Amcor takes on builders

PACKAGING colossus Amcor is taking legal action to force construction company Baulderstone to reveal any communications it had with its joint-venture partner Bilfinger Berger while it was tendering for the building of Amcor's newly commissioned Botany paper mill.

PACKAGING colossus Amcor is taking legal action to force construction company Baulderstone to reveal any communications it had with its joint-venture partner Bilfinger Berger while it was tendering for the building of Amcor's newly commissioned Botany paper mill.

The Botany facility will transform Amcor's recycled paper and cardboard production - it can produce 400,000 tonnes of paper annually and deliver huge water, energy and waste savings, the company maintains.

But Amcor is seeking documents from the joint venture and other contractors covering a two-year period between 2008 to 2010 when the $500 million project in Sydney's south went to tender and preliminary work began, via legal discovery in the Federal Court.

It wants internal notes detailing the "involvement of Bilfinger or Valemus in the process of deciding to tender, and preparing, pricing and/or working on the details of the offer for the B9 Project", court documents show.

Bilfinger Berger changed its name in 2010 to Valemus.

Construction of the new mill started in early 2011 and it was officially opened last month. Its commissioning resulted in Amcor ceasing operations at its Fairfield plant in Melbourne late last year.

The company was forced to temporarily delay the B9 mill project in late 2009 when costs were renegotiated with the Baulderstone-Bilfinger Berger joint venture.

Court documents show Amcor is concerned Baulderstone was required to get approval from Bilfinger to enter into a guaranteed maximum price contract for the new facility.

The company sought any documents relating to Bilfinger refusing or withdrawing approval for the contract.

The broad-brush application sought "copies of all policies, delegations, authorities, minutes or resolutions ... relevant to Baulderstone's authority to tender for, or enter into a contract with a value range in excess of $100 million".

It was listed for a directions hearing before Justice Michelle Gordon this week.

Amcor names both current and former Baulderstone executives Ian Luck, David Lougher and Richard Turchini in its action. Mr Luck is Baulderstone's managing director and Mr Lougher heads its project engineering division, while Mr Turchini recently left the managing director role.

The company's defunct factory on Melbourne's Yarra River is in a prime inner-city residential location and has been touted to prospective buyers with a $220 million price.

Decommissioning works are under way at the plant.

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