Friday 23 March 2018

Consortium with €500m gas contract listed for strike-off

The consortium is backed by Balfour Beatty. Photo: PA
The consortium is backed by Balfour Beatty. Photo: PA
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A CONSORTIUM backed by engineering giant Balfour Beatty that won a €500m Gas Networks Ireland contract to install and maintain gas infrastructure across the country has been listed for strike-off by the Companies Registration Office (CRO).

It has failed to file accounts with the CRO for over two years.

The consortium scrambled yesterday to file the accounts after being contacted by the Irish Independent.

It is believed to have told suppliers this week that the accounts would not be filed until November, and had insisted in those communications that it would not be struck-off the company register.

A company that is involuntarily struck off can see all its assets transferred to the State and has to apply to the High Court to be reinstated.

Balfour Beatty CLG declined to say why there had been such a long delay in filing its accounts, or if any issues had been raised by its auditor, Deloitte, in relation to the accounts.

Balfour Beatty CLG is understood to have told suppliers that it had been late filing its accounts due to an administration delay. However, it did not explain how an administrative delay could have dragged on for so long.

Its 2013 accounts are the last set of accounts to be filed with the CRO, and they were submitted in September 2014.

Gas Networks Ireland declined to say if the €500m contract it awarded to Balfour Beatty CLG had been jeopardised by the fact the company had been listed for strike-off.

"Gas Networks Ireland has robust procurement procedures in place for the awarding and operation of all contracts," it said. Balfour Beatty's UK office also refused to say why the accounts for the consortium had not been filed.

It said the accounts for both 2014 and 2015 would be filed with the CRO by yesterday. Filing the accounts will avert a strike-off. Balfour Beatty CLG would have received warning notices from the CRO that it was in danger of being struck off if it failed to file late accounts and annual returns.

The consortium's other member is Dublin-based engineering firm CLG.

Its office was uncontactable, and an email sent to its managing director, Kieran Connors, was not responded to.

Balfour Beatty CLG was awarded the nine-year Gas Networks Ireland contract in 2011.

It covers the installation of new pipes, maintenance of the existing gas network, and emergency response services.

The 2013 accounts for the consortium show that it made a €1.9m loss that year on revenue of €55m.

"The company would regard years one and two as the mobilisation phase and regard future years to be profitable and as such, have a positive outlook on the future of the contract," the directors note in those accounts.

The consortium employed 256 people at the end of 2013.

Irish Independent

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