Orrick Assists Chinese Investors in Obtaining Clearance for Acquisition of COTESA Under Germany’s New Foreign Trade Legislation


Orrick advised on the first acquisition of a German company by Chinese investors under Germany’s new China-focused foreign trade legislation.

The acquisition of a controlling stake in COTESA GmbH, a leading manufacturer of fiber composite parts with 600 employees, by Changzhou QFAT Composite Material attracted great attention when it was agreed upon in the autumn of 2017.

The purchase of the company, which is involved in civil and military aviation projects for Airbus and Boeing, was accompanied by a discussion on the extent to which access to the German market should be restricted for Chinese investors. On one side, there are critics warning of the sale of leading German technologies and pushing for greater opening of the Chinese market. On the other side are those who fear that German companies might lose their competitive edge if they are denied access to the Chinese market through Chinese investors in cases such as this.

After a six-month review, the Federal Ministry for Economics and Energy confirmed that the acquisition of COTESA does not pose a risk to public order or security.

Changzhou QFAT Composite Material is a newly created Chinese fund with multiple investors involved. Prominent among those is Beijing-based high-tech firm AT&M Advanced Technology & Materials, which aims to support COTESA in the expansion of sales and production capabilities in China.

An Orrick team led by Düsseldorf-based partner Till Steinvorth advised Changzhou QFAT Composite Material on this foreign trade process. The team also included foreign counsel Hang Xu and associate Markus Piontek.