Federal judge awards Orascom subcontractor $62.4 million

Nassef Sawiris, CEO of OCI N.V. - the parent company of the Iowa Fertilizer Company, cuts an inauguration ribbon at the Iowa Fertlizer Plant in April of 2017. A federal judge Friday ordered Orascom to pay $62.4 million for breach of contract with subcontractor. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

BY PCC STAFF

WEVER – A subcontractor that helped build the $3 billion Iowa Fertilizer Company plant in Wever was awarded a $62 million verdict on Friday, according to an Associated Press report in the Des Moines Register.

A federal jury awarded Maintenance Enterprises LLC, a Louisiana company $62.4 million as a result of default on a contract constituting a breach.

Jesse Harris, a spokesperson for Orascom E&C USA Inc. said the company is currently considering it’s legal options.

“Orascom E&C USA Inc. (OEC) is incredibly proud of its work to construct the Iowa fertilizer plant– the first world-scale nitrogen fertilizer facility built in the United States in nearly 30 years,” Harris wrote in a statement to Pen City Current.

“As one of the largest construction projects in the state’s history, OEC’s work helped grow the economy in southeast Iowa through the employment of 3,000 workers and partnerships with a wide range of local businesses and contractors. The disputed contract amount with Maintenance Enterprises LLC, a Louisiana subcontractor, represents about one percent of the total work involved in this project. We are considering what legal options are appropriate at this time.”

Court records indicate Orascom E&C USA breached a contract when it fired Maintenance Enterprises in October 2015, and refused to pay for work or allow the company to retrieve tools and some equipment from the site.

The Iowa Fertilizer Company plant, located in Wever, officially opened in April of 2017 with close to $100 million in tax benefits from the state and Lee County.

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