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Chase Norton loses fight for life

Attempts to save troubled West Midlands contractor Chase Norton from going bust have failed with the confirmation that administrators are now in at the firm.

Yesterday, following claims from angry subcontractors that the firm had already collapsed, directors of the West Midlands contractor Chase Norton said that it was still trading.

But a press release confirming that PricewaterhouseCoopers had been called in as administrators reports that the accountant was appointed to sort out the affairs of the business on Wednesday.

The statement said: "PricewaterhouseCoopers were appointed as joint administrators to Chase Norton Construction, the Meriden based construction business specialising in design & build, refurbishment, fit-out and specialist works on 2 July 2008.

"Chase Norton Construction is currently involved in a number of contract sites around the Midlands. It has an annual turnover of approximately £40m and employs 123 people from its head offices in Meriden.

"Chase Norton Construction was placed into administration by its directors after it found itself in a position where it did not have access to the working capital required to fully complete the contracts in progress, a situation that had arisen as a result of the wider group banking arrangements".

Joint administrator Mark Hopkins said: “The administrators are reviewing the position at the company in respect of the contracts in progress and are in the process of contacting the contract employers for each of the contract sites to advise them of the administration.

"We are also in discussion with a number of parties who have expressed an initial interest in acquiring the business and/or taking over some or all of the contracts in progress.”

“The lack of working capital available to the company also meant that the employees had not been paid their salaries at the time of our appointment as administrators.

"Unfortunately due to the lack of available funds, we have been forced to make a significant number of the employees redundant keeping on only those employees who are assisting us in the sale of business and transfer of contracts.”

The firm had been hit by the credit crunch and the knock-on effects it has had on the housing market. Sources close to Chase Norton claimed that its parent group, Chase Midland, 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.