Regional contractor and social housing firm join Mears in the battle to take over Rok’s business

Leadbitter is talking to Rok’s administrators about the possibility of taking over part or all of the failed contractor, it is understood.

The regional contractor is believed to have expressed an interest in Rok’s work following the firm’s announcement this morning that it had entered administration. Social housing maintenance firm Kinetics is also in talks over taking on the social housing work of the failed contractor, its chief executive has confirmed to Building.

Sources close to the process said that Leadbitter was looking “very seriously” at the company, and was interested in the new build and planned maintenance arms of its affordable housing operation as well as both the new build and refurbishment parts of the construction businesses.

The chief executive of social housing maintenance specialist Kinetics, Chris Cheshire, said that he was talking to administrators about buying up Rok’s social housing work, which had an annual turnover in 2009 of £204m. Cheshire said: “We’re in a dialogue with the administrators right now about setting up a meeting to discuss a bid. We’re very keen on the firm’s social housing  work.”

Cheshire ruled out taking on any of Rok’s new build activities, or any of its work for insurance companies. The group revenue for Rok in 2009 was £714m.

Other firms working in the sector who could conceivably cast an eye over Rok’s business include contractors Kier, Seddon, Keepmoat and Apollo. Social housing repairs contractor Mears has already confirmed its interest, while Lovell, part of Morgan Sindall, is thought to have ruled itself out of any bidding war. Morgan Sindall paid £28m for contracts from collapsed maintenance firm Connaught in September, but ended up taking on just half of the work.

It is understood that administrators are pressing for a quick sale, and hope to have resolved the situation by early next week.

Leadbitter declined to comment.