Geoffrey Osborne in sale talks, files administration notice

Contracting firm Geoffrey Osborne has filed for administration, but says it is in talks to sell the business to new owners.

A notice announcing the company’s intention to appoint administrators was filed with the High Court shortly before 4pm on 18 April by legal representative Macfarlanes.

In a statement it said that the decision came due to the firm suffering “headwinds common to the whole [of] construction” leading to losses on legacy projects and difficulty winning new work.

Chairman Andrew Osborne said: “Everyone in the construction industry knows the challenges of the past few years and Osborne has worked hard to continue to deliver projects.

“Our management team has done everything possible to look after our people and protect suppliers, while seeking to trade through the economic headwinds.

“While today’s decision to move towards administration is a last resort, it is now the right thing to do while we continue to seek external investment.”

The former civils company had not filed accounts for almost two years – in July 2022 it announced turnover of £325.8m for the year ending 30 September 2021.

It returned to profit, making £2m during the period, after losing £13.8m in the previous 18-month accounting period ending 30 September 2020, largely due to the sale of its infrastructure division.

During the 2020/21 accounting period, the firm said it had an average of 870 employees.

Data from construction research firm Glenigan shows the firm has 71 live contracts with clients – mostly local authorities and central government departments and agencies.

It is also on a number of public sector and housing association frameworks, including a £10m housing retrofits framework for the Greater London Authority.

In its latest accounts, the firm said that 37 per cent of the firm’s contracting activities came from rail work, with 23 per cent in highways.

Other revenue came from education and commercial, along with construction and maintenance work in the affordable housing sector.

However, following the sale of the infrastructure business, the firm said its construction business would focus on social infrastructure projects, “emphasising its net zero carbon approach and concentrating on the education and residential sectors including purpose-built student accommodation, local authority housing, mixed-use schemes and modular projects”.

On maintenance, it said that housing retrofit work to meet government net zero targets provided “a promising source of future revenue”.

Article from Construction News 

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