Pochin’s collapse confirmed

Administrators from Grant Thornton have been called in at the Middlewich-based contractor and developer with the threat of redundancies now looming over the company’s 120 staff.

Rumours that the company had called in administrators began on Monday 5 August, with subcontractors and staff turned away from sites in Birkdale, Chester, and North Wales.

Grant Thornton has now confirmed its appointment to all eight companies within Pochin’s Group, including its contracting and development arms.

The administrator warned the move “may result in a number of redundancies and the companies ceasing to trade”.

Grant Thornton said that despite a “pipeline of profitable new work and opportunities” being secured in the last year, “legacy issues from earlier contracts became too great a burden leading to difficult trading conditions”.

The group’s construction arm in particular had found itself in financial difficulty, reporting a £6.2m loss after tax on a turnover of £50.5m, according to its most recent accounts for the year ending 28 February 2018.

The losses are understood to focus on the City Gardens scheme in Manchester, where the company was building an apartment block for developer DeTrafford. While the contract had completed, the company was understood to be in a dispute with the client and the project’s architect, Ollier Smurthwaite.

News of the company’s financial difficulty came to a head on the morning of 5 August, with workers downing tools on sites including Belong Village’s £16m project in Chester, and a project at Hawarden Business Park for Staycold, while calls by Place North West to the company’s office have gone unanswered.

Belong Villages confirmed its two sites, Chester and Birkdale, pictured above, had been secured and closed, while the care home developer added it had “a number of contingency plans in place”.

In May, Pochin’s put its 250,000 sq ft Cheshire investment property portfolio on the market with a price tag of £14m but attempts to find a buyer were unsuccessful.

The company was founded in 1935 and was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1973, before being taken private in 2014. Representatives of the company have been approached for comment.

Companies impacted by the appointment of administrators are Pochin’s Ltd; Pochin’s Construction, and six other subsidiaries.

Updates to follow in the coming days

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