Our client Cube Bikes is supported by our customs team around Dr. Lothar Harings in all customs matters. Cube Bikes still buys many bicycles and spare parts from third countries into the European Union, so that sometimes customs duties can be incurred in considerable sums.
Webasto Group, a leading supplier to the automotive industry headquartered in Stockdorf, Germany, has divested its majority shareholding in a sino-foreign joint venture company to its former Chinese joint venture partner. The joint venture was active in the manufacturing of heating systems for the Chinese OEM market. While Webasto will continue to produce heating systems in China, the divestiture will help it focus on its other manufacturing sites in the country.
A team from GvW Graf von Westphalen at its Shanghai office advised the Webasto Group comprehensively on all legal and strategic aspects of the transaction including on the drafting and negotiation of the transaction documentation and the steering of the complex government filing and registration process. The transaction team was led by the managing partner of GvW’s Shanghai office, Patrick Heid, and included local partner Dr Dominic Köstner as well as associates Yingci Geng, Huanlei Yan and Kerui Li (all corporate/M&A, Shanghai). At Webasto, the inhouse legal team working on the transaction was led by Group General Counsel Dr Hendrik Höhfeld and Corporate Legal Counsel Suat Sahin, and also comprised Senior Legal Counsel Ray Li at Webasto China.
Webasto, a globally active group of companies with over 50 locations and numerous representations worldwide, has been active in China since 2001. Since then, the PRC has developed into its largest market with sales of about EUR 1.3 billion in 2018. Webasto currently has about 3,500 employees at ten locations in China. During her latest state visit to China in September 2019, Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel visited Webasto’s recently expanded plant in Wuhan, which currently is the Webasto Group’s largest production site worldwide.
GvW has been operating its own office in Shanghai since 2008, and its German and Chinese qualified attorneys regularly advise European and US companies on their M&A activities and business relationships in China. In addition, the firm’s China Practice provides comprehensive advice to Chinese companies on their investments and business development in the German and European markets.
Patrick Heid, LL.M.
Dr Dominic Köstner, LL.M.
ÄHF Immobilienfonds GbR has sold Ärztehaus Friedrichshain to the Canadian NorthWest Healthcare Properties REIT. In terms of deal volume, the transaction is one of the largest deals in the asset class of ambulant health centres in Germany. GvW Graf von Westphalen provided legal advice on the sale and liquidation of the fund.
The fund was the owner of the Friedrichshain medical centre, one of the ten largest ambulant health centres with over 40 specialists and practitioners and over 100,000 patients annually. Kai Treichel (MBA Oxford) has succeeded in consolidating the fund company and significantly improving the earnings situation of the traditional medical centre. The real estate portfolio includes two multi-storey buildings with a total floor area of 7,000 m², which are completely leased to more than 25 medical and joint practices as well as nine medical service providers and medical-related retailers.
With this health centre, NorthWest Healthcare Properties REIT is further expanding its portfolio of healthcare properties in Germany. The Canadian company invests worldwide in healthcare properties such as clinics, hospitals and medical centers, primarily in its main markets Canada, Brazil, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. For NorthWest Healthcare Properties REIT, the acquisition of the Friedrichshain medical center is the largest acquisition in the ambulant sector in Germany to date.
GvW advised the fund on the sale of the properties and the liquidation under the lead management of its Berlin partner Dr. Lorenz Czajka with a team consisting of Dr. Sven Donner, Johannes Räther (both real estate and construction), Dr. Holger Kühl (labour law, all Berlin) and Dr. Magnus Dorweiler (corporate law, Frankfurt a.M.). Clifford Chance advised the Canadian investor on the acquisition.
Dr Lorenz Czajka
Dr Sven Donner
The Turkish aluminum manufacturer Assan Alüminyum Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş. ("ASAS") is developing an approximately 80 hectares large area at the former steel plant Rasselstein in Neuwied. GvW Graf von Westphalen advised the metal industry company in the purchase of the property from ThyssenKrupp and supported ASAS in negotiations with the City of Neuwied on matters of urban development.
ASAS is planning its German central office as well as production sites for the further processing of aluminum semi-finished goods from Turkey on part of the area. In addition to leasing out halls to local companies, the company also wants to develop up to 600 residential units as company apartments, as individual properties and for the free rental market in five construction phases.
ASAS is one of the leading manufacturers in the field of sheet aluminum in Europe. With plants in Istanbul and Kocaeli and with its 1,500 employees, the company has a total capacity of up to 300,000 tons of sheet rolled products (coils, sheets, foil). The Turkish top 50 industrial company exports its products to more than 70 countries worldwide and supplies sectors such as the construction industry, the automotive industry, consumer goods and the packing industry.
GvW advised the Turkish company with a team from various offices under the leadership of Dr. Kurt Luka (Hamburg) and David Wende (Frankfurt) with a team consisting of Dr. Magnus Dorweiler (Frankfurt, all real estate law), Moritz Koch (private construction law), Dr. Sigrid Wienhues, Dr. Andreas Wolowski (all in Hamburg) and Dr. Alexander Freiherr von Aretin (Berlin, all public construction law).
Dr Kurt Luka, LL.M.
Dr Andreas Wolowski, LL.M.
Alnatura also won the dispute against dm in the second instance: The organic food company was allowed to extraordinarily terminate the contract with dm-drogerie markt. The OLG Frankfurt decided this today and rejected the appeal of the drugstore chain (file no. 12 U 13/17).
The extraordinary notice was justified, judged the judges. Alnatura has no payments to dm to carry out, rather the Darmstädter enterprise itself has a requirement on the reconciliation of still open calculations at a value of over two millions euro.
Alnatura was represented in the proceedings by its Frankfurt partner Dr. Kristofer Bott, as it had been previously in the dispute over the company's trademarks.
Alnatura now produces around 1,400 different organic foods under the "most popular food brand in Germany" (Brandmeyer studies 2016, 2017 and 2018). The company, which has recently moved its headquarters to Darmstadt, operates 133 Alnatura Super Natur stores and also sells the products in around 12,300 branches of various retail partners and in the Alnatura online shop.
Dr Kristofer Bott
DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH ("DFS") is enhancing its software development competency in the field of drone technology: Through its subsidiary DFS International Business Services GmbH, DFS has acquired 23.6 percent in Unifly NV and is, thus, the largest shareholder of the Belgian software development company which specializes in operational air traffic management system for unmanned aircraft systems. GvW Graf von Westphalen supported DFS in this transaction.
Unifly NV was founded in Antwerp in the year 2015 and operates in Belgium and Germany and, in the meantime, also in Spain, France, Denmark, the United States of America, Malawi, China as well as Japan. The company offers in UniflyUTMS , a cloud-based software platform for telematic services to integrate low-flying unmanned aircraft systems into air traffic management. Unifly is the main supplier for Germany’s future traffic management system for unmanned aircraft, named UTM (Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management).
This technology will enable DFS to expand its activities for harmonized and safe co-existence of manned and unmanned aviation. DFS is considered to be in the lead in Europe when using drone technology and last year in Frankfurt has conducted the first controlled drone flight at an international airport.
GvW Graf von Westphalen supported DFS in the acquisition of the shares under the leadership of the Düsseldorf partner Helmut Kempf and a team from various offices consisting of Ritesh Rajani (M&A, Hamburg), Dr. Joachim Mulch (IP, Düsseldorf) as well as Christian Kusulis (antitrust, Frankfurt). Lydian, a partner firm of GvW in the network SCG Legal Group, was retained for issues under Belgium law. Helmut Kempf most recently advised DFS, a client for many years, in the opening of representative offices in Singapore and China (more).
DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,400 employees as at 31 December 2017. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,000 air traffic controllers guide up to 10,000 flights in German airspace every day, about three million movements every year. This makes Germany the country with the highest traffic volume in Europe. The company operates control centres in Langen, Bremen, Karlsruhe and Munich as well as control towers at the 16 international airports in Germany. The subsidiary DFS Aviation Services GmbH markets and sells products and services related to air navigation services, and provides air traffic control at nine regional airports in Germany and at London Gatwick Airport and Edinburgh Airport in the UK. www.dfs.de
DFS IBS is a finance holding company that consolidates commercial business subsidiaries within the DFS Group. It manages and finances investments in subsidiaries that develop and provide services on the air transport market, boost the further development of the air transport market and support and promote DFS in its tasks.
Dr Joachim Mulch
The Basic Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO) has brought about numerous changes in practice for all companies that process personal data. Whether in marketing, sales, personnel or IT - the new regulations have led almost every department to check the handling of data in the company. Because carelessness in the implementation of the new regulations can mean data protection violations and high fines.
The German Engineering Federation (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau e.V.) (VDMA) now provides its member companies with a brochure containing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the DSGVO. With the support of the data protection experts at GvW Graf von Westphalen, the association has answered a large number of individual questions in this brochure - even before the courts have been able to deal with the partially unresolved questions on the new data protection law.
With this brochure, mechanical engineering and plant construction companies receive a reference book for the complex implications of the DSGVO. The FAQ enables them to adapt the internal processing to the extended requirements.
Dr Michael Herold, M.C.L.
By its judgment delivered today in Joined Cases T-722/15, T-723 and T-724/15, the Court of First Instance of the European Union (CFI) annulled an order of the European Commission which was directed against the established system of independent milk quality checks in Germany.
The case concerned an investigation into milk quality before processing financed by a levy on all milk purchasers and the Land of Bavaria. The European Commission wanted to recognise prohibited state aid in this system. Accordingly, the Commission ordered the Federal Republic of Germany to recover from milk purchasers the money used for milk quality checks, even though they had no advantage at all due to the prior payment of the financing levy.
The Court agreed with GvW Graf von Westphalen's assessment that the Commission's decision was unlawful, in particular that the essential procedural rights of the parties had not been respected.
The plaintiffs were successfully represented by the Hamburg-based GvW partner Dr Carsten Bittner, who specializes in food law and regularly assists clients in matters of European agricultural state aid law.
Dr Carsten Bittner