Compass Lexecon’s Client Abertis Infraestructuras Reaches Settlement with Argentina in ICSID Dispute

Compass Lexecon experts Marcelo Schoeters and Julián Delamer were retained by Abertis Infraestructuras S.A. (“Claimants”), a toll concession operator, as quantum experts in an ICSID arbitration against the Government of Argentina. Mr. Schoeters and Mr. Delamer filed an expert report quantifying damages in excess of US$1 billion. Claimants successfully settled the case, withdrawing the claim in exchange for the renegotiation and extension of the concession contracts.

The dispute arose from claims related to the mandatory conversion and freeze of toll tariffs imposed by the Government of Argentina (the “Measures”), which affected two Argentine road concessions, Autopistas del Sol S.A. (Ausol) and Grupo Concesionario del Oeste S.A. (GCO), in which Abertis holds shareholding interests. Toll tariffs, which were initially set in US dollars and indexed to US inflation were converted into Argentine pesos following Argentina’s 2002 financial crisis and subject only to discretionary adjustments thereafter.

Mr. Schoeters’ and Mr. Delamer’s expert report detailed the effects of the Measures on Ausol, GCO and Abertis, quantifying the damage to the concessionaires and their shareholder, including an analysis of how the outstanding financial debt would have evolved had there been no Measures. Approximately 18 months after filing, Abertis reached a successful agreement with Argentina which included the renegotiation and extension of both concession contracts in exchange for Abertis’s withdrawal of the ICSID claim.

Mr. Schoeters and Mr. Delamer were supported by a Compass Lexecon team led by Andrés Casserly. Claimants were represented by Nigel Blackaby, Noiana Marigo and Gustavo Topalian of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.