Vilniaus Energija (Vilnius Energy), Lithuania's biggest district heating supplier controlled by France's Veolia, has asked the Stockholm arbitration to appoint an independent asset valuer in protest of the valuers selected by the municipal company Vilniaus Šilumos Tinklai (Vilnius Heating Grid, VST ).
Vilniaus energija
© DELFI / Orestas Gurevičius

"Yes, we filed the claim in early December. We are asking the Stockholm arbitration help appoint a n expert to value the heating sector, as we fear that we are running out of time for general assessment until the end of the lease period of the heating company," Nerijus Mikalajūnas, spokesman for Vilniaus Energija, told BNS.

VST CEO Mantas Burokas said that after Vilniaus Energija had turned to the Stockholm arbitration, VST had asked for the decision to be made as early as possible. In his words, a decision is expected by Jan. 2, and the independent asset valuer should be assigned by February.

Mikalajūnas said VST unilaterally chose the asset valuer, which is a violation of the lease contract.

"We never approved of unilateral appointment of experts, as this violates the lease contract. (…) We are not saying that the selected valuer is biased or unbiased, as they were appointed unilaterally," said the spokesman for Vilniaus Energija.

In July, VST signed a 229,000-euro contract with a consortium of Elektrenu Energetikos Remontas (EER) and Inspecta . After the property including over 33,000 objects is valued, it should be clear which party would have to compensate the other for 15 years of investments in the heating sector.

Some experts say the value of the heating sector may be below the 2002 level when the sector was leased, which means that Vilniaus Energija would have to pay a compensation to the city.

In January, Veolia filed a claim against Lithuania with the Washington arbitration, demanding compensation of about 100 million euros in damage caused by allegedly unfair state conduct and appropriation of the company's investments in Lithuania.

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