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Clifford Chance

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Belgium

We are a market-leading firm in Belgium. Our reputation is built on high-profile work in the Belgian market, multi-jurisdiction transactions, antitrust and regulatory matters.

Domestic strength and international know-how

Our Belgian track record goes back to 1968, and today there are 11 partners and over 40 lawyers in our full-service Brussels office. We work with clients on a range of complex questions and have particular expertise in cross-border M&A, private equity, real estate, banking, finance and capital markets.

Our work regularly makes Belgian headlines, with recent examples including:

  • Advising a consortium on the corporate, finance and public law aspects of its acquisition of Euroports, a major port terminal operator.
  • Advising the successful bidder on its acquisition of Macquarie's stake in Brussels Airport.
  • Advising management of Armonea on the sale of the company to Colisée and their proposed investment in Colisée.
  • Advising the EIB on the financing of the Liège Tram project.
  • Advising various major banks, investment firms and financial institutions on the design and implementation of their Brexit strategy.
  • Acting for Airbus in Belgian civil proceedings brought by the liquidators of Sabena in relation to a multi-million dollar order of aircraft.
  • Advising Lucerne, a minority shareholder in Telenet, in respect of its campaign against Liberty Global, the majority shareholder. 
  • Advising EuroAsia on the development and construction of the EuroAsia Interconnector, a flagship project in the European energy market. The project will connect several European and Asian countries, beginning with mainland Greece, Crete, Cyprus and Israel.
  • Advising Gfi Informatique on its public takeover bid on Realdolmen, including tax structuring.
  • Advising the creditors on the restructuring, the €43 million recapitalisation, and the €380 million refinancing of listed cooling tower and air treatment group Hamon.
  • Advising AB InBev on the launch of tender offers for up to US$16.5 billion aggregate purchase price of twelve series of USD Notes.
  • Advising the underwriters on Solvay’s placement of a perpetual hybrid bond for an aggregate nominal amount of €300 million.
  • Advising Materialise on its US$50 million secondary offering and on the entry into its share capital of chemistry giant BASF.
  • Advising AIMCo on the purchase (including tax aspects) of 100% of the shares in the company which owns the Docks Bruxsel shopping centre.
  • Advising ATREAM and Home Invest on the acquisition of the Sun Parks leisure park in De Haan on the Belgian coast.
  • Advising Primonial on the acquisition of 75% of Aedifica’s apartment portfolio.
  • Advising an international group in the context of an unprecedented tax dispute with the Belgian tax authorities.
  • Advising Zoetis on a collective dismissal impacting around 80 positions, including the internal and external communication, the calculation of the restructuring budget, the negotiation of the social plan with the unions, and full implementation.

The high-calibre work of our talented lawyers on these and other key transactions is recognised in consistent top-tier rankings by major legal directories such as Chambers, Legal 500 and IFLR.

Experts in antitrust, state aid and regulatory matters

Our practice group specialising in merger control, behavioural antitrust, state aid and regulatory matters is the go-to team for high-profile, bet-the-company antitrust work in Brussels. We have excellent relationships with the key EU institutions and in-depth knowledge of the technical and practical aspects of the relevant EU laws, which allows us to provide our clients with practical, comprehensive advice that covers all jurisdictions in which they have business interests.

We give clients industry-focused insights and tailored advice across a wide range of sectors, but we are particularly well-known for our track record and expertise in information technology, pharmaceuticals and industrials.

Recent examples of our work include:

  • Representing FairSearch, an industry coalition that is the main complainant in the EU's Google Android investigation and a leading intervener in the EU's Google Search case, as their external counsel before the European Commission. Both cases resulted in the imposition of record-breaking fines, and these investigations are undoubtedly among the most significant antitrust cases of recent years
  • Advising GE on over 100 acquisitions and joint ventures, including in relation to its merger with Baker Hughes, involving approximately 20 merger filings across the world, and in relation to its €3.2 billion sale of GE Water and Process Technologies to Suez
  • Advising a number of pharmaceutical clients in the context of investigations by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). For example, we advised Zoetis and Xellia Pharmaceuticals in their appeal against the CMA's infringement decision in relation to the reverse patent settlement of GSK with a generic company called Alpharma, the so-called 'pay for delay' case. We are also advised Pfizer on its defence in a high-profile excessive pricing investigation by the CMA and in its appeal against the CMA's infringement decision
  • Advising KONE on the landmark damages claim brought by the European Commission before the Brussels Commercial Court against KONE and three other lift manufacturers in relation to a cartel infringement, established pursuant to a decision of the EU Commission

An approach our clients value as highly as our capabilities

We combine the flexibility of a close-knit domestic team with the sophisticated resources of an international firm. We are well-used to building cross-practice teams of lawyers from our 23-country network, and our clients’ comments suggest that they like our way of working just as much as the results we deliver:

  • "The team is praised for its detailed knowledge of the market, quick turnaround time and straightforward, to-the-point communication, as well as its good depth of resources and excellent cross-border capabilities."
    Chambers Europe 2019
  • "The team is extremely responsive, practical, and really helpful on the strategic side. They provide strategic advice in terms of how to get deals done."
    Chambers Europe, 2018
  • "They do a terrific job. They know us very well, they get very close to the client. We find them very business-focused and friendly."
    Chambers Europe, 2017
  • "I was impressed and amazed. The Clifford Chance lawyers have a lot of expertise and are available. They work to short deadlines and deliver quality quickly."
    Chambers Europe, 2016

Directory listings and client comments

Directory listings

IFLR 1000 2019

  • Tier 1 in Banking and Finance in Belgium
  • Tier 1 in Capital Markets in Belgium

Chambers Europe 2019

  • Band 1 in Banking & Finance in Belgium 

Legal 500 EMEA 2019

  • Tier 1 in Banking, Finance & Capital Markets in Belgium
  • Tier 1 in EU Regulatory: Financial Services in Belgium
  • Tier 1 in Real Estate in Belgium

 Client comments

  • "The firm has without any doubt the best finance team in Belgium."
    IFLR 1000 2019 – Belgium
  • "One of the leading capital markets practices in the country."
    IFLR 1000 2019 - Belgium
  • "Their international reach is very, very good. I've never experienced any jurisdiction – even the most exotic locations – where they cannot find the answers."
    Chambers Europe 2018 – Belgium
  • "We particularly appreciate the pragmatism displayed by the lawyers. The team is extremely responsive, practical and really helped on the strategic side. They provide strategic advice in terms of how to get deals done."
    Chambers Europe 2018 – Belgium
  • "They are exceeding expectations across the board."
    Chambers Europe 2018 – Belgium 
  • "Clifford Chance's highly responsive and knowledgeable team provides a service that is second-to-none."
    Legal 500 EMEA 2018 – Belgium
  • "The superb lawyers and business partners at Clifford Chance score highly for their deep understanding of the related business, legal, political and economic context."
    Legal 500 EMEA 2018 – Belgium
  • "A top player in the Belgian market, Clifford Chance is very quick on the ball and is noted for its capacity to handle and coordinate a variety of legal issues and have them converged into an appropriate solution."
    Legal 500 EMEA 2018 – Belgium