Tax Law20.04.2021 Newsletter
On 21 April 2021, the Bundestag passed a reform of the real estate transfer tax. This entails a lowering of the minimum shareholding threshold and an extension of the holding periods. Real estate transfer tax can now also be incurred in case of changes of shareholders of corporations. An entirely new feature is the introduction of a stock exchange clause. We are already informing you here about these and other innovations and their practical significance - especially for transactions that are already in progress.
Employment Law16.04.2021 Newsletter
The Federal Minister of Labour, Hubertus Heil, presented the planned Second Ordinance amending the Corona Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance to the Federal Cabinet on 13 April 2021. This intends to extend the period of validity of the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance up to and including 30 June 2021 and to introduce a testing offer that will be mandatory for employers.
Oppenhoff has advised the Alfred Landecker Foundation as the exclusive start-up sponsor of the think-tank “CeMAS”, short for “Centre for Monitoring, Analysis and Strategy”. As a non-profit organisation, CeMAS bundles interdisciplinary expertise on topics such as conspiracy ideologies, anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism. The start-up works with an early-warning system that is unique in Germany and will enable anti-democratic trends to be identified better and earlier.
Employment Law14.04.2021 Newsletter
The decisions of the Conference of the Heads of the Government of the Federal States [Ministerpräsidentenkonferenz, MPK] have so far only included calls for companies to provide far-reaching corona rapid tests for their employees. An obligation to do so still does not exist - apart from deviating regulations for certain groups of employees in individual federal states such as Berlin, Saxony and Brandenburg. The trade associations have used wide-ranging communications to urge companies to offer their employees tests and have published corresponding notices on their websites.
Are SPAC transactions conquering the German market? And how does the brand new restructuring law StaRUG affect M&A practice? There have also been important changes in the area of merger control: In the future, fewer transactions will have to be notified to the German Federal Cartel Office. We also report on a high-quality discussion on distressed M&A at the German Corporate M&A Congress and on new rulings by the Federal Court of Justice on the redemption of GmbH shares and on squeeze-outs.
In 2019, Germany and France undertook in the "Treaty of Aachen" to improve their cooperation in the field of research and digital transformation, including artificial intelligence (AI) and breakthrough innovations. On this basis, a joint call for the funding of innovative AI projects was launched on 3 February 2021, coordinated by the French Bpifrance (Banque Publique d'Investissement) and the DLR project management organisation. "France and Germany want to be a driving force for artificial intelligence in Europe," affirmed German Economics Minister Peter Altmaier in this connection. The total funding budget is EUR 10 million in Germany and EUR 10 million in France.
The new German electronic Competition Register: long planned and now ready for use. Before the Competition Register can finally go live, however, there are still final steps to be taken. Nevertheless, we are venturing a glimpse into the future and summarise the most important changes.
Employment Law30.03.2021 Newsletter
The approval of several rapid antigen tests as well as the expected future approval of further rapid test methods provide new opportunities in the working world, but also raise some questions. By way of a government-supported appeal, the leading associations of German industry have called on companies to offer their employees weekly self-tests or rapid tests. An obligation to do so, however, currently still does not exist.
About a year ago, the European Commission published its factsheet for a new industrial strategy for a globally competitive, environmentally friendly and digital Europe. At that time, the corona pandemic had already demonstrated that new industrial value chains are essential if Europe is to remain strategically independent and competitive.
Employment Law22.03.2021 Newsletter
It was to be expected that, due to the increased use of home offices during the pandemic, the courts would also increasingly have to deal with this form of work. Not only are issues arising directly from the use of the home office, such as employees’ reimbursement claims or employers’ recall options, the home office is also increasingly finding its way into legal assessments of unfair dismissal actions, as a decision of the Labour Court [Arbeitsgericht, ArbG] of Berlin shows. However, in our first "Labour Law Focus" of 2021 we also present other interesting decisions, such as those of the Federal Labour Court [Bundesarbeitsgericht, BAG] on "blank" dismissals or of the Regional Labour Court [Landesarbeitsgericht, LAG] of Düsseldorf on the reduction of holiday entitlement during short-time work. Of course, we also inform you as ever of important legal developments.
Oppenhoff has advised Dietmar Axt, the former CEO and shareholder of Mustang, on his withdrawal from the Baden-Württemberg textile company.
Employment Law18.03.2021 Newsletter
The effects of the corona pandemic are also being felt on the recruitment mar-ket. Although it appears easy to obtain personnel at first glance, unexpected hurdles seem to have become stumbling blocks for companies. Our partner Jörn Kuhn talks to Thomas Hartenfels, Director at Robert Walters, a leading international executive personnel consultant.
Oppenhoff has advised the Canadian Hydro66 Group on the sale of a data centre complex in northern Sweden to Northern Data AG. As part of the sale, all shares in an English holding company of the Hydro66 Group were transferred, including its Swedish subsidiaries.
Foreign Trade12.03.2021Cologne Newsletter
Non-US companies must also be aware of US export control regulations and - to the extent permitted under EU law - comply with them. The US authorities have recently demonstrated again that, when it comes to prosecuting violations, they do not stop at national borders: The US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has sanctioned a medium-sized German aerospace company for alleged violations of Iran sanctions between September 2011 and July 2012 – in addition to imposing a fine, it also imposed a three-year export ban.
On 10 February 2021, the Federal Cabinet agreed on a joint draft of the German Telecommunications-Telemedia Data Protection Act [Telekommunikation-Telemedien-Datenschutzgesetz, TTDSG-RegE]. The planned Act, which is to be passed shortly (the first reading in the Bundestag took place on 25 March 2021), will adapt data protection provisions from the German Telecommunications Act [Telekommunikationsgesetz, TKG] and the German Telemedia Act [Telemediengesetz, TMG] to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO) as well as implement essential parts of Directive 2002/58/EC (ePrivacy Directive).
Myriam Baars-Schilling is the new chairwomen of the law firm Oppenhoff. The 43-year-old lawyer will lead the four-member Executive Board in the future. The Oppenhoff partners also elected Dr. Jürgen Hartung as a new member of the management. Among other things, the 51-year-old IT lawyer is going to drive forward the firm’s digitisation.
Energy and Infrastructure09.03.2021 Newsletter
The new law addresses the enormous challenges faced by Chile in the area of energy efficiency: energy-intensive companies in particular must implement energy management systems (so-called “SGEs” [Sistemas de Gestión de Energía]), which require a great deal of equipment, technology and know-how. German and international suppliers and service providers can play a relevant role in providing this.
Employment Law08.03.2021Cologne Newsletter
Innovative office concepts such as desk sharing and open work spaces can be found in more and more companies, alongside an increasing acceptance of home offices and flexible working. Such office concepts are part of the New Work approach which, among other things, encourages interaction between employees.
Oppenhoff has advised the Pohl Group on the complete sale of its subsidiary Systea Pohl GmbH to the French Etanco Group. Systea will continue to operate as an independent company.
The use of artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly important role in the digitisation of retail. According to the "Executive Summary World Robotics 2020 Industrial Robots" of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), Germany ranks fifth worldwide in the use of industrial robots - after China, Japan, the USA and South Korea.
After long political negotiations, the German Federal Ministries for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) have agreed on a draft law on corporate due diligence in supply chains. With the draft bill on the so-called Supply Chain Act of 15 February 2021, the Federal Government wants to oblige larger German companies to comply with human rights and environmental protection standards along their global supply chain from 2023 onwards. The bill is expected to be passed before the end of this legislative period.
Oppenhoff advised nd industrial investments B.V. on the Series B financing round of Next.e.GO Mobile SE. As majority shareholder of Next.e.GO Mobile SE, nd industrial investments B.V. acted as lead investor for the Series B financing round.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given online commerce a powerful boost. At the same time, COVID-19 has repeatedly caused supply bottlenecks, resulting in products being out-of-stock at the customer’s preferred dealer. When looking for alternatives, customers then like to take advantage of offers from foreign traders.
Intellectual Property Law22.02.2021Cologne Newsletter
On 3 February 2021, the German Federal Cabinet [Bundeskabinett] adopted a draft law to adapt copyright law to the requirements of the digital single market. EU member states must transpose the requirements of Directive (EU) 2019/790 ("DSM Directive") into national law by 7 June 2021. With the bill, its implementation is now close to completion.
Employment Law19.02.2021Cologne Newsletter
Detlef Scheele, the Chairman of the Board of the German Federal Employment Agency [Bun-desagentur für Arbeit], had recently reconfirmed in a newspaper interview that the Employment Agency is going to check every company that has received short-time work compensation. The final checks are scheduled to start in April 2021. Anyone who is not sure whether he did every-thing correctly or who already knows that mistakes were made should take action. Our partner Jörn Kuhn summarises the key points.