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Swiss firm considers challenging Interserve legal victory

Swiss contractor Hitachi Zosan Inova (HZI) is considering an appeal after a High Court judge ruled in favour of Interserve following a contract dispute over a £165m energy-from-waste plant. 

The legal dispute relates to an EfW plant located in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, on which HZI pulled its contract with Interserve in the summer of 2015, citing delays.

At the time of the cancellation, a source alleged to Construction News that Interserve staff were ordered to down tools and given just 20 minutes to leave the site. 

At the High Court, Mrs Justice Jefford ruled in favour of Interserve on the basis that HZI had not complied with the agreed seven-day notice period required to cancel the contract.  

HZI said in a statement: “HZI does not agree with the court’s interpretation of the contract and is considering appealing such decision.” 

EfW projects have been a thorn in the side of Interserve for some time. The cancellation of the contract at Kidderminster came alongside its removal from contract at a Glasgow plant and lengthy delays at a project in Derby (pictured).

In February the firm warned that exiting problem EfW deals would cost the business £160m

The group issued a fresh profit warning last month, admitted it may breach its banking covenants this year, and revealed problem EfW contracts would cost it an extra £35m.

This led to a sharp fall in the firm’s share price, while new boss Debbie White warned of cost cuts and potential disposals

Interserve declined to comment.

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