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Continuation agreements successfully negotiated: Railway company Abellio continues operations

Transport associations Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR), Nahverkehr Westfalen-Lippe (NWL), Nahverkehr Rheinland (NVR) and the state of Baden-Württemberg negotiated two continuation agreements with Abellio group companies that will ensure the continued transportation services on the lines operated by Abellio. In North Rhine-Westphalia, Abellio operates, among others, the RRX lines RE 1 and RE 11 and the Rhine-Ruhr rapid transit railway. In Baden-Württemberg, Abellio operates lines in the Stuttgart network/Neckar valley. Several of the Abellio group companies have been in protective shield proceedings since June 30, 2021. The Heuking teams led by Dr. Ute Jasper and Prof. Dr. Georg Streit advised VRR, NWL, NVR, and the Ministry of Transport of Baden-Württemberg, all of which have contracts with local transport provider Abellio, on the two continuation agreements for the routes in North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg. The affected companies of Abellio group have been in regular main proceedings in self-administration since October 1.

“The continuation agreements are a good and important step for the further discussions. They give us a timeframe that allows us to work out a long-term perspective on the possible adjustments to the contracts between the public transport authorities and Abellio. This will also ensure operation of the lines during this time”, said Dr. Ute Jasper. Prof. Dr. Georg Streit added: “The agreements that have now been reached will enable the companies to continue beyond the protective shield phase in the initiated proceedings. This is a key step and proves that joint solutions are possible despite the insolvency.”

While the continuation agreement in Baden-Württemberg will be effective until the end of December 2021, the agreement in North Rhine-Westphalia will initially run until the end of January 2022. Long-term solutions are now being developed to ensure continued effective regional rail transport.

The “Public Sector & Public Procurement” department has been one of the market leaders in public procurement law for years. Its lawyers hold top spots in German and international lawyer rankings. Since 1991, they have advised on awards, restructuring, large-scale projects, and cooperations in the public sector and have accompanied several hundred large-scale projects of federal, state, and local authorities and their subsidiaries with a total volume in excess of EUR 40 billion without any procedure having been successfully challenged to date.

Dr. Ute Jasper is one of the most renowned lawyers for procurement and infrastructure projects in the public sector. She advises federal and state ministries, municipalities, and businesses, particularly on innovative and complex projects. Ute Jasper heads Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek's “Public Sector & Public Procurement” department. For years, she has been ranked number 1 with her team in JUVE Handbook of Commercial Law Firms. According to “Law Firms in Germany,” she is the “premier contact on the market” for infrastructure. In October 2016, she received the JUVE Award for Regulated Industries with her team.

Prof. Dr. Georg Streit is a Partner at Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek and head of the Restructuring Practice Group. In 2020, he legally advised, among other things, on the restructuring of Esprit group. Most recently, he was recommended by international handbook Chambers Europe 2021 in Restructuring/Insolvency and by Handelsblatt in the category of “Germany’s Best Lawyers 2021” in Restructuring and Insolvency Law.

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