ICSID upholds $383m Aguas Argentinas damages award

Published May 11th, 2017

In a ruling which may help to encourage international investors to return to Argentina, the World Bank investment disputes body (ICSID) has upheld its 2015 decision to award the shareholders of the expired Aguas Argentinas water concession $383 million for losses on their guaranteeed debt and equity.

Suez will receive $223 million, Agbar $123 million and Veolia $37 million, plus compound interest. Argentina was also ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings.

A review panel turned down Argentina’s claims that the 2015 decision had not properly assessed its “necessity” defence, and that the presence as arbitrator of a Swiss bank employee with undeclared shares in Suez and Veolia (Vivendi) invalidated the tribunal.

“Argentina may seem a difficult case for international investors, but this decision demonstrates it’s a safe country in which to invest; it always pays up, and with interest,” Alejandro Sturniolo, vice-president of RWL Water Argentina, told GWI.