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London's ExCel centre provided to health service rent free - CEO

"Tomas Gooseberry" (2020-04-07)


LONDON, เช่าเก้าอี้ April 5 (Reuters) - The Abu Dhabi owners of London's ExCel conference centre are not charging Britain's health service for using it as a temporary hospital providing thousands of extra beds for the coronavirus epidemic, the site's chief executive said on Sunday.

A report in the Sunday Times, citing industry sources, said ExCel, owned by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (Adnec), was charging the state-owned National Health Service (NHS) 2 million to 3 million pounds ($2.5 million-3.7 million) a month.

"The use of ExCeL London for NHS Nightingale London has always been provided to the NHS rent free," ExCel chief executive Jeremy Rees said in a statement refuting the report on Sunday.

"We joined the national effort to combat coronavirus immediately, and worked in close partnership with the NHS to ensure this hospital could be up and running in a matter of days."

He said the initial agreement with the NHS included a contribution to some operational fixed costs.

"We have since decided to cover the operational costs ourselves," he said.

Britain's Prince Charles opened the hospital by video link on Friday.

($1 = 0.82 pounds) (Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Angus MacSwan)