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Kent firm into administration with 250 jobs at risk

Specialist building contractor Fairhurst Ward Abbotts is set to enter administration, putting more than 250 jobs at risk.

Construction News understands that an administrator has yet to be appointed but that all employees have been informed and work on site has been suspended.

The Kent-based company was founded in 1941 and has rapidly expanded over the past five years, growing its turnover from £13.5m to £70.5m as of August 2014.

Its clients include Her Majesty the Queen after the firm was awarded the royal warrant for building and decorating services in 1996.

It has worked with the Royal Household since 1965 and has a reputation for the renovation and refurbishment of historic, prestigious and culturally significant properties.

Completed projects include the restoration of a number of buildings at Betchley Park, the home of the Second World War’s Enigma codebreakers.

It was also appointed by the Historic Royal Palaces to support the upkeep of Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace.

FWA employs 277 people including 148 directly employed craftspeople and tradesman, according to a press release issued by the company this year.

In its most recent accounts for the period ended 31 August 2014, the company posted a £1.59m loss for the year, which it said was due to a number of loss-making contracts.

However, it went on to say the “underlying issues” had been rectified.

It added: “This was combined with costs of significant investment in infrastructure to support the current and future growth of the group.

“Since the end of the year end additional financing has been secured, which has enabled the directors to fund the working capital of the business for the foreseeable future.

“For these reasons, the directors have concluded that it is appropriate to prepare the accounts on a going concern basis.”

FWA is the latest in string of firms that have gone into administrations in recent months.

Yesterday, Tyneside firm Turney Wylde Construction entered administration with the loss of 82 jobs.

Joint administrator Matthew Higgins from accountant Tait Walker was appointed last Friday and is in the process of contacting former employees.

All 82 staff had been laid off by the firm’s directors on 16 June.

FWA has been contact for comment.

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