Maxwell Stewart loses £300,000-plus and seven staff after problems on two contracts with insolvent group.
M&E firm Maxwell Stewart has emerged as one of the casualties of the collapse of contractor Sunley Turriff, which was placed in administration in July.

Maxwell Stewart posted a £434,567 loss for the year ending 31 December 2002, compared with a £16,266 profit for 2001. It cited problems with two Sunley Turriff contracts as the reason for the turnaround.

Chairman Robert Stewart has begun a restructuring programme to improve matters. Seven staff have been made redundant.

He said: "We have to bounce back. We have had to cut staff as there is no point carrying large overheads in a time when the market is particularly competitive."

Stewart said he was sure the firm would overcome its difficulties.

It is understood that Maxwell Stewart suffered losses on two Sunley Turriff jobs: one was in Covent Garden in central London, the other in Docklands, east London.

In a statement to Companies House, Maxwell Stewart said it had been adversely affected by Sunley Turriff's decision to go into administration.

There’s no point carrying large overheads in this market

Robert Stewart, Maxwell Stewart

It said: "Although Sunley Turriff's insolvency occurred only recently, [Maxwell Stewart] has made full provision in the 2002 accounts for the losses arising on two contracts of £307,000."

The firm added that significant resources had also been devoted to developing its communication maintenance division, One Media Communication, this year.

Construction group Sunley Turriff, based in Warrington, Cheshire, called in administrator Ernst & Young in July. The administrator gave two reasons for its problems – the "very competitive sector" and low margins.

The construction arm of Sunley Turriff, which has a turnover of £45m, was sold as a going concern in a deal that secured the jobs of 260 employees.

The group recorded a £3.8m loss in its accounts for the year to December 2001, compared with a £552,000 profit in 2000. The former chief executive, Alan Barton, is understood to have been on sick leave since November 2002.