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Lorne Stewart to buy part of Rotary as several divisions fall into administration

Exclusive: Lorne Stewart is understood to be closing a deal to purchase part of the Rotary UK business, as several other divisions have gone into administration, CN can reveal.

Rotary Services (Northern Ireland) was placed into administration yesterday, while Rotary Scotland and Rotary Northern have been handed over to administrators today, credit agency Top Service confirmed to CN.

It comes a week after Rotary’s Republic of Ireland division was reportedly placed into receivership.

Rotary Yorkshire, Rotary Southern and Rotary North West all continue to trade as usual.

CN understands that building engineering services firm Lorne Stewart is in final talks to buy parts of the Rotary UK business. CN first revealed Lorne Stewart – which revealed plans to double in size in 2010 - as an interested party in May.

Rotary UK and Rotary Ireland were put up for a ‘fast-track’ sale after Australian parent company and engineering firm the Hastie Group entered voluntary administration in May.

Rotary UK - a mechanical and electrical building firm at number 85 in the CNInsight Top 100 - has expanded since the Hastie takeover four years ago, and is made up of a several businesses in Scotland, Northern Ireland, North East, Yorkshire, North West, Central and Southern England.

The group’s employees numbered 890 last year, according to its accounts.

FTI Consulting, which has a communications division and a corporate finance division, is both a spokesman and now a reported administrator for parts of Rotary.

But spokespeople for FTI refused to comment either on behalf of Rotary, or on behalf of their own company, FTI.

Emma Miller, director at Top Service, said her firm had removed the credit limit a number of days ago on the divisions now in administration.

Rotary group has worked on Media City, in Manchester, and is understood to be bidding for the £30m M&E job on the Houses of Parliament, against Balfour Beatty and SSE Contracting.

It saw revenue of £147.3m (down from £175.5m in 2010) and a pre-tax loss of £1.6m (2010: £6.7m profit) after £5.8m of provisions on contracts.

Rotary UK and Ireland chief executive officer Phil Laidlaw said in May that the Hastie administration offered ‘an opportunity for Rotary UK and ROI to emerge as a separate independent group’.

2011 financials
Rotary Services (Northern Ireland); £10.1m turnover with a £67k pre tax loss. 60 staff.
Rotary Scotland; £6.7m turnover and a £0.7m pre tax profit. 37 staff.
Rotary Northern: £14m turnover and £0.4m pre tax profit, with 79 staff.

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