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Multiplex targets PFI market to aid growth

After taking PFI health job, contractor says 20-25 per cent of turnover will come from sector

MULTIPLEX managing director Martin Tidd has said that Private Finance Initiative schemes could form a quarter of its UK turnover over the next five years as the Aussie firm looks to expand its presence in the sector.

The contractor - so far associated with major one-off projects such as Wembley stadium and the vast White City west London retail scheme - landed its first-ever PFI deal in this country last week when it became preferred bidder on a £340 million hospital job in Peterborough.

Mr Tidd said: 'We've got a strong record of PFI in Australia but we're delighted to get our first over here. It's fair to say we're looking at other opportunities, including more in the health sector.

We can see a point where PFI makes up 20-25 per cent of our construction turnover in the next five years.

'We have already set up an FM business within the UK but we are looking to make this much more substantive to handle the 25-year demands of PFI. This area will show significant growth.'

Multiplex is also hoping to claim its second PFI success after returning bid documents to build a new prison at Addiwell in Scotland six weeks ago.

He added: 'We should hear how we have got on in the next two months. Hopefully we can keep up our 100 per cent record.'

In Peterborough, the firm will build a 760bed hospital under the Greater Peterborough Health Investment Plan, as well as an integrated care centre, a mental health unit and a multistorey car park.

The firm is carrying out the work for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, the Greater Peterborough Primary Care Partnership and the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Multiplex has a 20 per cent equity stake in the project while partner, city bank ABN Amro, has put forward 80 per cent.The pair have worked together on six previous PFI projects.

It took the scheme after squeezing out a rival bid from a team including Shepherd and Ferrovial.

One source said: 'The bids were so close that the client had to delay its decision by 24 hours last week.'

Multiplex is hoping to close the Peterborough deal by April 2006.Work is due to be completed in 2010.