Belfast Telegraph

Co Armagh family-run concrete firm hit by insolvency

By Margaret Canning

A Co Armagh concrete company has gone into administration after nearly 40 years in operation. Administrators from business advisory firm BDO have been appointed to run Cootes (Concrete Products Ltd) on Redrock Road in Markethill.

The company supplies concrete around the Newry, Armagh, Craigavon and Dungannon area.

Its products include quarry stone, ready-mix concrete and cattle slats.

The family-run company was set up in 1978 by husband and wife team David and Lynne Coote and is understood to employ around 20 people.

Gordon Best, managing director of trade group the Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland, said the firm was small but well-established.

"It is a well-known firm in the Armagh area and this does come as a surprise," he added.

"It may reflect the state of the construction market and the competitive nature of low prices in the industry. I have said before that there is a race to the bottom in the construction industry and the prices of contracts, and that is very much driving down the prices of materials."

Mr Best also pointed out that concrete companies such as Cootes often lose out on payments when bigger contractors go bust.

Earlier this year, Lisburn construction firm TAL went into administration, while T&A Kernoghan in Co Antrim went out of business in April last year.

There are also a large number of family-run concrete firms in Co Armagh, from WJ&H Crozier to Collen Brothers, making competition for work even stiffer.

BDO insolvency experts Michael Jennings and Brian Murphy were appointed administrators to the company in a High Court hearing on Tuesday.

The administration comes as a former quarry at Lisbane in Tandragee, near Markethill, goes on the market for £2m.

The 29-acre site previously had planning permission for a mechanical and biological treatment plant. It is on sale through agents CBRE.

Belfast Telegraph