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MJN Colston to continue trading as hunt for buyer begins

Administrators make 148 staff redundant

Failed M&E giant MJN Colston will continue trading as it looks for buyers, administrators have confirmed.

Deloitte partners Daniel Butters and Matt Cowlinshaw, who were appointed this morning, said they would now look to sell and novate contracts for the Stockton on Tees based company.

Some 148 of the total 420 staff have been made redundant.

Mr Butters said:  “Our appointment follows a strategic review of MJN Colston Limited’s financial position.   We intend to trade the business in the short-term with a view to selling and novating the contracts to other providers.  We will continue to work with the company’s suppliers and customers and will seek to find a buyer for the business and assets to minimise disruption.”

MJN Colston currently operates from offices in Gateshead, Blackburn, Coventry, Bury St Edmunds, Croydon, Bristol, Bridgend and Exeter.

CN revealled this morning that the company had been put in administration after several tough years of trading.

It turned over £96.1m in the year to May 2011.

The contractor traces its origins back to 1890 and made a pre-tax profit of £2.1m last year.

According to accounts filed at Companies House it incurred £247,000 of redundancy and restructuring costs in the year.

Redundancy and restructuring costs in 2010 were £1.3m and staff numbers were 15 per cent down in the year to May 2011.

Directors did not take a salary last year and no dividend was paid.

The company, which is owned by Staveley Engineering Services, operates nationally in six regions from nine offices in Gateshead, Blackburn, Coventry, Bury St Edmunds, Croydon, Bristol, Bridgend and Exeter.

In the year to May 2010 MJN acquired EI WHS - another SES company - for a consideration of £1.1m.

They created a loan account with the vendor to do this. Some directors got payments from SES but those are disclosed in that companies’ accounts.

MJN Colston operates in the public and private sectors offering project management, design, prefabrication, supply, installation, testing, commissioning and mechanical, electrical, control and instrumentation systems.

High profile clients include Fujitsu, the Eden Project, Sony and Arsenal’s Emirates stadium.

Matt Ricketts, operations director of cosntruction specialist credit reference agency Top Service said the news had surprised some as no county court judgements or petitions had been registered against MJN Colston.

He added: “We have had several companies reporting issues with slow payments from MJN Colston over the past six months, with the frequency of these issues increasing since the start of this year.”

MJN Colston was the first of the eight breakaway major M&E contractors to withdraw from plans to introduce the controversial BESNA agreement.

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services and NG Bailey have since followed suit.

More to follow.

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