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175 jobs saved by contracts transfer

By Heather McGarrigle

Almost all the jobs at a failed Co Antrim security firm have been saved after contracts were transferred to a separate operator, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

Checkmate Guarding and Security went out of business this month following legal action over an unpaid tax bill.

The firms' partners, Robert Willis of Carsons Lane in Lisburn and Raymond Fletcher of St Julian's Crescent in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, were also listed as bankrupt on Friday as a result of the outstanding tax bill.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (Deti) confirmed that Robert Willis and Raymond Fletcher were both insolvent as a result of creditor's petitions from HMRC, which also presented a winding up petition against their Lisburn-based security business.

But it has been revealed that new contracts will allow 175 employees of their business to remain in work. The partnership is thought to have employed 200 people, so some workers could still face an uncertain future.

Gregg Sterritt of Belfast-based accountancy and consultancy firm RSM McClure Watters was appointed liquidator of the business last Friday.

The business advisory firm released a statement which said: "Mr Sterritt can confirm that the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) has transferred elements of its security services contract to G4S Secure Solutions.

"This has enabled the transfer of 155 employees to G4S Secure Solutions in order to continue the servicing of this contract. In addition, a number of other private sector contracts together with 20 employees have been transferred to other operators."

RSM McClure Watters said it could not comment on redundancies among remaining staff.

Meanwhile, business advisors BDO have been appointed as administrators to PT Williams, an engineering firm in Co Tyrone employing around 160 people. BDO said the step followed "difficult conditions and liquidity issues" but said they hope creditors will accept a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) which will keep the firm trading.

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