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Administrators in crunch talks to sell McArdle

Administrators are in crunch talks with a single buyer to save the jobs of 84 people at the collapsed Olympic groundworks firm McArdle.

The team from PwC is also hoping to recover around £17.1m of £28.7m owed to creditors across several of its operations.

Stuart Maddison and Chris Pillar of PwC were appointed joint administrators on 22 April to Mercier Holdings Ltd, J McArdle Contracts, McArdle Waste Services, McArdle Plant Hire and McKenna Plant Hire (Oxford).

Administrators said few parties expressed an interest in the business as a going concern, but they are in talks with one potential buyer. Other firms have been circling to snap up assets.

The statement of administrator’s proposals said: “We are currently negotiating with one interested party for the purchase of the businesses of all companies as a going concern.

“Should the sale not be achieved, we expect to sell the remaining assets piecemeal.”

Although they said in April that McArdle had 300 staff, the latest report for the parent group, Mercier Holdings, said the number was down to 155. PwC confirmed the remaining 145 staff had been subcontractors.

It said 71 of the 155 directly employed staff have been made redundant, with others staying to carry on work.

McArdle is continuing work on the M25 and Heathrow Terminal 2B contracts so that it can pay more to creditors.

Administrators said McArdle was able to negotiate terms with the customer and main contractor on the jobs to see out the work. Its M25 work is set to complete in July, and Heathrow T2B in August.

Creditor shortfall

J McArdle Contracts owed £13.5m to unsecured creditors. The firm is looking to raise £8.2m through asset sales and completing projects, £0.8m from debtors and £1.9m in inter-company debtors, which leave £5.3m left to pay.

McArdle Plant Hire owed another £2.9m, with assets of £1.4m leaving a £1.5m deficit.

McArdle Waste Services is expected to raise almost £6m of the £10.3m owed to unsecured creditors.

McArdle Stabilisation expects to realise almost £1.5m to cover almost £2m of debts.

Directors had initially hired LBC to try to sell the business, but they could not find any buyers and put the firm into administration.

Coutts Bank was owed £4m, which administrators said it could get back if the firm’s properties were sold.

The 40-year-old group, based in Colnbrook, Berkshire, had a £63m turnover in 2011.

PwC initially said the company suffered from cashflow pressures due to the economic climate and competitive market.

But the report said other problems included a “general disconnect between operations and finance”, a lack of integration of the McKenna division and the underperformance of the waste business.

An initial creditors of contracts meeting will be held on 1 July at the Marriott Heathrow Windsor Hotel in Slough.

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