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Chase Norton denies it is already bust

A director of West Midlands contractor Chase Norton has denied claims that the firm is already in administration while admitting that it is coming to the end of discussions with its bankers that may force the firm over the edge.

This morning (3 July) cnplus.co.uk reported concerns of subcontractors that the Meriden-based firm was close to collapse.

Staff at the business had been told to expect an announcement on its future this afternoon but director Steve Allkins said that it was still trying to bash out a deal.

"The company is in discussion with the banks over potential restructuring but Chase Norton is not in administration. Within a short period the world will know where we stand and whether we have to put the business into administration".

The firm is part of the Chase Midland property, house building and construction group. Mr Allkins said that with the exception of one small business - Harborne Apartments - all group companies were still trading.

One subcontractor said the 41-year-old contractor, which booked in revenues of £41 million and a pre-tax profit of £353,000 at its last set of accounts for 2006, had recently been struggling to pay invoices.

Mr Allkin said that the firm had been hit by the credit crunch and the knock-on effects it has had on the housing market. Sources close to the group claimed that it had been left with completed homes on its books that it was finding hard to sell.

Chase Norton was formerly known as Norton Contractors, before it became part of Chase Midland in 1991. The company's core area of operation is typically within a two hour drive of its Warwickshire headquarters.

Alistair Lindsay was appointed managing director at Chase Norton six years ago heading up a team of 130 staff.

Mr Allkin confirmed that there had been some earlier job cuts at the firm but that this hadn't come as a result of the current discussions. Work on the firm's sites has stopped while the talks continue.