30 Sep 2018 was the point at which the Council ( including Derbyshire County Council) had the legal right to cancel the Sinfin Incinerator waste contract.
This was deferred to 31 December 2018 on the request of the contractor..who is due to pay undisclosed compensation for this change.
On 27 September 2018 the Full Council passed a motion to exercise this contractual “break clause” from 30 September.
It is now the mid-point of this non-contractual delay – 6 weeks gone, 6 weeks to go. The Contractor has not yet received the Completion Certificate from the Independent Examiner; this document is necessary to confirm that the Plant is working to the appropriate contractual standard. Without this certificate the plant is not approved for operation.
The Conservative administration has yet to make any public statement as to how it is implementing the democratic will of the Full Council. There have been no public statements as to how well the plant is performing against the set criteria and whether the Completion Certificate is close to being signed, or still months away.
Financial position of the companies backing the Incinerator
The 2 holding companies of the contractor are Interserve plc and Renewi plc – the share price of both organisations has plummeted since the beginning of the year. The share price of Interserve, which is responsible for construction, is at a 30 year low.
As reported in the Guardian on 12th November 2018: “Interserve shares dip to lowest level in 30 years amid finance concerns”
“Interserve had planned for the facility (Sinfin Incinerator) to be fully operational by spring this year. Investors now fear it may be forced to set aside more cash in compensation, even though the company had said it was confident the delay would not be meaningful financially. Some City analysts fear Interserve will have to issue new shares to raise money.”
The article then quoted an Interserve spokesperson:
“We continue to make progress on the Derby energy from waste project and can confirm that the construction completion certificate has been achieved. The plant is operational and already receiving waste, and we continue to commission the plant in readiness for handover,”
In Renewi’s half year report it identifies 2 core risks to its business – Brexit and the Derby Sinfin Incinerator plant!
It goes on to say:
“While principal responsibility for the commissioning of the Derby facility rests with Interserve, a failure to bring it into full service could result in Interserve meeting the ceiling of its liquidated damages obligations to Renewi, exposing the Group to certain future operating costs. Interserve also provide financial guarantees on plant reliability. “
and confirms what has been widely understood:
“As previously reported, Interserve plc (Interserve) is working to bring the Derby project into full service. This has made significant progress over the past six months and waste has been processed on all three lines. However, Interserve has missed the project long stop date and we are working closely with all parties to bring the facility into operation.”
It is clear that the holding companies are not confident about formal completion of the Sinfin Incinerator. They would not have made such statements publicly, or to the City, if they were.
If Interserve manage to push this facility “across the line” and convince the Council’s to pay £50m – how long will Interserve and Renewi last? Financially, they seem to be in an extremely weak position.
It is almost certain that if the break clause is exercised then there will be dire consequences for both companies.
The Conservative administration can’t continue to remain silent on this subject. The Full Council’s decision is in the public domain – it is no longer a share price sensitive issue.
There are no excuses as to why they should not account to those people that they represent and especially to those residents whose health is most affected.
In 6 weeks time, if there is still no Completion Certificate, and the Conservative administration don’t cancel the contract then it would be a very damaging moment for them.
Categories: Sinfin Incinerator