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Thursday, September 9, 1999 Published at 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK

UK: Wales

Cardiff stadium ' financial disaster'

The Millennium Stadium - a loss-maker for its builders

Cardiff's showpiece Millennium Stadium has been a "financial disaster" for its builders, the company said.

Adrian Ewer, group finance director for John Laing plc, the global contractor and house builder, said the building of stadium - home to this year's Rugby World Cup - had cost his company huge losses.

"We've actually delivered a super project but a financial disaster," he said.

Mr Ewer was commenting on the group's interim results for the year which showed exceptional losses of £26m for the Cardiff project.

[ image: The construction work has proved costly for Laing]
The construction work has proved costly for Laing
In the first half to 30 June 1999 John Laing's construction division recorded a further loss of £5m, which pulled its interim pre-tax profits to £16.2m from £18.4m last time.

"Cardiff is the cause for the loss in the first half. We're going for the line on Cardiff in terms of having to finish on time," said Mr Ewer.

He said the rush to complete the project before the tournament's start in early October had caused further unforeseen costs, but that the stadium would certainly be ready in time.

Errors in tendering

"It's built to capacity now. They've already played games there."

John Laing blames the losses in Cardiff on errors in the tender process.

"It was a guaranteed maximum price job and we got it wrong on the bidding," said Mr Ewer.

He did not rule out Cardiff contributing further losses in the second half.

"We're still finishing the job off. There should be nothing of the scale we've had, but no one could say we've actually drawn a line under it."

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