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450 jobs go as ex-Connaught firm enters administration

Former Connaught subsidiary and FM specialist Fountains has been bought out of administration by OCS Group for an undisclosed sum.

Around 450 jobs will be lost but administrators from BDO Stoy Hayward believe the sale, which will save 1,570 jobs and retain the 55-year-old name, was the best option for the business.

BDO business restructuring partner Tony Nygate said: “We are pleased to have concluded the sale of the business to OCS Group, preserving more than 1,570 jobs. A sale of Fountains Group was the best option to secure the future of the business, which has been exposed to the difficult economic climate.”

The remaining staff will hope that the fast turnaround out of administration will conclude a torrid time Fountains, which was spun off from former parent ConnaughtGroup, when the latter itself failed in September 2010.

OCS has pledged to retain the Fountains name, and will take forward the bulk of the defunct company’s contracts.

Fountains began in 1957 as a forestry management company but has since grown to become a major local authority environmental services contractor.

OCS Group UK managing director Martin Gammon said: “This is great news for everyone at OCS and a clear demonstration of our intention to further develop our strong position as a leading player in the UK FM market. By adding the Fountains brand and customer base to OCS, we will broaden our horticulture service offering to customers, whilst facilitating synergy with existing clients.”

Administrators said 153 of the job losses were in Norwich, 139 in Liverpool and 52 in Rochford, Essex.

A spokesman for the administrators said the sale saved 1,570 jobs.

Fountains Group, a utilities and infrastructure contractor based in Banbury, Oxfordshire, had employed more than 2,000 staff.

“Today’s announcement enables the business to move forward confidently and on a secure financial footing,” said Nygate.

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