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Lancsville leaves £50m of contracts

A high-profile job on Candy & Candy’s One Hyde Park development was among the contracts left by Lancsville Construction when it went into administration on 18 December.

Lancsville, ranked 94th in the 2009 Construction News top 100 with a latest turnover of £131 million, was the largest of a number of construction firms to fall into administration over the Christmas period.

Vantis Business Recovery Services was appointed as the administrator for Lancsville Construction as well as for sister companies Henry Construction Limited and Henry Cranes Limited, leaving 200 jobs at risk.

Administrator Nick O’Reilly said: “We have instructed surveyors to act on our behalf to sell on the existing contracts. But it will really be determined by the clients themselves.”

According to business intelligence unit Glenigan, Lancsville had more than £50m of live contracts. The most high-profile was building 70 homes for Candy & Candy as main contractor on the five-storey Peel House development in Pimlico, London.

The development fulfills the affordable homes requirement of Candy & Candy’s ultra-chic One Hyde Park, where flats have sold for more than £100m.

Another major project for Harrow-based Lancsville was the £65m Pioneer Point development in Ilford, Essex, to build 294 apartments in two towers 23 and 33 storeys high.

But developer Empire Property Group has decided to take on the running of that project itself, pledging to ensure subcontractors will be paid through its agent.

Administrators were appointed to Lancsville by venture capital firm Agilo, which reportedly lent Lancsville around £10m in 2008.

Agilo specialises in coming to the aid of distressed companies and, in return for the loan, was granted a charge over Lancsville’s assets.

Vantis said Lancsville had suffered from increasing cash flow pressures and that attempts to refinance the group had failed.

Sector credit rating agency Top Service said 70 County Court judgements, totalling more than £1m,

had been filed against Lancsville since the end of May 2009.

Several companies found themselves in trouble over Christmas, and a survey from the Chartered

Institute of Purchasingand Supply revealed that construction activity fell for the 22nd month running in December.

On 22 December, Vantis was also appointed administrator to civils and groundworks contractor PJ Brown.

Vantis is looking to sell the Crawley-based company, but the administration has caused 150 job losses. The subsidiary parts of the PJ Brown business group are unaffected and continue to trade as going concerns.

More than 300 jobs were lost after £63m-turnover Kent-based Holleran and its subsidiary Oranmore Plant Hire went into administration on 21 December. Administrator Graham Meek of Bridge Business Recovery said it was “reviewing the position of the company, but looking to honour existing contracts”.

Bradford-based Brenville Construction has also been placed into administration, leaving a £7.5m development of 111 apartments in the centre of Scunthorpe, known as Linea, unfinished.

It is understood that more than 20 employees have been made  redundant after the appointment of KPMG as administrator.

And 57 jobs were lost after A&H Gadd, a Somerset-based building contractor, was forced into administration.

Other firms in the Tauntonbased Gadd Group are still trading.