Insolvency and restructuring proceedings are intricate and complex. Practitioners must be able to combine legal knowledge, in particular in the areas of litigation, finance and transactions, with strategic, tactical and managerial skills to deliver positive results.
PRAGER DREIFUSS has extensive experience and a longstanding tradition in insolvency and restructuring matters. In the wake of the financial crisis, we combined our finance and bankruptcy knowledge which enabled us to assist in complex project financing, also lately in a major multinational commodity project. Our attorneys regularly represent creditors, some of which are banks, hedge funds or other financial institutions, in large national and international insolvency and restructuring proceedings, whether in registering or purchasing claims or in enforcing disputed claims vis-à-vis bankruptcy administrators and before courts. Assisting clients in the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments in Switzerland and abroad is a key feature of our daily practice. Frequently and increasingly, we are retained by creditors in enforcing claims (awards, bonds) against sovereigns. Continue reading “Sponsored practice area spotlight: Insolvency and restructuring: Combining unique skills to achieve a successful outcome”
When the world went into lockdown in March/ April 2020, everyone expected the worst for the economy: market crashes, sky-rocketing unemployment numbers and a wave of insolvencies. While it is safe to say that some countries struggled more than others, Switzerland weathered the crisis well, even exceeding pre-Covid-19 activity in some areas.
One of the wealthiest countries in the world, Switzerland’s GDP has been on a steady increase and almost tripled in the last 20 years. Projections also show tangible growth from 2020 to 2021, underlining the fact that the pandemic had little to no impact on the Swiss economy. This was also witnessed by Thierry Calame, who in January 2022 becomes the new managing partner of one of the leading Swiss powerhouses, Lenz & Staehelin: ‘The pandemic continued to be the largest challenge. However, thanks to the robust Swiss economy there has not been any economic downturn in 2021, but rather a significant recovery.’
Continue reading “Switzerland focus: Bouncing back”
Switzerland is often singled out as the prime model for a stable economy – apart from a temporary blip in 2009 following the global economic crisis, GDP growth has moved consistently upwards. The country’s strong employment figures and national debt position have only underlined its positive reputation even more. But when Covid-19 hit, not even Switzerland could roll with all the punches it had to take, and continue growing.
That said, at the end of 2020 the economic activity was only 2% below its pre-crisis level – a strong bounceback, especially compared to other European countries. While Switzerland remains locked down for the first quarter of 2021, the prognosis for the year ahead looks promising. Continue reading “Switzerland focus: Still standing”
After delivering his keynote address at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, President Trump immediately left to catch the plane home. En route to Air Force One, every bridge crossing the highway on which his limousine passed was closed, doing everything to sweep aside potential delays to his exit. Yet despite being the world’s most expensive country to live, few locals ever choose to emigrate from Switzerland – except perhaps to retire in warmer climates.
And why would they? Swiss citizens enjoy a high living standard, low levels of inflation, unemployment and crime and enviable economic and political stability. ‘Even if the cost of living is high, the high salaries, the high quality of life, the beautiful landscape, security – all of that creates an attractive package,’ says Daniel Hochstrasser, managing partner of Bär & Karrer. Continue reading “A very clear shift – Remaking the Swiss economy”
State court litigation and private arbitration proceedings require practitioners to combine legal thoroughness and the management of evidence with strategic ingenuity. Understanding court processes, legal practice and tactical procedural advantages all add up to sound advice in contentious legal matters.
Dispute resolution in all its appearances enjoys a long-standing tradition at Prager Dreifuss. Our attorneys represent parties before local state courts as well as administrative authorities. Debt collection and bankruptcy matters are strong areas of our practice, in particular in disputes involving foreign parties. International arbitration has attained special significance in our firm and a number of our attorneys are regularly appointed as arbitrators in institutional and ad hoc arbitration tribunals. Continue reading “Sponsored spotlight: Dispute resolution: Strategic case management with legal acumen”
As the eurozone economy slows down after six years of uninterrupted growth, Switzerland is an anxious spectator. Amid increased concerns among the EU27 over the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit and the halt to quantitative easing from the European Central Bank’s asset-purchasing programme, Europe’s big three are bracing themselves while Switzerland sits in the middle, watching intently.
To the west, France endures its gilets jaunes; to the south, Italy faces a looming debt crisis with its banks. In the north, Germany has just avoided a technical recession and, like many of the other 18 eurozone countries, forecasters suggest that it will be fortunate to see 1% GDP growth this year. ‘What I see in Italy and France is scary, in particular the rise of populism,’ says Manuel Bianchi della Porta, managing partner of BianchiSchwald in Geneva. ‘A lot is going on in the eurozone: most Swiss trade depends upon Germany, France and Italy. But it seems that we are living on a small island unaffected by all the turmoil that is happening around us. It is like the political stability of our country is protecting us and the business community we are serving.’ Continue reading “Switzerland – Between a rock and a hard place”
Switzerland has not been in a foreign conflict since 1815 when its neutrality was first established by the Treaty of Paris. But, two centuries on, the peace-loving nation could be set to experience a discreet civil war – this time between its law firms.
Despite a cluster of top domestic players vying for the best work, Swiss lawyers have never experienced the level of international competition felt by France and Germany. The market has perhaps been too cosy, the work too plentiful and the outlook too certain. Yet there is something in the Alpine air that suggests this might change – and when it does, the battle for business will intensify. To be fought entirely by stealth rather than with steel, it may nevertheless reshape the domestic legal landscape. Continue reading “Switzerland – The rough and the smooth”
Switzerland is changing. Among the country’s traditionally-minded law firms, conservatism is in decline, fuelled by a greater appetite for domestic mergers, increased lawyer mobility between firms and a belated focus on alternative legal service provision. Accordingly, Swiss lawyers are much like the swans on Lake Geneva: smooth and serene on the surface, all the while paddling furiously underneath. An energetic response to the fresh demands of an evolving legal services landscape is paying dividends for some.
The wider economy presents a mixed picture, as Urs Klöti, managing partner of Pestalozzi, outlines: ‘Challenging times remain. The Swiss franc is still very strong, which means that export services are extremely expensive compared with previously. That’s an issue for bigger law firms, because many of our invoice payers are non-Swiss counterparts: in relative terms, we’re certainly more expensive than two or three years ago. We often hear it when we talk about fees.’ Continue reading “Making ripples – Turbulent times ahead for the Swiss legal market”
‘In our worldwide business, the volume of mergers is at a record high. However, in Switzerland we can talk about a stagnation of deals,’ says Guy Vermeil, managing partner of Lenz & Staehelin. His downbeat assessment of the domestic M&A market is supported by last year’s numbers. As the broader Swiss economy stalled with GDP growth of only 0.8%, KPMG’s annual transactional review labelled 2015 as ‘troubled for the M&A market in Switzerland’. Transaction volume declined 17% compared to 2014, from 420 to 350 deals, while the aggregate value of completed M&A with a Swiss component fell 55% to $84.9bn.
Benedict Christ, co-head of M&A at Vischer, identifies removal of the currency peg as a particular problem: ‘There was certainly no growth in M&A, that’s probably mostly due to the appreciation of the Swiss franc in early January , which made it considerably more expensive for foreign investors. The hit we took from the appreciation was probably not as bad as it could have been, but this will certainly continue to have an effect on the markets.’
Continue reading “Red dragon, white cross – Can Chinese money kickstart Swiss markets”
When even that most venerable of Swiss industries, watch-making, comes under threat, you know the country has a problem. But this proved to be the case in the early weeks of 2015: global brand Swatch saw its share price slump 15% after the Swiss National Bank (SNB) announced on 15 January that it would abandon the cap on the Swiss franc against the euro that it first introduced in September 2011. Keeping the franc at CHF1.20 to the euro had became increasingly expensive for the SNB, as it sold its own currency and bought up euros, sterling, US and Canadian dollars and yen, usually in the form of government bonds.
Many were shocked by the move, which has left investors worrying that with the CHF now floating against the euro, Swiss companies will struggle to maintain export levels. Swatch chief executive Nick Hayek called the decision ‘a tsunami’ for Switzerland’s economy. Mark Haefele, chief investment officer of UBS, has estimated that the policy will cost Swiss exporters close to CHF5bn (£3.3bn), equivalent to 0.7% of Swiss economic output.
Continue reading “Aftershocks – hard decisions for Swiss lawyers amid a turbulent market”