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Hochtief exits 2012 pool negotiations

Contractor Hochtief fell out of the running to build the London 2012 aquatics centre today, just a week after French firm Eiffel ended its negotiations with Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) on the key venue.

Hochtief's decision to withdraw leaves Balfour Beatty as lone bidder for the Zaha Hadid/Arup designed pool - a situation reminiscent of the procurement of the main 2012 stadium, where a shortlist was scrapped in favour of the bid led by contractor Sir Robert McAlpine.

ODA construction director Howard Shiplee said Hoctief had exited negotiations because it was unable to guarantee the high quality personnel the ODA demanded for the £150M scheme.

"After taking on substantial new work abroad Hochtief have this week confirmed that they are unable to commit the quality resources they wanted to and have withdrawn," said Shiplee.

"We remain confident that we will appoint a world class construction company and are looking forward to receiving a tender from Balfour Beatty. A huge amount of work is already taking place on the Aquatics site itself with demolition close to completion, soil washing well underway and works to widen the river walls surging ahead."

A Hochtief spokesman said: "We are disappointed to be unable to bid to build the London Aquatics Centre. Unfortunately, after taking on substantial new work in the Middle East and Germany our company is unable to commit the specialist building resources required to do justice to what will be a superb venue for the Games and London."

French contractor Eiffel, revealed as shortlisted bidder along with Hochtief and Balfour Beatty in May, pulled out of negotiations last week after disagreeing with the ODA's requirement for the pool to be built on a target cost basis.

Balfour Beatty is currently working on its final tender with their official appointment likely to be made by the end of the year and construction due to start next summer.

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