Morrison £10m worse off after settling AWG dispute out of court

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The Independent Online

The construction magnate Sir Fraser Morrison was more than £10m out of pocket last night after agreeing to settle his legal battle with the water company, AWG, out of court.

Sir Fraser is understood to have agreed to pay AWG's legal costs of £7m-£8m together with an undisclosed amount in compensation to resolve the dispute over the sale of his family building business to the water company six years ago.

AWG had sued Sir Fraser for £130m, claiming he and a fellow director of Morrison, Stephen McBrierty, fraudulently misrepresented the true value of the business when it was sold in 2000. AWG was subsequently forced to write down the value of the company by more than a half.

The case opened in the High Court in December but was abandoned almost immediately after it emerged that the trial judge, Mr Justice Evans-Lombe, knew one of AWG's non-executive directors. The case had been due to resume before a new judge next Monday.

The chief executive of AWG, Jonson Cox, who took over at the company after it had launched proceedings against Sir Fraser, said: "I am pleased we have resolved yet another legacy issue to our satisfaction after discussions with, and an acceptable settlement proposition, from Sir Fraser."

Sir Fraser said: "I am delighted we have been able to sort out this long-running matter to our mutual satisfaction after Jonson Cox's personal intervention."

Neither side would comment on the terms of the settlement, which remain confidential.