Austria’s political scene felt some tremors in the past few weeks following snap elections. Unsurprisingly, potential coalitions became a primary subject of discussion. “The Conservatives won in a landslide, with almost 38% of the vote, with Social Democrats taking a very distant second. with around 21%,” reports DLA Piper Country Managing Partner David Christian Bauer. Another notable result of the election is the low 16% vote for the far-right Freedom Party – the recent coalition partners of the conservatives – following insinuations of corruption. “The Conservatives will most certainly form the Government and any coalition that gets formed will have to go through them,” says Bauer, emphasizing that the Freedom Party will face strong challenges to return to rule, with the scandals and “internal turmoil they’re experiencing.”
DLA Piper has assisted Norwegian aluminum group Norsk Hydro ASA with the divestment of its Romanian extrusion plant, Hydro Extrusion SRL, to Hammerer Aluminium Industries GmbH. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2019. NNDKP in Romania and Andersen Tax & Legal in Germany reportedly advised Hamerrer Aluminium on the deal.
DLA Piper Poland, Oppenheim, and PRK Partners have advised Metro Properties on the more-than-EUR 250 million sale and lease-back of 11 Cash & Carry stores in Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic to FLE GmbH, an Austrian subsidiary of French LFPI Group, investing on behalf of the AIF regulated fund. Allen & Overy, Novalia, and DLA Piper Hungary advised FLE on the transaction, which was finalized in August 2019.
I am often asked by my foreign colleagues and clients about how the Czech Republic is doing, and my answer is that we are doing fine. Putting aside the political situation, which is similar to many other countries, economically we are doing very well; there was strong GDP growth of 4.6% in 2017 and almost 3% last year. Part of this growth is clearly attributable to our strong, maturing startup and investor community, which is pushing the country forward. Czechs have a talent for improvisation and finding solutions that work well, using innovation, research and development, and technology. We have invented many tools that have changed the world in fields such as nanotechnology, chemistry, and engineering. At the same time, we now have a pool of investors who are able to invest in new startup companies and back up the research and development that is done.
DLA Piper has advised a consortium of South Korean investors working with asset manager Mastern Investment Management on the EUR 375 acquisition, made as part of a joint venture with Munich-based asset manager Wealthcore Invester Management, of the Hilton Parkview Vienna. The sellers — two Austrian family firms — were represented by Invester United Benefits and advised by Schoenherr.
DLA Piper has advised Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH and the Energy Efficiency Fund on the EEF's agreement with the International Finance Corporation to provide funding to homeowners associations for the implementation of energy efficient measures in multi-family buildings. Baker McKenzie reportedly advised the IFC on the deal.
In the shadow of Brexit negotiations, the European Parliament agreed on 14 February 2019 to set up an EU level tool to screen FDIs on grounds of security or public order to protect sectors. The new "Regulation (EU) 2019/452 establishing a framework for screening of foreign direct investments into the European Union" (EU-FDI Regulation) shall apply from 11 October 2020 and be binding in its entirety as well as directly applicable in all member states.