Corporate, Commercial & Regulatory

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Van Bael & Bellis advises multinational clients on corporate, commercial and regulatory issues in the EU and Belgium.

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  • "The lawyers are excellent; very responsive and to the point."

    Chambers Europe

Latest news

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    • 30/03/2020
    • News

    Gabriele Coppo speaks at the ERA Annual Conference on EU Environmental Law

    On 19-20 March 2020, Van Bael & Bellis partner Gabriele Coppo participated as a speaker in the online livestream Annual Conference on EU Environmental Law organised by ERA. Gabriele's presentation focused on linkages between EU trade law and environmental policy. Gabriele also spoke on a panel discussing Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in the wake of CJEU Opinion 1/17 and the Achmea Case (C-284/16). Other speakers included, inter alia, Valerie Fogleman, Professor of Law at Cardiff University School of Law and Politics, Franck Lecomte, Legal Secretary to Judge Toader, CJEU, Milena Novakova, Legal and Policy Officer, DG Environment, European Commission, Colin T. Reid, Professor of Law at the University of Dundee, Christoph Sobatta, Legal Secretary to AG Kokott, CJEU.

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    • 27/03/2020
    • News

    Is The Covid-19 Pandemic A Force Majeure Event Under Belgian Law? Frequently Asked Questions

    Covid-19, also known as the coronavirus, continues to spread across the globe, including in Belgium.  The Belgian authorities have imposed a lock down on all private individuals and enterprises as from 18 March 2020 until 4 April 2020 (the Lock Down Period), but this Lock Down Period will in all likelihood be extended.

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    • 24/03/2020
    • News

    Covid-19 | Some initial corporate and finance considerations

    Over the last few weeks, virtually all M&A transactions have come to a halt. In some instances, the parties opted to await the impact of the crisis. In other instances, the financing banks withdrew from the deal, or were only willing to finance at significantly more onerous conditions. It is beyond doubt that M&A activity will be down significantly during the coming few months. However, it is also the expectation that the current crisis will create a host of possibilities as from the second half of the year, if not earlier. Whatever the outcome, the M&A market will likely be very different at the other end of this crisis, be it in terms of acquisition structures, multiples (how to calculate, for instance, normalised working capital or EBITDAs in the current circumstances), financing terms and leveraging, and transaction dynamics in general. With decades of expertise in strategic negotiations for companies in difficulties and in judicial reorganisations, our corporate M&A team will be happy to assist you in identifying solutions. In attachment, we provide an overview of legal and strategic concerns that may be useful from a corporate and finance perspective.

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Recommendations

  • The quality of the advice is great - we have been asking some complex questions and they have given clear and to-the-point advice and have been very proactive in providing alternative solutions.

    Chambers Europe
  • Van Bael & Bellis has ‘impressive knowledge of dispute resolution, including mediation’. The firm is notable for its strong regulatory and administrative law contentious practice as well as its impressive life sciences sector presence.

    Legal 500
  • They patiently try to understand the mentality of people in different cultures and pay full respect to that. This attitude is rare in a highly expert world. We are fully satisfied with their practice and the results therefrom.

    IFLR1000
  • They are very responsive, and experienced in pharma and compliance-related matters. They always indicate the timelines of the work they do and keep the client informed on the status of the work.

    Chambers Europe

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Van Bael & Bellis is well known for its client-centred approach, commitment to excellence, exceptional client service and personalised attention.

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Recent publications

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    • 31/03/2020
    • Articles

    Pharmaceuticals Remain Focus for Belgian Competition Authority in 2020

    The Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) has just published its annual policy note which sets out its enforcement priorities for the year (see, attachments). The pharmaceutical sector is once more one of the BCA’s principal targets for action and, as the BCA indicates, this is not different from an approach followed by other competition authorities around Europe. The BCA is known to be pursuing cases in the sector actively (see e.g., Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News alert of 8 October 2019). It also adopted several infringement decisions against a pharmacists’ association in 2019 (see e.g., Van Bael & Bellis Life Sciences News alerts of 5 June 2019, 24 June 2019 and 17 October 2019). Additionally, its chief prosecutor in competition matters had occasion to explain the BCA’s handling of the sector during a hearing of the federal Chamber of Representatives in October 2019 (https://www.dekamer.be/FLWB/PDF/55/0758/55K0758001.pdf). Apart from the pharmaceutical sector and in line with previous years, the BCA will target distribution, logistics, service providers and telecommunications and will continue to monitor procurement matters. Finally, it will also tackle the digital economy.

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    • 31/03/2020
    • Articles

    Data Protection Authorities Provide Guidance on Processing of Personal Data in Context of COVID-19 Outbreak

    The outbreak of the new Corona virus COVID-19 has caused various emergencies with novel challenges for many organisations collecting and processing personal data, such as: • Employers monitor employees working from home; request employees and visitors to report risk factors such as travelling or exposure to people with flu-like symptoms; may need to report that an employee is infected with COVID-19 to other employees; • physicians and pharmaceutical companies may wish to use data to investigate new treatments; • authorities enforce lockdown measures by video cameras and tracking phones; and • health authorities need detailed test results and other health data to map virus spreads and keep detailed statistics.

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    • 30/03/2020
    • Articles

    European Commission Offers Guidance on Foreign Direct Investment and Protection of Europe’s Healthcare Capacities

    On 25 March 2020, the European Commission (the Commission) published guidance to the Member States of the EU concerning the limitation of foreign direct investment (“FDI”) and free movement of capital from third countries in order to protect Europe’s strategic assets, especially its healthcare capacities (see, attachment). The Commission considers that, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there could be “an increased risk of attempts from non-EU investors to acquire healthcare capacities (for example for the production of medical or protective equipment) or related industries such as research establishments (for instance developing vaccines) via foreign direct investment”. According to the Commission, if left unchecked, FDI could hamper the EU’s capacity to cover the health needs of its citizens. Since the responsibility for screening FDI lies with EU Member States, the Commission calls upon them to (i) make full use of their screening mechanisms “to take fully into account the risks to critical health infrastructures, supply of critical inputs, and other critical sectors”; and (ii) to set up a screening mechanism if they do not yet have one “and in the meantime to use all other available options”. EU Member States should thus avert FDI liable to “create a risk to security or public order in the EU, including a risk to critical health infrastructures and supply of critical inputs”. The Commission also refers to Regulation (EU) 2019/452 establishing a framework for the screening of FDI into the Union (FDI Screening Regulation), which will apply as of 11 October 2020. The FDI Screening Regulation lists critical health infrastructure among the factors which may be taken into consideration in determining whether FDI is likely to affect security or public order. The FDI Screening Regulation also sets up a cooperation mechanism between the Commission and Member States in order to tackle FDI that creates risks in several Member States. Finally, the Commission provides guidance on the possible justifications for restricting capital movements.

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