Financial results published since the contractor collapsed into administration show the group’s construction arm made a £5m loss in 2019 compared to a £95,000 profit the year before.
Administrator Smith & Williamson was appointed to Harry Fairclough Limited, the immediate parent of Harry Fairclough Construction, in February after it had failed to pay its creditors.
All staff at the Warrington-based business were made redundant, with finance director Carloyn Forshaw sharing on LinkedIn how she was “devastated” that administrators had been called in.
Accounts for the parent company for the 12 months up to the end of March 2018 show that the firm had £518,000 in the bank, which was £2m less than it had a year earlier. At the time Harry Fairclough, which was founded in 1898, blamed this on uncertainty caused by economic conditions but said it was “well placed to manage this uncertainty.” In the same period the amount the company owed to creditors grew from £4m to £6m.
In the year to April 2019 Harry Fairclough Construction turned over £28m, down £10m on the previous year. Gross profit, at £2m, was almost identical to 2018. However, “administrative expenses” of £7m in 2019 shot up by £5m on the year before, and tipped the firm deep into the red.
Winding up petitions from roofing contractor Helix and electrical engineer Eric Johnson of Northwich are due to be heard on 31 March and 7 April respectively however, whether or not they will go ahead depends on the court’s stance regarding coronavirus.