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GAR 100 - 12th Edition

Moreno Baldivieso

05 April 2019

A go-to firm for multinationals butting heads with the Bolivian government

People in Who's Who Legal  2
Pending cases as counsel  11
Value of pending counsel work  US$1 billion+
Treaty cases  3
Third-party funded cases  0
Current arbitrator appointments  0 (0 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator  0

Moreno Baldivieso was set up in 1931 as an intellectual property practice, but later went full-service and is today one of Bolivia’s largest firms. The international arbitration practice was set up in 2006 to benefit clients affected by a wave of nationalisations in the oil and gas, telecoms, aviation, energy and mining sectors.

The practice, led by Ramiro Moreno and Andrés Moreno, often teams up with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Hogan Lovells on investment treaty cases and is very visible on the international stage: Andrés Moreno was recently appointed to the ICC commission on arbitration and ADR – the only Bolivian national to sit on that body.

The arbitration team is found in the firm’s La Paz headquarters and its office in Santa Cruz. The firm has offices in two other Bolivian cities.

Who uses it?

Glencore, Iberdrola, BP and its subsidiary Pan American Energy have used the firm for investment treaty matters.

Other clients include Siemens, Exterran, Samsung, Halliburton, Votorantim, AON, Pepsico, and US medical devices group Johnson & Johnson.

Track record

Moreno Baldivieso helped Bolivian tungsten ore trader Emura settle an ICC claim against Canadian listed company 5N Plus soon after arbitral hearings in Lima in 2017.

In 2014, the firm (together with Freshfields) helped Pan American Energy settle a long-running ICSID case against Bolivia over an expropriated natural gas unit, with the state agreeing to pay US$357 million – thought to be the largest payout the state has made to settle an investment treaty claim.

Another Freshfields collaboration saw the firm help Bolivian telecoms investors settle a treaty dispute with Ecuador in 2013.

Together with Hogan Lovells the firm helped Spain’s Iberdrola agree a US$34 million settlement with the Bolivian government over expropriated power assets in 2015.

On the commercial side, Moreno Baldivieso helped Bolivia’s leading insurance company Bisa Seguros settle a dispute with Panamanian reinsurer QBE del Istmo. The firm successfully defended Canada’s Pan American Silver in a claim brought by Bolivian mining group Minera Unificada.

Recent events

The firm continues to represent Samsung in an arbitration at the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce concerning an unpaid surety bond relating to the construction of a US$1.2 billion urea and ammonia plant in Bolivia.

The firm is co-counsel with Hogan Lovells to Bolivia’s largest insurance company LBC in UNCITRAL proceedings against Latin American insurer Consis International in a dispute over a software development contract. A US$10.5 million award was issued to LBC in late 2017 and affirmed in 2018 following Consis’s attempts to have it annulled. Enforcement proceedings are now underway in Miami.  

Again working alongside Freshfields, Moreno Baldivieso is undertaking settlement talks on behalf of Air BP, the aviation arm of British Petroleum, in UNCITRAL proceedings relating to the alleged expropriation of the company’s investments in the hydrocarbon sector in Bolivia.

Having achieved a win for Panamanian reinsurer Istmo RE in a US$11.5 million claim filed by rival Credinform in 2017, the firm is currently awaiting the outcome of annulment proceedings.

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