place to be for international business. We opened an
office in Beijing in 2010 as a hub for all our activities in
Asia. That office bridges the differences between
Chinese and European business and legal cultures and
does both inbound and outbound work. The Brussels
office deals with EU matters.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE AN OFFICE ON THE
GROUND IN NEW YORK?
It is very important. This is not a representative office, it
is a fully functioning law firm with 5-7 lawyers. We
became the first Dutch firm to launch in New York in
1973 and since then we have always maintained a
strong team with the capacity to do any size of deal. We
receive a steady flow of instructions from US clients
who want to structure investments in, or through, the
Netherlands. They benefit from the same time zone
advantage our New York presence affords.
It is also useful to maintain relationships with US law
firms and to be physically present in a market where
deal-structuring trends originate.
WHY IS THE NETHERLANDS AN ATTRACTIVE JURISDICTION
FOR INTERNATIONAL CLIENTS?
First of all, the Netherlands has created one of the
largest networks of investment treaties in the world.
Investors who plan to invest in, for instance, the
developing world can generally rely on these treaties if
they structure their investments through a Dutch
holding company, providing protection against
expropriation and discriminatory or other unfair
treatment. Most of these treaties also apply to mailbox
Secondly, the Netherlands has an extensive network
of tax treaties and boasts a well-known favourable tax
regime, with proven possibilities for efficient tax
Fundamentally, the Netherlands is a very business
friendly country with an economy of considerable size
(its GDP of $680bn ranks around the twentieth largest
in the world). That's why many international companies
have selected the Netherlands as their global or
European headquarters. There are many methods
available to structure investments and establish entities
(cooperatives are very popular these days). Company
law and laws applicable to partnerships are due to
change in the course of 2011/2012 offering even more
flexibility. It could be useful to take a look at existing
structures to see what new possibilities this legislation
WHAT IS THE 'DE BRAUW' CULTURE AND HOW DO YOU
WORK TO ENSURE THAT QUALITY IS MAINTAINED?
Since our establishment in 1871, we have ensured that
we do more than map the legal aspects of a transaction
– we anticipate our clients commercial needs too.
To ensure quality in international
transactions is maintained, we
have built deep relationships with
the best local law firms in other
jurisdictions, enabling clients
guaranteed access to global legal
services of outstanding quality.
knowledge-sharing in a full lock-step environment. We
hire strong lawyers with good social skills and rarely
hire laterally. Recruitment continued at the same pace
throughout the downturn, protecting our talent pool for
the next generation. We owe it to our clients to ensure
that we are in the best possible position when the
market fully recovers.
To ensure quality in international transactions is
maintained, we have built deep relationships with the
best local law firms in other jurisdictions, enabling
clients guaranteed access to global legal services of
outstanding quality. With some US law firms, for
example, our relationship dates back to the late 1930's;
protecting Dutch companies through trust structures
against the German Nazi regime. Nowadays, in any
cross-border transaction, we select the most
appropriate lawyers from the countries concerned,
creating an integrated team composed of top lawyers
from around the world. De Brauw is the client’s contact
point, and manages and coordinates all involved. The
end result is a seamless services for our clients. ■
About the author
Mark Rebergen is the resident partner at De Brauw
New York. The New York team focuses on corporate
matters, particularly mergers & acquisitions and
related financing, as well as stand-alone debt & equity
financing and investment management work. Mark
advises on all aspects of the structuring of
investments through the Netherlands.
Matters recently handled by the New York office
include: The sale by GMR (India) of its $1.2bn interest
in Intergen to China Huaneng Group; the acquisition
by Univar of Quaron from Bencis Capital Partners; and
a corporate restructuring for Pfizer following previous
Mark and the other New York-based lawyers also
advise on Netherlands, Curacao and Aruban law.
Clients include US corporations and financial
institutions and several premier US law firms.