Bloomberg News

Empresas Polar Affiliate Files Arbitration Against Venezuela

February 17, 2012

(Updates with company statement in fourth paragraph.)

Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Gambrinus Corp., a Barbados-based affiliate of Venezuela’s Empresas Polar SA, said today that it filed an arbitration claim against the Venezuelan government over the 2010 expropriation of Fertinitro, a group of fertilizer companies.

The appeal was lodged at the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes on Dec. 2, according to the Washington-based arbitration court’s website.

Gambrinus had a 10 percent ownership in Fertinitro, along with three other co-investors including Venezuelan state petrochemicals company Pequiven SA, European affiliates of Koch Industries Inc. and Italian state oil company ENI SpA, Gambrinus said today in a statement distributed on Business Wire.

“Since the expropriation occurred more than a year ago, Gambrinus has unsuccessfully attempted to enter into a dialogue with the government of Venezuela to secure a just compensation for the nationalization of their ownerships interests in Fertinitro,” the company said in the statement. “All efforts at dialogue have failed.”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took control of Fertinitro in October 2010. Chavez, a 57-year-old former paratrooper who says that he’s constructing 21st century socialism, has nationalized assets of Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp., Houston-based ConocoPhillips and Monterrey, Mexico-based cement maker Cemex.

Chavez said Jan. 8 that Venezuela would pull out of the ICSID, as the arbitration court is known, and not accept any of its rulings. The court is currently considering about 20 suits filed by companies including Exxon and ConocoPhillips against the government.

--Editor: Robert Jameson

To contact the reporters on this story: Nathan Crooks in Caracas at ncrooks@bloomberg.net; Corina Pons in Caracas at crpons@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net


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