On July 7, four leading lawyers from Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Ukraine sat down for a virtual round table moderated by CEE Legal Matters Managing Editor Radu Cotarcea to discuss the increasing prominence of ESG issues and their impact on M&A transactions, due diligence procedures, and the role of the lawyers themselves.
Even though the Austrian green bond market has not been very active, issuers like Uniqa, Hypo Noe, Verbund, and the Republic of Austria have taken the first steps toward the new asset class. The main feature of such bonds is the intention and/or commitment to invest the proceeds of the issue in green projects. Most issuers initially established stand-alone green bond frameworks based on voluntarily applied market standards. An Austrian green bond standard has not yet been developed. Frameworks used in Austria are usually based on published guidelines, like the International Capital Market Association's (ICMA) Green Bond Principles. Issuers do consider the upcoming standards of the European Union, too – particularly, the EU Green Bond Standards (EUGBS) and the so-called EU Taxonomy.
Schoenherr has advised Red Bull on the establishment of a joint venture with Van Deer-Red Bull Sports Equipment founding shareholders Marcel Hirscher and Dominic Tritscher and the subsequent acquisition of Augment Ski by Van Deer-Red Bull Sports Equipment.
Schoenherr has advised Austria's Altstoff Recycling on a cooperation agreement for the construction of a new sorting plant in Upper Austria with Duales System Deutschland and Bernegger.
Dorda has advised the DigitalBridge Group on its joint acquisition with Brookfield Infrastructure and its institutional partners of a 51% stake in GD Towers from Deutsche Telekom. E+H and Latham and Watkins advised the bidding consortium of GIP, KKR, and Stonepeak. Reportedly, Allen & Overy and Morgan Lewis also advised DigitalBridge, Freshfields and Weil, Gotshal & Manges advised Brookfield Infrastructure, while, on the sell side, Gleiss Lutz, Noerr, CMS, Schoenherr, Cuatrecasas, and Freshfields advised Deutsche Telekom on the deal.
Earlier this year the European Banking Authority (EBA) published the final Guidelines on the limited network exemption (LNE) under the Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD2). Following the consultation phase initiated by the draft, further clarifications were added which are relevant to all service providers who plan to rely on the exclusion as well as those who already do.
Public infrastructure projects in Austria and in particular PPPs are undergoing several changes. In the last few years, the focus of PPPs was on social infrastructure like schools, hospitals, and other clinics. Many of them have been structured as so-called Betreibermodelle, i.e., a form of build, finance, and operate models. However, the focus is clearly shifting towards infrastructure for digitalization and climate change.
Schoenherr has advised Caverion Oesterreich on the acquisition of Porreal and its subsidiary Alea. Beira Rechtsanwaelte reportedly advised Porr AG on the sale.