Hundreds of jobs face axe at Lagan Construction
Administrators have been appointed to a number of companies within Lagan Construction Group, putting hundreds of jobs at risk in Northern Ireland.
Group chairman Michael Lagan has confirmed that four of its 30 companies have gone into administration - Lagan Construction Group Holdings Limited, Lagan Construction Group Limited, Lagan Building Contractors Limited and Lagan Water Limited.
Lagan Construction Group is a separate entity to Lagan Group which is unaffected by the development. In 2010 the original group of Lagan companies separated and Lagan Construction Group is now led by Michael Lagan.
Lagan Group is owned by his brother Kevin and is in talks to sell part of its business to Leicestershire-based Breedon Aggregates.
Michael Lagan said that parts of his group had been significantly affected by a number of factors including delays in the commencement of new projects and protracted contractual disputes on some existing major projects and instability caused by a UK joint venture partner.
Mr Lagan said: "It is with great sadness and reluctance that we have had to take this course of action. We have had long-standing relationships with many of sub-contractors and suppliers.
"We hope that the process of administration will be smooth and that disruption to both projects and jobs will be minimal."
The group employs 800 people and up to 200 employees may be affected by the announcement. It is hoped that some of those jobs could be transferred to joint venture partners whilst others may be relocated to existing divisions within the group.
In a statement, the Construction Employers Federation said: "Given the huge contribution that Lagan Construction Group have made to Northern Ireland's economy and society since their establishment, today's announcement is extremely regrettable.
"They have been a pillar of our construction industry for decades and it is our express hope that a solution can be found. As the Federation has long said, the industry has faced a challenging period in respect of its sustainability.
"From issues related to low margins on works, to insufficient pipelines of activity, to the current political and budgetary challenges within Northern Ireland, there are significant tests which go much beyond today's news.
"These must be matters of concern to anyone who wishes to see a healthy and vibrant Northern Irish construction industry given its critical role in delivering jobs, economic development and growth."
The group also operates across other regions in the UK and Ireland, and internationally. Group turnover in the year to March 2016 was £225m (€255m), according to the latest accounts available.