Major win for the Romanian electrical company Electrica in an EUR 800 million litigation case against the Romanian Management Company for Ownership in Energy (SAPE)
The Romanian electrical company Societatea Energetică Electrica S.A. ("Electrica") won the first procedural phase in litigation against the Management Company for Ownership in Energy („SAPE”) – the Romanian public company which manages the state’s portfolio in the energy sector. The case referred to claims filed by SAPE against Electrica and other defendants for the payment of damages amounting to approx. EUR 800 million for alleged breaches of the post-privatisation monitoring obligations regarding former distribution subsidiaries of Electrica. A series of international arbitration cases regarding said privatisation contracts preceded this case.
A team of lawyers from RTPR Allen & Overy and Schoenherr Romania assisted Electrica in this case. The RTPR Allen & Overy team included Valentin Berea (partner), Adriana Dobre (senior associate), Vicu Buzac (managing associate) and Ana Popa (Nedelcu) (associate), while the Schoenherr team included Adina Jivan (partner, Romania) and Iustin Armaşu (senior attorney at law, Romania).
"We are glad to have obtained this important win. Electrica is a long-time client which, by entrusting us with numerous projects over the years, has motivated us to outdo ourselves. This case has been particularly difficult as the counterparty attempted to reopen, in a new procedural framework, older claims which had previously been subject to a series of intricate international arbitration cases. Although the court in this case ultimately ruled on procedural aspects invoked by our team, our written defence also included arguments on the merits of the case, including arguments against elements of historical privatisation contracts concluded with buyers who were not part of this file. This called for putting together a strong team of lawyers from the two law firms and we have had an excellent collaboration with our colleagues at Schoenherr Romania. The fact that the court granted full coverage of the court expenses (seldom the case in Romania) is proof of the importance of our role." said Valentin Berea.
"This was indeed a complex matter, which involved considerable work and called for significant specialised resources from Schoenherr Romania and our colleagues at RTPR Allen & Overy. It was a litigation case of multi-disciplinary legal implications, raising some interesting and complex topics, and in which a long and intricate history of contracts and disputes came into play. In addition, the procedural aspects were very important, as the court decision, favourable to our client, was ruled on based on these. On the other hand, litigation cases with financial stakes of this quantum – that can significantly impact the respective company's economic standing – always come with additional pressure on the company and, consequently, on the lawyers. I believe this win is due not only to the experience of both law firms in handling complex litigation cases, but also to the efficient collaboration between our teams, and the dedication of the client's internal team." said Adina Jivan.