Italy's Webuild funds wages for Clough employees of Snowy 2.0 hydropower project

(Reuters) -Italian construction group Webuild said it had provided funds for payment of wages to cash-strapped contractor Clough Group's employees involved in Australia's biggest hydropower project Snowy 2.0.

Australian engineering firm Clough was placed into voluntary administration earlier this week, after a divestment deal by its South African parent Murray & Roberts Holdings with Webuild fell through, leaving more than $8 billion worth of gas, power, rail and mining projects in Australia, Mongolia and Papua New Guinea facing delays.

"Webuild's funding will ensure that works will continue on this project and that all of the workers and contractors involved in the Snowy 2.0 project continue to be paid and supported," Webuild said in a statement on Thursday.

Webuild and Clough are partners on the A$5 billion ($3.39 billion) expansion of the Snowy 2.0 project, which is already facing a delay of nearly two years into 2028.

Administrator Deloitte said in a separate statement its discussions with key parties resulted in resolution of funding crunch on an interim basis, making sure project work continued and employees, sub-contractors and suppliers were paid.

"We can now also focus on recapitalisation and sale of business opportunities, a key components of our strategy," Deloitte Australia National Turnaround and Restructuring Leader Sal Algeri said.

"We've already fielded multiple enquiries from interested parties, and with this immediate funding issue resolved, we can now pursue discussions with these groups, look to find a new owner, and protect jobs, and provide continuity and certainty for stakeholders."

($1 = 1.4771 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Navya Mittal and Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Maju Samuel and Rashmi Aich)