International legal practice Norton Rose Group has advised Swedish freight ferry operator Stena Line Scandinavia AB on the acquisition of five ferry routes from German shipping company Scandlines GmbH.The routes are Sassnitz, Germany to Trelleborg, Sweden; Rostock, Germany to Trelleborg; Nynäshamn, Sweden to Ventspils, Latvia and Travemünde, Germany to Ventspils and to Liepaja, Latvia. The routes Sassnitz to Trelleborg and Rostock to Trelleborg have previously been operated jointly by a subsidiary of Stena Line and Scandlines.
A team from Norton Rose Group’s Hamburg and Brussels offices advised on the acquisition, including ownership, charter or lease rights to five vessels, operations at seven ports, the transfer of employees engaged ashore and at sea and the transfer of contractual agreements.
Klaus von Gierke, Hamburg office managing partner, Norton Rose Germany LLP, commented:
“This transaction represents an important milestone for the team. It comes just a year after the opening of our Hamburg office and the launch of our Hamburg transport and particularly our shipping practice. Hamburg is a key maritime centre and a vibrant market in which to operate and we look forward to the continued development of the practice.”
“Working on this transaction with Stena Line, a long term client of Norton Rose Group and in particular our London office, was a great experience, and we look forward to continuing and deepening this client relationship in Hamburg.”
Corporate partner Klaus von Gierke advised Stena Line, supported by partners Uwe Eppler (tax), Frank Weberndörfer (employment), Gordon Hall (shipping) and Flemming Moos (IP/IT), in Hamburg and Christian Filippitsch in Brussels (antitrust, merger control). Assistance was provided by Katharina von der Heyde , Merle Templin, Ettje Trauernicht, Brigitte Hidding , Alexander von Reuss, Julia Forkel, Felix Dinger, Salmeh Sadeghi, Hesam Shariatmadari, Thies Goldner and Marian Arning in Hamburg as well as María de Lasala Lobera and Max Seuster, in Brussels.
The Swedish law firm Wistrand, led by corporate partner Mattias Boqvist, acted as Stena Line’s lead counsel on the acquisition.
The transaction was signed on 31 May 2012; the approval of the relevant competition authorities is outstanding.