Belfast Telegraph

Administrators appointed for four Lagan Construction firms

By John Mulgrew

Around 200 staff at four companies owned by Lagan Construction are being told not to attend work as they down tools following the official appointment of administrators.

Lagan Construction Group, led by Michael Lagan, announced last month that it was putting four of its companies into administration, including the firm which was involved in the joint venture construction of Ulster University's new £250m Belfast campus.

It's understood that work has now halted on the scheme, which has already been hit by delays.

John Hansen and Stuart Irwin of KPMG have now been appointed joint administrators of Lagan Construction Group Holdings Limited, Lagan Construction Group Limited, Lagan Water Limited and Lagan Building Contractors Limited.

They have said they are not trading "while they assess the position and options for the companies".

"It is likely that this process will take a number of days and in the interim most of the 200-plus workforce have been asked not to attend for work whilst this assessment is ongoing," they said.

"The joint administrators realise that this period of uncertainty is very difficult for all employees and stakeholders of the companies and the joint administrators are endeavouring to complete their assessment as quickly as possible."

The building of the campus has been dogged by legal troubles and contractual disputes between the university and Lagan Somague, a joint venture between Northern Ireland building firm Lagan Construction Group and Portuguese firm Somague.

Last week, the university said it is in talks with Somague on the project. "The university is consulting with Somague as necessary to progress delivery of the project," UU said.

It said it would await the "formal appointment of an administrator to the relevant Lagan (Construction) companies".

In January, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that Ulster University's already-delayed new £250m Belfast campus could face further setbacks as legal proceedings have begun over the construction contract.

In November it was revealed that the scheme would be held up until the end of 2019.

But legal documents seen by this paper show that Ulster University had issued High Court action against the Lagan Construction and Somague joint venture.

The university had also begun initial legal proceedings with the original contractor, joint venture Farrans Sisk, in relation to initial foundation work carried out by the businesses on the second phase of the development.

The York Street campus will cater for up to 15,000 students, with the majority of courses transferring from Jordanstown.

Belfast Telegraph

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