AWG case against Morrison held up

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The Independent Online

AWG's £130m legal action over its struggling construction business, Morrison, has been delayed by a year. Jonson Cox, the chief executive of the water company, admitted that a court hearing would not take place until May "at the earliest".

AWG's £130m legal action over its struggling construction business, Morrison, has been delayed by a year. Jonson Cox, the chief executive of the water company, admitted that a court hearing would not take place until May "at the earliest".

AWG, which owns Anglian Water, is suing Sir Fraser Morrison, the former chairman of the business, for £130m in damages. A hearing was originally set for this spring, but the timetable slipped until the summer. Mr Cox said that the new delay was caused because Sir Fraser's lawyers have not filed their defence.

AWG, under previous chief executive Chris Mellor, bought Morrison in 2000 from Sir Fraser and his brother Gordon.

AWG claims it was misinformed about the real state of the business, saying it was given a profit forecast of £30.5m for the next year. In fact, the business lost £46.6m.

The Morrison family still owns shares in AWG.

The company has merged the Morrison business with its utility services and PFI divisions. Mr Cox, who joined AWG in January, has just completed a strategic review of the company. He said the non-water businesses could be sold if they do not improve their performance.

When AWG reported annual results earlier this month, the non-water businesses made an operating profit of £300,000 on turnover of £885m after exceptional items. Anglian Water made an operating profit of £319m on £767m turnover.

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