GCR 100 - 11th Edition

CMS Hasche Sigle

18 January 2011

The competition group at CMS Hasche Sigle is one of the largest in Germany.

It boasts 40 competition lawyers across four cities, including 12 partners. Who's Who nominee Harald Kahlenberg leads the practice, which has an impressive client portfolio and sectoral expertise that sets it apart from some of its rivals.

It is present on several of the large cartel investigations by the Cartel Office, including in the coffee roasting, confectionery and energy markets, and is also representing Baerlocher in cartel fine proceedings in the European Commission's heat stabilisers case.

The firm represented both parties in the Pelikan/Herlitz merger before the Federal Cartel Office. The tie-up led to extensive phase II-proceedings, as the companies are the two best-known stationery brands in Germany. Despite this, the office ultimately approved the deal unconditionally.

Long-standing competition clients include Johnson & Johnson, Scholz and Akzo Nobel.

Austria

CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz is the Austrian branch of the CMS pan-European network. Bernt Elsner leads the competition team in Vienna, working alongside two other partners, one senior associate and five associates. This year, the firm promoted Robert Keisler to partner.

CMS is advising British private equity group BC Partners on merger control issues related to its acquisition of the laboratory chains FutureLab and SynLab. Health care behemoth Johnson & Johnson is another client. The firm advises it on patents, dawn raid issues and distribution matters in Austria.

Other antitrust clients include MOL, Sanofi-Aventis, Kellogg's and the Vienna Stock Exchange.

The team also handles cases that are not "pure competition" but touch on related areas such as public procurement. It is representing Carestream Austria, the largest provider of medical film and digital imaging solutions, on procurement litigation procedures concerning the tender for newly installed X-ray equipment in a large Austrian hospital. It also provides procurement advice to Dürr Austria, a leading traffic safety company, as well as counselling Breitling on unfair competition matters.

Germany

The competition group at CMS Hasche Sigle is one of the largest in Germany. It boasts 40 competition lawyers across four cities, including 12 partners. Who's Who nominee Harald Kahlenberg leads the practice, which has an impressive client portfolio and sectoral expertise that sets it apart from some of its rivals.

It is present on several of the large cartel investigations by the Cartel Office, including in the coffee roasting, confectionery and energy markets, and is also representing Baerlocher in cartel fine proceedings in the European Commission's heat stabilisers case.

The firm represented both parties in the Pelikan/Herlitz merger before the Federal Cartel Office. The tie-up led to extensive phase II-proceedings, as the companies are the two best-known stationery brands in Germany. Despite this, the office ultimately approved the deal unconditionally.

Long-standing competition clients include Johnson & Johnson, Scholz and Akzo Nobel.

Italy

CMS Adonnino Ascoli & Cavasola Scamoni is the Italian branch of the wider CMS European network. Paolo Scarduelli heads the competition group, working alongside two other equity partners, one counsel, three senior associates and four associates. Enzo Cannizzaro, a professor of EU Law at the University of Rome, was a new addition to the firm this year.

The group is advising Electrolux on Italian competition and merger filing matters, as well as counselling BT on various competition matters.

The team handles merger filings for BC Partners, and it has represented the Italian subsidiary of Société Générale in a dispute over supply agreements negotiated with international car manufacturers. It also counselled Nokia Italia on its domestic distribution structure and advised Porsche on its agreements with authorised and independent repair shops and in other antitrust matters.

Grimaldi e Associati handle competition work out of Rome, Milan and Brussels. Partner and Who's Who nominee Francesco Sciaudone heads the group, working alongside four senior associates and seven associates.

The firm advises UniCredit and ERG on a wide range of subject matters, including antitrust and merger control proceedings. It is assisting UniCredit on compliance with the conditions imposed on its 2007 merger with Capitalia. They include divest branches, as well as behavioural remedies.

The team also advised ERG in the ErgTotal joint venture, as well as in the establishment of its partnership with Lukoil.

The firm also handles a number of merger control proceedings at both the EU and national levels. Clients include Citigroup, PAI Partners, Gruppo Coin and EuroTLX.

Netherlands

At CMS Derks Star Busmann, partner Robert Bosman leads a team of two senior associates and three associates. 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 General Court. 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 Weyl Beef on its merger notification to the European Commission of its acquisition by Vion.

The firm is representing CRV Holding in an appeal with the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal against parts of an abuse of dominance judgment by the competition court.

Other clients include Suzuki International Europe, TNT Express and Veolia Water.

Poland

CMS Cameron McKenna came to Poland in 1986 and has had a competition department since 2001. "For Poland, we have quite a large competition department," says partner Malgorzata Surdek, "but we also deal with state aid and procurement issues." Surdek says the firm is divided into sector groups: consumer, technology, life sciences, energy, projects and transport. Within these sectors, the competition team has experience with essential facilities in the energy market, and dominant players and parallel imports in the pharmaceuticals sector. As well as work from the firm's different departments, the competition department also receives instructions such as merger cases from the CMS network's other offices, especially in Germany.

The firm recently performed a competition audit for a baby food company selling to retail and hospital customers, reviewing its distribution agreements.

Russia

Six months ago, former practice head at CMS Russia, Yevgeny Voevodin, left the firm with associate Nadezhda Poustovalova to join Capital Legal Services. Voevodin was considered a stalwart leader, but despite the loss, CMS continues to have a strong competition group. It is led by Maxim Boulba, who is supported by fellow partner Elena Zhigaeva.

The team still covers all aspects of competition law, including complex mergers, abuse of dominance, litigation, dawn raids and compliance. Last year, it advised one of the world's largest electrical engineering companies on several notifications to Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service concerning its restructuring. It also advised publishing company Gruner + Jahr on the sale of one of its Russian subsidiaries to Axel Springer, and represented a major geo-exploration group on an acquisition of shares in a Russian company. CMS also acted for a major Russian broadcasting group and an electronic equipment provider on various antitrust issues.

Slovakia

Part of the CMS network, Ružicka Csekes was formed in June 2009 by the merger of Ružicka & Partners and CVD (formerly Csekes Világi Drgonec & Partners). The firm lost co-practice head Andrea Orsulová shortly after the merger, leaving managing associate and former competition authority official Nada Spustová in sole charge. Two associates complete the team, but Spustová can call on the services of two more lawyers, who spend less than 60 per cent of their time on competition.

The firm has particular experience in the energy and telecoms industries, advising Slovak Telekom and oil company Slovnaft in various competition matters, and representing Alstom in competition authority cartel proceedings before Bratislava's District Court. Ružicka's client list also includes healthcare giant Sanofi-Aventis, a large tobacco producer and a vehicle import company. The firm is advising all three businesses on distribution issues.

Switzerland

The competition group at CMS von Erlach Henrici comprises three partners and three associates who spend more than half their time on antitrust matters. Patrick Sommer, Alain Raemy and Stefan Brunnschweiler head the group. Sommer says the practice benefits from the pan-European CMS network, and it indeed boasts an assortment of international clients. It is also part of the World Law Group global alliance, which further helps in multi-jurisdictional merger filings.

The practice is acting for Bayer in a commission investigation of over-the-counter drugs, and Sommer says the team is present on all the other major authority investigations, including in the perfume, watches, credit card, freight forwarding, insurance and elevator markets.

The firm acted for mining company BHP Billiton in its now-abandoned joint venture with Rio Tinto. Other clients include cement company Holcim, Zürcher Kantonalbank and fuel company Esso.

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