By Greg Higgins, battlefordsNow
Carilion’s liquidation could provide opportunities according to the president of Graham Group, the other company in charge of construction and maintenance of the Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford.
On Monday it was announced the U.K. based company Carillion was going into liquidation. The group had a 50 per cent equity share of the consortium Access Prairies Partnership in the Public Private Partnership (P3) project to design, build, finance and maintain the new psychiatric hospital in North Battleford. On Tuesday the provincial government said construction should go ahead as planned and added there was no expected delay for completion.
The Graham Group, a Canadian construction company based out of Calgary, holds the remaining 50 per cent equity in the project. According to president, Grant Beck, the company has been aware of Carillion’s financial situation for a while now and planned accordingly.
“There were significant write downs on their balance sheets that put the whole thing at risk, so we have been aware of it for some time,” Beck said. “This situation could put some pressure on us, but to the same degree it also provides opportunities for us.”
According to Beck, Graham agreed to take on 80 per cent of the hospital’s construction. He said the company is capable of completing the project on its own. When it comes to maintenance however, Carillion agreed to take 80 per cent responsibility, which is where opportunity presented itself said Beck.
“It does mean that we need to step up for the balance, which of course is what we’re going to do.” Beck said. “At these early stages we can’t say how we are going to do it, but we are committed to it.”
Beck said the company hasn’t traditionally done maintenance in the past, but it is an avenue it wants to explore. He added Graham isn’t new to maintenance either, as the group has taken on the lion’s share of maintenance in the North Commuter road project being built in Saskatoon.
Beck added the Canadian firm of Carillion is still technically intact and there has been no official announcement of liquidation yet. He said there are rumours the firm could be bought out by another company and if so, then Graham wouldn’t need to absorb any of Carmillion’s responsibilities as the new company would simply take over.
Regardless of the outcome, Beck said there will be no jobs lost.
“What’s going to happen is their people will become available and one way is for us to just hire their people,” Beck said. “Another option is to partner with different firms … There are options we are trying to work through. There will be no jobs lost, in fact we’d probably be hiring.”
Beck added P3 contracts are built to anticipate issues like this and there are contractual remedies in place.
“The situations are already identified and the outcomes are agreed to,” Beck said. “It isn’t like there is a bunch of legal work to do. If this happens we know what we have to do and what others have to do.”