Ship's Bow

WFW advises Chemring on the sale of its marine unit to Drew Marine

13 June 2012

Watson, Farley & Williams (“WFW”), a leading international law firm, is pleased to announce that it has advised the Chemring group on the legal and tax aspects of the sale of its marine unit.

The Chemring group, a global leader in the production of pyrotechnical products for military and non-military applications, has sold its marine unit, in charge of marine salvage products, to buyer Drew Marine. Completion of the sale is subject to merger control clearance.

Drew Marine is an international provider of safety and salvage products for ship owners, shipping companies and shipyards. Private equity investor J.F. Lehman & Company had acquired Drew Marine in 2009.

The transaction includes the sale of companies and operations in Germany, England, Spain and Australia. Watson, Farley & Williams advised on the legal and tax aspects of the German part of the transaction and on the preceding spin-off of the marine unit to newly founded Chemring Marine Germany GmbH. The marine and defence interests were originally held at Chemring Defence Germany GmbH (formerly operating as Comet Pyrotechnik Apparatebau GmbH, “Comet”). Chemring in 2005 had acquired Comet from Diehl Stiftung & Co. KG. In addition to the corporate and tax aspects of the spin-off, the services provided by Watson, Farley & Williams included the negotiation of a reconciliation-of-interests plan and redundancy plan with Comet’s works council.

The team of Watson, Farley & Williams was led by Dr. Dirk Janssen (Corporate, Munich), assisted by partners Tobias Ackert (Tax, Munich) and Dr. Nikolaus Krienke (Employment, Hamburg/ Munich) as well as associates Dr. Ahmad Khonsari (Corporate, Hamburg), Dr. Silke Pütz (Corporate, Munich), Dr. Zuzana Meinecke Fábry (Corporate, Munich), Simon Vogel (Corporate, Munich), Barbara Zehnder (Corporate, Munich), Martina Füchsl (Tax, Munich) and Thomas Meyerhans (Employment, Munich).

The buyer was represented by Jones Day.

Dirk Janssen, lead partner in the Corporate team at the Munich office of WFW, said: “The marine interests were deeply rooted in the Chemring group, and this added to the complexity of the transaction. In addition to the purchase agreement, the need to rearrange the former intragroup relations in connection with the spin-off and to reach an agreement on the required interim solutions was a core aspect of the transaction.”