500 jobs axed as Harte enters administration

Aaron Morby 12 years ago
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W J Harte and sister firm RJT Pennant have been placed in administration with the loss of 500 jobs.

Adminsistrator PKF has retained around 200 workers to finish civil engineering contracts in progress.

A separate earthmoving company, RJT Excavations Limited, with bases in Jedburgh and Northampton is not being placed in administration.

Many workers are understood to be furious about lack of information over the Christmas shutdown with some claiming not to have been paid.

In its heyday, Harte was ranked among the top 25 civil engineering companies in the UK.

Before the banking crisis, turnover at the South Lanarkshire civil engineering group  peaked at £102m but it fell to around £40m during the downturn.

The firm was stricken by a combination of falling orders and mounting bad debt caused by the failure of other construction companies.

Anne Buchanan, corporate recovery partner with PKF, said: “Harte Group is a long-established, highly-regarded firm servicing the construction industry.

“The firm has experienced a severe reduction in turnover as well as considerable levels of bad debt from creditors who themselves have gone bust.

“Despite shedding jobs over the last few years to cope with this decline in turnover the firm is now unable to continue trading.”

“The downturn in the construction sector means that the business is no longer able to operate and, unfortunately as a consequence, around 500 of the employees within the Harte Group are being made redundant.

She added: “To put this in context the latest Scottish corporate insolvency statistics showed that 138 businesses in the construction sector went under in the first three quarters of 2011 compared with 158 for the whole of 2010 and just 72 in 2009.

“The increase in corporate failures related to construction businesses is increasing which indicates continuing problems for the sector.”

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