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Laing O'Rourke accounts delayed further by Canadian hospital

Laing O’Rourke has further delayed publication of its full-year results as negotiations continue over wrapping up its involvement in a loss-making Canadian hospital PFI.

According to Companies House, the UK’s largest private contractor was due to file its accounts for 2016/17 by 30 September last year.

It had originally planned to do so this week, but it is understood talks over settling its accounts relating to the CAD$2.1bn Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal job are causing further delays.

PwC is the auditor of Laing O’Rourke’s accounts, which will reveal an overall loss and are now expected to be filed in the next two to three weeks.

A Laing O’Rourke spokesman confirmed it had been in regular contact with Companies House over the accounts, and that it was still set to reveal an underlying return to profit, excluding the Canadian scheme.

Construction News revealed this week that the Construction Santé Montreal (CSM) JV has reached 20 settlements with 13 firms over CAD$118m-worth of claims (£68m) relating to the problem job.

However, the JV still faces claims totalling CAD$82m (£47m) from firms that have yet to agree settlements, as reported by CN on Monday.

It is understood the company wants to file accounts taking on the full impact of the Canadian scheme, on which it is winding down its role having handed over phase two to local contractor Pomerleau under a £235m contract.

Despite recent media reports, a spokesman insisted there was no question of Laing O’Rourke breaching financial covenants and said that its underlying performance continued to be strong.

In 2011, Laing O’Rourke’s Construction Santé Montreal (CSM) JV with Spanish contractor OHL signed a deal to build the CAD$2.1bn (£1.2bn in today’s prices) hospital under a 38-year concession PPP contract.

Last January Laing O’Rourke revealed it had made a £93m writedown on the value of the CHUM contract, attributing this to programme slippage and damages after the original completion date was not achieved.

It came just a month after the company cited the CHUM contract as a major factor in a £245m group loss – the first loss in 15 years of trading as Laing O’Rourke.

A Laing O’Rourke spokesman told CN: “This is a complex process but we are working with our audit partners to get it processed and that will enable us to file our accounts at Companies House.

“We have been keeping Companies House and our clients fully informed. The accounts will continue to demonstrate our strong underlying performance, with a global order book of £9bn and new jobs such as Manchester Airport and Brent Cross of high quality.”

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