235 more jobs go at building firm RoK

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The Independent Online

A further 235 redundancies will be made at building services firm Rok following the sale of parts of the firm, administrators said today.

PwC announced a deal in which construction plants at Milton Keynes, Gatwick and Heathrow, and the group's social housing arm in the South West and North West, will be sold to Mansell Construction services, a subsidiary of Balfour Beatty.

But operations in Reading, Crawley, Bristol, Exeter and Leeds will be axed after they were not included in the sale.

The move will see around 380 people transferred as part of the deal, but 235 will be made unemployed.

It takes the total job losses at RoK close to 2,800. Around 200 people will remain at the firm to help wind down operations, administrators said.

The self-styled "nation's local builder" appointed PwC as administrators last week after it fell into difficulties in meeting its "financial obligations".

The Exeter-based firm was hit hard during the financial crisis, when it lost several private and public sector clients.

Extreme weather conditions hit Rok and the rest of the industry earlier in the year and life worsened for the firm in April, when it said profitability would be hit by a number of "under-performing" contracts in its plumbing, heating and electrical arm.

Announcing the latest development, Jeremy Webb , director and joint administrator at PwC, said: "We are delighted that we have been able to secure a sale of part of the business, hence preserving employment for 381 people.

"This is tinged with disappointment that there was not sufficient interest in the other parts and hence the redundancies that have been made today."