Over 200 workers have been made redundant one day after a major contractor went into administration despite its roll-call of household name clients.
KPL Contracts in Dungiven, Co Londonderry, blamed "acute cashflow pressure" for the decision to call in PwC as administrators.
The firm had 202 direct employees but also works with 150 sub-contractors in water, electricity, telecoms and public lighting.
But its diversification into housebuilding, including purchase of a large bank of development land in Ballyclare, Co Antrim, some years ago for a reported £55m, is understood to have created difficulties for the firm.
Pwc today confirmed that efforts to save the business had been unsuccesful and all 202 employees had lost their jobs.
KPL managing director Kevin Lynch said yesterday: "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 sought the protection of administration."
The company's latest filed accounts for the 18 months to September 2012 record a £6.4m loss – though the company also states that work with existing customers and new contracts in the Republic and in Scotland "will maintain turnover for the group over the next three years and will help to secure the group's position for the foreseeable future".
KPL is led by Dungiven man Kevin Lynch, who set up the company nearly 20 years ago when he was just 28. It directly employs 200 people but also works with over 150 subcontractors, including digger drivers, some fully reliant on KPL for work. Mr Lynch is well-respected in the area and is reported to have received a standing ovation from staff after breaking down as he explained the administration to them yesterday. According to Dungiven folklore, he sold his car to buy his first digger.