Fears for future of Dundee contractor

Contractor McGill could be set to enter administration for a second time in less than four years, according to reports.

The Dundee-based company, which carries out main contracting, refurbishment and fit-out work, previously went under in March 2019, but was bought out of administration by property tycoon Graeme Carling in 2019, through his company United Capital Investments.

Carling had outlined plans to make the company part of a £500m-turnover group by buying a raft of construction companies as recently as late 2020. He said he wanted to capitalise on “huge opportunities” in the market. At the time, the three construction firms he owned had a combined revenue of £50m.

However, the contractor – now registered at Companies House as McGill Facilities Management Ltd – may be set to file for administration again, according to the reports. Dundee newspaper The Courier is among those to report that McGill has filed a notice of intent to appoint administrators with the Court of Session.

The paper also reported that some staff have not received their wages and have been told to stay at home.

Construction News understands that an administrator has not yet been appointed, but has been told that there is potential for the company to be put up for sale.

A spokesperson for McGill told the Daily Business last week that it was following the advice of a restructuring specialist after Lloyds Bank removed its working-capital bank facility.

“This is a problem facing the entire building industry. With such a quick reduction in working capital, the company is facing significant operational challenges and the board of directors at McGill have appointed a specialist corporate restructuring firm to advise,” he said, adding that it had filed a notice of intent to appoint an administrator.

Another company owned by United Capital Investments – Qwerty100 Ltd – which was formerly known as McGill Scotland Ltd, has been put into liquidation.

In June, McGill was appointed by the University of St Andrews to carry out refurbishment work on a Category B listed building. It had also renewed a contract with Dundee City Council to install wireless fire alarms at properties.

The company previously entered administration four years ago, leading to 370 employees losing their jobs. None of the original staff transferred to the new company, which, according to its latest published accounts, had an average of 50 employees throughout the year to 31 March 2021.

The accounts also show it owed creditors a total of £1.24m and had net assets of £1.5m.

In October 2020, then McGill CEO Graeme Carling spoke about his big growth plans. He said: “In McGill we had acquired a platform business where we could realise our ambitions to buy-and-build a group of profitable, well-managed building-services businesses.

“Our experienced board of directors understood the market potential; however, since the start of the coronavirus crisis, we realised that our ambitions had to grow in response to the huge increase in opportunities, hence we have set a new target to acquire businesses with a collective turnover of £500m in the next three-to-five years.”

Carling’s directorship of McGill was terminated in June 2021, according to Companies House. United Capital Investments, where Carling is still a director, remains its owner.

Repeated calls to McGill by CN have gone unanswered.

Graeme Carling, Dundee City Council and the University of St Andrews have been contacted for comment.

Leave a comment