GCR 100 - 10th Edition

CMS Hasche Sigle

14 January 2010

CMS Hasche Sigle feature in our coverage in a number of jurisdictions.

Austria

CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz is part of the CMS pan-European network. In Austria, the competition practice is led by partner Bernt Elsner, and includes two other partners, four senior associates and three associates.

Elsner's team is advising the Austrian Association of Energy Producers on a potential private enforcement lawsuit against companies that were part of the gas insulated switchgear cartel recently fined by the European Commission. The firm is also advising Kabelsignal, one of Austria's leading cable network operators, on the acquisitions of B.net and Dataservice from BEWAG, to expand its business in the cable TV, broadband internet and landline telephone network markets. Österreichische Post is also a client. CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz worked on the postal operator's divestment of a majority stake in Mader Zeitschriftenverlag, one of Austria's largest publishers of free newspapers, as well as on all related merger control and regulatory issues.

Other clients include Vienna Stock Exchange, Premiere Austria, IBM, Imperial Tobacco Group, MOL, Henkel, Brenntag, Sanofi-Aventis and Strabag.

Germany

The competition group at CMS Hasche Sigle is one of the largest in Germany. Led by Who's Who nominee Harald Kahlenberg, it boasts 25 competition lawyers across four cities, including 12 partners, not to mention a 10-strong Brussels practice, including seven Germans, that works closely with the team. The team is young - Kahlenberg is 49 - but has an impressive client portfolio and sectoral expertise that sets it apart from some of its rivals. It can also call on a strong international network, which has given it a foothold in Eastern Europe and Russia at a time when many top firms are withdrawing from those jurisdictions.

Clients include private equity firm BC Partners, car company Porsche, and cement producer Holcim. The firm has also worked for Bayerngas on dominance and regulatory matters in the energy sector, and the German football league in the sale of television and other media rights.

The firm also trumpets its compliance advice - a growing business as companies look to protect themselves in the face of more regular and more severe FCO and European Commission investigations.

Netherlands

At CMS Derks Star Busmann, partner Robert Bosman leads a team of one senior associate and two associates. The team is defending drinking-water company Oasen against allegations of abuse of dominance, and representing Danske Fiskeres Producent Organisation against cartel allegations in an appeal before the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal.

The firm provides competition advice to Ballast Nedam, one of several companies implicated in a cartel in the bitumen market. The company has lodged an appeal against a European Commission decision, before the Court of First Instance. The competition team is also advising the company in the Netherlands, where it is facing bid rigging allegations.

On the transactional front, the group is representing Rabobank Nederland on the establishment of a new joint venture, and advising technology company Stork on the divestiture of a subsidiary.

Other clients include Suzuki International Europe, Asco and Qbuzz, which has been accused of infringing EU rules on state aid.

Poland

CMS Cameron McKenna Dariusz Greszta Spó?ka Komandytowa's competition group includes one equity partner, one partner, two senior associates and three associates. The team handles state aid and public procurement work as well as competition cases.

The firm advised Kulczyk Holding in merger control proceedings when it acquired control of Pekaes, a Polish logistics and transport company. It also advised an international pharmaceutical company on a competitor's response to the tie-up of Sanofi-Aventis and Zentiva to the European Commission.

The CMS team has performed competition compliance audits for companies in several markets, including a baby-food producer, a chemicals distributor and a pharmaceutical company. It also advised banks financing the construction of a motorway in antitrust proceedings against the motorway concessionaire for abusing its dominant market position.

Russia

CMS Cameron McKenna's competition practice is led by Evgeny Voevodin, a Who's Who nominee. The practice has 10 specialists although GCR notes that there have been no lateral hires since last year, when the number given was three. This may be due to differences in the way the figure was calculated last year, or the fact that the three CMS firms with offices in Russia - CMS Cameron McKenna, CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre and CMS Hasche Sigle were recently integrated. Elena Zhigaeva was promoted to partner this year.

The firm is advising several foreign merger clients on the acquisition of assets in Russia. These include insurance company Eureko, a media and telecommunications group and an electronics company. The firm represented Sintez Group on its acquisition of a Russian power generation company.

The firm is advising a European producer of beverages on competition issues arising from its distribution agreements and successfully defended the company against behavioural allegations by the FAS. It is also representing a European insurance company in an alleged cartel case and leniency application and represented Russian Railways in abuse of dominance proceedings lodged by the FAS. The team lodged a complaint with the Finnish Competition Authority on behalf of Inter RAO against the Finnish national power grid operator.

The group is a regular adviser to ONGC/Imperial Energy on competition compliance.

Switzerland

CMS von Erlach Henrici's competition practice is headed by Patrick Sommer and Alain Raemy. Both lawyers, and the firm's competition practice, are well regarded by their peers. Much of CMS's reputation comes from the "benefits of scale" that it has as a member of the pan-European CMS alliance, and the firm uses the network on many multi-jurisdictional filings. "This gives us a big advantage," says Sommer. Stefan Brunnschweiler was promoted to the partnership this year. Three associates work alongside the three partners.

Sommer estimates that the competition practice comprises equal amounts of international and national work. Merger work, behavioural matters and compliance and policy work are split evenly too.

The team is currently advising pharmaceutical company Bayer in relation to a commission investigation of the over-the-counter drug market. It's also advising an issuer in an investigation of the credit card market brought by the Swiss Competition Commission.

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