Remaining McInerney firm Ludgate Hill thrashes out joint venture with Miller and may take more sites

Contractor and housebuilder Miller Group is set to take on a raft of development sites from collapsed northern housebuilder McInerney Homes.

The bulk of Wigan-based McInerney Homes, whose Irish parent company has been under court protection from creditors since last autumn, went into administration this week after losing a long fight to refinance through the recession.

However, administrator KPMG said 10 of the firm’s sites have already been transferred into one of McInerney’s businesses which is still trading, Ludgate Hill. Separate sources confirmed these 10 will now be built out in joint venture with Miller Group.

The deal, which was still being thrashed out as Building went to press, is thought to be similar to that entered into by Miller last year to take on £120m of development from another collapsed builder, Thomas Mitchell Homes.

McInerney’s social housing business will also be bought out by the company’s management, subject to meeting a number of undisclosed conditions.

KPMG was appointed at seven companies within McInerney Holdings, which turned over just £39.8m in 2009. The firm is thought to owe its UK bankers about £80m, with creditors, including subcontractors, owed about £3m.

Fourteen of the firm’s 161 staff have been laid off as it went into administration, and a number of others are being consulted on to transfer to other companies within the McInerney Group.

Sources said the joint venture between Ludgate and Miller could ultimately take on more of the 22 sites that have been affected by the administration.

Richard Heis, joint administrator and restructuring partner at KPMG, said: “The economic downturn, particularly in respect of the UK residential property market, has had a severe detrimental impact on the group’s cashflow, limiting its ability to trade without substantial additional finance.”