Upmarket joinery contractor Timtec International has gone into administration after a legal battle with the Savoy Group over a £2.3m bill for the refurbishment of Claridge’s Hotel in central London.

A source close to the Hertfordshire firm, which employs 120 people and has a turnover of £9m, said Timtec abandoned the 18-month case on Christmas eve. The source said the case was becoming too expensive for the firm and a key member of its legal team was emigrating.

Timtec accepted a fraction of the £2.3m in an out-of-court settlement, leaving it with debts it was unable to pay.

Corporate recovery specialist Jeffreys Henry Jacobs was appointed administrator on 14 January in an attempt to save the firm. The administrator has three months to reach agreements with Timtec’s creditors. It could also find a buyer for the firm.

Timtec had been working on London’s Canary Riverside but was pulled off the project last week.