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03Sep92 AUSTRALIA: BALFOUR BEATTY PULLS OUT OF £94M SYDNEY WATER SUPPLY BID IT WAS SET TO WIN.

Balfour Beatty has withdrawn at the eleventh hour from a £94 million water supply and sewerage scheme it looked set to win in Sydney, Australia.Local sources said the firm, in partnership with Australia's John Holland Construction, was widely tipped for the job before it pulled out.Company executives said 'commercial reasons' were behind the firm's decision, although banking sources in Sydney said Balfour Beatty could not get the necessary financial and bond guarantees to support its bid.The banking source said: 'The tender was submitted through its Australian subsidiary, Metal Manufacturers, whose construction division was put up for sale as the bid was returned. Consequently the uncertainty about Metal Manufacturers future meant the banks were not prepared to confirm its financial health.'But Balfour Beatty said its decision to pull out was not connected with the sale of MM Construction which was confirmed in July when a group of private investors paid A$2 million (£752,000) for the firm.Balfour Beatty's place was taken by German contractor, Bilfinger and Berger which has linked with BB's former partner, John Holland.'A contract has still to be signed, but Holland/B and B is widely regarded to have the project in the bag as Holland/Balfour Beatty did earlier,' an industry insider said.The job covers the first phase of site works for a 5,200 ha housing development at Rouse Hill, Sydney, for the Rouse Hill Infrastructure Consortium. Meanwhile, two foreign contractors - Germany's Philipp Holzmann and Morrison Knudsen of the US - are bidding for a second major project in Australia, the A$1,200 million (£450 million) 8 km western and southern bypasses in Melbourne.