Kai advises public and corporate clients on all areas of competition law, with a particular focus on European State aid rules, often in relation to restructuring and privatisation issues.
Clients benefit from his knowledge and insight concerning the application of EU public procurement requirements, and their interaction with State aid rules. Kai also provides authoritative advice on antitrust legislation in cartel investigations, and on competition compliance through programs and individual training sessions. His significant experience in this area includes one of the first two cartel settlement cases before the European Commission.
Kai has developed a successful track record assisting clients with merger filings with EU and national competition authorities, as well as representing clients before the EU courts in Luxembourg, where he is involved in a number of ongoing litigations. His domestic and international experience spans an array of business sectors, including energy, financial services and aviation.
Kai's knowledge of competition law is reinforced by his experience working as an official in the European Commission's Directorate General for Competition prior to joining White & Case. In this position, he was responsible for the enforcement of State aid policy at the (then newly created) Enforcement Unit. Prior to this, he handled individual State aid investigations in one of the Directorate's sectorial units.
A regular speaker at industry events, Kai is also a prolific writer on legal developments which affect his clients' interests.
Victory before the General Court
Kai successfully represented a number of Romanian investors who succeeded in obtaining an award of damages of EUR 82 million against Romania for a breach of a Bilateral Investment Treaty, but faced a European Commission decision that the payment of such damages constitutes illegal State aid that must be repaid. The EU General Court annulled the decision in full.
Sanitec's proceedings in the General Court of the European Union
Kai successfully represented Sanitec Europe in its appeal before the General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg. The General Court reduced the fine jointly and severally imposed on Sanitec and certain of its subsidiaries by approximately €7.1 million. A 2010 Decision by the European Commission had originally imposed fines of more than €622 million on 17 bathroom fixtures and fittings manufacturers. This complex appeal involved analysing evidence in five languages, and highlighted Kai and the Brussels team's ability to handle multi-lingual cartel litigation.
RWE's sale of NET4GAS
Kai was part of the international team which advised RWE AG, a leading European electricity and gas company, in connection with the sale of its 100 percent share in NET4GAS, s.r.o., the Czech gas transmission system operator, to a consortium of Allianz and Borealis Infrastructure. The consortium acquired the shares for an enterprise value of almost €1.6 billion. Kai provided support to the Prague and London teams who were helping RWE to navigate this complex business transaction.
Victory for Czech Airlines
Kai co-led the international team of lawyers which secured a significant victory for České aerolinie, a.s. ("Czech Airlines"). The European Commission determined that CZK2.5 billion in restructuring aid, originally provided to Czech Airlines in April 2009, was in line with European Union (EU) state aid rules. Following an in-depth review, the Commission noted that the airline's restructuring plans, consisting of capacity reduction, efficient cost and revenues management and the sale of assets, should ensure the company's viability.
Significant victory in Sodium Chlorate Cartel Case
Kai achieved a significant victory for his clients Aragonesas and Uralita when the European Union (EU) General Court annulled €9.9 million of fines imposed as a result of Aragonesas' part in a sodium chlorate cartel.
US$3 billion BAWAG PSK restructuring
Kai represented the steering committee of lenders in the financial restructuring of a US$3 billion loan provided to Sacher Funding Limited, an affiliate of BAWAG PSK, one of the largest commercial banks in Austria, with approximately 150 bank branches and more than 1200 post office branches. This was a complex transaction which required great care, negotiating skills, and commercial awareness.
Kai advised clients on the competition and EU energy regulatory law aspects of a number of electricity interconnection and gas pipeline projects.
Energy & Competition
Kai represented a number of energy companies in EU Commission antitrust and State aid investigations.
Kai represented various clients in antitrust investigations by the EU Commission and subsequent litigation before the EU courts, which in two cases led to the partial annulment of the Commission Decision, including the imposed fine.
Spanish Tax Lease Litigation
Kai represented the Dutch Shipbuilding Association in litigation before the EU courts in an annulment action regarding an EU Commission Decision on a Spanish Tax Lease scheme.
"Damages actions and injunctive actions in national courts" and "Case study: Bringing an action for recovery of State aid before a national court", 24 May 2019: ERA EU State Aid Litigation conference, Brussels
"Investment Treaties, State Aid and International Arbitration", 5 July 2018: Informa State aid conference, Brussels (panel speaker)
"State aid and arbitration, and the treatment of Bilateral Investment Treaties", 20 June 2018: Berlin Round Table on European State Aid Law (Berliner Gesprächskreises zum Europäischen Beihilfenrecht), Berlin (presenter)
"Damages actions and injunctive actions in national courts" and "Case study: Bringing an action for recovery of State aid before a national court", 18 May 2018: ERA EU State Aid Litigation conference, Brussels
"State Aid and International Law: Enforceability of Arbitral Awards under EU State Aid Law", 10 November 2017: European University Institute Training Course, Brussels
"Bank recovery and resolution measures and State aid: The issue of non-performing loans and 'failing' banks", 9 November 2017: ERA Annual Conference on European State Aid Law, Trier
"State aid in infrastructure investment", 30 November 2016: GCR Live - State Aid, Brussels, (panel speaker)
"Regulatory Developments in the Energy Sector", 15 November 2016: IBC Competition Law and Regulation in the Energy Sector 2016, Brussels, (panel speaker)
"Damages actions and injunctive actions in national courts", 20 May 2016: State Aid Proceedings and Litigation conference organized by ERA, Brussels. The presentation was part of the morning session on "Enforcement of State Aid Law in National Court Proceedings", of which he was also the chair.
"State aid in privatization and restructuring", 18 February 2016: Conference on State Aid and the EU Accession Process organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, Beograd, (presenter)
"When State aid met tax: A practitioner's view on recent investigations into transfer pricing", 25 January 2016: Lunch seminar organised by Concurrences Journal, Brussels, (presenter)
Chapter on "PreussenElektra – Dead or Alive?", Milestones in State Aid Case Law: EStAL's First 15 Years in Perspective, European State Aid Law Quarterly, December 2017
Chapter on "Energy and Environmental Aid" in EU State Aid Control - Law and Economics, (edited by Philipp Werner & Vincent Verouden, co-author: Wolters Kluwer, The Netherlands 2017)
Private Enforcement of Contract Ineffectiveness: A Practitioner's Point of View, European Procurement & Public Private Partnership Law Review 1/2014, pp. 27–35, (co-author, with Peter Hodal)
Chapter on "Restructuring aid" in Handbook on Restructuring law, (edited by Dr. Rüdiger Theiselmann, co-author: Wolters Kluwer, Germany 2010, 3rd edition 2017 )
(Not) breaking the bank–options available to companies unable to pay cartel fines, The Commercial Litigation Journal, Number 37, May – June 2011, (co-author, with Genevra Forwood)
German Federal Court of Justice strengthens procedural rights for competitors of recipients of potential State aid, European State aid Law Quarterly No. 2 2011, News from the Member States, (co-author, with Christoph Arhold, Franziska Zibold)
Rien ne va plus? Mutual recognition and free movement of services in the gambling sector after the Santa Casa judgment, European Law Review, (35) pp. 236–262, April 2010, (co-author, with Anthony Dawes)
State subsidies to digital terrestrial TV, Satellite Finance, Issue 80, p. 38, 18 May 2005, (co-author, with Rolf Olofsson, Partner, White & Case Brussels)
A New Perspective for Spanish Shipyards–Reducing Distortions in Shipbuilding, EC Competition Policy Newsletter, page 5, January 2005, (co-author, with Hans Bergman, Directorate-General Competition)
Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders – Competition, 2020
Recommended, Legal 500 EMEA – Competition: EU and Global, 2019
Who's Who Legal: Competition – State Aid, 2019