Bingham secures CoA victory in Elektrim battle

The London office of Bingham McCutchen is celebrating after winning the latest round in its long-running battle for the bondholders in troubled Polish conglomerate Elektrim.

This morning the Court of Appeal overturned Elektrim’s appeal against the €185m damages awarded to the bondholders by the High Court in July 2009.

The award was made to compensate the bondholders for Elektrim’s failure to pay a contingent payment, negotiated as part of the company’s financial restructuring in 2002.

Bingham litigation partner Natasha Harrison, who is currently on maternity leave, led the firm’s team on the case supported by associate Daniel Cohen.

In a prepared statement Harrison said today’s ruling marked “a significant milestone” for the bondholders of Elektrim.

“The contingent payment litigation has been extremely complex and we’re delighted that such an important judgment for the bondholders has been upheld,” Harrison said.

Today’s judgment comes after several years of extensive multi-jurisdictional litigation and enforcement action in England, Poland, the Netherlands, the US and Germany.

Elektrim was a guarantor of the bonds in its subsidiary Elektrim. The bonds, which were redeemed in April 2008, had been restructured in 2002, at which point the bondholders had negotiated the contingent payment.

Elektrim later questioned the validity and amount of that payment and refused to pay it on the grounds that it was bankrupt.

The trustee, represented by Simmons & Simmons, and the bondholders claimed and won their case in the High Court in July 2009 at which point Elektrim appealed. Elektrim is not expected to appeal today’s judgment.

Barlow Lyde & Gilbert commercial risk and reinsurance partner Leigh Williams, who did not comment on the case, advised Elektrim, instructing Richard Millett QC of Essex Court Chambers.

Simmons partner Robert Turner instructed Robert Miles QC of 4 Stone Buildings for the trustee. Bingham instructed Sue Prevezer QC of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan for the bondholders.