Fit-out firm will use collapsed builder’s brand, but declines to buy outstanding contracts

Contractor ISG has acquired the right to use the name of collapsed 130-year-old builder Harry Neal and poached three of its senior staff, Building has learned.

The fit-out firm has also bought the right to use Harry Neal’s website and phone number, but declined to take on the builder’s 10 remaining contracts.

David Lawther, chief executive of ISG, said: “Harry Neal specialised in the high-end residential market, which is one sector in which we have been establishing ourselves. We have acquired Harry Neal’s senior management team and their skill set will help us grow.”

Peter Kubik, of UHY Hacker Young, the liquidator of the London builder, confirmed the acquisition. Both refused to reveal the names of the employees or price of the deal.

We hoped ISG would take some contracts but we’re still looking for a buyer

Peter Kubik, liquidator

Kubik said ISG would not be able to register any part of the company with the name Harry Neal, but would be able to use the brand.

He added: “The company cannot be sold any more, but we’re still investigating selling the 10 contracts which Harry Neal had. We had hoped that ISG would take on some of these, but we’re still looking for a buyer.”

Harry Neal, which had a turnover of £35m last year, collapsed in February with debts of about £12m. It focused largely on the refurbishment of historic buildings in London such as Somerset House and the Garrick Club in the West End.

News of the acquisition comes as ISG announced its results for the six months to 31 December 2009, which revealed a 61% drop in pre-tax profit to £2.4m, down from £6.3m. This is after taking into account £1.9m of money set aside to provide for the Office of Fair Trading inquiry into cover pricing and bid rigging.