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Wembley contractor: we won't work for UK clients any more

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CONTRACTOR Multiplex has vowed to stop working for clients in the UK after a harrowing year at Wembley Stadium and the White City redevelopment in west London.

Multiplex Construction managing director Martin Tidd told NCEI that the company will only work on projects where it is the developer, builder and facilities manager, including PPP and PFI contracts.

The decision came as the company announced it was pulling out of the $2.8bn (ú1.5bn) White City project. It has transferred the design and construction contract to client West eld in a deal that still allows the contractor to make around a 5% prot on the job, in line with predictions.

'The deal was struck on favourable terms and made perfect sense for de-risking our construction workbook, ' said Tidd.

He added that 'substantial' design changes made by Westfield on White City when it took over the project in May 2005 would have resulted in wrangling and claims at the end of the project. It is understood that Westfield decided to change the masterplan of the 16ha site after some structures had already been built.

Tidd denied that the firm's decision to quit White City heralded the contractor's move out of UK construction, as it would still work on projects where Multiplex was also the client.

This, he said, was the preferred model for the Multiplex Group.

'At $1.2bn, the construction workbook is healthy. There'll be a short-term impact on workload and turnover, but we now have more certainty on protfit, ' said Tidd.

He added that current jobs Multiplex has that fit this model include the $560M Peterborough Hospital PFI, a $185M south London skyscraper called Castle House and the $235M Eden shopping centre in High Wycombe.

'We'll work with clients who put in a fair price for the work.

We won't be interested in competitive tendering anymore, ' said Tidd.

'Our history in lump sum projects tells us the risk ratios work against us.' He added that bidding for projects was often an inefficient use of resources and that Multiplex would not be bidding for any of the 2012 Olympics projects.

Parent company Multiplex Group has announced losses of ú274M on Wembley this year.

Pre-tax profits, however, were up from $63M to $162M.

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