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Second firm goes bust on Slough job

A £40 million residential project in Slough is to be retendered for a third time after the second main contractor appointed to deliver it went into administration.

Slough Central, a 249-unit development for One Housing Group, was awarded to Archer Hoblin in 2010 but ground to a halt earlier this year when the firm went into administration.

Keith Stevens from Wilkins Kennedy and Ian Yerrill from Yerrill Murphy were appointed joint liquidators on 19 January.

Archer Hoblin was awarded the Slough Central project in 2010 after Lancsville, the original contractor on the site, went into administration in 2009.

One Housing Group bought the stalled scheme in 2010.

One Housing Group development director Alan Williams said the affordable housing provider would now go back to market to find a third contractor to complete the job.

He said: “Slough Central is a 249-unit development which is currently over 50 per cent complete. Due to the insolvency of the original contractor, we are now retendering the work.

“The tender process will complete towards the end of May and we hope to start work on site very soon after.

“We perform due diligence on all of our suppliers as part of the selection process.”

Mulalley is understood to have tendered the job previously and a spokeswoman confirmed the company would “look at it” again.

Mr Stevens said the entire 48-strong workforce of Archer Hoblin had been made redundant and ruled out the possibility of any part of the business or its contracts being saved.

The 20-year old company was primarily involved in the residential sector and operated entirely in the South-east.

Mr Stevens said a report was being compiled into the cause of the company’s collapse.

“We don’t know if it failed due to this or a number of other contracts it was involved in,” he said. “At this stage we have to assume it’s coincidence that it is the second company to have failed on this job,” he added.

According to its last filed accounts for the year ending 31 December 2010, Archer Hoblin had a turnover of £15.7m, returning a £1,405 loss.
Liquidators estimate the company has assets of £96,950 available for preferential creditors.

A creditors meeting was held on 19 January.

Harrow-based Lancsville Construction went into administration in December 2009 following an application to London’s High Court by one of its own investors, Agilo.

Its last filed accounts for the year ending 2008 recorded a net pre-tax profit of £2.4m on turnover of £131m, ranking it 94th in the CNinsight 100 list of UK contractors.

The news follows the high-profile demise of MJN Colston, which has left many in the industry increasingly anxious over the health of the supply chain.

One construction director at a listed firm said picking between those firms that were able to offer the best price and those with a sure financial footing was his “primary concern for 2012”.

The latest insolvency statistics from PwC show the number of construction companies that failed last year rose by 16.11 per cent on 2010.


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