Fears for 200 jobs at utility firm

Fears for 200 jobs at utility firm

Serious fears have been raised for the future of 200 jobs after one of Northern Ireland's biggest utility maintenance firms went into administration.

KPL Contracts entered administration on Friday despite decreasing debts and last minute efforts to restructure the organisation.The company, which has its headquarters in Dungiven, is one of the leading utilities specialists in Northern Ireland, laying cables and pipes.KPL directly employs over 200 people across Northern Ireland and a large number of sub-contractors, operating from depots throughout the region, installing and maintaining water and sewage, electricity, telecoms and public lighting facilities.In its last accounts it recorded a loss of almost £6.5m.Sinn Féin councillor Sean McGlinchey said his office has been contacted with sub-contractors who have claimed they are owed money.Mr McGlinchey also said many staff have told him they have not been working at the firm since Monday and are anxiously awaiting news about the firm's future.The firm was established in 1994 by Kevin Lynch and grew from working on telecommunications projects to road repairs.In 2011 it embarked on a large scale, long term housing project in Ballyclare.Commenting on the appointment of the administrator KPL managing director, Kevin Lynch, said: "For some time we have been in discussions with our lender in order to restructure the company to protect the core contracting business."Despite a restructure of the company's property debt before Christmas acute cashflow pressure has persisted."It is therefore with much regret that we have today sought the protection of administration."Joint administrator Stephen Cave, from PwC said: "Over the next few hours our priority will be to determine the company's precise financial position and assess future options."A number of key contracts are operated by the company and, with the help of the directors, we are in continued discussions with these customers to see how we might work together to facilitate their immediate requirements."The outcome of these actions will determine our next steps."


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