Covid-19 was ‘final straw’ for Cruden, administrators say

Administrators at KPMG have been formally appointed to Cruden Group, Cruden Construction and Cruden Property Services, after Place North West revealed that the Warrington-based firm was on the brink of collapse. 

Last Friday, it was reported that Cruden had signed a notice to appoint administrators, giving the firm a 10-day grace period from potential creditor action. 

Now, Howard Smith and David Costley-Wood from the Big Four professional services firm have been appointed as joint administrators to the construction firm’s entities, and cited losses on several contracts and additional costs caused by project delays from the Covid-19 pandemic, as the reasons for the company’s collapse. 

Around 100 staff have been made redundant as a result of the proceedings and the remaining 26 staff will be retained to support the wind down of the business, according to the administrators.

Meanwhile, agency Leslie Keats been appointed to realise value in the group’s construction and maintenance contracts while Avison Young has been instructed to sell Cruden’s Knutsford Road headquarters. 

Smith, an associate partner at KPMG, said: “While trading had been challenging for some time, the impact of Covid-19 was the final straw. Discussions to sell the business did not progress, leaving no option but to close. 

“Our priority over the days ahead is to support those members of staff who have been affected by redundancy, providing them with any assistance they need.” 

Cruden was appointed to replace another collapsed contractor Pochin’s on developer Belong’s £19m care village in Birkdale. Belong said this week it had terminated the agreement with Cruden and in light of the news and would look for another contractor. 

Cruden was also on site at an affordable housing scheme for Torus in Eastham, Wirral. 

The firm reported an operating loss of £2.2m for the financial year ending 30 September 2018. Its turnover for that year was £38m, up from £32m in 2017. 

Cruden is the latest North West firm to fall after a dismal past two years for construction. Marcus Worthington & Company, the construction division of Marcus Worthington Group, Pochin and Bardsley Construction all appointed administrators.

In December 2018, administrators were appointed at Bolton-based contractor Forrest.

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