As in all EU member states, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in Austria on 25 May 2018. The centrepiece of Austria's GDPR implementing legislation was the Data Protection Amendment Act 2018 (for further details please see "Draft Data Protection Amendment Act 2018 in appraisal" and "Proposals to alter national Data Protection Act").
Wolf Theiss has advised real estate investor and manager Westcore Europe on its acquisition of the U6 Center office and warehouse property in Vienna from Hanseatische Immobilienfonds Oesterreich IV and Germany's HCI Treuhand Geschlossener real estate fund. The sellers were advised by PKHV Rechtsanwalte.
Technology and innovation are key drivers of advancement in a variety of industries, and certainly in healthcare. The level of patient care can be improved considerably with the right mix of traditional and innovative treatments and solutions. Nevertheless, there are regulatory challenges to overcome.
Christoph Moser, Partner at Weber & Co., says that Austria is not currently facing any changes that would equal the impact of the GDPR. Instead, Moser reports, the current government in Austria is focusing on implementing the measures that were promised during the run-up to the country’s 2017 elections, including regulations related to rules for employees. Among the most prominent examples of this, Moser says, is the new rule allowing 12-hour workdays that was introduced this summer. The change according to Moser, "is significant and caused political debates about whether a 12-hour work day was justified, as well as protests.
In the past, interest escalation clauses in loan agreements in Austria commonly had variable interest rates, based on a reference interest rate such as EURIBOR or LIBOR and an appropriate interest mark-up. When reference interest rates started to fall below zero, the question whether banks had to pass on negative interest rates to their borrowers in case of loan agreements where no floor had been set became the subject of great discussion. In addition, loan agreements in which a “zero floor” for reference interest rates had been implemented were contested as well.
The Austrian Insolvency Code provides for the possibility to challenge certain disadvantageous transactions carried out by the debtor after material insolvency has occurred, especially if the creditor knew or should have known of its debtor's material insolvency. This risk of legal actions being contested is of particularly high relevance for shareholders who are also creditors of the debtor company, as the Austrian Supreme Court recently decided that shareholders' information rights would result in an increased level of due diligence. The decision also imposes an additional risk for start-up equity incentive programmes.