Mittal Steel Ostrava in ICC Arbitration Victory
April 26, 2006
Cleary Gottlieb successfully represented Mittal Steel Ostrava, the Czech subsidiary of Mittal Steel Holdings N.V., in an International Chamber of Commerce arbitration commenced in 2004 by Kaiser Netherlands, a Dutch corporation.
The arbitration arose from a June 1997 contract for the design and construction by Kaiser Netherlands of a steel mill at the Mittal Steel facility in Ostrava. Mittal Steel Ostrava terminated the contract in early 2001 and the resolution of the opposing claims turned on whether Kaiser had delivered a facility that conformed to the contract requirements and passed a series of final performance tests.
Kaiser requested an award in the amount of more than $50 million in principal, arguing that it delivered a steel mill in compliance with the contract. Mittal Steel Ostrava denied Kaiser Netherlands’ claim and requested an award for $46 million in liquidated damages for lost profits that Mittal suffered because the delivered steel mill did not conform to the contract’s terms.
Even though Mittal Steel Ostrava had not strongly opposed Kaiser’s claim that it successfully completed the performance tests, and even though the facility has achieved record production volumes in recent months, the Cleary Gottlieb team was able to convince the ICC Tribunal that Kaiser manipulated the figures in order to claim successful completion of the tests.
In its award, the ICC Arbitral Tribunal upheld Mittal Steel Ostrava’s defense that the steel mill delivered by Kaiser Netherlands did not comply with the contractual requirements, dismissed Kaiser Netherlands’ entire claim and granted Mittal Steel Ostrava’s counterclaim. The unexpected outcome is an approximately $5 million net debt from Kaiser Netherlands to Mittal Steel Ostrava.