Cobbetts breaks into Germany with AirPlus

Cobbetts has just completed a major commercial deal, acting for Frankfurt-based company AirPlus International in its joint project with British Airways to provide an upgraded cardless payment scheme for corporate travel

AirPlus is a provider of corporate services in Europe, with more than 16,000 corporate customers and an accounting turnover of E7.2bn (£4.5bn) in 2001.

The Cobbetts team was led by Leeds commercial head Mark Green, who is dual UK-German qualified, assisted by Peter McGrath and dual-qualified Andrea Vero. According to Green, it was the firm's ability to field two experienced dual-qualified lawyers at short notice that won the deal ahead of stiff London competition.

“The major deal was the deal with BA,” said Green, “but there were a number of other matters involved, such as setting up the subsidiary in the UK, a raft of data protection issues, licensing and other documents. We were instructed on the BA part of the work in mid-August and it closed in late September.”

He added: “Andrea Vero and I had to explain all the technical documentation in German to the AirPlus team and then negotiated in English with their German lawyers Taylor Wessing, as the partner leading their side had just joined from Andersen and didn't speak German,” he said.

Green has an impressive track record in German work and counts several German companies as clients, including Haribo and Oetke. As well as being dual-qualified and bilingual, he is the German Honorary Consul for West Yorkshire and chairman of the German-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Northern England.