Press release

Seminar on international infrastructure development: Assessing risks in dispute management

11/02/2016

SEOPAN, Accuracy, Standard & Poor’s and Pérez-Llorca sponsored the seminar, ‘Risk Assessment and Management in Infrastructure Projects: A 360º Review’ (“Evaluación y gestión de riesgos en proyectos de infraestructura. Una visión a 360º”). In this session, presented by SEOPAN, the risks of infrastructure projects were assessed from three complementary perspectives: Standard & Poor’s perspective as a ratings agency which assesses projects in order to finance them; Accuracy’s perspective as financial advisors and experts in international arbitrations; and Pérez-Llorca as lawyers specialised in international arbitrations, and the management of contracts and disputes in the construction sector.

Julián Núñez, President of SEOPAN, opened the seminar by highlighting the significant positioning and global leadership of Spanish companies in infrastructure, as well as in construction, and infrastructure and services concessions. In his speech, he highlighted that the key aspects in supporting and encouraging European companies to bid for international infrastructure projects that require private funding, are to increase resources, and review the financial instruments and securities currently in force in the European Commission and the European Investment Bank.

Michael Wilkins and Gonzalo Cantabrana, Managing Director and Ratings Analyst, respectively, of Infrastructure Finance at Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, highlighted the main obstacles to infrastructure financing in Spain and Europe. They subsequently spoke about the methodology used to analyse the credit quality of infrastructure projects.

Next, Hervé de Trogoff and Laura Cózar, Partner and Director of Project Advisory and Disputes at Accuracy, shared their experiences of recent projects in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, in their roles as financial advisors and experts. In a brief review of the risks that may arise during a project’s life cycle, they analysed the recurring reasons behind changes to timescales and cost, as well as reflected upon early stage solutions and the importance of document management, as both a management tool and for evidence. Lastly, they explained how, where applicable, experts may reconstruct events, establish causality and measure damages in processes of conflict resolution.

Finally, Félix J. Montero and Guillermina Ester, partners of the Litigation and Arbitration department of Pérez-Llorca, spoke of the particularly problematic nature of international infrastructure contracts from the perspective of dispute settlement, and analysed the advantages of arbitration as a common method of dispute resolution in these types of projects.

Furthermore, they highlighted the benefits of carrying out risk assessments of projects before signing the relevant contracts, as well as the importance of managing any discrepancies as soon as they arise and throughout the whole project, explaining the rules that must be followed in order to maximise the possibility of success in potential litigations.

The session, which was held at Pérez-Llorca’s Madrid headquarters, concluded with an interesting debate between the speakers and some of the attendees. This included the management bodies and professionals of large concessionary and construction firms, law firms and financing bodies that play an important role in the Spanish infrastructure sector and the overseas market.

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