Owners sign deal to buy back £8m of contracts, but creditors may only recover 10% of £4m debt

The Zimbabwean owners of £43m-turnover Concentra have bought the lion’s share of the contractor out of administration.

Gombe Holdings will buy the firm’s two remaining substantial jobs, following the collapse of Concentra, formerly known as Durkan Pudelek, over Christmas.

However, the deal leaves the rest of Concentra, including its liabilities, in administration.

The firm was fined £3.3m for bid rigging by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in September. Administrator Resolve Partners said creditors, including the OFT and subcontractors, were owed at least £4m, although the figure could grow.

Building understands the deal with Gombe, made for an undisclosed sum, could result in creditors getting only 10p in the pound for their debts. This would equate to the recovery of about £330,000 by the OFT.

One subcontractor contacted by Building refused to reveal the amount he was owed but said it was “a substantial amount”.

Gombe will buy a £6.6m four-storey office project for Hutchison Whampoa and a £1.7m extension to the Hornsby House private school, both in London.

Gombe is run by Robert Kirby and owned by two Zimbabwean investors, Phineas Whata and Oliver Chidawu, who own a number of construction, mining and plantation businesses across southern Africa.

It bought a Durkan Pudelek in 2007, and renamed it Concentra.

Kirby said all 20 remaining jobs at the builder would be secured, and the company would trade as Concentra Building, although the name was under review.

He said the OFT decision was the reason behind the collapse: “What we were told about the potential liabilities to the OFT when we bought the firm and what turned out to be the case were very different.”