Begbies Traynor appointed earlier today at Michael J Lonsdale which has been going since 1986 

London M&E specialist Michael J Lonsdale has gone into administration after nearly 40 years in business.

The £250m Berkshire-based firm was set up in 1986 but earlier today Begbies Traynor was appointed administrator of a company that in its last set of accounts employed close to 250 people.

Both Michael J Lonsdale and Michael Lonsdale Group have gone into administration, a statement from the firm said today.


Michael J Lonsdale had a turnover of over £250m and worked mainly in the London M&E market

In the statement sent out to staff, seen by Building, the company said it had been felled by a combination of the problems caused by covid-19 and Brexit and more recently the war in Ukraine “which has added further strain, with surging inflation, workforce shortages, project delays and supply chain disruptions”.

>> Analysis: Anger and sadness at news of Michael J Lonsdale collapse 

It added: “Our credit rating has suffered due to our limited credit with many suppliers, necessitating the need to make pro-forma payments for goods – a practice that is unsustainable for a business of out scale, with an annual turnover of over £250m.

“The combination of these challenges, coupled with the aggressive commercial tactics employed by certain general contractors, has regrettably led to this unfortunate situation.”

The statement, signed by the firm’s directors, said it had tried to secure a refinancing “but regrettably we were unable to obtain the necessary interest from potential investors within the construction industry”.

The statement said that directors Michael Hoodless and Gary Herbert would be the largest creditors of the group “with £50m in outstanding obligations”.

It told staff it will be providing “external support for our PAYE staff, assisting you in your claims for redundancy and notice payments” and added: “Today is an exceptionally difficult and sombre day for all of us. We wish you all the very best for your future endeavours.”

In its last set of accounts for the year to September 2022, Michael J Lonsdale, whose rollcall of jobs includes 22 Bishopsgate, 8 Bishopsgate, the Paddington Cube and the Peninsula hotel, posted improved income of £191m and pre-tax profit of £2.5m, down from £2.6m the year before.

Reacting to the news, one major contractor said: “Absolutely dreadful and cannot believe it. It’s so, so sad. Been working with MJL for 30 years.” Another said: “Bloody hell.”

And one other major firm said: “Another good company [gone] that has done great projects, been a higher performer in years gone by and served its customers well.

“The initial concern to the surviving masses will be the potential further moves taken by the bonds and credit insurance markets in tightening the availability of such securities – which are relied upon by funders and developers at the top and the supply chain at levels further down. A vicious circle [is] starting to form.”