Bechtel Wins Court Order to Seize Indian Assets

31 May 2005 San Francisco, CA

Bechtel Wins Court Order to Seize Indian Assets


U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, sitting in the Southern District of New York, signed the order directing the attachment of assets held by Maharashtra Power Development Corporation Ltd., which holds a 14.16 percent share in Dabhol Power Corp. General Electric and Bechtel hold a majority interest in DPC, which was forced to shut down in 2001 when the state of Maharashtra reneged on its legal commitments to purchase power and support completion of the second of two generating units.
Judge Kaplan's order followed a decision handed down April 27 by the International Court of Arbitration in Paris, which ruled that the Maharashtra company and the Government of Maharashtra conspired to block DPC from exercising its contractual rights to arbitrate its claims against the state of Maharashtra and government of India for the expropriation of DPC's investment. The arbitration panel gave Maharashtra until May 27 to pay the awarded damages.

"We are disappointed that Indian authorities have given us no choice but to begin proceedings to seize their assets," said Bechtel Executive Vice President and Director Tim Statton. "Their refusal to acknowledge valid legal orders also sends a very troubling message to foreign investors whose capital and technical expertise could help modernize India's infrastructure. Nevertheless, we stand ready to help restart the much-needed Dabhol facility, once India upholds our legal rights and abides by its international obligations."

In 2003, another independent tribunal in the United States ruled unanimously in Bechtel's favor, finding that its interests in DPC were illegally taken and ordering the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a U.S. government agency, to pay US$28.6 million in political risk insurance claims to Bechtel affiliates. OPIC has paid the award, with interest.
Bechtel affiliates in Mauritius and the Netherlands have filed two additional arbitration claims against the Government of India to recover the value of their lost investments in DPC, which could total more than US$6 billion. The Mauritius arbitration proceeding is scheduled to be heard by an independent tribunal in London in July 2005, while the Netherlands proceeding is expected to be heard in mid-2006.

About Bechtel

Bechtel is one of the most respected global engineering, construction, and project management companies. Together with our customers, we deliver landmark projects that foster long-term progress and economic growth. Since 1898, we’ve completed more than 25,000 extraordinary projects across 160 countries on all seven continents. We operate through four global businesses: Infrastructure; Nuclear, Security & Environmental; Oil, Gas & Chemicals; and Mining & Metals. Our company and our culture are built on more than a century of leadership and a relentless adherence to our values, the core of which are safety, quality, ethics, and integrity. These values are what we believe, what we expect, what we deliver, and what we live.  www.bechtel.com