Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company (BLTPC) was incorporated in 1911 in
Toronto, Canda. This is the location of its head office. Their purpose was to create and
develop an electric power production and distribution system in Catalonia,Spain.
These subsidiary companies supplied the major part of Catalonia’s electricity
After WW1, BLTP’s share capital came to be very largely held by Belgian nationals but
Spanish Government contends that the Belgian nationality of the shareholders is not
Several series were issued specially Spain. The sterling bonds were serviced out of
transfers to Barcelona Traction effected by the subsidiary companies operating in
1936: the servicing of the Barcelona Traction bonds was suspended on account of the
Spanish civil war. In 1940 payment of interest on the peseta bonds was resumed with
the authorization of the Spanish exchange control authorities (required because the
debt was owed by a foreign company), but authorization for the transfer of the foreign
currency necessary for the servicing of the sterling bonds was refused and those
interest payments were never resumed.
1948: 3 Spanish holders of recently acquired Barcelona Traction sterling bonds petitioned
the court of Reus for a declaration adjudging the company bankrupt, on account of failure
to pay the interest on the bonds. Judgment was given declaring the company bankrupt
and an order for seizure of the assets of Barcelona Traction and of 2 of its subsidiary.
Pursuant to this judgment the principal management personnel of the companies were dismissed
and Spanish directors appointed. Shortly afterwards, these measures were extended to the other
subsidiary companies. New schemes of the subsidiary companies were created, which were sold
by public auction in 1952 to a newly-formed company, Fuerzas Electricas = (Fecsa), which
thereupon acquired complete control of the undertaking in Spain. Proceedings went about and
brought without success in the Spanish . When the Spanish authorities refused to authorize the
transfer of the necessary foreign currency, this plan was twice modified. In its final form, the plan
provided for an advance redemption by Ebro of Barcelona
The shares of Ebro and Barcelona had been deposited by Barcelona Traction and Ebro with the
National Trust company of Toronto as security for their bond issues Belgium then filed an Application
with the ICJ against the Spanish government seeking reparation for damages claimed to have been
caused to the Belgian national shareholders of the company.
Later however, Belgium gave notice of discontinuance of the proceedings, with a view to negotiations
between the representatives of the private interests concerned, and the case was removed from the
Court's General List. The negotiations having failed, the Belgian Government submitted to the Court a
new Application.