THE FIRM With an impressive array of foreign desks and specialisations, this giant of the Dutch tax market is in a class of its own. It is renowned for its global tax structuring work, and fields nearly 300 tax lawyers in the Netherlands alone, with additional offices in the Benelux, New York and Dubai, amongst others. A recent highlight saw the firm advise The Carlyle Group on its acquisition of investment managers AlpInvest from two local pension funds.
Sources say: "They have the widest range of expertise and the largest team." "The tax lawyers at Loyens & Loeff managed a perfect court case for us."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Outstanding lawyer" Guido Derckx is noted for his high-quality advice on M&A deals, representing private equity firms as well as pension and venture capital funds. Paul Simonis is one of the top tax lawyers in the market, with extensive knowledge of and experience in direct and corporate tax. Managing partner Maarten van der Weijden is "one of the best in the country," according to market observers. Clients commend him for his knowledge of international tax structuring. René van der Paardt is a VAT and real estate transfer tax expert, described by peers as "a big shot in the field." Matthijs Wierenga continues as a rising star in the Loyens line-up, and focuses on corporate and dividend tax.
THE FIRM This firm has one of the most prominent transactional tax practices in the Netherlands, concentrating on corporate and finance mandates. Commentators admire the team's ability to handle complex cross-border transactions and high-end restructurings. It is fully integrated in the M&A and banking practices, and noted for its pragmatic, solution-focused advice.
Sources say: "The firm has really excellent specialist knowledge and experience."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Olaf van der Donk focuses on M&A and restructurings. He recently advised TNT on its demerger and spin-off into PostNL and TNT Express. Peers say his corporate tax skills are particularly impressive. Godfried Kinnegim is quickly making a name for himself in the tax field, earning glowing praise from clients and peers. "He knows his stuff and is really on the ball," says one source. Kinnegim advised on the tax aspects of the EUR1.75 billion Crucell takeover by Johnson & Johnson. John Brouwer deals with the tax aspects of financing transactions and is best known for his advice on structured finance.
THE FIRM One of the largest in the country, this tax team offers highly specialised advice on various fronts. Global tax planning remains a forte, while VAT, transfer pricing and corporate tax are other key strengths. It runs a number of international tax desks from the Amsterdam office, including specialist groups for Latin America, Japan and the USA. The team recently advised an international consumer products manufacturer on the restructuring of its global supply chain, and represented a European bank in tax litigation.
Sources say: "One of the leaders on the tax advisory side." "I would absolutely use this firm again. We benefited from the team's extensive knowledge; it was helpful for complex tax law issues."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Wouter Paardekooper's reputation for international tax structuring continues to grow, with many clients speaking positively about his technical skills. He advised on a major global supply chain restructuring project. Fred de Hosson is highly regarded for his extensive knowledge of the Dutch and international tax markets, and of European tax issues in particular. Erik Scheer chairs the firm's global VAT practice and is a leading name in the market for this type of work. He recently assisted a European bank in its VAT exemption appeal in the Dutch courts. Maarten van der Lande is a well-established name in the local market, and is recommended by peers for corporate tax. Jan-Willem de Tombe leads the five-strong employee benefits practice group, and confirms his position as an up-and-coming lawyer.
THE FIRM The team at this international powerhouse focuses on transactions, working in close conjunction with one of the country's leading finance and capital markets practices. It excels in funds work, recently advising pension funds PGGM and APG on the share sale of asset managers AlpInvest. It has seen an increased number of instructions from Russian clients of late. For example, it assisted leading Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital with two loan securitisations.
Sources say: "The firm is strong on the transactional side." "One of the most successful teams in terms of size and work."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Ate van IJlzinga Veenstra is an authority on funds and asset management issues. Observers say he is "quick, smart and good to work with." Practice head Frank de Vos is commended for his client service skills and long experience of the Dutch tax market. He represented Morgan Stanley, Citi and Rabobank in the issue of EUR500 million of capital securities by Alliander. Peers predict a bright future for the "clever and highly skilled" Michiel Sunderman, who specialises in tax in the context of M&A and structured finance transactions.
THE FIRM The 12-strong team at De Brauw focuses on high-end M&A and corporate finance, with clients including Schiphol and Unilever. Drawing on the firm's strong capacity in dispute resolution, it is building a tax litigation practice specialising in EU and international tax matters. The team's transactional work has a distinct international flavour. Recent highlights include advising Intel on the acquisition of Silicon Hive.
Sources say: "De Brauw provides high-quality specialist advice, and is active in finding solutions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Dick Hofland is one of the top names in domestic and cross-border tax. Sources describe him as "experienced, strategic and practical." Paul Sleurink is a "commercially strong" tax lawyer with an exceptional grasp of technical details, report sources. He recently advised Schiphol on a debt exchange programme, and SiTel Semiconductor on its acquisition by Dialog Semiconductor.
THE FIRM Freshfields consistently attracts high-value M&A deals, in which the compact tax team plays a key role. It provides a superb service, say clients, who particularly commend the lawyers for their strong technical knowledge. The team's experience on cross-border transactions is considered a further boon. It advised Rabobank on several securitisations of mortgage portfolios, and tackled the tax issues in Siemens' acquisition of NEM and Nem Energy Services, a EUR170 million deal.
Sources say: "Their technical knowledge is probably best in class. They're clear and articulate in their advice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Machiel Lambooij is held in high esteem by peers and clients, and earns praise for his knowledge, responsiveness and commercial nous. Eelco van der Stok is a "fantastic tax lawyer" specialising in structured finance and financial restructuring. He recently advised WireCo Worldgroup on the acquisition of Drumet Liny i Druty, a Polish rival.
THE FIRM This four-partner team has a clear focus on transactions, but also handles tax planning and litigation. It has been busy with restructuring work, advising Apollo on the EUR2.2 billion reorganisation of Lyondell, and European Directories on its debt restructuring. Other work has included representing Tullow Oil in its acquisition of Nuon Exploration & Production, a EUR300 million deal.
Sources say: "The client service level is always high, as is the quality of the advice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Nico Blom focuses on cross-border financings and securitisations. He recently advised Johnson & Johnson on its acquisition of the remaining shares of biotech company Crucell. Clients value Chris Warner's clear opinion, and peers note his skill in financial matters. He was Dutch tax counsel to Eurand on its USD583 million takeover by US-based Axcan Holdings.
THE FIRM This firm is considered a solid performer on transactional mandates. The tax team is split between offices in Amsterdam, New York and London, making it a good choice for international matters. It assisted Ziggo Finance in the placement of EUR750 million secured and EUR1.2 billion unsecured notes. Stibbe also has busy energy and finance practices that work in tandem with the tax team.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Maarten de Bruin advises on commercial and structured finance deals and is commended for his deep knowledge and experience.
THE FIRM The tax team at Van Doorne covers finance and M&A work, attracting various multi-jurisdictional mandates. It acts for a growing number of clients from Russia and the CIS, including Yandex, which it advised on its USD1.4 billion IPO on the NASDAQ. The firm is also strongly rooted in the local market, and often represents the management of companies in private equity deals.
Sources say: "Van Doorne's huge experience in M&A and specifically in management representation makes it an obvious choice for us."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Ewout van Asbeck is well versed in international tax structuring and heads the Russia/CIS desk at Van Doorne. Clients describe him as "an excellent lawyer who can make highly complex tax structures look simple." Thijs Clement specialises in international corporate taxation. He advised SkyTeam on its international tax structures.
THE FIRM A strong US focus and a global tax platform set this firm apart from its competitors. Its areas of focus are corporate tax, VAT, HR tax and, increasingly, transfer pricing. In a recent highlight, the team advised on the international tax aspects of the EUR600 million joint venture between Sollers and Ford.
Sources say: "The international network was a decisive factor in choosing DLA: we work throughout Europe and we needed a law firm that could match this."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients rate Boris Emmerig's tax structuring skills highly, saying: "He is fast thinking and he knows how to calculate the risks."
THE FIRM This compact practice focuses on international tax structuring, and has a strong position in tax litigation. Much of the team's work has been in the areas of restructuring and bankruptcy, with recent instructions including advising on tax matters in the insolvency of DSB bank.
Sources say: "The firm is very precise in delivering its opinions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients praise Sylvia Dikmans for her concise and useful advice. She advised the shareholders of Epyon on a share acquisition by ABB.
THE FIRM This compact team focuses on high-end M&A, and provides support on transactions coming in through the firm's international network. Recent work includes advising on the joint venture between The Carlyle Group and TPG Group for their acquisition of Australian private health care provider Healthscope, a deal involving a Dutch holding structure.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Olaf Kroon has a growing reputation as an expert on M&A, private equity and capital markets transactions. He advised Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext on their proposed merger, structured through a Dutch holding company.
THE FIRM This firm often advises on tax aspects of capital markets transactions, and has a strong international practice. Clients from the CIS in particular represent a growth area in a portfolio of cross-border assignments. Its clientele includes large corporates such as Office Depot, Caterpillar and OAO Lukoil.
Sources say: "The team is excellent at looking ahead and getting our files moving forward."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peter Flipsen is "creative in his solutions and an effective advocate for his clients," report sources. He is praised for his transfer pricing and international tax work, and acts for several prominent US corporates.
THE FIRM This team handles a wide array of tax issues, with a focus on international tax. The group often acts for clients from the telecoms and real estate sectors, and is well versed in M&A, IP tax planning and transfer pricing.
Sources say: "We are impressed with the team; it is proactive and innovative in its approach."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Pieter Camps is noted for his "deep and thorough" understanding of the Dutch tax system. He focuses on M&A, funds and IP.
THE FIRM The team at this global firm advises on tax planning and strategic tax matters, acting for a predominantly international clientele. It has seen an increase in fund-related instructions, and recently advised French private equity group XXI Partners on the acquisition of shares of Euro Media Group.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Erik de Bie is noted for his efficient advice and clear, strategic thinking. His practice includes VAT, customs and transfer pricing.
THE FIRM This two-partner team has been particularly busy with project and asset finance matters of late. The practice has a strong international flavour, and a growing Turkish client base. It acts for many clients from the energy and telecoms sectors, including RWE, Turkcell and Zorlu Enerji.
Sources say: "Norton Rose has excellent knowledge." "The firm is very good at structuring holding companies."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gesina van de Wetering is "highly capable and writes excellent, thorough opinions," say clients. She has many clients from the telecoms, energy and insurance sectors, and runs the Turkey desk in the Amsterdam office.
Since publication, Gesina van de Wetering has joined Van Campen Liem
of boutique firm Galavazi advises on business structuring, restructuring and M&A-related tax.
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