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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, April 27) - Bouygues Bâtiment, a
French construction company, has decided to abandon work on a new French
Polynesia hospital at the end of June, French daily newspaper Les Nouvelles de
Tahiti reports.

According to the newspaper, Bouygues apparently is willing to
risk court-assessed damages from a Tahiti government lawsuit charging the French
company with illegally canceling the contract.

"We’re leaving June 30," Michel Hochet, head of
project, told Les Nouvelles. "Management has had enough. Tahiti’s
government has lost this contract due to its incompetence," he said.

Work on the project stopped at the end of 2002 after a year of
legal battles between Bouygues Bâtiment and Tahiti’s government. Work was
scheduled to resume at the end of April.

French Polynesia president of government Gaston Flosse presided
at groundbreaking ceremonies for the hospital on Jan. 18, 2001 at a time of
heavy tension between the French State and the territory. Flosse said at the
time that he was counting heavily on the winning bidder, Bouygues, to respect
the contract’s costs and construction details.

"We have chosen to organize a conception-realization
bidding for the overall hospital complex in order to avoid all bad surprises in
these areas," Flosse said at the time.

The construction of the 365-bed, 40-person outpatient treatment
general hospital was originally scheduled to take three years to build. After an
additional year for installing equipment, the new hospital center was due to
open in January 2005.

April 29, 2003


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