Sanofi-aventis Wins Victory in Arbitration Against Rhodia

September 12, 2006

Cleary Gottlieb won a dismissal for client sanofi-aventis in a claim brought by Rhodia for €656 million before a Paris arbitral tribunal.

Rhodia, a spin off of Rhône-Poulenc, sued aanofi-aventis as successor of Aventis and Rhône-Poulenc, seeking the reimbursement of €125 million of unfunded environmental liabilities and €531 million of unfunded pension liabilities. Rhodia also sought to cancel a 2003 settlement agreement and to have a general indemnity obligation arising both in contract and tort recognized.

The arbitral tribunal dismissed both claims, ruling that it had no jurisdiction to adjudicate Rhodia’s pension claim and that Rhodia’s environmental claim was barred because a 2003 settlement agreement, which released the parties’ obligations, was valid and enforceable.

A criminal investigation and several civil proceedings involving Rhodia, its minority shareholders, former managers and sanofi-aventis, are still pending before French, U.S. and Brazilian courts.