Immediate Release Sunday January 5th 1997

Press Release

Newbury Bypass Construction Contract for sale


The Costain Independent Shareholders Association (CISA), a group representing small independent investors, is 'selling' Costain's Newbury Bypass Construction Contract outside the Extraordinary General Meeting of Costain on Monday January 6th 1997. CISA believe the contract represents a huge liability for the Costain Group and is partly responsible for its financial crisis. The CISA auction comes amid speculation that Costain is seeking to sell the Newbury contract. If true, this would generate cash flow for Costain and allow the Highways Agency to have a financially stable construction company to complete the contract.

The BBC Newsnight team are investigating if the construction contract is for sale and other potential 'irregularities'. At the CISA auction the construction contract will be auctioned to the highest bidder in front of a large 'Costain Sale' banner. Knock down bids are expected. A rather unusual guest - Daisy, the pantomime cow will assist with the sale. Daisy was arrested on the route of the Newbury Bypass as she tried to prevent tree felling. Later she was charged and convicted with Aggravated Trespass.

The purpose of the Extraordinary General Meeting is to seek approval for the issue of further shares and approval from shareholders for the continuation of a company whose net debt exceeds its assets more than twice over.

Mr Alasdair Stark, Chairman of the Costain Independent Shareholders Association said

"The Newbury Bypass is a huge liability for Costain. For the sake of the company's survival, it's staff, and our environment we should get out now" He added "Sir Christopher Benson, former Chairman and Allan Lovell, Chief Executive have left or are leaving Costain. They signed the Newbury Contract and should take it with them" ENDS

Editors Notes

Costain EGM starts at 10.00 a.m. at The Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London. The Newbury Bypass Construction Contract auction starts 9.45 outside the entrance to the meeting.