CMS Austria Managing Partner Peter Huber is asked what’s happening in Austria. "What’s happening?”, he asks, rhetorically. "I guess we’re seeing a good level of activity, with some sale transactions in the pipeline — and some nearing completion — so there is a reasonable level of inbound interest from Western Europe, and from Asia — Chinese buyers are active, or at least looking, particularly in the technology space. It may not have translated into many deals yet, but yes indeed, there is interest from China.” Huber, who tends towards understatement, describes it as "a fairly lovely situation."
Huber says that real estate remains active in Austria, particularly in the commercial and hospitality sectors. "We have a fairly active hotels practice, and our colleagues in that area confirm that there is interest — and student housing is a sort of specialist area that holds the promise of higher returns of interest. In terms of commercial real estate it is fair to say there is still some substantial yields in Austria, but this is not the case in the residential market for the corporate or institutional buyers." Huber notes that this represents "a change from previous years when Austria was considered a cheaper and attractive option. That may be gone now that it’s become considered expensive.”
In short, Huber says, “it’s been a good and solid year,” and he explains that "the period after the summer break has been very strong.” According to the CMS Partner, “our Corporate/M&A department is in the unfortunate situation that we have to turn down work.” He’s asked whether he expects the growth to extend into 2018. "How far can you look ahead, of course,” he asks. "But looking at least two quarters, we certainly expect a strong first half of 2018.”
Huber is asked whether any major legislation is expected soon in Austria.“The consensus is that the new government will bring legislation that is good for the corporates and the economy,” he says, "but there’s nothing specific on the horizon.” Still, he says, “there's generally a positive sentiment, and Austria remains a good place for start-ups, where we have been lacking, and that is expected to be fostered by certain measures of the government — although that’s a longer-term perspective, rather than something tied to particular pieces of legislation.”
In short, Huber says, all is good. "It’s not at the peak levels it was a decade ago, but it’s good — and it’s been catching up at the end of the year.”