profound knowledge of many legal areas.”

"Clemens Hasenauer stands out as a top lawyer who is not only technically excellent and fully focused on the deal but also very strong in negotiations, which he conducts with great authority and success. In negotiations, Clemens always is at least one step ahead of his counterparts. He also has a deep understanding of our business and implements what is important for us from a commercial perspective."

Edith Hlawati

“Highly professional and very experienced. Dedicated to her clients´ success."

Hans Kristoferitsch

"Good communicator; very friendly; excellent knowledge; prompt and practicable solutions."

Peter Knobl

"Excellent regulatory lawyer."

“Proven expertise in fields of banking, stock exchange and financial regulation.”

“High professionality and reliability. High banking, financial and regulatory knowledge. Services provided tailored to our business model.””

Johannes Aehrenthal

“Johannes responds within just a few hours, at least with notice of when the matter will be handled. I trust Johannes completely to understand what is critical, and to follow up. Great sense of responsibility. Makes your problem to his problem.”

“Great professionality, excellent availability, takes charge and puts himself in the shoes of the client.”

Heinrich Foglar-Deinhardstein

“He represents all excellent characteristics of the law firm and on top he has an outstanding understanding what are the client needs and how to meet them.”

Mark Krenn

“Highly professional, excellent negotiator, excellent coordinator.”

Thomas Trettnak

"Very easy to deal with, super friendly and fast, with very good knowledge of the law."

Thomas Zivny

"Combines expertise of the overarching legal concepts with the ability to provide concrete results."

CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz

The Vienna office of international firm CMS has one of the market’s leading public law practices and an experienced M&A team. The firm is also broadly experienced on advising on deals in the real estate sector. 

In the banking and finance area the firm has a good practice which generally roles on sizeable syndicated or real estate financings (by Austrian standards) and does work for lenders and large local borrowers. On the lender the firm does work for local banks lending cross border to borrowers based elsewhere in CEE.  

In the capital markets area the firm has experience advising issuers on bond sales. 

The M&A occasionally secures roles on high-end deals involving an Austrian party. The team has a range of sector experience and works on deals involving strategic buyers and private that are more often than not cross-border.   

In the projects area the firm is known for its expertise in procurement work relating to large domestic and regional transport infrastructure. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•ADX acquisition of Zistersdorf & Gaiselberg oilfields 

•Alpa acqusition of Argo 

•B2Holding / DDM Group acquisition of Heta Croatian servicing platform and loan portfolio 

•Verbund €500 million syndicated financing

Client feedback

"Very reliable an responsive; very good sense for the allocation of possible problems and/or chances of financial products; good understanding of the importance of timing; strong team of capital market experts." - Capital markets : Debt

Dorda

Dorda is a venerable Austrian firm that is broadly strong in financial and corporate work. The firm is particularly good in equity capital markets work and M&A. 

In lending and finance work the firm is frequently instructed to advise as local counsel on large cross-border deals and recently advised on syndicated loans, export financings and debt restructurings. The firm’s work in this area is generally divided fairly evenly between advising lenders and borrowers. 

Capital markets is an area where the firm is often lauded by clients as one of the best firms in Vienna for preparing Austrian IPO prospectuses, and it features on most large IPOs on the Vienna Stock Exchange for one side or the other. 

In a related specialism to equity capital markets work, the firm is arguably the country’s leading public M&A expert and general works on what large Austrian public deals there are. 

In the restructuring area the firm is good on the debt side and has worked on several of the largest Austrian cases over the last few years (Heta and Steinhoff), representing creditors.   

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Addiko Bank Vienna Stock Exchange IPO 

•Baumax restructuring 

•De Raj Group Vienna Stock Exchange listing 

•Egger Holzwerkstoffe €150 million hybrid bond issue 

•Gilde Buy Out Partners acquisition of Gundlach Automotive Corporation  

•HNA Group acquisition of majority stake in C-QUADRAT Investment 

•SAZKA Group acquisition of Casinos Austria  

•Steinhoff restructuring 

Client feedback

"Fast, efficient and accurate. Price was also very fair." – Banking

"Dorda is clearly one of the leading capital markets firms in Austria and a go-to firm for me that I frequently involve in capital markets deals and refer to clients." – Capital markets : Equity

"Very professional; the highest quality advice." – Capital markets : Equity

"Very experienced, great network organisation, strategically excellently balanced." – M&A

"Dorda was efficient, to the point, with great communications, and succeeded in delivering the best result possible." – M&A

"Particularly well-versed in US practice and perspective in M&A transactions and how to translate that point of view into European transactions." – M&A

"Partner led; very responsive; very accurate and pragmatic." – M&A

“Dorda has a strong transactional focus but is also a full service firm. This is relevant for us since we are also a full service firm and they can provide us with high end advice not only in the usual areas." – M&A

"Juergen Kittel's work was first rate in terms of understanding of cross-border transaction market standards; responsiveness; attention to detail; and practical approach."  – M&A

"Dorda has been very responsive, commercially aware and fast at understanding the situations at hand. They have been good at simplifying complexity and finding solutions, always with a pragmatic approach. They have taken an holistic approach to their role and instilled confidence and trust throughout the process." – M&A

"Fast; deep understanding of our business; creative; excellent negotiation skills." – M&A

"Very responsive and flexible and eager to meet client's needs." – M&A

"Highly professional service on all topics covering Austrian law, specifically in corporate and M&A in an international environment." – M&A

"Very straight forward and pragmatic approach with the required legal depth." – Project development

Andreas Mayr

"Andreas is a senior and highly experienced capital markets lawyers with excellent judgment and client handling skills. A pleasure to work with."

"Absolutely senior; very well experienced; great network; very creative to find solutions." 

"Very senior, professional lawyer with comprehensive experience and understanding of clients' needs."

"Cooperation with both was impeccable. It could not have been smoother."

“High quality advice. Very client focused.”

Bernhard Müller

"Swift and detailed comprehension; excellent legal knowledge and strategic approach.”

Bernhard Rieder

"Very responsive, eager to meet client's needs, and flexible." – 

Christian Ritscha

"Excellent M&A attorney with strong knowledge of the market for deal terms and a thoughtful, practical approach to problem-solving in transactions."

Juergen Kittel

Highly diligent, very pragmatic, very responsive, strong negotiators

“Juergen is our main contact, in particular for M&A work. He has a hands on and commercial approach and he is our go to guy for complex transactions. He has a deep legal knowledge, but is nevertheless pragmatic and very client & transaction orientated.”

“Juergen Kittel is all-round first rate. I have recommended him to other clients.”

“Clear in communication, fast understanding, fast acting, deep understanding of our needs/business, fast solutions, reactivity and excellent strategic negotiator.”

Martin Brodey

“Martin’s approach is direct, solutions-oriented and pragmatic. He is a strong communicator, who brings confidence and trust.”   

Tibor Varga

"Always highly recommend him for almost every type of work that we normally require in our bank."

Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner

Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner is the strongest firm in Austria for financial and corporate restructuring advice and has an active M&A practice that often works on distressed transactions. The firm is also known for its expertise in a specific area of projects work.  

In M&A the firm’s restructuring work often sees it instructed on related transactions such as spin-offs and divestments, or NPL sales in the banking sector.  

In project development work the firm excels specifically in advising on environmental impact assessments and has recent experience on large infrastructure developments. 

For more than a decade the firm has had a share of the largest more complex restructurings in Austria or those with an Austrian element. The firm is more often seen representing creditors – and has close relationships with most if Austria’s largest lenders – but also works for debtors on large cases as evidenced by its recent work for Steinhoff.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Bawag acquisition of 49% in Finventum 

•Liechtensteinische Landesbank acquisition of Semper Constantia Privatbank 

•Oesterreichische Kontrollbank acquisition around 69% in Österreichische Hotel- und Tourismusbank  

•Semper Constantia Privatbank takeover of Liechtensteinische Landesbank 

•Steinhoff restructuring 

•Waagner-Biro restructuring 

•Wienerberger takeover of Carinthia Brick Factory

Client feedback

"Extremely professional; knowledge of the subject matter; negotiation power; pragmatism; efficiency; strongly oriented on our needs; goal-oriented; very swift responses and processing times." – Banking

"Extraordinary expertise in banking and M&A. Excellent transaction lawyers and tough negotiators." – M&A

“Excellent oil industry knowledge and provide client oriented solutions." – M&A

"Provide comprehensive legal service. Strong analytical and negotiation powers." – M&A 

Markus Fellner 

"Extremely professional; knowhow of the subject matter; negotiation power; pragmatic and efficient; strongly client and goal oriented; very swift responses and processing times."

"Excellent banking and M&A expertise. Tough but solution-oriented negotiator."

"Excellent oil industry knowledge; provides client oriented solutions; very accessible."

"Strong negotiation power; strong industry knowledge; very well perceived in the country."

Graf & Pitkowitz

Graf & Pitkowitz is active particularly in restructuring and M&A. 

During the research period in banking the firm advised on debt and corporate financing, real estate finance and on collateral in insolvency. 

In capital markets work the firm advised on the capital decrease of energy giant Lukoil as part of its corporate restructuring. 

In M&A the firm advised both buyers and sellers in acquisitions, including advising on the Austrian parts of Velux’s acquisition of the European JET Group. 

In restructuring and insolvency the firm represented Niki Luftfahrt, an Austrian airline, in the insolvency proceedings of Air Berlin, and later in its own insolvency. 

Stephan Schmalzl, a counsel in banking and finance, left the firm in the research period.  

Recent deal data highlights 

•Lukoil International restructuring 

•Niki Luftfahrt Austrian insolvency proceedings 

•Velux acquisition of European JET Group 

Client feedback 

“We very much like the firm's responsiveness and vision.” – M&A 

“Perfect work.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

Hauser Partners

Hauser Partners is an independent firm active in cross-border transactions across the corporate space.  

During the research period the firm was predominately focused on M&A. It advised buyers and sellers in acquisitions in pulp and paper mills engineering, industrial bag production and consumer packaging. Mondi Group was a key client for the firm.  

Recent deal data highlights 

•Consortium of Austrian Entrepreneurs acquisition of FMW Förderanlagen  

•Mondi Group €24 million acquisition of NPP 

Client feedback  

“Highly experienced in M&A, arbitration and in our industrial sector. Excellent connections to us as a client on all levels (from CEO to working level). Full focus on us. Very concise and realistic advice.” – M&A 

“Excellent attention to detail, very focused on risks.” – M&A 

“Highly professional, well connected internationally and highly reliable.” – M&A 

“Highly skilled in cross-border M&A, coordinating local counsel in various jurisdictions and implementing our group standards. Very responsive and gives senior and seasoned advice. Maybe the firm could be a bit larger to have more bench strength, but not really an issue in our collaboration.” – M&A 

Peter Blaschke  

“Very meticulous, concise analysis and output.” 

Wulf Gordian Hauser 

“Long-standing experience and unrestricted recommendation.” 

“Very experienced; finds solutions for difficult problems, excellent industry knowledge.” 

“Well-respected senior lawyer. Very easy to work with, extremely thorough and committed; solution oriented and as tough as they come in negotiations.” 

Held Berdnik Astner & Partner

Held Berdnik Astner & Partners is active in banking and M&A. 

In banking the firm had mainly financial regulatory roles, in which it advised on regulatory frameworks for Austrian market entry, the formation of innovative start-ups in digital private banking, real estate finance, and SWAP agreements. 

In M&A the firm advised on the buy and sell side of acquisitions in the technology, commercial and non-commercial real estate, automotive engineering, and energy and infrastructure sectors. It also advised shareholders on the setup of a joint venture and advised a bidder in distressed M&A. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Alten Group acquisition of Kämmerer  

•Isovoltaic and Ring joint venture  

•Swedish Hexagon Group acquisition of Nextsense 

Client feedback 

“Strengths: thorough and detail-oriented, good knowledge of case law.” – Banking 

oehner & partner

The Austrian arm of PwC Legal is active in financial regulatory services and M&A.  

In banking, the firm undertook predominantly financial regulatory roles, advising on a range of regulatory aspects including outsourcing, investments, insurance regulatory law for InsureTech start-ups, MiFiD II, the European Banking Authority, anti-money laundering, Brexit and proposed acquisitions and financing by financial institutions.  

In M&A the firm advised buyers and sellers in acquisitions in the chemicals, automotive engines, and renewable energy sectors. It also advised on the spin-off of an animal healthcare products portfolio and a home heating product portfolio. 

Evgeny Rodionov joined the firm as counsel in finance and international from Sberbank Europe.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Eli Lilly and Company spin-off of animal healthcare product portfolio  

•Gienanth acquisition of SLR 

•Honeywell Austria spin-off of home heating product portfolio 

•ProAgro acquisition of AGRO  

Client feedback 

“Good response time, solid legal and business understanding.” – Financial services regulatory 

Pelzmann Gall Größ

EY Law is particularly active in M&A and joint venture transactions. 

During the research period the firm almost exclusively advised buyers on acquisitions in technology, software and chemicals sectors, many of which included establishing subsequent joint ventures with merger control.  

Stephan Größ joined the firm and corporate team as a partner from Baker McKenzie Austria during the research period. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•BWT acquisition of Ukranian Ecosoft Group 

•COIM Chimica Organica Industriale Milanese acquisition of 50% stake in Atmosa Pertrochemie  

•Gnutti Carlo acquisition of TCG Unitech  

Client feedback 

“Sustained track record of high performance. Possesses high levels of drive, initiative and commitment. Highly motivated to contribute and influence where they can make a real difference to clients. Personal mindset.” – M&A  

“Excellent know-how combined with practical approach.” – M&A 

“Fast, reliable, consistent.” – M&A 

“Very committed, hands-on approach, easy access.” – M&A 

“Very professional and dedicated team, but also pragmatic. Quick and always available.” – M&A 

Georg Perkowitsch 

“Consistently strong contribution and very motivated with high levels of drive, initiative and commitment. Has a relaxed mindset and pulls complex information together quickly with a lot of routine, providing comfort to the client.” 

“Easily accessible, good understanding of business and its problems, hands-on mindset, meets timelines and complex issues are solved in an understandable way.” 

“Georg is highly professional and very experienced in M&A and corporate matters. He has high integrity, gives profound input and is able to quickly turn around and implement results of discussions and negotiations in any contractual framework.” 

Mario Gall 

“Very solution oriented with creative approach while managing risks professionally.” 

Rautner

Rautner is a Vienna-based boutique active in banking and finance and capital markets.  

In banking the firm advised on real estate, project, and syndicated financing. In project finance, it advised the borrower Windkraft Simonfeld on the financing of 13 new wind power plants.  

In capital markets the firm worked closely with Erste Group Bank, as arranger, on updates to its additional Tier 1 notes programme and debt issuance programme. It also advised joint lead managers in multiple bond issuances of undated fixed to fixed resettable notes and fixed-rate mortgage covered bonds. 

Melany Buchberger-Golabi was hired as a partner in real estate during the research period from Schindler.  

Recent deal data highlights  

•Windkraft Simonsfeld €50.3 million financing 

•Erste Group Bank €500 million bond issue 

•Erste Group Bank €1 billion 0.75% covered bond issue 

•Erste Group Bank €2 billion AT1 bond programme 

Client feedback 

“The firm provides good value for money and they are excellent for standard, normal financings, together with structuring for transactions.” – Banking 

“Overall great impression, very hands-on, always available, cost-efficient and commercially-focused. Highly recommend!” – Banking 

Uwe Rautner 

“Rautner is a well-rounded finance lawyer able to advise on structuring as well as deal execution.” 

“Overall excellent work, very friendly and customer focused with a high level of sector knowledge. Great international connections with best-friend firms.” 

Schoenherr

Austria based regional firm Schoenherr has talented teams for all areas of work covered by the ranking tables.  

In banking and finance the firm in often mandated to advise on large syndicated loans, debt restructurings and acquisition financings. With good relationships with large Austrian banks and local and international corporates and investors, the firm does a mix of borrower and lender work.  

The firm’s capital markets practice is one of only a handful on the local market with experience of advising on large structured finance and securitisation transactions. It is also well-versed in more conventional deals and will generally be seen, on one side or the other, on some of whatever significant bond sales by domestic issuers and primary or secondary equity issues there are in Austria.  

The firm has an outstanding M&A practice that, even among the other top tier M&A firms, is notable for the volume of high-end deals it secures roles on. Its work spans most important and regulated sectors and it has, in the recent past, been involved in key deals in the automotive, banking and power sectors. 

Another area where the firm is considered a market leader – thanks to its regulatory expertise – is in project development work. It acts for the state and private sector on PPPs and purely private sector projects and has recent experience working for sponsors on large transport and power projects. 

Restructuring and insolvency is an area where the firm has a dedicated team and prominent position in the market. Over recent years it’s built a name for itself for representing banks in restructuring or pre-insolvency scenarios but, as with its lending practice, the firm often advises banks as creditors in large domestic or regional matters.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Advent International $3.25 billion acquisition of GE's power unit 

•Aves acquisition of NACCO/CIT Group's German and Luxembourg operations and assets 

•BC Partners acquisition of United Group 

•Buwog takeover of Vonovia 

•Kika-Leiner Group restructuring 

•Liechtensteinische Landesbank acquisition of Semper Constantia Privatbank 

•Starwood Capital €760 million acquisition of 26% in CA Immo 

•Vienna International Airport

Client feedback

Banking

"Extremely knowledgeable; detailed oriented; very innovative."

"Fast, precise and pragmatic support. Always able to handle complex situations and adapt to changing circumstances."

"The practice is outstanding. We value in particular their experience, solution-oriented approach and prompt feedback."

"Very competent team not only with respect to Austria but various eastern European jurisdictions such as Hungary and Czech Republic."

"Very efficient, always on time and reliable."

"Very good legal advice."

Capital markets : Debt

"Lots of experience; quick responses."

"Very responsive, high quality, good persons to work with."

Capital markets : Equity

"Fast responses; always one step ahead; a very good team."  

"Very strong and a deep bench."

Capital markets : Structured finance and securitisation

"Excellent."

"Strong and solid approach to legal issues, fair pricing and entrepreneurial."

Financial services regulatory

"Excellent knowledge in the matter and processing it; made clear arguments to convince the judge."   

"Good performance."

"Highly motivated, quick reaction times, high competence."

"Very impressed by Schoenerr's ability to work and utilise its network as one integrated cross-CEE company. Very quick, very responsive."

"Very reliable and professional."

"Very strong strategic skill-set; good legal background and know-how; talented negotiators."

Private equity

"Perfect understanding of the local tax situation in combination with private equity."

"We are highly satisfied with their quality, speed, active approach and responsiveness."

Project development

"Competent with practical information and well understanding of the clients' wishes."

"Excellent service; high quality advice. They handle very complex matters in an extraordinarily professional manner and have outstanding individual lawyers."

"Highly competent and professional work; a lot of experience with authorities and how they work."

"The law firm has extensive knowledge in the field of activity and supports us perfectly. Due to the available resources, a short-term reaction to our concerns or problems is possible."

"Very smart, very quick and really understood my needs."

Restructuring and insolvency

"Know-how; expertise; proactive; good availability of senior lawyers; a cross-country, cross-discipline approach."

"Schoenherr has a professional team of experts on all relevant topics involved in the case. Easily accessible and quick to respond.

"Schoenherr is very professional and competent on restructuring. The approach is very pragmatic and supportive to reach reasonable targets."

"The company has the right CEE coverage for  cross-border cases in addition to deep legal knowledge. I would underline their exceptional understanding of the business needs and proactive approach to business problems and questions."

"Their strength clearly lies in their extensive experience. In addition, the law firm has specialists in all subject areas." 

"Very hands-on approach, very pragmatic and always available."

Alexander Popp

"Very clear and fast in providing feedback and comments; excellent understanding of business requirements; easy to talk with."

Bernd Rajal

"Fantastic public law and energy lawyer. Very experienced in providing project related advice, outstanding industry knowledge (in particular in energy), and very solution-orientated. For me one of the best I have ever worked with; the lawyer to call for really difficult or sensitive cases." 

"Very smart and friendly and worked hard on our topic."

Christian Schmelz

"Highly professional and competent lawyer with a lot of experience."

"Christian Schmelz has an excellent knowledge and is perfectly connected in the scene. His professional knowledge coupled with his calm and very personal style is perfect for our work."

Constantin Benes, Bernd Rajal and Julia Wasserburger

“Perfect service - professional quality, competent, good problem-solving skills and quick support.”

Juergen Kittel

“Highly motivated, high responsiveness, very high legal knowledge.”

Markus Piuk

"Very responsive, smart, business oriented and efficient, and fluent in 5-6 languages."

Martin Ebner

"One of the best structured finance lawyers in the country."

"Senior partner with the firm, very knowledgeable, available, proactive, constructive, and solution oriented."

"Strong client orientation; deep understanding of the business and proactive approach to our needs; flexible."

"Very good lawyer and client relationship manager."

"Very reliable and service oriented. Also good for an exchange of ideas outside a specific mandate."

Miriam Simsa

"Very extensive experience in restructuring an banking law. good negotiating skills.

Peter Feyl

"Dr Feyl is a excellent lawyer with deep Austrian legal knowledge and an excellent banking knowledge. Given our long-term relationship his support is very proactive." 

“Dr Feyl is the expert in his field. On top of being very knowledgeable, he is also very pleasant to work with.”

“Peter is one of the most experienced and most brilliant banking & finance lawyer in Austria. Always working very solution oriented and always available.”

Sascha Hödl

"Extremely thorough and diligent based on a large corpus of experience and local and international experience, very hard worker, solidly pleasant to work with and without exception aware of the bigger commercial and strategic issues as well as deal flow and market rumours.”

Ursula Rath

"Excellent work and availability."

"Excellent and a real pleasure to work with."

"Very active in the market; brilliant team player; speedy and responsive; good knowledge of the Austrian markets."

Wolfgang Höller

"Always clear on risks, he had a plan, was in control of the entire process and made sure all parties involved delivered on their promises."

"Best lawyer I have worked it in the field of insolvency."

"Good understanding of business and economic relevance of legal action. Very quick in understanding and very good in explaining complex structures."

Wolfgang Höller and Miriam Simsa

"Mrs Simsa and Mr Hoeller are very competent and flexible."

Taylor Wessing e|n|w|c

The Austrian branch of Taylor Wessing is active in banking and M&A.  

In banking and finance the firm advised borrowers on debt refinancing and real estate and acquisition financing, while advising lending banks on securities and syndicated loans.  

In M&A the firm advised on both the buy and sell side of acquisitions in technology.

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Norske Skog Bruck refinancing 

•OHB acquisition of of TeleConsult Austria 

•Walstead acquisition of NP Druck  

Völkl

Völkl law firm is active in banking and finance. 

During the research period the firm advised Austrian banks on outsourcing for IT infrastructure and banking services, structuring lending products with collateral, Brexit-related lending contract structuring and deposit protection schemes. 

Client feedback 

“Strengths: know-how, flexibility, speed. Weaknesses: None.” – Banking  

“Excellent work, the partners are always available for their clients. Clemens Volkl has a broad knowledge of banking.” – Banking 

Clemens Völkl  

“Strengths: know-how, capability, innovation. Weaknesses: none.” 

“He is an excellent lawyer; very innovative, easy to talk, always available on the phone and via email; very experienced in the fields he is advising clients in.” 

Weber & Co

Weber & Co is a local law capital markets specialist that frequently secures roles on the prominent Austrian transactions of this type.  

The firm is an outlier among those based in Vienna that advise on big ticket capital markets deals. In an area largely dominated by larger domestic and international full-service firms, the majority of which have regional networks, Weber & Co has a small team with a narrow focus. What the firm lacks in scale and breadth, however, it makes up for in expertise.  

Weber & Co was founded by one of the country’s leading securities law academics, Stefan Weber. Now he rarely takes the lead role on deals, but the relationships and reputation he built locally with underwriting banks and issuers are being maintained through the work of his team. 

The firm is more closely associated with advising underwriters but has plenty of experience working on the issuer side of bonds, equity-linked securities, and IPOs or secondary offerings, and is recommended for preparing IPO prospectuses.   

Capital markets deals – both debt and equity – kept the firm busy this research period. Debt issues represented the more dominant share of the work, and the majority of the equity transactions, which include a number of IPOs, are still in the preparatory stages. 

The firm is active in M&A to, and is sometimes seen on large public M&A deals.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Addiko Bank Vienna Stock Exchange IPO 

•Buwog takeover of Vonovia 

•Haier Group acquisition of Greenonetec Solarindustrie 

•Marinomed Biotech Vienna Stock Exchange IPO 

•Oberbank €250 million 0.75% bond issue 

•OMV €1 billion dual tranche (0% and 1%) bond issue 

•OMV €500 million 2.875% bond issue  

•RLB Vorarlberg €500 million 0.5% bond issue

Client feedback 

"A boutique firm with very hands on mentality. I appreciate the responsiveness and accurate performance, you always feel well advised." – Capital markets : Debt

"Extremely well positioned and connected law firm in corporate finance. In particular, Christoph Moser is hands on and knows what he is doing. He is very responsive and knows the international markets as well." – Capital markets : Debt

"Very responsive and diligent working style. Pragmatic approach and tailor-made advice. Christoph Moser was very helpful in negotiating specific Austrian law related topics." – Capital markets : Debt

"Christoph Moser is a rising star in the Austrian IPO scene. Christoph is very knowledgeable, proactive, commercial and goes the extra-mile to help to get the transaction done." – Capital markets : Equity

"Highly knowledgeable, great responsiveness and particularly constructive." – Capital markets : Equity

"Pragmatic law firm with experienced partners with a client orientated and personal approach. Firm puts the time and effort into building a good relationship from the start of a project which pays off when you're working as a team. It's a pleasure to work with all team members, especially with Christoph Moser who is very approachable and fantastic to work with." – Capital markets : Equit

"Technically strong, very hands-on, responsive and pragmatic." – Capital markets : Equity

"Very fast responds; always one step ahead; and recently invested in additional lawyers." – Capital markets : Equity

"With Christoph Moser leading the Weber & Co team we never had a better cooperation on IPO transactions. He is highly committed and very experienced, solution oriented, hard-working, pragmatic and unpretentious when it comes to execution thereby avoiding lengthy discussions. Never had a more trusted relationship with a legal counterpart." – Capital markets : Equity

Christoph Moser

"Christoph is always available for his clients and keeps a close contact even in times when deal flow dries up."

"Very good interaction - perfectly responsive and you always get a response. High problem-solving capability." 

"Very good, very responsive and pragmatic."

"Very responsive and diligent. Pragmatic approach and able to understand client's needs. Shows willingness and is able to negotiate."

"Very responsive and provides clear and practical advice."

Very solution oriented, short response times and high quality work."

Wolf Theiss

Wolf Theiss is among the largest, strongest firms in Austria and has a network of offices in Central and Eastern Europe. Although the firm has experienced teams for all areas of work covered by the rankings, its finance and projects teams are particularly notable for their expertise.

The firm has relationships with Austria’s leading banks and advises these lenders on a variety of corporate finance and real estate finance transactions, both nationally and cross border to borrowers in the wider region. 

In the capital markets area the firm is one of the most active in the country on the debt side. The firm often advises its bank clients on debt programmes and in recent years has established itself as the most experienced firm on the market for regulatory capital issues by local lenders, working on the vast majority on either the buy or sell side.     

Structured finance and securitisation work with an Austrian originator is rare but the firm is one of the few on the market with experience of work of this type, and picks up work on deals with an Austrian element.   

The firm’s M&A practice is active and always generally present on a few of the country or regions largest deals. It’s experienced on deals involving financial sponsors on the buy and sell side. 

The firm’s projects team is among the markets best. It has experience on deals relevant to all key industries and on PPPs. 

In the restructuring area the firm is experienced too, and has had roles on several large Austrian cases advising debtors recently. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Asfinag on EUR 600 Million Bond 

•Raiffeisenlandesbank €500 million AT1 4.5% bond issue 

•Raiffeisen Bank International €500 million 0.25% green bond issue 

•Republic of Srpska €200 million 4.75% bond issue 

•OMV €500 million 2.875% bond issue 

•Steinhoff restructuring 

•Trans Austria Gasleitung €450 million refinancing 

•Vienna International Airport

Client feedback

Asset finance

"Excellent; broad know how, specialist lawyers, outstanding transaction advice and document drafting/negotiation support.

Banking

"They provided answers to all our questions and acted with utter professionalism and efficiency."

Capital markets : Debt

"Deep knowledge and expertise in capital markets and profound network in all relating fields. Short response time and tremendous view on client needs."

"We are very happy with the strong performance, short response times and accurate work, especially as the Vienna office is also involved in CEE transactions on request this is very helpful and smoothens the process.

Capital markets : Derivatives

"Diligent, knowledgeable, experienced."

M&A

"Good communication and responsiveness; on the point advice; strong handling of documentation."

"High quality work; very responsive and committed."

"Horst and his team are excellent. They are proactive, commercial, succinct and collaborative."

"Horst Ebhardt and his team are excellent M&A lawyers. They are commercial, responsive and proactive, exactly what I (and the ultimate client) expect."

"Very knowledgeable about the countries in CEE. Wolf Theiss is the go-to firm in the region."

"Very strong M&A advisory firm. Very professional; consistent quality delivery across CEE geographies; partners are very experienced and hands-on transaction counsel."

Project finance

"It was really great - Leopold Höher did an excellent job. A hard-working guy who is well versed in big, complex transactions.

Restructuring and insolvency

"I have been in contact with Wolf Theiss a couple of times. Most recently, I worked with Doris Buxbaum and Eva Stadler. They are very detailed in their work, responsive and they have a lot of knowledge. Finally, they are realistic in their goals and achievements."

"Technically good and experienced restructuring lawyers - very responsive and very cooperative and very good team players. It was possible for us, having the lead on some parts of the project, to provide the client with seamless cross border service."

"The team, consisting of Andreas Schmid and Michaela Zakharian continuously provide excellent legal support and bring in profound commercial understanding and pragmatic approach to resolve complex issues in the restructuring process."

Alexander Haas

"Exceptional."

"Good performance; quick response times; innovative and solution oriented."

Andreas Schmid

"Andreas Schmid and Michaela Zakharian continuously provide excellent legal support and bring in profound commercial understanding and pragmatic approach to resolve complex issues in the restructuring process."

"Very experienced."

Christian Mikosch

"Responsive, efficient, pragmatic."

Christine Siegl and Claus Schneider

"Highly knowledgeable, experienced and diligent."

Doris Buxbaum

"Doris Buxbaum has a lot of knowledge on Austrian law, knows a lot of details and is realistic in her goals."

Eva Spiegel

"Very good and cooperative restructuring lawyer."

Horst Ebhardt

"Horst is one of the best lawyers in CEE. He's both capable of leading large, complex transactions himself, or overseeing a multi-practice team acting as our Austrian counsel in a transaction. He is pragmatic and direct and always makes me look good in front of the ultimate client."

"Horst is one of the leading M&A lawyers in CEE.  He is equally adept and enthusiastic leading complex, multi-jurisdictional transactions and serving as Austrian counsel for a firm like ours. While he delegates to his team, he is always aware of the important issues and lends his valuable insight."

"Knowledgeable, quick, clear in communication and creative."

"Very strong commitment to service quality. Very strong commitment to the development and visibility of his firm. Patient, diligent and very experienced transaction counsel, able to handle complex and challenging situations."

Leopold Höher

"Excellent up and coming young partner, already very experienced."

Marika Lomashvili

"Friendly, always hands-on, effective and excellent professional." 

Nikolaus Paul

"Best on the fly drafting of contracts I have ever seen. Very dedicated, works 24/7 for his clients. Outstanding knowledge of a variety of legal topics. Very well connected."

"Niko impresses with his in-depth commercial knowhow and is always a major contributor to a successful deal with his calm and to the point approach. His availability has almost no limits when entering into the hot phase of a transaction."

Sarah Wared

"Quick and highly solution-oriented."