Sciaroni & Associates: Ruling Endorses Investment in Cambodia

Arbitration decision indicates improved business climate, business leaders say

Business Wire


Sciaroni & Associates:

A recent decision by an independent international arbitration authority is an indication that Cambodia is an increasingly attractive candidate for expanded foreign investment, regional advisory and business leaders said today.

The decision, announced in April by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), was in favor of the Royal Government of Cambodia in a claim filed by a power company.

The case was brought by Cambodia Power Company, which claimed that the Kingdom of Cambodia and Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) had breached agreements signed in 1996 with Beacon Hill Associates, Inc., for the financing, construction and operation of an electric power plant in Phnom Penh. The suit claimed damages of $300 million from the Royal Government of Cambodia and EDC.

Business and investment leaders had closely monitored the case for its implications on the investment climate in the southeast Asian country.

"This case clearly demonstrates that Cambodia offers an increasingly favorable climate for foreign direct investment," said Van Sou Ieng, president of the Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations, and a founding member of the National Arbitration Center of Cambodia.

"Cambodia has shown its willingness to respect international rules and standards for business conduct and that the government is committed to fair play in future business transactions."

ICSID awarded the Cambodian government $5.6 million, rejecting the damage claims by Beacon Hill Associates.

The Kingdom of Cambodia and EDC were represented by Peter Turner of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and Billie Jean Slott of Phnom Penh-based Sciaroni & Associates. Sciaroni & Associates engaged Freshfields to act in the ICSID proceedings for the Cambodian Government, which had selected Sciaroni & Associates in the case due to the firm's experience in international commercial arbitrations.

"The case was over a power plant that was to be built in Cambodia but was not completed due to many delays and the company's inability to secure financing," said Ms. Slott of Sciaroni Associates. "This decision is an important endorsement of fair business and legal standards in the Kingdom of Cambodia."

This is the first ICSID case brought to the tribunal against the Kingdom of Cambodia since Cambodia signed the Convention in 2005.

"This is a major victory for the Kingdom of Cambodia as a nation, as it demonstrates the country's commitment to the rule of law and that is serious about implementing the various investment treaties and contracts to which the Kingdom of Cambodia is a party," said Bretton G. Sciaroni.

Sciaroni, who is Senior Partner of the Phnom Penh firm, is co-chairman of the Cambodian government's Working Group on Law, Tax and Governance. He is also chairman of the American Cambodian Business Council (AmCham), a US Chamber of Commerce affiliated business association, and the International Business Chamber of Cambodia.

About Sciaroni & Associates

Sciaroni & Associates is a leading legal and professional services firm operating in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, providing advice and business insight since 1993 to many of the world's leading companies as well as to the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Led by a team of partners with more than two decades of international experience, Sciaroni & Associates features a staff of international and national advisors, providing expertise in sector-specific practice groups to maximize the value of their clients' investments.

Senior Partner Bretton G. Sciaroni has 20 years of experience advising clients in Asia and is a leading contributor to the development of the Cambodian economy.

Managing Partner Matthew Rendall has worked in the region since 1994 and has extensive property and labor law expertise as well as in general investment structuring.

The firm provides guidance in all facets of law and investment, including capital markets, infrastructure investment, banking and finance, energy and mining, company creation, licensing, arbitration dispute resolution, labor, property and real estate.

Sciaroni & Associates
Matthew Rendall, (855) 23-210-255
Managing Partner
Mobile: (855) 12-890-632

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