XFEL: HRB 111165: The European XFEL GmbH has been founded!

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2009/10/13
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HRB 111165: The European XFEL GmbH has been founded!

Foundation of company

“Now it’s official and we’re legally authorized to operate” Massimo Altarelli and Karl Witte rejoiced on taking up their new functions as Managing Directors of the European XFEL GmbH. Here, the word “we” stands for the “European X-Ray Free-Electron Laser Facility GmbH”, as the company was officially named upon its registration into the Commercial Register of the Hamburg District Court (Amtsgericht Hamburg) on 08 October 2009. The new company with limited liability under German law is listed as number HRB 111165.

Left: Helmut Dosch, Chairman of the DESY Board of Directors (left), and his deputy Christian Scherf sign the Articles of Association. Right: The two newly appointed Managing Directors Massimo Altarelli (right) and Karl Witte sign the request for registration of the European XFEL GmbH into the Commercial Register © Meike Flammer


From now on, all official correspondence – letters and e-mails – must include the references of the district court, the registration number, the headquarters of the non-profit company and the names of the two managing directors. “This is a bit cumbersome,” Altarelli, who is Italian, commented on the German regulation, “but that’s irrelevant. The decisive thing is that we can now conclude employment contracts, place orders, subcontract machine components, plan the future research operation – i.e. start full speed ahead at the business level too!”

Work for the European XFEL has been in full swing for several years now, however, both at DESY and in the international partner countries of the Company. The civil engineering work for all the tunnels, shafts and underground halls started on 8 January 2009 in Schenefeld and Hamburg. Together with its international partners, DESY has been working on the technical feasibility of the facility for a long time, especially on its superconducting linear accelerator. Thanks to the EU project Pre-XFEL and the support of DESY, 43 persons are currently populating the headquarters of the new company. “The team comprises people from 12 countries – this is typical for the European XFEL,” Altarelli adds.

The cooperation between the European XFEL GmbH and DESY will continue to play an important role in the future. On this subject, Chapter I, Article 2 of the Articles of Association states: “The Company and DESY in Hamburg will collaborate on construction, commissioning and operation of the XFEL on the basis of a long-term agreement.”

The foundation of the European XFEL GmbH became possible after representatives from the currently 13 partner states initialled the six different language versions of the international state convention on 23 September 2009 in Berlin. (China plans to join the project at a later date.) To avoid losing time, it was decided to establish the limited liability company with DESY as the first and initially only shareholder. Other shareholders from the partner countries will then join in after the signing of the convention.

On 28 September already, the DESY Directors Helmut Dosch and Christian Scherf met the two members of the European XFEL Project Team, Massimo Altarelli and Karl Witte, at a Hamburg notary’s office. As representatives of DESY, Dosch and Scherf signed the Articles of Association establishing the new international research institution. Subsequently, they appointed Altarelli and Witte as Managing Directors of the limited liability company, who then immediately signed the request for registration into the Commercial Register.