Consolidated Contractors Company Group (CCC) is in danger of losing revenue from major projects in Egypt, Qatar, the UAE and Yemen following a decision by the High Court of England & Wales to appoint a receiver to collect an unpaid debt of $65m.
The Athens-based firm, which is one of the Middle East’s largest contractors, lost a long-running court battle with Palestinian businessman Munib Masri in 2007.
The High Court found that CCC had failed to honour a 1992 agreement to pay Masri 10 per cent of the revenue from Yemen’s Masila oil field. CCC lost a subsequent challenge to the ruling in the Court of Appeal in London in November 2007 (MEED 15:11:07).
The High Court has appointed Lee Manning from US-based accountant Deloitte as receiver. The order appointing the receiver, issued on 21 October, enables Manning to collect money directly from CCC clients, such as Abu Dhabi real estate developer Aldar Properties, UAE sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Development Company, and Qatar Petroleum.
“Given the high value of the projects, the receiver may need only one success to end this,” says Andrew Bartlett, a solicitor at UK law firm Simmons & Simmons, which is representing Masri.
The court identified 25 projects in the Middle East and Central Asia, worth $111m to CCC, that could be affected.
Ten of the Middle East projects are worth more than $1m each to CCC (see table).
“The order says that CCC must write to its clients to tell them that they must pay the receiver instead of CCC,” says Bartlett. “Clients will get correspondence from the receiver and from CCC. If the receiver then gets nothing, there will be issues as to whether CCC is breaching the order.”
If CCC decides not to co-operate, the receiver can ask local courts in Egypt, Qatar, the UAE or Yemen to recognise the High Court’s judgment.
Masri can also return to the High Court to seek arrest warrants for the directors of CCC if the company continues to frustrate his attempts to recover the $65m.
Responding to the appointment of a receiver, a CCC spokesman tells MEED: “The court receiver has no jurisdiction and the clients are all locals. The receiver can only get the money by enforcing the judgement in each country.”
CCC plans to issue a statement clarifying the issue in the first week of November. The company has previously said it does not expect the case to disturb its operations.