Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Olympics Watch: Multiplex Back For More


Multiplex, the main contractors on the heavily delayed Wembley project, are reportedly in line for a major role in the 2012 Olympics money pit. According to the Australian press:

"The prospect has arisen because of a dispute between co-owners of the project - the billionaire Reubens brothers and Australian shopping centre group Westfield - over construction of the Stratford City development- the site of the athletes' village and press centre for the 2012 Olympics."

If, as expected, the Reubens buy out Westfield, then they will be contracturally obliged to hire Multiplex, who sold their own original stake to the Reubens. Multiplex say:

"We sold to the Reubens because we would retain those opportunities if we wanted to take them when the time came."

Are you following this?

A couple of points arise. One, there's King Ken's somewhat cool relationship with the bros. As he put it so diplomatically:

"If they're not happy they can always go back (to Iran) and see if they can do better under the ayatollahs."

The R's of course, were born in India, of Iraqi Jewish parents.

Second, given that the 2012 organisers will be seeking fixed price deals with their contractors (see previous post), will that include Multiplex on this development? And if so, given the size of the project and the financial hit they've already taken on Wembley, are Multiplex going to be in any position to deliver a bankable guarantee? And if it isn't bankable, who picks up the tab if we get to January 2012 and they're nowhere near finishing?

See you in court. Oh, and if you're a taxpayer you'd better bring your chequebook.

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