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International arbitrator orders Venezuela to pay Tenaris US$161.6M

The Venezuelan government has been ordered to pay Tenaris SA US$161.6 million over the expropriation of two of the Luxembourg-based steelmaker's investments in the country.

The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, or ICSID, granted the company and its subsidiary Talta — Trading e Marketing Sociedad Unipessoal Lda — compensation of US$137.0 million plus US$24.6 million in pre-award interest, according to a Dec. 13 statement.

Tenaris and Talta initiated arbitration in July 2012 after the Venezuelan government took control of Tubos de Acero de Venezuela SA, the sole producer of seamless steel tube products in Venezuela, and Complejo Siderúrgico de Guayana CA, a producer of hot briquetted iron.

The tribunal ruled that the expropriation was in violation of the bilateral investment treaties entered into by Venezuela with the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union and Portugal.

The government was also ordered to reimburse Tenaris and Talta US$3.3 million in legal fees and ICSID administrative costs.