Steel firm which is the main sponsor of Portadown Football Club enters administration
A Co Antrim steel firm which is the main sponsor of Portadown Football Club has been placed into administration, with the loss of up to 40 jobs.
MET Steel Group Limited is run by Portadown FC directors Roy McMahon and Trevor Marshall.
Grant Thornton has now been appointed to deal with the business, which is based in Mallusk.
The administration includes both MET Steel Group Limited and MET Steel Limited.
A spokesman for Grant Thornton said: "MET Steel Group Limited and MET Steel Limited have been placed into administration, with Gareth Latimer and Stephen Tennant of Grant Thornton appointed as joint administrators."
Gareth Latimer added: "We are currently reviewing the affairs of the companies. Over the coming days we will be in contact with all stakeholders and will develop strategies to maximise asset realisations".
In its latest set of group accounts, MET Steel Group Limited had turnover just shy of £16m for the year to August 31, 2014.
That was down from £18.2m a year earlier. The business also posted pre-tax profits of £73,000.
According to the latest accounts filed, the business employs around 36 people.
Portadown FC did not wish to comment about the potential loss of its key sponsor, or what that will now mean for the future of the club's finances.
In its latest limited accounts, which cover the year to December 2014, Portadown Football and Athletic Company said it received £50,000 from Met Steel during the year. That was down from £135,000 a year earlier.
And it said its directors have "recognised the need to spread the reliance from one main sponsor, and continue their efforts to raise funds from other sources".
Ulster Unionist councillor Doug Beattie said the administration was both a blow to workers and Portadown FC.
"For Portadown, they will have to look for another sponsor, pretty quickly, or they could find themselves in dire straits.
"There aren't many firms who are doing things like this, so it's a big blow."
Speaking about MET Steel entering administration, the Upper Bann Assembly candidate said: "I think it's a huge loss. That's around 40 much-needed jobs. There needs to be a stage where the Government comes in and bolsters place like this, to give them a buffer.
"This sort of thing is out of the blue stuff, and is not expected by the community, business leaders and politicians. It's really gut-wrenching."
Aside from the company logo emblazoned on Portadown shirts, in 2008 Portadown revealed its new 'Met Steel Stand'.
The stand, on the Brownstown Road side of Shamrock Park can hold more than 1,800 fans.