JUVE Law Firm of the year

Energy Law

A market full of question marks

The energy sector is undergoing a period of transition. Every day since the nuclear phase-out brings new parameters, and once solid market relationships have now dissolved. Not only major energy utilities are restructuring – midsized utilities are also reshuffling their portfolios.

The litigators are also keeping lawyers in work, be it with the political wrangling over the Renewable Energies Act amendment, the new Electricity Market Act or specialist issues, such as the financing for the nuclear phase-out and coal reserves. Regulatory advice is therefore still called for. But financial investors too are putting assets back into the market, as demonstrated by the Thyssengas sale. Existing projects, e.g.in renewable energies, are also getting another go around – through joint ventures, structuring/restructuring and financing – before the tendering models herald a new era for the Renewable Energies Act.

More diverse, more competitive

The heavyweights among the (regulatory) practices are having to face increasingly cut-throat competition. The highly complex regulatory issues of 2005 have now been resolved; the regulations and rulings of the Federal Network Agency are becoming more and more fragmented. This is why there is an unmistakable insourcing trend among companies, which can resolve technical or financial matters more effectively with their own staff than with external law firms.

The pressure on margins is countered by the new business opportunities offered by the rapidly changing market, for instance in the legal issues surrounding the Renewable Energies Act amendment or the Electricity Market Act.

This is setting the personnel carousel in motion, as firms are still seeking a way into the market or attempting to win new clients through broader setups. Competitors like Luther or Beiten Burkhardt are profiting from the growing amount of work landing on their desks, since they have been expanding their teams for years, thereby improving their competitiveness against the established firms. Established practices such as White & Case and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer are changing their internal setups in line with the new market demand. The latter firm, for example, has a gateway to complex, occasionally political instructions thanks to its public law practice, as shown by litigation for RWE in its actions against the nuclear phase-out and the sale of Vattenfall’s lignite business.

Of all the transaction practices, it was Linklaters that stood out: firstly, because it played a central role in the E.on restructuring, and, secondly, because it was hired for numerous high-volume deals, most recently Thyssengas.

 


 

Firms in this subchapter offer advice to clients from the energy industry in more than one relevant legal field ( ?corporate, ?M&A, ?banking and finance, ?antitrust, ?public sector).


PfeilJUVE Law Firm of the year