By A. Tsimplakis
The Privinvest shipyards group is expecting compensation from the Greek state of between 150 to 200 million euros, following to a ruling in favor of the company this week by International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.
The case before the international tribunal pitted the French-Lebanese Safa family, which controls Privinvest, against the Greek state. The former charged that the Greek state had failed to meet contractual agreements worth hundreds of millions of euros following Privinvest’s purchase of the Piraeus-area Hellenic Shipyards in 2010
Among others, Privinvest executive Iskandar Safa had sought arbitration in his capacity as an individual investor in the company, while the same dispute extends to a bilateral investment pact between Lebanon and Greece.
The more than 500-page ruling was emailed to both sides on Tuesday evening, with legal analysts telling “N” that in some instances the text appears to have created more questions that previously answered.
According to finance ministry officials that spoke with “N”, the development opens the way for a plan to place Hellenic Shipyards into special receivership, before breaking up operations in two: a commercial shipbuilding / ship-repair side and a division exclusively dealing with military shipbuilding, before putting the facilities on the auction block.
Assuming a military division emerges from the breakup, interested buyers for the former will have to hail from a NATO member-state.
In a press release, Privinvest noted that “…today, with the receipt of the ICC judgment we are vindicated and Hellenic Shipyards, its management team in Greece and employees can finally see a future they always deserved whilst the Hellenic Republic is found liable towards Hellenic Shipyards for more than 200 million Euros in addition to indemnities in favour of HSY.
Further, the arbitral tribunal recognised the negligent failure of the Hellenic Republic in its dealings with the European Commission – such failure contributing to destroying Privinvest’s shipyard in Greece.
"We now look forward to the Hellenic Republic executing what is reflected in this judgment and respecting the contractual relations it has with Hellenic Shipyards.
"We obviously are continuing our counterclaims against the Hellenic Republic in a later ICC procedure around the same issue initiated by the Hellenic Republic whilst our shareholders are pursuing the Hellenic Republic in the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes pursuant to the relevant Bilateral Investment Treaty”