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Multiplex feared Cleveland 'total war'

THE MAN in charge of Multiplex's UK operations at the time of its bustup with Cleveland Bridge told the High Court this week he always thought the pair would end up at 'total war' with each other.

Matt Stagg was head of the Aussie firm's UK construction division when its Wembley Stadium steelwork subcont ractor left the site in August 2004.

Under cross examination from CBUK's QC, Hugh Tomlinson, Mr Stagg was repeatedly asked what Multiplex's 'Armageddon plan' meant.

CBUK insists it was a strategy to bankrupt the firm and enable Multiplex to save money on ballooning steelwork costs which by May 2004 had risen by half to over £90 m illion.

But Multiplex claims 'Armageddon' was its reference to a worst-case scenario if CBUK eventually decided to walk away from the job.

Mr Stagg told the court on Tuesday:'I thought we would end up in Armageddon, which means total war, and that's where we are.' Mr Tomlinson said Multiplex had planned to get steel costs down to £75 million, which could only be achieved by removing Cleveland Bridge from the job.

The pair are suing each other for damages and breach of contract, with a total of £50 million at stake.