Court Orders Thai Coal Miner Banpu to Pay $955 Million Over Laos Project

Dow Jones Newswires, September 20, 2012

Thailand’s Civil Court has ordered Banpu PCL (BANPU.TH), the nation’s largest coal miner by sales, to pay at least 29.5 billion baht ($955 million) to businessman Siva Nganthavee and his associated companies as the result of a terminated joint venture, Banpu said in a filing to the Stock Exchange of Thailand Thursday.

The court awarded the plaintiffs THB4 billion in damages, with interest of 7.5% annually until fully paid. It also ordered Banpu to pay THB850 million a year from 2015 through 2027 and THB1.38 billion a year from 2028 to 2039 for lost opportunity, the company said in the filing.

Banpu plans to appeal the ruling, which was issued on Thursday, the company said in the filing.

Mr. Siva filed a lawsuit against Banpu in 2007, claiming the company deceived him and entered into the joint venture with his Thai-Lao Lignite Co. in 2004 only to gain access to information about coal concessions. Mr. Siva alleged that Banpu later provided false information to the government of Laos that led the government to cancel a contract it had granted to their joint venture to operate a coal mine and lignite-fired power plant in Hongsa, Laos.

The Laos government terminated the contract in 2006 and later awarded the concession to Banpu, which holds a 40% stake after taking on other partners.





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