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Austria's healthcare system got a long-anticipated makeover. After years of small-scale adjustments, a collective amendment – the "Vereinbarungsumsetzungsgesetz 2024" ("VUG 2024" or the "reform") – has brought a new wave of changes somewhere revolutionising healthcare in Austria. The VUG 2024 refers to a comprehensive and coordinated change made to a total of 13 legal matters, which are being modified together as a unified act for a more holistic approach. This happens to be one of the biggest reforms in the healthcare sector in recent decades.

Schoenherr has advised Austrian green technology scale-up Neoom on the structuring and implementation of its "impact invest" customer financing scheme for decentralized energy projects as well as related project debt financing arranged by Solas Capital in an amount of up to EUR 30 million.

Herbst Kinsky, working with Orrick, has advised the Terreal Group and its main shareholders on the antitrust aspects of the full sale of its businesses in Poland, Hungary, and Austria to Swisspor. Schoenherr advised Swisspor Holding on the acquisition.

Binder Groesswang has advised the Hannover Finanz private equity investor on its acquisition of a stake in Peak Technology as part of a EUR 10 million growth financing transaction. Summereder Pichler Waechter advised Peak and its CEO, Dieter Grebner.

Galloping inflation and post-COVID-19 challenges are shaping the litigation market in Austria, with an unparalleled volume of insolvencies feeding into a high rate of litigation. Meanwhile, the Austrian government remains hesitant to implement the European collective redress system.

Internal investigations continue to be a crucial part of a robust compliance management system. Short messages exchanged on smartphones have become a significant source for internal as well as external investigations. The Austrian prosecution authority understands that screening smartphones is close to “manna from heaven” for any investigator. This Market Snapshot reports on two important developments in Austria: a constitutional court decision requiring a significant change of the law, and the impact of the newly implemented law for the protection of whistleblowers.

Discussing how the energy markets are evolving – diversifying, moving away from dependence on Russian gas, and becoming ever-greener – CMS Partners Horea Popescu, Blazej Zagorski, Thomas Hamerl, and Maria Orlyk take a deep dive into the dynamic shifts in the energy landscape post-2022.

In The Corner Office, we ask Managing Partners at law firms across Central and Eastern Europe about their backgrounds, strategies, and responsibilities. As we bid farewell to 2023, this time around we turn our attention forward: What is your one main wish for 2024 and what do you see as the biggest potential risk?

In our Looking In series, we talk to Partners from outside CEE who are keeping an eye on the region (and often pop up in our deal ticker) to learn how they perceive CEE markets and their evolution. For this issue, we sat down with Slaughter and May Partners Jonathan Marks and Richard Jones.

Austria implemented Directive (EU) 2019/1023 on preventive restructuring frameworks with the Restructuring Regulation, which came into force on July 17, 2021, and introduced (further) judicial proceedings for preventive restructuring. Practice, however, has shown that the reorganization plan in insolvency proceedings and out-of-court restructuring remain the methods of choice in Austria.

As the regulatory landscape for crypto-assets undergoes a significant transformation with the European Union's implementation of the Markets in Crypto-Assets Regulation (MiCAR, Regulation (EU) 2023/1114), attention turns to the preparatory steps entities must take to comply with these new standards.