Imagine tripling your investment in three years. Thats exactly what some corporations in Britain are doing as they capitalize on that countrys equivalent of P3s, known as Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs).
One consortium has raked in a windfall 37-million (CDN $87.8-million) profit over just three years on a 13-million (CDN $30.9-million) investment in the countrys first PFI hospital.
A new report from the countrys National Audit Office exposes the obscene profits made by refinancing the PFI contract after the Darent Valley Hospital had opened and was no longer seen as a risky venture. The NAO also found the hospital was lax in monitoring and fining the consortium for lapses in cleaning and food services.
CUPEs sister union in Britain, Unison, says its clear that Darent Valley Hospital was taken for a ride by the PFI consortium. In exchange for a small share of the refinancing gains, they agreed to extend the contract another seven years to 35 years. In addition, they might have to pay contractors more than the original cost of the hospital if they want to terminate the contract early.
In 2003, Carillion, at the time a partner in the private consortium, sold its 4 million (CDN $9.5 million) in project shares for 16 million (CDN $37.9 million) further profiteering from the hospital. According to Unison, shares in PFI hospitals are now bought and sold by people who dont know and dont care about the patients or the hospital staff.
Carillion is a player in the Healthcare Infrastructure Company of Canada, the consortium that will build, own and maintain two P3 hospitals in Ontario.