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Interserve wins Falklands contest

CONTRACTS - FALKLAND ISLANDS

INTERSERVE is in the ascension after bagging a £75 million deal covering British bases in the South Atlantic.

The firm has seen off competition from Turner to pick up the three-year contract for maintenance and repair work in the Falkland Islands.The deal also takes in work on Ascension Island, 6,200 km further north.

The agreement repackages several deals under one contract, which Defence Estates officials hope will improve planning and reduce costs.

The news will come as a major blow for Turner, which currently holds the contract for Ascension Island. Interserve is the incumbent in the Falklands, after wrestling the deal from Turner in 1999, though the latter has maintained a presence on the islands as a subcontractor.

Insiders say the agreement could be worth up to £15 million a year, with a possible two-year extension.

A source close to the deal said the competition had been closely matched on price and technical competence and Interserve's more innovative approach may have cost Turner the deal.

He added that the structure of the deal may provide cost savings for both Defence Estates and the contractor. He said: 'If they are clever with their approach they can certainly make more money out of the deal.'

Much of the military activity in the Falklands focuses on Mount Pleasant Airfield, built 35 miles from the capital Port Stanley after the end of the Falklands War in 1982.

The airfield complex is now home to a 33 m swimming pool, shopping facilities and a church.

It also houses accommodation for the army and RAF personnel stationed on the islands.

AWG was also shortlisted but decided to pull out before submitting a bid.