The construction firm building the new Wembley stadium was in some disarray today after admitting for the first time it could make a loss on the £757m (€1.1bn) project.
Multiplex’s founder John Roberts, who set up the company in 1962, is to step down as chairman but to remain as director, the company also announced this morning.
The Australian firm agreed a fixed price with the Football Association to build Wembley, and to do so in time for the FA Cup final in May next year.
A Multiplex spokesman said today: “We are still very confident that we will meet our contractual obligations.”
The firm said only three months ago they expected to break even but now have confirmed losses could even be greater than the £20.8m (€30.3m) the Roberts family had agreed to cover.
Shares in the Sydney-listed company have been suspended while the company takes a further look at the position, which emerged following a internal review.
The firm initially blamed a change in steel contractor to build the giant arch over the stadium led to litigation and higher costs.
Multiplex said in a statement: “Given that the possible outcomes include a loss position significantly greater than that which would be covered by the [£20.8m (30.3m)] Roberts family indemnity, Multiplex Group has requested a trading halt until it is able to ensure the market is properly informed.”
Multiplex shares have fallen by 40% so far and the group have recently pulled out of a development scheme in Barnsley, building a hospital in Plymouth, and sold their share in a huge shopping centre project in London’s White City.