PwC appointed administrator for Lancashire construction firm

09 October 2019 2 min. read
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A key construction firm in Lancashire has collapsed, appointing PwC as administrator. The news comes as the UK construction sector continues to flounder amid Brexit uncertainty and a slowing national economy.

Despite a promising start to 2019, Brexit uncertainty and an economic slowdown have seen Britain’s construction industry “drop like a stone” through the year, recording its worst monthly performance in more than 10 years this summer. It has yet to recover, and some are now calling for drastic action to revive the construction sector’s growth prospects, as a potential No Deal withdrawal from the EU looms large.

Amid this chaotic environment, a succession of construction firms have either been forced to restructure, or face liquidation. The latest firm to experience such a downfall is Marcus Worthington & Company, one of Lancashire's best known construction firms, which has gone into administration following funding problems. The Claughton-on-Brock firm employs around 130 people, and is responsible for many of the county’s modern landmarks, including the Faraday Court development in Fulwood, and the Tramshed and Moor Lane flats student accommodation on Marsh Lane and Premier Inn on Fox Street, both in Preston.

PwC appointed administrator for Lancashire construction firm

According to a release from the four-decade-old business, however, this legacy did little to insulate it from the on-going economic uncertainty the construction sector is enduring. Alarm bells first sounded at the end of September, when it was reported that sub-contractors for Marcus Worthington & Company working on a student flats project in Lincoln pulled out of the site. A week later, employees’ worst fears were realised, as funding problems led to one of the group’s funders, Cumberland Building Society, appointing professional services company PwC at the end of September to act as administrators.

A statement from the firm's directors read, “It is with deep regret and sadness that an administrator has been appointed to Marcus Worthington and Company Limited, the construction part of our business. The current economic uncertainty has led to us struggling to secure additional borrowing from our bank lenders. We have also been unable to attract fresh funding from other lenders because of these testing market conditions. Our primary thought at this time is with our staff. All our employees have been paid up-to-date as of September 30 and we will be supporting those affected in any way we can.”

Work will now continue on two projects: the 125 Deansgate office development in Manchester and the North Western Halls hotel redevelopment in Liverpool, which are being financed by an investment fund. Three other group companies are unaffected; Hollinwood Homes, the residential division of Marcus Worthington Group, will continue as usual, alongside Marcus Worthington Properties and Stonewell Property Company.