Baker McKenzie has advised oil and gas company Wintershall Dea in connection with the planned closure of its head offices in Hamburg and Kassel, affecting approx. 800 employees in total.

The closure is a result of British oil company Harbour Energy's takeover of BASF subsidiary Wintershall Dea. In December 2023, the sale of Wintershall Dea's production and development assets, exploration rights in individual countries, and licenses to capture and store carbon dioxide was agreed, excluding the Russian-related business. The transaction forms part of BASF's strategic goal of separating from the oil and gas business and is projected to be executed in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Headcount reduction will take place in several phases from Closing to mid-2027, factoring in all necessary post-closing wind-down activities, transitional services for Harbour Energy, and the wind-down of the Russian business. After months of negotiations with the Wintershall Dea General Works Council, a Settlement of Interests and Social Plan providing for comprehensive severance payments, outplacement, counselling on future prospects and provisions for employees close to retirement age have now been concluded with the aim of finding amicable solutions and avoiding redundancies wherever possible.

"We are pleased that, thanks to our expertise in complex reorganizations, we were able to successfully support Wintershall Dea in the negotiation of a Settlement of Interests and Social Plan, and contribute to a solution that is satisfactory for both our client and the workforce," says Dr. Alexander Wolff, Employment Partner in Berlin, lead partner in the case.

Wintershall Dea is an independent European gas and oil company that produces gas and oil in 11 countries worldwide. With activities in Europe, Latin America and the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region, Wintershall Dea has a global upstream portfolio and is also active in the midstream business with interests in natural gas transport.

Legal Advisers to Wintershall Dea

Baker McKenzie: Dr. Alexander Wolff (Principal, Berlin), Agnes Herwig (Senior Associate, Frankfurt), Dr. Adrian Schürgers (Associate, Berlin) (all from the Employment Practice Group)

Legal Advisers to the General Works Council

Schwegler Rechtsanwälte: Dr. Lars Weinbrenner (Partner, Berlin)

Zimmermann, Scholz und Partner: Claudia Komposch (Partner, Hamburg), Heike Sarnow (Partner, Hamburg), Katharina Warczinski (Attorney, Berlin)

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