Published Monday, 05 November 2012
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Patton Group fears
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A spokesman for Patton said the Ballymena-based business was facing cash pressures as a result of the downturn in the construction sector.
He added: "We have been working with our bank over recent months to seek to navigate our way through what has been and continues to be a very difficult period.
"This contact is ongoing."
Patton Group Ltd is a family-run business which was established 100 years ago and employs over 300 members of staff.
It specialises in house building, fit-out and construction, posting pre-tax losses of £7m last year on a turnover of £140million.
It has been involved in the design and build of major projects, including the new Belfast Metropolitan College in the Titanic Quarter, the Mid Ulster Hospital and the Antrim Area Hospital.
North Antrim MP Ian Paisley said that there will be many people in the area "greatly distressed" at the news.
"This is a hugely respected family firm who have been in business for a century and they are not just of importance to the North Antrim economy, but to Northern Ireland as a whole."
The DUP politician continued: "I have already had discussions with both the Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Finance Minister Sammy Wilson about this situation and I know they are very aware of the significance of this news.
"I know the management and staff of Pattons are not only skilled, but extremely dedicated and they will fight back and look to turn this situation around."
He added: "QIt is vital that our banks work with business in a positive spirit and I would hope that such a solution can be found in this case."
North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay said many sub-contractors could also be at risk in the Antrim and Derry areas.
He said: "People need to be aware of the knock on effect that this is going to have on other smaller sub-contractors who will also take a huge hit as a result.
"Significant debt being passed along the employment chain as a result of episodes such as this can push other companies to the wall and that is one of my major concerns."
Local UUP MLA Robin Swann has called for specific action to support the construction industry.
"This is devastating news coming as it does in the company's centenary year.
"Like many in the construction sector, they have suffered as a result of the economic downturn and began the year with announcements of a substantial pre-tax loss as well as 50 job cuts.
"If we are serious about aiding this sector then we need immediate action."