Days after Multiplex revealed it had received a mystery takeover approach it lost the first round of its damages trial against Wembley steel contractor Cleveland Bridge (CBUK).

In a High Court verdict on Wednesday, Judge Jackson ruled that CBUK should not be held liable for the cost of temporary roof works. These were carried out by replacement steel contractor Hollandia after CBUK walked off the scheme in 2004. The ruling reduces the size of Multiplex’s damages claim by about £15m. CBUK’s damages liability has been capped at £6m.

The ruling came less than a week after Multiplex revealed that it had been approached as a potential takeover target by a mystery buyer.

Analysts said the approach was likely to have come from a private equity firm.