One of Northern Ireland’s biggest construction companies, Mivan, has fallen into administration.
Deloitte’s Peter Allen was appointed as administrator and said that the business will continue to trade while other options are assessed.
The Antrim-based firm specialises in fitting out cruise ships and high-end commercial and residential developments. It has offices in the UK, Romania, Russia, North Africa and the US.
More than 300 jobs are thought to be at risk.
The news follows failed rescue talks with rival Lagan Group Holdings and massive losses on projects in Romania last year, which led to the restructuring of the business.
The privately owned company has worked with the likes of Carillion, Sir Robert McAlpine and Skanska, and has won contracts including a £90m deal to build commercial and residential units at the Cairo Festival City project in Egypt.
Mivan chief executive Ivan McCabrey, who founded the company in 1975, said in a statement that the merger had failed to reach agreement.
He said: “For some time we have been seeking to increase our international capacity and competitiveness through consolidation within the specialist construction and fit-out sector.
“I am aware that there has been considerable speculation around this issue and I can now confirm that our discussions have not resulted in agreement.
“Consequently, the directors have been reviewing future options in conjunction with our bankers and professional advisers.”
He said directors had sought the “protection of administration” to preserve the future options of the business.
The announcement came on the same day that the latest RICS Construction Market Survey showed a rise in workloads in the three months to the end of December, marking the second consecutive quarter of growth.
However, RICS reported that Northern Ireland lagged behind Scotland, Wales and all English regions for overall workload.