August 22, 2018 / 3:19 PM / 8 months ago

AstraZeneca switches contractor as new HQ delayed again

LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Drugmaker AstraZeneca has appointed a new construction manager to finish work on its new flagship headquarters in the English university city of Cambridge, following a series of delays and rising costs.

Chief Executive Pascal Soriot has made the move to Cambridge a symbol of the group’s renewed focus on cutting-edge science, but the building has faced a series of delays and the company said on Wednesday it did not now expect to occupy it until 2020.

AstraZeneca had already warned in April 2017 that the cost of the new headquarters and research centre would be higher than initially communicated, at more than 500 million pounds ($638 million). Back in 2013, when the scheme was first unveiled, costs were put at 330 million pounds and the aim was to establish the centre by 2016.

“We have agreed to transition from Skanska to Mace as the construction manager for the scientific fit-out and commissioning phase of the project,” a company spokesman said.

“Following a transition period, we will be able to communicate an update as to when we can commence occupation of the facility. At the moment, this points to the first half of 2020.”

AstraZeneca already has more than 2,600 staff in the Cambridge area as it awaits the final completion of new headquarters.

$1 = 0.7841 pounds Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by David Evans

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