Appeal Court judgment Schürmann Complex, Bonn
Rijswijk, the Netherlands – The Higher Regional Court in Cologne, Germany, today gave its judgment in the appeal brought by both HBG, Hollandsche Beton Groep nv, and the German government against the judgment of the Court at Bonn on 14 March 2000 in the case concerning the Schürmann Complex in Bonn.
The Higher Regional Court has overturned part of the judgment of the Court at Bonn, which had ruled that HBG bore full responsibility for the damage which occurred. The Higher Regional Court has taken the view that the government as client and HBG as contractor should share liability equally for the cost of rectifying the damage which occurred to the Schürmann Complex when the River Rhine overflowed its banks in December 1993. The legal costs should be borne by the client and the contractor in the ratio 60% : 40%.
The German government is claiming damages of approximately DEM 400 million, plus interest. In a previous session, the Higher Regional Court had proposed an out-of-court settlement which for HBG would have meant paying DEM 100 million, with the two parties dropping all further claims against each other. The government rejected this proposed out-of-court settlement. HBG did not express an opinion. A settlement of the kind proposed by the Higher Regional Court would not affect the Group’s financial position.
HBW Beton- und Wasserbau GmbH – a subsidiary of HBG – was contracted by the German government as part of several joint ventures to build the complete basement complex for the Schürmann Building. This contract was worth DEM 128 million. This substructure was built under two separate subcontracts, which were completed at the end of 1992 and in the course of 1993. HBG’s position has always been that responsibility for the further management of these two parts of the complex lay with the client as from the time of handover.
HBG continues to take the view that the company bears no liability whatsoever for the damage which occurred to the Schürmann Complex. A decision will be taken as to whether the Group should take its appeal to the Supreme Court when HBG has had the opportunity to study the Higher Regional Court’s ruling.
Arno C. Pronk, HBG Public Relations, telephone +31 70 3722121.