New York — July 19, 2005 – LAWFUEL — Chadbourne & Parke LLP represented Overseas Private Investment Corp. in connection with the recent settlement over the Dabhol power plant in India. The Firm represented OPIC in the settlement and recovery of political risk insurance claims and in the workout of the project debt.
At $160 million, OPIC was the single largest offshore lender to the project. It also provided $231.8 million in political risk insurance to both debt and equity investors.
In the past two weeks all foreign interests, including GE, Bechtel, a consortium of commercial lenders and OPIC, all setttled.
This representation was led by Chadbourne’s Ken Hansen of the Washington, D.C. office. Other Chadbourne attorneys working on the matter over the past four years have also included Washington office partners William Perry, Rohit Chaudhry and Peter Fitzgerald (now in London) and New York partners Morton Grosz, Joe Smolinsky and Ted Zink. Associates and counsel assisting on the matter were Kimberly Heimert, Susan Aldrich and Kim Welsh of the Washington office and Jacob Falk of the New York office.
In ending a four-year dispute with the government and lenders, Bechtel agreed to sell its 42.5% stake in the shut Dabhol Power Co. for $160 million and terminate litigation with all Indian parties including the government. General Electric, which owned a similar stake in Dabhol, said on July 2 it agreed to settle the dispute for $145 million. Bechtel’s announcement came before a July 18 hearing of the dispute scheduled before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in London.
Dabhol’s 740-megawatt plant shut down in May 2001 after its sole customer, the Maharashtra State Electricity Board, stopped paying its bills, saying prices were too high. The facility’s revival may help attract foreign investment to a country that intends to spend $75 billion by 2010 to meet rising power demand.
GE and San Francisco-based Bechtel built the Dabhol power plant, each investing 10% of the total required equity commitment of roughly $1.2 billion. Enron covered the balance. In April 2004, the two companies, with OPIC financing, acquired Enron Corp.’s then 65% ownership interest. The remaining 15% is owned by Maharashtra Power Development Corp. Ltd., which was created to hold an interest in the project transferred by Enron to Maharashtra State Electricity Boardas part of the 1996 settlement of a prior round of investment disputes.