Almost 300 jobs are threatened after one of Northern Ireland's main construction firms went into administration.
Merger talks at Antrim-based Mivan failed to reach agreement amid intense competition in the global market for specialist fit out and building contracts.
Outfitting the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood and refurbishing the luxury QE2 liner are among prestigious projects the company has been involved in.
Chief executive Dr Ivan McCabrey said while the global market for specialist construction and fit-out was recovering, competition from rivals was intense and pressure on profit margins and cash reserves favoured the largest international companies.
"For some time we have been seeking to increase our international capacity and competitiveness through consolidation within the specialist construction and fit-out sector," he added.
He said those discussion had not reached agreement.
"Consequently, the directors have been reviewing future options in conjunction with our bankers and professional advisers.
"It is with regret therefore; that the directors have today sought the protection of administration in order to preserve the future options of the business."
Mivan No.1 Ltd employs 289 people and is the main trading company created from a restructuring of the group in 2012.
The firm holds a Queen's award for exports and has twice been named UK Construction Firm of the Year.
The company was founded in 1975 by Dr McCabrey while he was still an engineering student at Queen's University Belfast.