DAVID McLean's contracting arm has careered into the red after cost overruns on student accommodation projects in Liverpool and Manchester.
In the year to June 2005, McLean's contracting arm lost £2 million before tax after posting a £3.8 million profit in the previous 12 months.
McLean said: 'While the losses made by David McLean Construction Division in 2005 were disappointing they must be viewed in context. The group as a whole made a £5 million profit and it remains as strong as ever.
'The figures for last year were submitted for year-end June 2005 and are now historic. This was the only loss that the construction division has made since 1972.
'The retail arm of the construction division actually made a profit in 2005. But loss-making schemes within the main contracting division ? all of which have now been cleared from our portfolio ? created the loss.
'Our trading account figures show the construction division is on track to be back in profit come 2005-06 year's end.' Turnover also sank at McLean's contracting arm, dropping £32.2 million to £92.2 million.