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O'Rourke bags £45m high-security centre

CONTRACTS - BASINGSTOKE

LAING O'Rourke has banked another big deal with a £45 million scheme to build a data centre in Hampshire for City financial giant JP Morgan.

The company is negotiating with Laing O'Rourke over the deal after rival bids from Bovis Lend Lease and Mace were dropped.

The huge data centre in Basingstoke will be one of four across the country. JP Morgan plans to award each deal to a different contractor for security reasons. The company declined to comment further.

Laing O'Rourke is waiting for the bank's UK arm to be given permission to proceed by bosses at JP Morgan Chase, the firm's parent company, based in New York and one of the world's biggest finance groups with assets of around $1.2 trillion. Work is due to start later this month but an already tight timetable has slipped by two weeks.

A source close to the deal said: 'It's got a little bit behind while the client waits for word from the US but it shouldn't be much of a problem.

'The deal has turned into more of a single-stage tender rather than a two-stage one, as Laing O'Rourke has already approached subcontractors.

'It'll get the price from its subbies then go back to the bank and give an estimate.

Then it's simply a matter of a 'yes' or 'no' before work can get on site.' The budget for the centre is £45 million but that may rise, since parts of the contract, such as the security system, which is expected to be priced at around £3 million, are difficult to cost.

JP Morgan is building the data centres to store financial records after it stopped outsourcing its UK computer and technology requirements.

Laing O'Rourke and JP Morgan declined to reveal any details of what the building will comprise once finished. The contract is expected to take less than a year to complete.