Freshfields wins CMS Energy’s fight with Argentina

An international team from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has scored a victory in a crucial arbitration between a US energy corporation and the Argentinian government.

Partners in Freshfields’ Paris and New York offices, led by Nigel Blackaby and Lucy Reed, acted for CMS Energy in its claim against Argentina, which was referred to the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

CMS Energy claimed that Argentina had breached obligations in bilateral investment treaties, and that, as a result, it had lost profits to the tune of $260m (£141.7m). According to media reports last week, the ICSID tribunal found for CMS and awarded damages of $130m (£70.8m).

However, it is also understood that on payment of an additional $2.15m (£1.2m) Argentina can acquire CMS’s 30 per cent stake in Argentinian gas company Transportadora de Gas del Norte. Depending on the value of the shares, this could potentially result in a profit for Argentina.

When ICSID’s decision is made public, it is likely to be scrutinised closely by other claimants. Another 30 cases against Argentina are pending. The Argentinian government is defending itself.