SEE/Austria: HETA: Schoenherr supported Austrian Finance Ministry's negotiating group on agreement in principle with Bavaria

07 July 2015 | deal news

Schoenherr provided support to the negotiating group established by Austria's Federal Ministry of Finance for the talks that have led to the successful conclusion of a political agreement in principle between the Republic of Austria and the German state of Bavaria that aims at settling all legal disputes concerning HETA.

In talks held in camera, Austria and Bavaria reached an agreement in principle with the goal to terminate the legal disputes regarding HETA’s predecessor, Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International AG. At their government meetings held on 7 July 2015, Austria's federal government and the Bavarian state government approved a political agreement in principle at the recommendation of their respective finance ministers Hans Jörg Schelling and Markus Söder. On the Austrian side, an independent expert commission headed by Irmgard Griss will now assist the process until the conclusion of the formal settlements, with the country's parliament set to pass the required legal basis this autumn.

Background: Various HETA-related lawsuits involving claims with dispute values in the billions of Euros are pending between HETA ASSET RESOLUTION AG, Bayerische Landesbank (BayernLB), and the Republic of Austria. Previous talks with the goal to reach a friendly settlement of the disputes had failed. Austrian Finance Minister Hans Jörg Schelling has taken a new attempt that – under the leadership of the negotiating team – led to the successful conclusion of the respective agreement in principle.

Wolfgang Höller, restructuring expert and insolvency law partner at Schoenherr, points out: "We appreciate the trust that was placed in us and are proud to have been able to make a contribution within such a complex situation. This agreement in principle provides the basis for a comprehensive resolution of this matter." "The settlement of open issues, as the pre-closing in the sale of Hypo's SEE network which took place last week or the just-reached conclusion of an agreement in principle with Bavaria, is essential for a proper and efficient run down of HETA," adds Sascha Hödl, partner in Schoenherr's Corporate/M&A practice and an expert in banking sector restructuring.

HETA is the legal successor to Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank International AG and has been a run-down entity according to Austria's Federal Law for the Creation of a Run-down Unit ("GSA") since 30 October 2014.

Schoenherr advised HETA in the bundling of its SEE banking and leasing network in Southeastern Europe into a SEE holding (now: Hypo Group Alpe Adria AG) that holds an Austrian banking license, as well as on the sale of this SEE banking and leasing network to the US-based fund Advent International and the European Bank for Recovery and Development (EBRD), which has been pre-closed last week. In spring 2015, Schoenherr further assisted HETA in the implementation of the first resolution pursuant to the European framework for the recovery and resolution of credit institutions (which resolution regime has newly been implemented based on this EU directive in Austria in January 2015).

On the part of Schoenherr, Wolfgang Höller, supported by Sascha Hödl, provided legal assistance to the negotiating team of the Austrian Finance Ministry.

Wolfgang Höller


T: +43 1 534 37 50281

Sascha Hödl


T: +43 1 534 37 50266

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insolvency & restructuring, corporate investigations & crisis management