Gas Firm Owed $9 Billion by Nigeria Can Seek Asset Seizures

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(Bloomberg) -- Process & Industrial Developments Ltd., a tiny natural gas company, won a London court ruling that may force the Nigerian government to pay it about $9 billion, potentially the largest financial liability in the African country’s history.

The closely held company can enforce an arbitration award that entitles it to the sum -- equivalent to almost 2.5% of Nigeria’s annual gross domestic product -- as though it were a U.K. court order, Judge Christopher Butcher said Friday in a ruling. That paves the way for P&ID, based in the British Virgin Islands, to start making applications to seize Nigerian assets in Britain.

The gas company, which is backed by a Cayman Island-based hedge fund, was awarded $6.6 billion in an arbitration case in January 2017, following a dispute over a 2010 gas deal. With interest payments, it totals about $9 billion, Bloomberg Businessweek reported in March. The Nigerian government has yet to make a payment, Butcher said in his ruling.

"P&ID is committed to vigorously enforcing its rights, and we intend to begin the process of seizing Nigerian assets in order to satisfy this award as soon as possible," the company’s lawyer Andrew Stafford said. Femi Adesina, a spokesman for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, declined to comment.

At some point, hedge fund VR Advisory Services Ltd. bought 25% of P&ID, according to public records reported by Businessweek in March.

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