Chief executive at Mears says he is looking to take over collapsed firm’s social housing deals as PwC is appointed administrator

Mears will try to acquire all the social housing contracts of failed rival Rok, chief executive Bob Holt has said.

Rok, who employ around 2000 people, went into administration this morning.

Holt said that his firm would be looking to take over all of Rok’s social housing contracts.

“We are interested in the social housing side of their business,” he said, and would be looking to acquire “all of the social housing contracts.”

Holt played down fears that it would not be legally possible to perform a simple switch of contracts because clients needed to fully retender to avoid breaking competition rules.

“People miss the point. These clients have every opportunity to deal with whoever they want,” he said, and added that a simple transfer would be possible if the terms and conditions of contracts were unchanged.

“At the end of the day there are residents that may be being let down as we speak,” he said.

Legal problems hampered the attempt of Morgan Sindall to buy nearly 100 contracts from Connaught, which collapsed in September, as clients feared challenges from social housing rivals who were shut out of the transfer.

Sources said Morgan Sindall, which paid £28m for Connaught’s contracts, will not compete with Mears to buy up the work.

A source said the firm is not looking to enter into conversations with Rok’s administrators to buy work in bulk, although it may look to pick up individual contracts that are sold or re-tendered. They said that while Morgan Sindall, which has a large presence in the social housing market through subsidiary Lovell, viewed individual contracts with interest, it did not think that buying up a slew of contracts was good strategic move.

Sources close to the collapse said the administration request was triggered by the Group’s principle banker HSBC this weekend who “gave it no alternative” but to seek administration.

It has been confirmed that PwC has been appointed administrator.