Receivers called in as slump hits Lelliott

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JOHN LELLIOTT, one of Britain's largest privately owned building companies, yesterday became the latest victim of the construction slump when it asked Barclays Bank to call in receivers.

Chris Hughes and Malcolm London of Coopers & Lybrand were appointed administrative receivers to John Lelliott Construction and eight subsidiaries. The holding company is not affected.

Lelliott, which was founded in 1964, was best-known for its high- quality restoration and refurbishment work for clients such as Cadbury Schweppes, Glaxo and Littlewoods.

It has about 500 staff, down from 700 at the peak of the building market.

Sources close to the company attributed the collapse to two factors, that exacerbated the impact of the worst building slump since the war. First, Point West, the disastrous contract to convert a former air terminal in West London into luxury flats, cost pounds 10.9m after the development company went into receivership. That pushed the group into a pounds 5.1m loss in the year to June 1990.

Second, it made a series of ill- judged acquisitions - including Stone Group, the restoration specialist whose contracts included refurbishing the Bank of England and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Lelliott acquired full control of Stone in February 1992 but it was put into receivership a year later.

It is thought unlikely that Lelliott will be sold as a going concern and rival builders are already studying its contracts in preparation for bidding to take them over.