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Jobs secured as US group KBR buys Carillion share of defence project

By Simon Penfold | Business | Published:

Hundreds of jobs have been secured after US construction giant KBR completed a deal to take over Carillion's partof a major defence contract.

Aspire Defence has been building and maintaining new homes and facilities for the British Army since 2006, in a joint venture between Carillion and US group KBR

Wolverhampton-based Carillion was a major partner in Aspire Defence, set up in 2006 to build and look after new homes and bases for the British Army.

Its partner working on the contract was KBR, a US-based building and services group. Under the terms of the agreement, when Carillion went into compulsory liquidation in January KBR took over the whole of the contract including hiring Carillion's Aspire workforce. Around 300 people in total work on the Aspire contract.

It has now revealed it has completed the acquisition of Carillion's interests in Aspire Defence. The sale will have been negotiated by accountants PwC, which is acting as special manager in the liquidation for the Official Receiver.

It is the latest in a string of sell-offs that have helped secured the jobs of nearly 11,000 former Carillion workers since the company's disastrous collapse three months ago. But 2,162 people have lost their jobs, including those working on the Midland Met hospital project in Smethwick and nearly 300 of the staff at Carillion's former headquarters in Wolverhampton.

The jobs of another 4,000 still hang in the balance.

The Aspire Defence joint venture has supported the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) on Project Allenby Connaught since 2006, under one of the largest infrastructure Private Finance Initiatives in the UK. Aspire provides design, construction and base support services to the British Army for living and working accommodation across Salisbury Plain Training Area and at Aldershot.

KBR says that since it took over, it has maintained normal business operations "without disruption to the delivery of services or performance".

Stuart Bradie, CEO and president of KBR, said: "KBR has spent more than 12 years delivering this programme to re-house soldiers into fit-for-purpose accommodation and working facilities."

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"We look forward to continuing to provide market-leading construction and long-term maintenance services in support of the Army Basing Programme within the Project Allenby Connaught footprint and to provide base support services across Salisbury Plain and Aldershot garrisons," Mr Bradie continued.

"This project underpins our long term relationship with the MOD whether at the home base, providing deployed operational support or acting as an integrator of complex defence equipment and systems."

Launched in 2006, the contract still has another 22 years to run.

Allan Thomson, chief executive of Aspire Defence, added: “The announcement by KBR today sends a clear message of reassurance that Project Allenby/Connaught remains on track and continues to enhance defence infrastructure, provide a first-rate service to soldiers and deliver long term value for the MOD.

"We look forward to continuing our excellent relationship with KBR and maintaining our outstanding record on quality, safety and customer service.”

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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