Two foreign contractors have made the shortlist for a £250m PFI hospital project in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Multiplex, from Australia, and Spanish firm Ferrovial are vying with a Skanska UK-led team for the project.

Multiplex's Progress Health consortium includes the ABN-AMRO bank and Nightingale Associates, an architectural practice that specialises in hospital design. Ferrovial's Medico consortium includes Amey's support services subsidiary, and is understood to be about to choose between two architectural partners.

Multiplex, best known in the UK for its £445m work on the 90,000-seat national stadium at Wembley, last week raised £508m after it floated on the Sydney stock exchange. It has said it will use the proceeds to fund construction projects.

Skanska's bid is to be financed by Innisfree, a specialist PFI investor; architect Swanke Hayden Connell and consultant Capita are understood to be part of its team.

In November, Skanska beat French contractor Bouygues to the £620m St Bartholomew's scheme in London. It also won a £470m hospital deal in Derby in September 2002 and a £484m job in Coventry in February 2002.

Nightingale Associates is understood to have assembled a team of 20 architects for the unsuccessful Bart's tender, and is keen to use them on another large project.

Multiplex, from Australia, and Spanish firm Ferrovial are vying with a Skanska UK-led team for the project

Building revealed last month that Ferrovial's construction arm was to team up with Amey to bid for one-off health and education projects. Industry sources speculate that the pair might pay particular attention to the UK health market, where there are only a few major players.

The Cambridgeshire contract would involve shutting two hospitals, the Peterborough District and the Edith Cavell Hospital. The facility would then be built on the Edith Cavell site. Total bed capacity would increase from 778 to 872.

Services such as intensive rehabilitation, children's centre facilities and a range of outpatient services with specialist practitioners would be housed in a specialist care centre in the middle of town.

The government claims that the project will improve access to health service because of increased capacity of the acute hospital.

It is intending to complement this with a range of non-hospital treatment facilities. These include community-based care beds, and diagnostic and treatment services.