Bovis backs out of ‘unethical' nuclear work
Bovis Lend Lease has pulled out of a possible nuclear deal with EDF energy at the eleventh hour after parent company Lend Lease objected to ‘unethical’ work.
Building reported that the Australian Lend Lease board told Bovis to pull out shortly before the deal was to be signed because it does not want to be involved in the sector for ethical reasons. The Australian government has already decided not to pursue nuclear new build.
The decision, which Building understands was taken within the past few months, will rule Lend Lease out of a market that is expected to be worth up to £40bn in the UK alone.
Bovis had identified the nuclear new build sector as a target market 18 months ago, along with rail and waste-to-energy. It has now emerged that the company had been lined up to work alongside Mace on a consultancy deal for EDF, to which Mace was appointed about six weeks ago.
The size of the EDF deal has not been disclosed, but it is believed that Mace has about 100 people working on the contract.
News of Lend Lease’s stance comes in the week that Bovis confirmed that chief executive Nick Pollard is to leave the business after less than two years in charge.
However, it is understood that Pollard’s departure was discussed before the nuclear question came up, and that the issues are unconnected.
On the nuclear strategy, Pollard said this week: “We had an agreed and signed-off business plan to reposition ourselves in two or three new markets, and we said openly we’d examine rail, waste to energy and nuclear.”
“In the first two, we have enjoyed some success. In nuclear, we had some constructive dialogue, but I am not at liberty to disclose who with. On reflection, earlier this year the company decided this was not a sector it felt it appropriate to pursue. That is disappointing, but we respect that decision.”
Pollard will leave the business within nine months as part of a shake-up that was begun in April with the appointment of Dan Labbad as chief executive for Lend Lease in Europe.