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Carillion collapse puts Irish firm into liquidation

Irish contractor Sammon Construction has become the latest company to collapse as a direct result of Carillion’s liquidation, leading to 200 job losses.

A petition to have the company wound up was served yesterday, with accountancy firm Grant Thornton appointed as the company’s liquidator.

Sammon is the latest contractor to go into adminstration as a direct result of money owed by Carillion after M&E specialist Vaughan Engineering collapsed in March.

The Irish firm went into examinership in April having been owed €8m (£7m) by Carillion before the UK’s second biggest contractor went into liquidation

The examinership gave Sammon protection from its creditors’ claims to give it time to work on a turnaround plan. 

In 2016, the Inspired Spaces Consortium – a JV led by Carillion and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund – won a €100m education PPP contract, with Carillion as the main contractor.

Sammon worked under Carillion as its as building subcontractor on the deal to build five schools and a further education institute.

The schools programme was suspended following Carillion’s collapse.

Despite Sammon striking a deal in principle to continue work, the deal’s funders rejected the offer and instructed Sammon to withdraw from the sites involved.

This had a major impact on Sammon’s financial situation and eventually led to the examiner being appointed.

According to Sammon, its strategy to exit from examinership rested on the schools programme being restarted and Sammon continuing its work.

Bam Construct looked set to take over from Carillion after submitting a tender to complete the work. Bam had intended to use Sammon as a subcontractor on the scheme.

However, repeated delays to the awarding of the deal, and a lack of clarity over when a decision would be made, forced Sammon’s examiner to wind up the company.

Sammon Group founder and CEO Miceál Sammon said: “This is a painful and distressing time for all of us who work in the business, including our wonderful staff, management, my family and myself personally.

“I deeply regret the financial and commercial impact that this development has had on our loyal suppliers and subcontractors.

“The collapse of Carillion and the sudden suspension of the major Schools Bundle 5 PPP Project placed us into a perfect storm.

“We have made every effort from the day Carillion collapsed to get the SB5 contract restarted, in the interest of our business, our supply chain and the communities for the schools.

“The delay in the decision around this project has frustrated our strategy to exit examinership and ultimately placed us in an irrecoverable position.”

Examinership

Examinership is a process under Irish law where a company in financial difficulty can apply for protection from its creditors while it tries to turn around its finances.

A case, supported by an independent accountant, is made to the High Court, and if a judge believes the firm has a realistic prospect of survival, then an examiner is appointed.

This examiner then has 70 days to come up with a turnaround plan, called a ‘Scheme of Arrangement’, which must be approved by at least one creditor.

This proposal usually involves an investor injecting more funds that will be paid in dividends to creditors.

If the court decides the proposal is fair to the creditors it will confirm it and make the turnaround plan binding on the company and the creditors.

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