Rival contractors snap up Doyle Group staff

Aaron Morby 12 years ago

Main contractors and rival specialists have been circling the failed Doyle Group to snap up staff.

Up to 40 are understood to have been made offers on the strength of the firm’s reputation as a quality concrete and fit-out specialist.

On one of the firm’s main jobs at Birmingham New Street Gateway 30 site workers have been transferred over to steel firm Watson to complete a combined concrete and steel package, which will run for two years.

Stef Stefanou, chief executive of the Doyle Group, told the Enquirer he was pleased to hear staff were being offered jobs.

He said: “I feel proud that John Doyle was such a good firm that everybody wants to employ the staff.

“One of the hardest things has been worrying about what will happen to our staff.”

He blamed the depth of the recession for the final collapse, after personally ploughing cash into the business.

Stefanou told the Enquirer: “We were stretched to breaking point by the recession. There is a serious structural problem within the industry.

“Clients have bargained so heavily that main contractors have nowhere to go but force prices on specialists contractors.

“Nobody can make a profit in the supply chain under these circumstances.”

“A few problems with cash flow and you are finished.”

He refused to comment on rumours that the group’s fit-out firm Ibex Interiors had run into a dispute on a £7m luxury flat contract in Cranley Gardens, West London.

An industry source said: “The job was completing, but there was a dispute about whether the site was ready to hand over or not.”

“The rumour is the contract was suddenly terminated.”

At the end of last week administrators from Deloitte laid off 260 staff from the estimated 350-strong Doyle Group workforce.

As well as New Street Station, specialist concrete arm John Doyle was working on St James’ Gateway, where it was finishing up on the £125m Piccadilly job for Crown Estates.

It also had the frame contract for British Land’s £40m Marble Arch House project and was working on two schools in Wandsworth for Lend Lease.

Doyle is also understood to have just secured another major contract on Gatwick airport just two weeks ago.

Ibex Interiors was working on a string of fit-out jobs across the south east.

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