French caterer to run Military Training!

The Financial Times report that a French Company Sodexo are a likely to replace Land Trillium as an equity partner in the Metrix consortium. Sodexo are already part of the consortium, responsible for providing services such as servicing and cleaning. Both Qinetiq and Sodexo declined to comment whether they were involved in such discussions:

By Sylvia Pfeifer, Defence Industries Correspondent
Published: January 17 2009 02:00 | Last updated: January 17 2009 02:00
Sodexo, the French contract caterer, is in advanced talks with Qinetiq, the lead contractor on a £12bn plan to centralise the military’s training, to help it take the project forward, the Financial Times has learnt.

The Defence Training Review, the UK’s largest private finance initiative, will centralise all non-military technical training for army, navy and air force personnel in one academy in Wales.
However, the 25-year programme, which had been battling cost increases, suffered a big setback in December when the outsourcing arm of Land Securities, the property company, wi thdrew from the process.

Land Securities Trillium and Qinetiq had been the two sole equity partners in the Metrix consortium which was awarded the contract to build and run the academy in January 2007. Qinetiq said at the time that Land Securities was withdrawing for strategic reasons - it was in the process of selling Trillium as part of an asset disposal programme. Land Securities also cited “significantly increased bid costs”.

Sodexo is a member of the Metrix consortium and res-ponsible for providing “soft” management services such as catering and cleaning.

People close to the negotiations confirmed that al-though an agreement had yet to be signed Sodexo had emerged as frontrunner to replace Trillium. It would take over responsibility for “hard” facilities - such as building services and estate management.

Industry rivals said they were surprised Sodexo had emerged as the frontrunner to replace Trillium, which had been providing land acquisition and management advice to the consortium. Supporters said the French company had extensive PFI experience.

Qinetiq declined to comment on Sodexo’s involvement but said “discussions are well advanced to secure a new equity partner”. Sodexo declined to comment.

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