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Amec down £7M following axed PFI hospital

PROJECT MANAGEMENT and services company Amec warned this week that contractors could turn their back on hospital PFI jobs after the £167M Colchester General Hospital project was axed.

Trading figures released by the contractor this week show that the scrapped scheme has cost Amec £7M in bidding costs.

'If we don't get this money back it is extremely unlikely that we will bid for hospitals again and our attitude is no different to that of our peer group - they would no rather risk it than we would, ' said Amec chief executive Sir Peter Mason.

Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust announced plans to cancel the hospital last week after changes in government policy mean that more patients will be treated at home than in hospital.

But the 1997 government Bates Report says that where PFI schemes are scrapped not through the fault of the consortia, bid costs should be refunded.

'It is in the Government's interest to return the bid costs. Its own report says that it should, but there is no legal entitlement for it to do so.

However, there are lots of good reasons why it should, ' said Mason. The Trust would not reveal whether or not it will refund the cash.

Mason also revealed further details of Amec's restructuring plan, which will see the company split into two divisions: Energy and Process, and Infrastructure. It may yet float or sell the Infrastructure business.

Amec Spie is to be sold to French investment company PAI for e1040M (£709M), creating exceptional gains for the company of £295M, 'more than double our investment', said Mason.

The company also announced write-downs of £35M for restructuring and some oil and gas work, and a further £30M of future legal costs related to protracted disputes Following his retirement in September, Mason will join the Olympic Deliver Authority as non-executive director.

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