Netherlands

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten

Competition authority: Autoriteit Consument & Markt

Financial regulator: Autoriteit Financiële Markten

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:

Financial and corporate (published October) – Banking, Capital markets: Debt, Capital markets: Equity, Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation, M&A, Project finance, Restructuring and insolvency

Jurisdiction overview

The largest of the Benelux nations, in terms of area, population and economy, the Netherlands is a major global economy. By any measure it is among most prosperous nations in the world, with a GDP above that of Turkey or Switzerland and a GDP per capita ratio that exceeds that of major economic powers such as Germany, Canada and Australia.

It is also a major global transit point for business. The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and was, for four decades, the world’s busiest port before being surpassed by Singapore. It is also a major trading hub, with Amsterdam home to the world’s oldest stock exchange and strong current capital markets structures.

An open and stable economy, the Netherlands is considered to be one of the best places to do business in the world, and subsequently it is an attractive market for many foreign companies looking to establish a presence within the EU. It has also become something of a hub for investment in Africa, with a large number of funds focused on projects on the continent.

While the country has a diverse economy, it was hit particularly hard by the global financial crisis. However, the situation continues to improve and recent years have seen increasingly sophisticated and complex products coming to the market, along with regulatory changes aimed at improving the business environment.

As one of the more open markets in the world, it is little surprise that there are few restrictions on international firms and lawyers operating in Amsterdam, where virtually all financial and corporate lawyers operate from. Indeed, the legal market itself is a vibrant mix of international, regional and domestic firms, from the very top down to smaller offices. There is also a good for choice for clients in terms of the different types of firms operating, with full service organisations operating alongside boutiques in a number of practice areas.

Being an established and sophisticated market, lawyers tend to be specialised in their work, with a strong focus on a particular practice area. In some, such as capital markets or banking, there is an increasing tendency towards highly-specialised lawyers with a strong focus on specific areas. Generally speaking, though, the quality of lawyers from the largest to the smallest firms is of a very high quality, comparable to any in the world, and they are regularly involved in matters with global significance.

Jon Moore - Journalist - EMEA

IFLR1000 2019: Netherlands market trends and developments

Financial and corporate
AKD

Domestic firm AKD is recognised in the Dutch market for its banking, M&A and restructuring work.

In the banking area the firm works for both lenders and borrowers in matters including refinancings, restructurings and acquisition financings.

Among other notable work the M&A team has advised on numerous cross-border matters. A clear highlight included acting for Brian Beheer in the sale of Spirit and its overseas activities in the US and Malaysia to ABB. Another notable deal saw the team assist the Spanish Azbil Telstar Group, which forms part of Japanese Azbil Corporation, in selling its Dutch subsidiary to American group The Baker Company.

In project finance the firm has been active on energy and real estate mandates. A notable ongoing venture has seen the firm act for VolkerWessels in respect to the largest ongoing Dutch redevelopment project in Strijp-S.

In the restructuring and insolvency space the firm’s lawyers are regularly appointed as bankruptcy trustees and administrators on important mandates. Recently, lawyers have worked as bankruptcy trustee in the bankruptcies of companies including Atlantic Marine, Ebcon and Royal Imtech.

The firm added projects partner Marjolein Dieperink from Houthoff, and finance counsel Cathelijn Frederiks from NautaDutilh during the research period.

Along with those outlined above, the firm has also worked with international clients such as JPMorgan, Ralph Lauren and Standard Chartered.

Client feedback

“Strong innovation capability. Strong and diverse team of professionals. Strong on business knowledge.” – Capital markets

“AKD has proven to be extremely responsive, always providing clear and to-the-point instructions. Their ability to understand complex and multi-layered projects within a very short period of time, and their ability to anticipate the next steps and potential issues to be dealt with, allowed us to structure and handle the project in an efficient and expedient manner.” – M&A

“AKD provided good value for money. Also, in a number of other matters AKD provided excellent advice in a timely matter.” – M&A

“AKD's lawyers excel in responsiveness and acumen. It is always a pleasure to contact them as they provide outstanding and useful advice.” – Project development

“Swift responses, in-depth expertise, creative, and experienced in the field.” – Project development, project finance

“AKD is a high-quality, cost-effective, commercial, pragmatic, and solutions-oriented firm.” – Project finance

Vincent Bettonville

“Easily accessible.”

Taco de Lange

“Innovative, client-oriented, and has good business knowledge.”

Jeroen Pop

“Very experienced. Has been very responsive and hands-on too. He is quick-thinking and solution-oriented.”

Nathalie van Woerkom

“She is a great adviser for corporate matters. She's very much client-oriented and ensures that she forms a team which can deal with the matters at hand.”

Jasper Verhoog

“Excellent. Very astute and commercial. Highly intelligent. Able to put clients at ease. Authoritative and commands respect.”

“He is responsive and highly knowledgeable. You feel that he goes the extra mile.”

“Very responsive and hands-on. Great expertise and provides clear and quick instructions focusing on the objective, thereby also rendering innovative solutions.”

Marc Wintgens

“Fast. In-depth knowledge of the industry.”

“Outstanding.”

Allen & Overy

Magic circle firm, Allen & Overy, is considered to be among the best in every practice area ranked by the IFLR1000 in the Netherlands. The firm is known to have close working relationships with international and Dutch banking groups, and often works on the market’s leading financial transactions.

The banking team tends to act on the lender side, and has acted for the likes of ABN Amro, ING Bank and Rabobank on several deals during the research period. The firm has also worked on large-scale refinancings for borrowers, notably representing brewery Bavaria and bicycle company, Accell.

The banking sector has also played an important part in its recent debt capital markets work, with several bond issuances and hybrid capital issuances standing out.

In the equity space, the firm participated in IPOs, rights issues and accelerated bookbuildings. A clear trend saw the firm represent a host of issuers as they entered and exited the Euronext Amsterdam, with key clients including Alfen, NEPI Rockcastle, NIBC Bank and VolkerWessels.

Securitisation and structured finance work has seen the firm advising extensively within the banking sector in the Netherlands, with the firm notably working on EDML programmes for Goldman Sachs.

The M&A team has been active in terms of deals by value and volume, with technology companies and manufacturing groups making up a significant proportion of clients. The firm arguably also has one of the strongest private equity practices in the jurisdiction, and works closely with the likes of 3i, Bencis Capital Partners and EQT.

In the projects space, the firm often works for banks in helping finance several of the market’s biggest developments. Clear highlights include acting for the European Investment Bank (EIB) on the Netherlands Flood Defence PPP project as the developers sought to strengthen the 32km long Afsluitdijk in North Holland.

There were noticeable patterns in the firm’s restructuring work during the research period, with deals tending to be in retail, construction and shipping, mirroring the struggles faced by businesses in the market.

A notable staffing change saw capital markets counsel Bas Jennen depart to join fellow-magic circle firm, Linklaters. Furthermore, capital markets specialist Niels van de Vijver also dropped out of the partnership to turn to consultancy.

Besides those mentioned, other recent clients of the firm include other banking groups like Commerzbank and Natixis, and investors like NPM Capital and Macquarie Capital.

Client feedback

“Finance team is strong, highly skilled and motivated.” – Banking

“Knowledgeable, flexible, creative.” – Banking

“Pragmatic, easy to work with.” – Banking

“Very professional. Experienced. Very fast in looking after and acting in our best interests.” – Banking

“Highly valued sparring partner. On time delivery, detailed in documentation, solid business understanding, which translates through in the documentation. Strong in execution, very professional, high skilled, always available.” – Banking, M&A

“Very professional, experienced and efficient. Always meeting challenging deadlines.” – Banking, M&A

“Accurate, expert and give quick responses.” – Banking, project finance

“Client-friendly, sharp, value for money, commercial acumen.” – Capital markets

“Very knowledgeable lawyers. Really adding value to our project. Has in-depth expertise in the areas of the subject matter, a good network, a strong capability in terms of balancing the commercial and legal aspects in a case, and pleasant lawyers to liaise with.” – Capital markets

“Allen & Overy has been involved in nearly every PPP to date and therefore has extensive (technical) knowledge from both financing and procurement perspective. An absolute strength is its client focus, very short response time and very pro-active and consistent high quality of work.” – Project development, project finance

“Best in the Dutch market.” – Project development, project finance

“Very competent and pragmatic. Keen to get to a position that satisfies all parties efficiently.” – Project development, project finance

“Allen & Overy is an outstanding law firm in the Netherlands and in my sector - project financing - ranks in the top three. The firm is involved in almost all transactions and has an excellent market knowledge.” – Project finance

“Excellent work by one of the most professional and experienced law firms in the project finance field in the Netherlands, provided by their most senior expert partner.” – Project finance

“Partners are very knowledgeable on both the construction and the financing parts of PPP. Very good negotiating skills, always quick thinking, pro-active, solution-driven. Pleasant people.” – Project finance

“The firm has a very good understanding of all the relevant issues that may arise when structuring a project finance deal. They are very capable in translating difficult legal matters into simple issues that can be discussed with the client.” – Project finance

“Up-to-date market knowledge of legal jurisdiction and recent deals. Quick responses.” – Project finance

“Professional, high quality, dedicated. Thorough knowledge of insolvency. Relevant network. Cooperative.” – Project finance, restructuring and insolvency 

“Responsive, with a broad network able to cover foreign jurisdictions and specific industries.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie in the Netherlands acts on matters across the financial and corporate spectrum, with a particular strength in banking.

Recently the firm’s banking team has acted on restructurings, acquisition financings and work related to project finance. Clear deal highlights include work advising APM Holding and IES on the financing of the construction of the Maritim Hotel project in Amsterdam. Additionally, the firm worked on the financing of the acquisition of pet food supplier IQI for private equity house Egeria. 

In the financial services regulatory space, the firm notably advised banking groups and international corporations on matters such as the consequences of Brexit, MiFID II and PSD2.

In capital markets, the firm worked on several debt mandates, representing the likes of Arrow Global Group, Nyrstar and Willis Towers Watson. Among several notable securitisation matters, a highlight saw the team advise Deutsche Bank on the financing of the acquisition of a Spanish loan portfolio by various Dutch entities owned by Cerberus Capital Management.

The firm’s M&A and transactional private equity practice has worked on a number of large deals. A standout deal saw the firm act for private equity firm, Ergon, in setting up a partnership to acquire puzzle publisher Keesing Media Group from Telegraaf Media Group.

Notable staffing changes saw the departures of banking partner Marcel Janssen and corporate partner Kuif Klein Wassink, who both joined Dentons Boekel. Energy partner Weero Koster also left the firm during the research period.

Other key clients of the firm include Credit Suisse, ING Bank and Petrobras.

Client feedback

“Strong technical knowledge coupled with sound market expertise.” – Capital markets

“Provided a very pro-active and pragmatic approach towards the refinancing carried out.” – Project finance

“The law firm provides very good input.” – Project finance

Clifford Chance

The Dutch office of magic circle firm Clifford Chance is recognised for its strength in financing mandates – within banking, debt capital markets and project finance – where it comfortably sits as one of the very best in the market. 

In the banking space, the team has been active on several facilities arrangements, spreading its work evenly between lenders and borrowers. Notable mandates included representing The Student Hotel on a green financing matter, and assisting ABN Amro on the restructuring of two of its business divisions.

In the debt capital markets space, the firm worked with a wide variety of international banks on notes issues, representing the likes of Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, and Morgan Stanley on mandates.

The equity capital markets team has notably advised a US private equity investor as a selling shareholder in the IPO and listing on Euronext Amsterdam of ordinary shares of a Dutch bank. The firm has also worked on share offerings and the issuance of convertible notes.

The firm has represented Rabobank on several mandates on securitisation and structured finance matters, notably helping the Dutch bank establish its covered bond programme in May 2017.

Perhaps the most significant matter that the M&A team worked on during the research period, saw it acting for KKR on its offer to purchase Q-Park, a pan-European operator of parking garages. Other notable mandates include acting for 3i on two acquisitions and Sanoma on two disposals.

In the projects space, the firm carried out notable work on mandates on solar parks, technological data centres and wind energy. Key clients during the research period included Eneco, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Mitsubishi Corporation.

During the research period, the restructuring and insolvency team has expanded its team internally. The team worked on significant restructurings in the Dutch market, including that of bottle manufacturer Frigoglass, where it acted for the lenders.

Notable staffing changes saw finance specialist Jan-Joost van Rijsbergen depart to join Simmons & Simmons, and M&A specialist David Griston head to Dentons Boekel. Corporate counsel Mark Loefs also moved on to become a partner at Orange Clover Law.

Beyond those already mentioned, some of the firm’s key clients include banking groups like BNP Paribas, ING Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Client feedback

“Good advice for getting unitranche financing in place. For general acquisition finance and corporate financing structures, LMA-based Clifford is one of the best in the Netherlands to go to.” – Banking

“Knowledgeable, pro-active and on the ball. They are able to 'translate" complex legal issues to into simple sentences, making it easier for banks or corporates to understand the position of the other party and come to a solution that works for all parties at the table.” – Banking

“Professional, pragmatic, clear, knowledgeable.” – Banking

“We have an ongoing strong relationship with the banking & finance practice of Clifford Chance in Amsterdam. They do all our deals, and they understand the things we need precisely. Cooperation works seamlessly, and we are able to focus on our end of the business, while they look after our legal work.” – Banking

“Experienced team with overall in-depth knowledge of capital markets, asset-based finance and securitisations. Dedicated to meeting deadlines. Well-rooted in various jurisdictions, which provides a clear advantage in cross-border deals.” – Banking, capital markets

“Very good knowledge of leveraged finance documentation. Well aware of what is going on in the market. Pragmatic and solution-driven. Uses experience and creativity in difficult and complex situations.” – Banking, M&A

“Experienced lawyers with great knowledge. Able to advise in a pragmatic way. Very happy to have had them as our adviser on the project.” – Capital markets

“The lawyers we worked with were highly professional, innovative and client-focused. They fulfilled the role of issuer council exactly how we would like them to. Furthermore, their knowledge of Dutch-specific legislation, as well as the political process around new legislation, has been very valuable in the last years.” – Capital markets

“Very strong international practice. Fully up to speed on the most recent developments in the area.” – Capital markets

“Solid team, good at working together. Practical.” – Restructuring and insolvency

CMS Derks Star Busmann

CMS’s strongest transactional practices are banking and M&A, with the firm generally maintaining a good share of the market’s significant deals in these areas within the real estate sector. 

The firm’s banking and finance team has been involved in a variety of transaction types – though its key strength lies in property financing. A few of the highlights saw it acting on GreenOak’s financing of new Rotterdam offices, and advising Bouwfunds on the disposal of its European car park fund.

In M&A the firm has a good reputation for working in the hospitality, life sciences and oil and gas sectors. Recently the firm acted for Hillgate Investments / Volker Wessels on the sale of Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport Hotel, and for contact lens-maker CooperVision in connection with its acquisition of Procornea.

Retail and real estate were among the busier sectors for the firm’s restructuring and insolvency team during the research period. A clear cross-border highlight saw the firm act as silent administrator, court appointed administrator and trustee in the bankruptcy of Portugal Telecom International Finance.

Deutsche Pfandbriefbank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) are among the firm’s key corporate clients. 

Client feedback

“They have the ability to develop solutions. Their integrity is very high.” – M&A

“Good knowledge, clear advice and good communications. Timelines are met.” – Project development, project finance

“Thorough and keen on detail.” – Restructuring and insolvency

“Very dedicated team, top professionals, high standards, nice people to work with.” – Restructuring and insolvency

Marlous de Groot

“Great to work with – very professional.”

Marcel Groenewegen

“Smart.”

Roman Tarlavski

“He is extremely well prepared and very good in finding solutions in M&A. It is a pleasure to work with him (and his team).”

“Probably the best lawyer I have worked with during my 30 years of services.”

Marc van Zanten

“Very professional. A real nice guy who keeps up his promises.”

Erik Vorst

“Offers open and transparent communication, and has a good knowledge of the law and business.”

Wilmy Westerhof

“Great to work with – very professional.”

De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek

One of the leading domestic firms in the Netherlands, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek’s main strengths are its market-leading M&A and equity capital markets practices. 

The work of the banking team often supports the other practices in the firm, most notably on the financing related to acquisitions and on the placements of bonds. The firm has recently worked for borrowers including electronics company, Philips, and airport operator, Royal Schiphol Group, on financing deals.

Deal highlights within the capital markets space include acting for AkzoNobel on its dual track process for the separation of its specialty chemicals business. Moreover, the firm notably assisted Rabobank on its offering of new certificates to retail and institutional investors.

The firm was involved in some of the market’s most significant M&A work, notably working on takeovers involving AkzoNobel, Unilever and Telegraaf. A further highlight included acting for Q-Park in the sale of its shares to private equity firm KKR.

In the projects space, the firm is particularly strong in financing, acting primarily on the borrower side. The firm worked with BAM PPP on a number of projects including on the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, the Schiphol Complex and the A12 and N33 motorways, 

Despite the general reduction in work across the jurisdiction, the firm is active in the restructuring and insolvency space, and notably advised the likes of Grupo Isolux Corsán and Premier Oil on their restructurings. Away from transactional work, the firm also succeeded in helping push through a proposal to include a restructuring tool in the Dutch Bankruptcy Act.

A notable staffing change at the firm was the retirement of capital markets specialist Jan Marten van Dijk.

Following impressive work over a sustained period, the firm rises to tier two in the structured finance and securitisation rankings.

Beyond those mentioned, key clients of the firm include Bain Capital, Deutsche Telekom and engineering firm, Chicago Bridge & Iron Company.

Client feedback

“They know our company and business well.” – Capital markets

“Best-in-class local firm. Highly engaged. Knows client well.” – Capital markets, M&A

“De Brauw did a tremendous job in a complicated dual track process: separation of part of the company and separate M&A and IPO tracks.” – Capital markets, M&A

“Integrity, client focus and loyalty are all top notch. Their legal advice is very strong.” – M&A

"They have a high quality of work and are able to deliver on short timetables.” – M&A

“De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek is an excellent law firm. Their expertise is beyond any doubt. They operate pro-actively and provide excellent, useful advice and work with dedicated teams.” – Project finance

Ferdinand Hengst

“He knows our business very well.”

“Tries to look at a problem from multiple angles. Always delivers in time of the deadlines.”

Jan Willem Hoevers

“Top quality adviser. Good business acumen. Relaxed.”

Diederik Maessen

“Excellent, flexible, and a good communicator.”

Gaby Smeenk

“Excellent work on the preparation for a de-merger and listing. Good judgment, good technical knowledge, and a quick turnaround of documents.”

Menno Stoffer

“Sound financial knowledge, experienced.”

“Talented, extremely hard working, and legally strong but equally importantly pragmatic.”

Bommel van der Bend

“Knowledgeable, experienced, and makes good communication.”

Dentons Boekel

Dentons Boekel is recognised for its offerings in banking, where it specialises across a broad range of transaction types including acquisition, export and commodity finance.

Recent highlights in the banking sector included acting alongside Dentons’ other offices on advising investment firm KKR on the financing aspects of its acquisition of the Unilever spreads business. A notable real estate finance deal saw the team advise Europe Hotel Private Collection (EHPC) on the acquisition of Parkhotel Den Haag and the related financing of the acquisition by ABN Amro.

During the research period key staffing changes included the arrival of banking partner Marcel Janssen and corporate partner Kuif Klein Wassink from Baker McKenzie. Partner David Griston also joined the M&A team from Clifford Chance, while projects partner Jan Jakob Peelen arrived from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Further key clients of the firm include Deutsche Postbank, HSBC and Starwood European Real Estate Finance.

In March 2017, Dutch firm Boekel merged with global firm Dentons to form Dentons Boekel.

Client feedback

“I have extensive (and very positive) experiences with the banking lawyers that recently joined Dentons Boekel from Baker McKenzie. A great team: pragmatic, transparent, easy to work with. Their availability and dedication is good; consistently meet deadlines or finish even quicker.” – Banking, project finance

“A very ambitious, young team that wants to break into the market. They work very hard and are very responsive. Strong focus on their clients and on closing transactions (practical).” – M&A, project development

Dirkzwager

Dirkzwager is an independent domestic firm recognised for its work in M&A. 

During the research period, the firm’s M&A team advised clients in the energy, manufacturing and technology sectors, among others. Deal highlights include work for Green Vision in connection with an investment from Abengoa, and for Rupro Beheer on the purchases of all shares in Maha Nederland, Maha Vehuur and LBS Beheer, a supplier for synthetic and rubber conveyor belts and components.

Chemoil, Coldenhove and SecureLink are also among the firm’s key clients.

Client feedback

“Committed and also available outside normal working times.” – M&A

“Excellent lawyers. Very responsive to calls for action. All fields of expertise covered.” – M&A

“I was impressed about their specific knowledge of their area of expertise.” – M&A

“Multidisciplinary team with lots of expertise within the whole company. Our lawyer helped with all M&A documents and gave good advice, also after the project was finished.” – M&A

“Provides quality advice. Their service delivery and turn around time is excellent. Partners are supported by good managing associates on M&A work.” – M&A

“Very experienced and professional negotiators in M&A. Excellently performed their part of a project management task and ironed out the legal wrinkles in our complicated deal. Dedicated and available round-the-clock.” – M&A

Florent

Dutch corporate boutique Florent is known as a strong mid-market practice, and is recognised for its strength in the M&A space. It is particularly active in assisting clients on post-transaction conflicts, where it can draw the experience of its strong restructuring and insolvency team.

During the research period the firm’s M&A team has mostly been involved in matters in financial services, pharmaceuticals and real estate. Deal highlights include advising construction company Hemubo on the acquisition of the majority of the shares in H&R Bouw, and supporting private equity house Quadrum Capital on the simultaneous acquisition of Oxilion and Fundaments.

Avion Group, De Correspondent and New York Pizza are among the firm’s notable clients.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

In Amsterdam, magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has a focus on high end work, and its banking and securitisation practices rank among the best in the country. The firm maintains a wide client base incorporating corporate entities, financial institutions and other capital providers.

In the banking area, the firm worked on an assortment of matters including acquisition financing and refinancing. A standout matter saw the firm represent a syndicate of banks on the refinancing of SK Fire Safety across several jurisdictions. The firm also assisted Rabobank and the Dutch state export finance arm, Atradius, on multiple export finance transactions in jurisdictions such as Madagascar, Ukraine and the Republic of Benin.

The capital markets team is recognised for its strength in the structured finance and securitisations space, but is also recognised as a top performer for both debt and equity work. In the equity space, the firm notably advised Digi Communications on its IPO on the Bucharest Stock Exchange, and Argenx on its admission to listing and trading on Euronext Brussels. In securitisation and structured finance work, the firm advised RNHB and CarVal Investors on the acquisition by RNHB of part of the commercial real estate loan portfolio of FGH Bank.

In the M&A space, the firm impresses with some of the most high-profile mandates in the market, working on public takeovers, multi-jurisdictional private M&A transactions, and on European private equity work. Within the private equity space, the firm represented several clients in the real estate space including Ares Management and OneLog.

The restructuring and insolvency team maintains a strong presence in the market, most significantly demonstrated by its restructuring work for Takata Europe, whose presence was earlier threatened after its defective airbags led to a large number of product recalls.

Among the firm’s staffing changes was the departure of finance specialist Max Mayer, who moved on to become a partner at DLA Piper. Likewise, Menno Verboom and Lisa Hees left the M&A team to become a partner at Vriman and a general counsel at StartGreen Capital respectively.

Key clients of the firm include banking groups such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, as well as corporates like the NN Group, Brazillian company Oi and Telegraaf Media Group.

Client feedback

“Highly professional. Quick and sound replies. Deep knowledge, vast expertise in various legal sectors and possesses excellent communication style (understandable for non-lawyers).” – Banking

“Their lead lawyer is very sharp, talented and works with great rigour. He understands what in-house counsels need and delivers that and more. He embraces Freshfields' tech innovation to benefit us and improve turn around, which has been very impactful. A truly trusted adviser for us.” – Banking

“Very commercial and focused legal work on what we truly needed and was important. Creative and strategic on the structuring of the deal. Well-thought through approach to the transaction and very pro-active. Great team with adequate level of expertise throughout the deal.” – Banking

“Their strengths include a deep understanding of corporate law in the Netherlands and long term experience in corporate/finance legal disputes.” – Banking, restructuring and insolvency

“Strong team with good strength-in-depth. Responsive and able to deliver to tight timelines. Able to draw on tax advice and resources across multiple jurisdictions at short notice. Good value for money.” – M&A

“We have worked with Freshfields on a restructuring and insolvency case since 2014. Throughout, the firm has always provided clear, comprehensive, and competent strategies, also demonstrating forward thinking and anticipation of future or possible events that could affect the position of its clients (in this case, client group), especially risk events in the legal sense.” – M&A, restructuring and insolvency

“Excellent work on a highly complicated transaction. Instrumental in helping achieve a good result.” – Project finance, restructuring and insolvency

Greenberg Traurig

The Dutch office of international firm, Greenberg Traurig, is recognised for its work in the M&A space within the legal market. Its recent work covers a variety of sectors including energy, food and beverage, healthcare and real estate matters.

Recent M&A highlights included advising Bracco Imaging on the acquisition of all shares in SurgVision, and assisting Gooiland on the sale and transfer of its security business to Securitas.

Apart from those mentioned above, other notable clients of the firm include healthcare companies Fit Channel and Gilde Health Care.

Client feedback

“Down-to-earth. Hands on. Flexible. Constructive. Creative. Technical experts.” – M&A

“Know-how, practical attitude.” – Project finance, restructuring and insolvency

Hocker

Hocker is a boutique Dutch M&A practice, which operates across the market in sectors including aviation, energy and technology.

In the M&A area the firm has worked on matters including divestments, joint ventures, mergers and sales during the research period. Key highlights include representing insurance group Colimbra on its sale to American rival Solera, and assisting marketing group Omnicom on the merger of two of its Dutch agencies, 180 Amsterdam and Kingsday, to form 180 Kingsday.

Pluripharm and TCC Global are among the firm’s notable clients. 

Hogan Lovells

In the Netherlands, international firm Hogan Lovells has good financial and corporate practices. The office’s primary strengths are in banking and M&A where it has completed recent deals within the energy, financial services and real estate sectors.

The firm’s banking and finance team has been involved in a variety of transaction types –acquisition, project and real estate financings, acting for both lenders and borrowers. A few of the highlights saw the firm represent Egeria Private Equity on financing the acquisition of consumer electronics manufacturer Trust Group, and on refinancing brands such as Jet Group and Vendor. 

In the capital markets area, the firm is recognised for assisting both issuers and financial institutions. A standout deal saw the firm advise Volkswagen Financial Services in an update of an ABS programme in the Netherlands.

In M&A, the firm has a focus on working on high-end transactions, representing blue chip clients. During the research period the firm worked for the likes of Macquarie, Xella and PPG Industries, which the firm acted for on its offer for Akzo Nobel during a proposed takeover.

BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs and Rabobank are among the firm’s notable clients.

Houthoff

Domestic firm Houthoff is mostly recognised for its work in M&A and restructuring.

The banking team was able to split its work fairly evenly during the research period, advising both lenders and borrowers on deals. Highlight mandates included representing Nexperia on its refinancing and Petrobras Global Trading on a number of finance transactions.

In the capital markets space, the team has been particularly active in the equity space, working on listings made on LSE, Euronext Amsterdam, Bucharest Stock Exchange and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Highlights included representing the issuers on the IPOs of Koninklijke VolkerWessels and Eurasia, and the underwriters on the IPO of Digi Communications. 

The M&A team was active on some of the bigger deals of the year, notably contributing on Intel Corporation’s tender offer for Mobileye and on TMF Group’s sale to CVC Capital Partners.

In the projects space, a highlight matter involved work for the Standard Bank of South Africa on deals in respect of the financing of three solar energy plants in South Africa.

Restructuring and insolvency work forms an important part of the firm’s offering and it has been active in sectors including agriculture and retail. The firm worked for companies including DSB Bank, Rosla and Lehman Brothers Treasury on complex bankruptcies,

In a key staffing change, the firm added M&A partner Kirsten Berger to its team from Stibbe. Going the other way, energy specialist Marjolein Dieperink joined AKD as a partner.

Some other key clients of the firm include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Crédit Agricole and Swiss Re.

Lexence

Domestic firm Lexence is mostly recognised for its work in private equity and M&A, where it has a strong presence in mid-market transactions.

During the research period, the firm’s M&A team represented both buyers and sellers on a large number of deals across sectors such as food and beverage, real estate and technology. The firm notably advised the shareholders of AST Farma and Le Vet on the companies’ sales to Dechra Pharmaceuticals, and for Triton Capital on its investment in Unica, one of the largest providers of technical services in the Netherlands.

In addition to those already mentioned, some of the firm’s other key clients include Continental Bakeries, ING Bank and Modern Dental Group.

Client feedback

“Consistently very high-quality work, focused on getting things done. Highly dependable and client-minded, good service mentality, pragmatic advisers helping to get to a workable solution as soon as possible. Well connected in the Dutch market.” – M&A

Luc Habets

“Commercially skilled, pragmatic, knowledgeable, and able to identify key negotiation issues quickly.”

“Strong, good communicator, and pleasant to work with.”

Linklaters

Magic circle firm Linklaters is mostly recognised in the Dutch market for its work in the banking, M&A and equity capital markets spaces.

One of the more significant mandates that the banking team secured during the research period, saw it acting for ABN Amro as a bridge lender to support Stedin’s bid for electricity provider, Enduris, in the Dutch province of Zeeland. Following the success of the bid, Linklaters also performed for the lenders on the syndicated revolving credit facility for Stedin. 

In the capital markets space, the firm was particularly active on a number of listings, along with some impressive debt work completed for the likes of HSBC and JPMorgan. Notably, in the equity space, the firm worked for the underwriters on the IPO of B&S Group.

The M&A team managed to secure one of the more impressive mandates in the market during the research period, acting for Unilever on the sale of its global spreads business, in one of Europe’s largest leveraged buyouts of 2017. The firm also represented Unilever on the largest bid recorded in the Dutch market, when Kraft Heinz launched a hostile takeover.

In the projects space, the firm is primarily engaged in financing, with a strong focus on energy and infrastructure matters. A standout matter saw the firm work alongside fellow Linklaters offices to fund the largest ever infrastructure project in sub-Saharan Africa. The team advised a host of international financial institutions including the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), on the financing of the construction and operation of a 912 km railway line through Malawi, as well as on a coal terminal in the port of Mozambique. 

In the restructuring and insolvency area, the firm notably assisted Noble Resources in concern of the asset sale of the insolvent aluminium smelter, Aldel.

The one significant change to the team this year saw the arrival of banking partner Bas Jennen from Allen & Overy.

Some of the firm’s most significant clients include BNP Paribas Fortis, Crédit Agricole and Mediahuis.

NautaDutilh

NautaDutilh is recognised across the Dutch market for its work in M&A, restructuring and insolvency, and equity capital markets, where it ranks among the best in the country.

The banking team secured impressive mandates across a range of different sectors, acting for borrowers, lenders and sponsors. A notable acquisition financing deal saw the firm act as the local counsel for JPMorgan, as the bank financed Michael Kors’s purchase of Jimmy Choo.

The project finance team works across a range of issues of national importance, and works on the financing of key projects such as major highways, flood protection infrastructure and the construction of the new football stadium for Feyenoord. A further standout deal saw the firm work for oil companies Shell and Total on a project financing matter concerning the exploration and exploitation of large-scale oil fields in Nigeria.

In the capital markets space, the firm splits its work fairly evenly between debt and equity work, largely working on the side of the issuers. In a stellar year for the equity team, the firm acted on IPO-related matters for the likes of Alfen and NIBC as they entered the Euronext Amsterdam, and for pharmaceutical companies InflaRx and Argenx as they listed on the Nasdaq.

On the debt side, the firm’s recent highlights include work on Bain Capital’s bond issue for the acquisition of Diversey, and on Hema’s high yield bond issue.

In structured finance and securitisation the firm excels in the Dutch market. One example of its work has seen it act for Rabobank as it set up its mortgage loan platform, Vista Hypotheken.

The firm has been active in the M&A space on some of the market’s most valuable deals. Clear highlights include work representing Unibail-Rodamco in its purchase of Westfield, and McDermott on its proposal to purchase Chicago Bridge & Iron’s entire business. The firm has also worked on several mandates in private banking as the sector consolidates. Examples include assisting Van Lanschot Kempen on its acquisition of UBS's domestic wealth management activities in the Netherlands and acting on Lombard Odier's sale of its Dutch private banking business to InsingerGilissen.

One of the firm’s stand-out practices, the restructuring and insolvency team represents the distressed party and creditors fairly evenly. Recently, the firm has worked on the restructuring of clients including Croatian agribusiness, Agrokor, and Austalian papermaker, Paperlinx. 

A notable change during the research period saw banking counsel Annegien Kooij end her eighteen year stay at the firm to move in-house to Leaseplan.

Following its increased presence on IPOs, the firm rises to tier one in the equity capital markets rankings.

Some of the firm’s more significant clients include international banking groups such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse and Wells Fargo.

Client feedback

“They deliver what they promise. Committed.” – Banking 

“User-friendly, prompt, knowledgeable of the market.” – Banking, capital markets 

“An excellent commercial practice that is very focused on client service and management of deal execution on an efficient basis.” – Banking, capital markets, M&A, restructuring and insolvency

“In my field of work, NautaDutilh is the undisputed expert legal counsel. The team at ND have unequaled expertise in the field of asset-backed finance (securitisation, covered bonds and more recently private whole loan sales). Combined with their practical approach, vast knowledge and work ethic, for me they are the go-to law firm in the Netherlands.” – Banking, capital markets, restructuring and insolvency

“Up to date on all relevant developments with respect to upcoming laws and regulations regarding the financial services sector, as well as what is boiling within the supervisory authorities (do's and don'ts). Pragmatic and practical legal regulatory advice, accessible to non-lawyers too. Available day and night to address pressing situations.” – Banking, M&A

“Round-the-clock availability. Business wise. High quality.” – Banking, M&A, project development 

“Strong, broadly orientated team with business sense.” – Banking, restructuring and insolvency

“Relationship management, quality, in-depth knowledge, flexibility, client knowledge, easily accessible.” – Capital markets

“Very strong financial services team. Hands-on and practical advice.” – Capital markets, M&A

“Generally I am very happy with the entire team with NautaDutilh and would warmly recommend the firm to anyone needing legal advice in the Netherlands.” – M&A, restructuring and insolvency

“Strong client relations based on a long term relation. Responsiveness is key as well as a proactive approach to (potential) litigation.” – Project finance, restructuring and insolvency

Joost den Engelsman

“Excellent M&A lawyer, gets the job done and the deal closed.”

“Result-driven, responsive and output is of a constant high quality.”

Antonia Netiv

“Very helpful and responsive. Provides sensible advice and understands the market very well.”

Marc Orval

“Strong on documentation and structuring. Good business sense.”

Arjan Pors

“A nice, pleasant person to deal with.”

“Outstanding.”

Arjan Scheltema

“Creative and responsive.”

Lisa Schoenmakers

“Pleasant, proactive, firm and knowledgeable. Strong focus and gets the job done.”

Larissa Silverentand

“Comparable to the work of Frans van der Eerden. They are the power couple of the Dutch legal financial services market.”

“Strong lawyer with a lot of knowledge.”

Teun Struycken

“Very dedicated and always puts the interests of his client first.”

Michaëla Ulrici

“She is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in her field. Of all the legal counsels I have worked with over the year, she is the counsel I have most faith in to find a solution to the challenges that one encounters in every transaction.”

Frans van der Eerden

“Has in-depth knowledge of the Dutch insurance regulatory environment.”

Robert van Galen

“Strong on governance, trustworthy.”

Rutgers & Posch

The team at Rutgers & Posch is recognised mostly for M&A and equity capital markets work, where it represents clients including banking groups and stock exchanges technology companies.

The firm’s M&A practice has been busy, working across sectors such as energy, financial services, healthcare and technology. Recent highlights include acting as the Dutch counsel for Euronext on the acquisition of all the shares of the Irish Stock Exchange, and assisting Veolia on the acquisition of Van Scherpenzeel Groep.

Key clients of the firm include Achmea, Eneco and the banking group, Van Lanschot.

Simmons & Simmons

International firm Simmons & Simmons is perhaps best recognised for its restructuring and insolvency practice in Amsterdam, though it has also built its reputation in the projects, capital markets and banking spaces in recent times.

The firm has a strong track record in the banking and finance area, where it regularly provides advice to international and domestic institutions. Highlights include working for banks on the financing of the acquisition of the Atrium Office Building in Amsterdam, and simultaneously preparing three matters for potato manufacturer, Lamb Weston / Meijer.

In the capital markets space, the team is mostly active on the debt side, where it has acted on a number of significant issues including on advising ING in connection with the update and restructuring of its global issuance programme. The firm also is arguably the market’s leader in offering US securities law advice, and represented the likes of Citigroup, Kiadis Pharma and the Dutch government on related matters.

In recent times, the firm has completed M&A work in areas including agriculture, energy, investment funds and life sciences. A key highlight included advising DOC Dairy Partners on the acquisition of all the shares of UnieKaas Holland.

The projects team works on significant matters, with a number of its recent deals focused on the construction and real estate sector. Among deal highlights, the firm worked on the redevelopment of a holiday park in Port Zélande.

The firm’s restructuring and insolvency practice has completed work on distressed debt matters, insolvencies and restructurings. That has included the ongoing advice provided to Coca-Cola European Partners in relation to its challenge of the Dutch tax authority’s claim for expropriating certain assets of the company.

During the research period, the firm added partner Jan-Joost van Rijsbergen to its banking team from Clifford Chance. 

Beyond those mentioned, other clients of the firm include the likes of Aegon Bank, NIBC Bank and Rabobank, along with corporate entities like Vesteda and Warner Brothers.

Client feedback

“Highly professional, responsive, on-the-ball.” – Banking

“Working with Simmons & Simmons has been an absolute pleasure. The team works fasts, understands our underlying needs and isn't afraid to give their critical advice/opinion. Every deadline we agreed upon was met. We haven't encountered areas of improvement.” – Banking

“We have worked with the debt capital markets team in the updates of two of our notes issuance programmes. They are familiar with the developments in the financial markets and get the job done.” – Banking, capital markets

“Down-to-earth and coupled realism into M&A process.” – M&A

“Easy access, fast, high quality and to the point advice.” – M&A

“Good track record, both for the firm and the individual lawyers on PPP/PFI in the Netherlands. Advised very well on project finance-related issues.” – Project development, project finance

Stibbe

Stibbe is one of the leading domestic firms in the Benelux region, and is renowned for its equity capital markets practice, where it ranks among the leading firms in the market.

The work of the banking team complements the other practices in the firm, most notably on financing matters related to acquisitions and bond issuances. In that aspect, the firm has worked on financings for several private equity clients including Advent International, Bain Capital and BlackRock during the research period. Moreover, Stibbe has a strong financial restructuring practice, where it has worked on mandates for clients such as Frigoglass and Kris Energy.

In the capital markets space, equity work is the real strength of the team, and that was demonstrated by its work on a number of proposed IPOs during the research period, including the launch of an IPO for Dutch wholesaler B&S. On the debt side, the firm worked on bond issues for the likes of Sand Hill Petroleum, Steinhoff International and Tulip Oil.

Working across a range of sectors, the M&A team secured some of the most important mandates in the Dutch market. Highlights include advising AkzoNobel and Talpa in publicised takeover battles, advising Q-Park on its takeover by KKR, and advising Heineken on a strategic partnership with Sligro Food Group for beer and cider-related logistics in the Netherlands.

In the projects space, the firm has been particularly active in dealing with construction and transport projects, relating to air, road and sea. The firm has also acted on a number of highways-related PPP projects, including for a consortium consisting of Macquarie, DEME and Ballast Nedam in relation to the construction of the Blankenburgtunnel.

The restructuring and insolvency group worked on matters connected to the bankruptcies of Unlimited Sports Group – for which it acts as trustees – and Oi Móvel – where it represented the subsidiary of the Brazilian parent Oi, itself.

A notable change to the team during the research period saw the departure of banking and finance counsel, Joannes de Bont, who moved to co-found finance boutique, Bond Advocaten. M&A specialist Kirsten Berger also left the team to take up a role at Houthoff.

Client feedback

“Good understanding of the business drivers and risks in the transaction. Ability to meet deadlines. Great expertise.” – Banking

“In my experiences the Stibbe lawyers do not only provide a sound technical specialist advice, but also demonstrate all-round soundboard capacities to question the client's perspective or desired approach of the matter at hand. Quite the classical relationship you would expect from a legal adviser.” – Banking

“Swift replies, sound market knowledge, proactivity, intelligence.” – Banking, project finance

“Excellent work. I found them to be high-quality, proactive and cooperative. It was a pleasure working with them as a team. They were constructive while representing issuer. The drafting of the prospectus was great: the first draft was well advanced and produced in business English, which is not a given. They also completed the work using smooth cooperation with the international counsel.” – Capital markets

“Strengths are client care and professionalism.” – M&A, project finance

“We have worked with the team at Stibbe in a number of Dutch equity capital market transactions over the last years and highly value the quality of their services and support. The team is proactive, client focused and works with other transaction participants in a constructive manner. Unlike some of the other firms, the senior partner remains heavily involved in the day-to-day execution.” – Project development

“I have found Stibbe to be consistently pro-active, thorough and knowledgeable, continuing to take responsibility for the success of the project long after financial close.” – Project finance

Van Doorne

Van Doorne is one of the preeminent Dutch firms and is most recognised for its banking and M&A practices.

The firm’s banking team has been involved in a mix of lender and borrower side work, with the deals including real estate and leveraged financings. Other highlights included assisting Goldman Sachs on the restructuring of the Hieronymus portfolio, and working for BerlinHyp on numerous residential property financings.

Likewise, the firm’s project finance team primarily worked on deals concerning the construction of property. A highlight saw the firm advise Vrije Universiteit on its financing by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and BNG Bank of Phase 2 of its Campus Development Program in Amsterdam.

In M&A the firm advised clients in the energy, life sciences and technology sectors. Deal highlights include working as the Dutch counsel for Yandex in its Russian merger with Uber, and representing Atomico on its investment in the cloud communications platform, MessageBird.

In the restructuring and insolvency area the firm has worked on matters including the restructuring of CHC Helicopter using the Chapter 11 process, and the debt restructuring of a 428MW gas powered power plant in Rotterdam.

Key staffing changes at the firm included the departure of M&A specialist Guus Kemperink, who departed to start the niche firm, Kemperink Maarschalkerweerd Advocaten. Maurits Kalff also left the restructuring and insolvency team to become a judge at the Amsterdam District Court.

Endemol, Rabobank and York Capital are also among the firm’s key clients.

Client feedback

“Very strong on banking and fin-tech.” – Banking

“Van Doorne is a leading law firm in the Netherlands with the resources to provide high calibre advice in a wide range of practice areas. Typically their advice is pragmatic, business-oriented and cost effective. We needed a Dutch law firm that was able to provide legal advice in many areas, including employment law, corporate finance, M&A, life sciences and tax.” – Banking, M&A

“Excellent M&A team. Able to close deals in a highly professional way.” – M&A

Steffen Alleman

“He is the best M&A lawyer I have worked with in over 15 years. Outstanding deal maker who adds value to clients and has a full understanding of not only the legal framework, but also the strategic, commercial and financial aspects of M&A.”

Roel Botter

“Excellent finance lawyer providing trusted advice.”

Friso Foppes

“Practical, with clear legal advice.”

Arno Voerman

“Provided plenty of support.”

Windt Le Grand Leeuwenburgh

Windt Le Grand Leeuwenburgh is a Dutch boutique specialising in restructuring and insolvency work. It regularly acts for clients within the investment funds and retail sectors, while it also often works a bankruptcy trustee.

Recent highlights include advising a group of lenders in relation to Hemisphere International Property’s revolving credit facility, and assisting Varova Fashion Group and Standard Investment in negotiating an amendment and restatement concerning a loan facility agreement with senior credit provider HIG WhiteHorse.

Dutch National Railways, Enron and Home Center International are also among the firm’s notable clients.

Marcel Windt

“Good.”