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The first rumors of a new infectious disease outbreak in late December 2019 initially only drew modest attention. Soon it became clear that the world had underestimated the spreading pandemic, and, despite Austria’s distance from the region of origin in Asia, by March 2020, the spread of COVID-19 in Europe had become a focus of concern. As hospitals struggled to deal with increasing numbers of coronavirus cases, governments throughout Europe – including Austria – imposed lockdowns that brought society as we know it to an abrupt halt. Overnight, European cities became ghost towns, with shops and services shuttered. Revenues vanished and, through no fault of their own, businesses had to face a difficult financial reality.

Lately, the effects of COVID-19 have caused a significant surge in interest by high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) on global migration, as political stability and safety, access to well-functioning healthcare and education systems, and the ability to maintain a high standard of living became even more important.

Wolf Theiss has advised Kommunalkredit Austria AG on its successful issue of ordinary senior eligible notes in the amount of EUR 300 million. Schoenherr advised joint lead managers Erste Group Bank AG, Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg, and Raiffeisenbank International AG, and co-lead manager Landesbank Hessen-Thuringen Girozentrale.

A year has passed since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Austria and many legal problems remain unresolved. The problem seems new, but the legal provisions of the Austrian Civil Code em-ployed to deal with thae consequences of the pandemic are more than 200 years old, and were drafted in order to deal with quite different pandemic effects. The law refers to “extraordinary events” such as “fire, war or pandemic, major floods, weather events.” There is agreement that COVID-19 is a pandemic and therefore an extraordinary event in the meaning of the law.

Schoenherr has advised Raiffeisen Bank International as arranger on a true sale securitization of a EUR 538 million portfolio of vehicle leasing receivables by Raiffeisen Leasing Group. Clifford Chance advised RBI on German law aspects of the transaction, and anchor investors, which include the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund, were advised by Linklaters and Binder Groesswang.

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