Danish investor takes gripes to U.S. courts

  • 2005-03-02
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - A disgruntled Danish investor has decided to take its case to international arbitration after the Supreme Court struck down its suit against the State Property Fund.
Trident Marine took the property fund to court after it was shut out of the privatization of Lietuvos Juru Laivininkyste (Lithuanian Shipping Company) for being "financially unreliable."

But the Supreme Court announced Feb. 28 that it had overruled two lower courts that had decided in favor of Trident Marine and was upholding the fund's arguments.

Since the Supreme Court's decision is not subject to appeal, Trident Marine announced that it would take the dispute to the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes in Washington and would not wait for negotiations with the Lithuanian government to begin.

The Danish company had initiated the talks in an effort to recover losses due to its participation in the bidding process. Trident Marine was expected to announce an estimate by Deloite & Touche, an international audit firm, of the losses it incurred during privatization.

The company had scored legal victories in two lower courts, possibly because the State Property Fund could not present as evidence

classified information from the country's special services.

Last fall the government stopped the privatization of Lithuanian Shipping Company, saying that a 10 percent stake had to be used for property restitution purposes. It intends to put a 56.66 percent stake on the block in the future and tighten requirements for potential investors.

Trident Marine had submitted the highest bid 's 33 million litas (9.5 million euros) 's for a 66 percent stake in the shipper.

Lithuanian Shipping Company owns a fleet of 19 dry cargo vessels that carry metal, timber, bulk cargo and other products. It expected to make a profit of around 2 million litas last year after posting losses of 9.9 million litas in 2003.