On May 22, 2023, CEE Legal Matters reported that Wolf Theiss, working with Milbank, had advised the initial purchasers and lenders on Salzburg-based Benteler Group’s capital market debut issuance and loans amounting to over EUR 2 billion. CEELM reached out to Wolf Theiss Partner Matthias Schimka to learn more about the matter.
CEELM: At what stage did your team become involved in the issuance and how did you win the mandate?
Schimka: My team was involved from the beginning, starting with the drafting phase through to the closing of the deal, and played a crucial role throughout the entire process. I believe that some of the key factors that contributed to our winning were the strength and depth of my team, which comprised highly skilled professionals in their field, and our top-notch expertise in handling complex financial transactions. I have successfully navigated numerous similar mandates in the past, and this expertise played a pivotal role in securing the trust and confidence of our clients in this mandate, which represents the largest post-restructuring financing deal to date in 2023.
CEELM: What do you believe it was about your team that won you the assignment?
Schimka: This goes hand in hand with my answer to the previous question. Having exceptional expertise in our respective fields and a proven track record of success is what I believe helped us to be selected to handle this mandate. My team showed a high degree of professionalism and seniority, even among the more junior positions, towards the investors and our clients in this deal and generally displayed a strategic approach to contract preparation and legal settlements, which enabled our clients to significantly strengthen their negotiation position. Finally, our excellent relationship with Milbank certainly helped us to be brought on board to help with this transaction.
CEELM: What was the mandate specifically and how was the work split between Wolf Theiss and Milbank?
Schimka: While Milbank was the lead counsel in the matter, we acted as Austrian local counsel and basically advised on all financing, tax, and regulatory matters from an Austrian perspective. Since the issuer and borrower were based in Austria, this meant that we were in intense exchanges as regards the structuring of the transaction and drafting of the required documentation, always hand in hand with Milbank.
CEELM: What about within your team specifically – who led what aspects of the work?
Schimka: I am grateful to have led such a great team of Wolf Theiss lawyers in Austria. Under my aegis, our Banking & Finance Senior Associate Markus Aigner was responsible for the financial aspects, ensuring that all financial considerations were thoroughly analyzed and addressed. Counsel Eva Stadler focused on certain tax aspects of the deal, ensuring compliance with the relevant tax regulations and optimizing the tax implications, while our Counsel Christine Siegl took charge of handling certain regulatory issues.
CEELM: What can we expect next from the Benteler Group, now that the project has concluded?
Schimka: We cannot speak on behalf of the Benteler Group. The outcome of the project, however, was the type of stable group financing that should provide them with a solid financial foundation for their future growth and development. From Benteler, we learned that they will use the proceeds to repay their existing restructuring indebtedness and thus close their restructuring. Moving forward, Benteler's CFO said: "Our long-term financing strategy will provide a solid basis for the future development of the Benteler Group aimed at achieving sustainable, profitable growth."