Contract Breach: Hydrocarbon Advisors Demands $1.75m, N50m From Accugas

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A financial advisory and consulting firm, Hydrocarbon Advisors Limited has asked the Lagos State High Court to compel Accugas Limited (a subsidiary of Savannah energy Petroleum limited)to pay it $1.75million and N50million for breach of agreement for professional services and as general damages.

Hydrocarbon Advisors is the sole Claimant, while Accugas – a gas development and processing company – is the Defendant against whom the reliefs are sought. FBN Capital is a nominal party and was the Facility Agent.

The claimant through its counsel Seni Adio, SAN, filed the November 23 originating summons praying the court to determine four issues.

They include whether Accugas breached an October 26, 2017 agreement for professional services between Hydrocarbon Advisors and the defendants, together with the change order of November 23, 2018, and E-mail of September 10, 2018 (collectively, the “AGREEMENT”) by failing to pay the Claimant $1m professional fees plus 7.5% value added tax (VAT)

Whether Accugas’ request proscribing Hydrocarbon Advisors from providing professional services to a consortium of financial institutions constitutes an unlawful restraint on trade under the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2018 and the Local Content Act 2010 and is, therefore, unlawful under Nigerian Law.

Apart from the $1.75 and N50m for breach of agreement for professional services and as general damages, Hydrocarbon Advisors prayed the court to resolve the issues in its favour and grant it four other orders and reliefs.

They include an order granting the claimant post-judgment interest on its professional fees and the damages awarded by the court until the judgment sum is fully paid.

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A declaratory order that the Accugas’ request proscribing Hydrocarbon Advisors from providing professional services to a consortium of financial institutions constitutes an unlawful restraint on trade under the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2018, violates the Local Content Act 2010 and is unlawful.

The claimants supported their claim with an affidavit in support of the originating summons sworn by an investment banker, Hakeem Adedeji.

Adedeji averred that on or about October 26, 2017, the 1st Defendant and the 2nd Defendant retained the professional expertise of the Claimant for the restructuring of certain complex loan facilities in the sum of United States Dollars Three Hundred and Eighty-Five Million (USD385 Million) granted by a syndicate of local and international financial institutions to the 1st Defendant (the “Initial Mandate”).

“The Claimant provided the required services as contained in the Initial Mandate. Notably, the Initial Mandate provided that the 1” Defendant ‘WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT OF FEES AND OTHER CHARGES INCURRED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ENGAGEMENT LETTER.’

“Based on the Claimant’s performance under the Initial Mandate, the 1st and 2nd Defendants decided to expand the Claimant’s scope of services by activating the “CHANGE ORDER PROCESS” contained in the Initial Mandate.”

He averred, among others, that the Claimant performed the additional services pursuant to the Change Order including leading the swap negotiations amongst the 1″ Defendant, Savannah, and Frontier Oil Limited, with the 2nd Defendant playing the role of Facility Agent, thus culminating in a successful gas-for-oil swap.

He averred that the professional services that the Claimant provided “required ingenuity, were novel, and prevented the total collapse with extensive repercussions concerning an almost $1billion corporate acquisition transaction by Savannah (including the $400million facility owed to the syndicate of local and international banks).”

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