Osborne considering appointment of administrators

26 April 2024 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read
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UK construction firm Osborne is reportedly entering administration, as the sector continues to face major economic headwinds. Professionals from RSM are expected to take charge of the process.

Founded in 1966, Surrey-headquartered Osborne is a family-owned construction and development group. The firm’s most recently reported turnover was around £90 million, while it employs close to 90 people. 

With the UK’s construction industry having faced sustained challenges – Brexit, the pandemic, and rising materials costs, to name a few – a growing list of firms in the sector have folded over the last decade. In a bid to avoid becoming one of those statistics, Osborne has been paring back its business in the last few years, as part of a restructuring. For example, it sold its £200 million road-and-rail infrastructure division to private equity in late 2021. Meanwhile, in 2023 it offloaded Innovaré – its offsite business, which employed 115 people – to Bowmer & Kirkland; and Osborne Property Services – which was set up in 2006 and employed around 230 people – to social housing maintenance specialist Cardo Group.

Osborne considering appointment of administrators

However, after an 18 month programme to restructure the firm, the decision has now been reached by the board to place the firm into administration. According to a statement from the company, while the proceeds of all three sales were reinvested into the construction business, which “continued to deliver projects in London and the South-East” and even enjoyed improved performance, “the residual losses on legacy projects have undermined performance which has impacted on the ability to win new work.”

Staff are continuing to be paid until the official appointment of an administrator, according to reports by industry news site Builder. That appointment is expected to be confirmed shortly, however, with professional services firm RSM understood to be in line for the administration.

RSM has long-standing ties to Osborne, having played a central role in the company’s attempted restructuring. In 2021, Osborne’s board appointed RSM to advise on the carve-out and divestment of Osborne Infrastructure to Sullivan Street Partners – 

providing M&A services including a forecast model, supporting the preparation of the carve-out financials, identifying suitable purchasers, and negotiating all aspects of the deal. Last year, the firm also the Innovaré also saw RSM work on the move; and RSM is also understood to have been looking into options including a CVA for Osborne to avoid administration.