Belfast Telegraph

FP McCann buys two Northern Ireland quarries for £2.1m after former owner goes bust

By Margaret Canning

Building and civil engineering firm FP McCann has acquired two quarries in a £2m deal following the collapse of a smaller business, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

It's the latest expansion by the Magherafelt-based company, which employs around 1,300 people.

FP McCann bought Redrock quarry in Co Armagh and Fallaghern quarry in Co Tyrone following the administration of Markethill firm Cootes (Concrete Products) Ltd, which went bust in February owing £2.7m.

No one from FP McCann was available for comment.

In a report filed at Companies House in September, administrators Brian Murphy and Michael Jennings of business advisory firm BDO said they had been appointed to run the firm by Cootes' lender Clipper Holdings, which had bought loans from First Trust Bank.

The report states that £1.6m has now been distributed to secured creditor Clipper following the sale of the quarries and trading assets for £2.1m.

Just under 20 staff at Cootes lost their jobs following the administration. The report reveals that a company director had allegedly entered agreements to transfer company assets and quarry extraction rights to a third party, believed to be FP McCann.

However, the agreement was not disclosed to the secure lender or to the administrator in early discussions.

The third party entered the quarry in February to start work. Court proceedings were then brought by the administrators, resulting in the third party agreeing to vacate the premises.

However, the administrators were not able to continue trading on the site, and all the company's staff were made redundant.

The report adds: "In advance of formal court proceedings being continued, mediation and negotation resulted in agreement being reached with the third party in question to purchase the company's two quarries and trading assets. This sale process concluded on May 25, 2017."

Last year sales at FP McCann, which specialises in pre-cast concrete, soared by 35% to reach £227m.

Cootes Quarry on Redrock Road is listed on FP McCann's website, though the deal also included Fallaghern near Sixmilecross in Co Tyrone.

FP McCann currently works on 12 manufacturing sites in Northern Ireland and England, but also announced plans to acquire a business in Uddingston in Scotland from Laing O'Rourke. In 2015 it bought P Clarke and Sons in Co Fermanagh in a pre-pack administration.

Last year the business restructured its operations, setting up a new group company, FP McCann Group.

A strategic report filed with the 2016 accounts said: "The directors believe that the acquisitions undertaken over the last few years have contributed to a well-diversified portfolio of products and services, and our increased geographical spread of opportunities allows us to capitalise on new infrastructure opportunities."

Belfast Telegraph

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