Wembley contractor says it has turned down two offers from client to avoid High Court battle

Wembley contractor Multiplex claimed this week that it had turned down two out-of-court settlement offers from Wembley National Stadium Limited.

Multiplex sources said the contractor had refused offers to settle disputes over penalty clauses and delays.

A senior Multiplex source said that the most recent offer, which Building understands to have been made this spring, was rejected because it fell “well short” of the compensation that Multiplex was seeking.

It is understood that Multiplex is looking to recover more than £150m to cover delays that it says were caused by design changes ordered by WNSL.

The source said: “We would welcome a negotiated settlement, but this was not on acceptable terms.”

The client denies responsibility for the delays.

Building understands that the parties had been on the verge of agreeing a deal last December, but negotiations broke down at the last minute. It is thought that the cause of the disagreement was WNSL’s banks’ insistence that Multiplex guarantee that it would not lodge any further claims against the client. Multiplex refused, and revelations of further delays have now made that deal redundant.

We would welcome a negotiated settlement, but this was not on acceptable terms

Multiplex source

Multiplex sources insisted this week that the company was continuing its negotiation with WNSL in the hope of reaching a settlement. WNSL responded that it was not in private talks with the contractor, and denied press reports that it had agreed to drop penalty claims of up to £40m against the contractor.

A senior WNSL source denied that any deal had been discussed “more recently than December”, but refused to comment further.

A Multiplex spokesperson said: “We do not comment on legal issues. However, Multiplex prefers to settle any disputes in private where possible.”

WNSL declined to comment.

Meanwhile, it emerged this week that Multiplex could face a legal battle over escalating costs in its construction of the £1.5bn White City shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush.

A price has not yet been agreed for design changes introduced by White City owners Westfield after it took over the project from Chelsfield, the scheme’s previous developer.

It is understood that the deal will go to mediation, with the prospect of a court battle if a deal is not agreed.