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GAR 100 - 12th Edition

Roschier

05 April 2019

Working for Russia’s Gazprom in multibillion dollar disputes with Naftogaz

People in Who's Who Legal 5
People in Future Leaders 2
Pending cases as counsel 11
Value of pending counsel work US$14 billion
Treaty cases 0
Third-party funded cases 2
Current arbitrator appointments 1 (0 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 1

Roschier was founded in Helsinki in 1936 and opened an office in Stockholm in 2005. These days the arbitration practice is balanced between the two offices.

For many years, Carita Wallgren-Lindholm and the late Tomas Lindholm anchored the work. When they left to establish a boutique in 2009, Petri Taivalkoski stepped up to head the dispute resolution team in Helsinki. Today Taivalkoski, who has recently become a member of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, shares the responsibility with partners Gisela Knuts and Aapo Saarikivi in the same office.

The Stockholm practice was founded by Claes Lundblad, who joined in 2008 from Mannheimer Swartling and left five years later to set up his own boutique. Today, the Swedish team is headed by partners Johan Sidklev and Rikard Wikström. Sidklev is the president of the Swedish Arbitration Association and a board member of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, while Wikström joined the firm in 2017 from White & Case.

The firm focuses on arbitration with a Nordic angle, including serving foreign companies in East-West disputes seated in Stockholm.

Network

Though Helsinki and Stockholm are the only offices, the firm has collaborated with firms in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. It is also the Finnish member of Lex Mundi, the international network of inde­pendent law firms.

Who uses it?

Nokia, engineering group Sandvik, Saab Automobile and British American Tobacco are all clients. It has represented Group DF, which is owned by controversial Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash, and German sugar manufacturing group Nordzucker.

Other high profile names are Microsoft, Rusal, Skanska and ConocoPhillips. 

It’s acted for an oil multinational in a dispute over Siberian exploration rights at the SCC and a Nordic company in a multibillion-dollar energy case at the ICC.

Track record

Roschier helped Ostchem Holding, a Cypriot company owned by Firtash’s group, win US$251 million in an SCC arbitration against Ukrainian state-owned fertiliser producer Odessa Portside Plant in 2016. At an earlier phase of the case it won an emergency arbitrator order restraining the plant from disposing of its assets. The award was recognised by a municipal court in the Black Sea city of Yuzhne in 2017.

The firm helped a Nordic party prevail in three consolidated ICC arbitrations initiated under five different arbitration agreements. The result was a multimillion-euro award for the client plus full costs and the dismissal of claims from four southeast European companies.

The firm defended Nordzucker against a €30 million claim by Finnish food company Apetit, with the tribunal dismissing the case in 2014. The firm also settled a Miami-seated arbitration on behalf of a Latin American IT business following a successful application for interim relief in the Swedish courts.

In 2015, it won a €18 million award against a German private equity fund in a purchase price dispute, persuading the tribunal that the parties’ joint intention differed from the wording of their agreement.

Recent events

Russian energy giant Gazprom appointed Roschier as co-counsel with DLA Piper in the latest iteration of its multibillion-dollar dispute with Ukraine’s Naftogaz over long-term contracts for the supply and transit of gas. The Stockholm Chamber of Commerce tribunal appointed to hear the dispute is hearing two claims filed in 2018; one by Gazprom seeking amendment or termination of two contracts and another by Naftogaz requesting a revision to tariffs under the transit contract worth US$11.6 billion.

Roschier is also working with DLA Piper to partially set aside a US$4.63 billion SCC award won by Naftogaz in early 2018. Roschier did not play a part in the arbitration.

The firm secured a US$200 million SCC award for Texan oil company First National Petroleum against a subsidiary of Russian state-controlled oil company Rosneft which was found to have engaged in fraud in connection with a joint venture in Siberia. The award has subsequently been challenged, and Roschier continues to represent First National in those proceedings.

Roschier reports winning a post M&A arbitration concerning liability under an environmental warranty that dragged on for a decade due to procedural challenges by the counterparty which went up to the Swedish Supreme Court. After securing victory in that arena Roschier says it went on to win the underlying arbitration.

The firm has picked up a new instruction defending Swedish construction group Skanska against a €150 million claim brought by a Maltese government entity in a dispute over alleged defective concrete used in the construction of a €600 million public hospital.

A multinational technology company continues to use the firm in two consolidated concurrent cases before the Finnish Arbitration Institute concerning cartel damages, with claims valued at close to a billion euros.

Client comment

Nokia’s head of European litigation, Clemens-August Heusch, says a Roschier team led by Saarikivi recently represented it in an SCC arbitration relating to a patent license agreement.  She says “Roschier are efficient, pragmatic and responsive” and “know the international arbitration environment in the Nordics through and through.” Heusch adds that Saarikivi is “a solid arbitration counsel with a keen eye for strategy” and an “efficient communicator who understands the business underpinnings of a case.”

Another client says Roschier represented it in a dispute concerning insurance liability and that its “overall performance was very good.” Taivalkoski is praised for his “calm and strategic thinking” while Knuts “knows the finance industry well and offered very good and efficient client service and communication.”

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