Sammon to be liquidated following Carillion ‘perfect storm’

Kildare-based company employs 200 people in Kilcock

Sammon had been working for the UK operator on the construction of five schools in counties Kildare, Meath and Wexford

Sammon had been working for the UK operator on the construction of five schools in counties Kildare, Meath and Wexford

 

Sammon Contracting has gone into liquidation with the loss of 200 jobs, following the collapse of UK building firm Carillion earlier this year, which caused a “perfect storm” for the Irish company.

The news comes as doubts grow over whether six schools that Sammon was building under a €100 million contract for the Department of Education will be finished on time for the new academic year in September.

Sammon, which employs more than 200 people, sought High Court protection from creditors in April, when Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton was appointed examiner to the group.

Mr McAteer petitioned the High Court on Tuesday to have Sammon wound up. Stephen Tennant of Grant Thornton has been appointed as liquidator.

Sammon found itself in difficulty in January after the suspension of the Schools Bundle Five public-partnership project, to which it had been appointed as a sub-contractor.

Inspired Spaces, a joint venture between British builder Carillion and investor Dutch Infrastructure Fund, funded by lenders Helaba and Tokyo Mitsubishi Bank, was the main contractor.

To build the schools, Inspired Spaces hired another Carillion subsidiary, which in turn recruited Sammon to do the actual work.

Carillion went into liquidation in January owing creditors £7 billion, stalling the work on the five schools and an institute of education, which it was funding.

Sammon had hoped that Inspired Spaces’ remaining partner, Dutch Infrastructure Fund, would award it and another builder, BAM, the contract to finish the work on the schools, which are due to be ready for September.

According to a statement, as uncertainty over this looked likely to continue beyond the three-month period of the examinership, Mr McAteer felt it was appropriate to ask the High Court to wind up Sammon.

It had been hoped that work would resume on the schools in counties Carlow, Meath, Wexford and Wicklow by this month to guarantee that they would be ready by September.

Other builders, including JJ Rhatigan and Sisk, remain in the running for the contract, but there was no indication on Tuesday when Dutch Infrastructure Fund intended naming a successor.

Sammon’s founder and chief executive, Miceál Sammon, argued on Monday that it Inspired Spaces’ delay in appointing a new contractor made it “highly improbable” that the schools would be finished by the target date.

“The delay in the decision around this project has frustrated our strategy to exit examinership and ultimately placed us in an irrecoverable position,” he said.

He said this was a “painful and distressing time” for staff, management and his family.

“The collapse of Carillion and the sudden suspension of the major Schools Bundle 5 PPP Project placed us into a perfect storm. We have made every effort from the day Carillion collapsed to get the SB5 contract restarted, in the interest of our business, our supply chain and the communities for the schools.”