The deal has shocked contractors that expected O’Rourke’s acquisition of Swift to ensure that the troubled specialist would complete all its contracts.
However, the deal to buy Swift did not involve O’Rourke Group. Ray O’Rourke is believed to have acquired Swift through a separate company, thought to be registered off-shore and called O’Rourke Holdings. It is understood that Ray O’Rourke paid a nominal fee for the company, which is owned by his brothers-in-law. The insider added: “Swift got some money from projects it was owed cash on last week after Ray O’Rourke announced that he was buying, but it is not enough to keep it going.”
It is understood that Ray O’Rourke is refusing to put any money into the company to keep it afloat. “He hasn’t got involved to throw good money after bad and buy a lot of debts,” said one insider.
He hasn’t got involved to buy a lot of debts
O’Rourke Group is not responsible for Swift’s losses. However, it has already signed a new contract to complete one Swift project, the Bovis-managed construction of Touchwood Court in Solihull in the Midlands. It is also understood to be interested in taking over its work on the £100m Merrill Lynch headquarters in London.
Swift has experienced difficulties on several projects over the past two years. The insider said: “It underbid a lot of projects and has taken a massive hit on Braehead – that is the one that brought it down. O’Rourke is now in a good position to cherry-pick Swift’s better projects.”
O’Rourke and Swift declined to comment.