PwC cut parts of business of little interest to possible buyers

Rok’s administrators have laid off 711 of the firm’s 3,800 staff following an initial review of the business.

The majority of the job losses, 558, were in the firm’s maintenance and improvements business. Of the rest, 82 were in the construction business, 69 in the Scottish plumbing heating and electrical business, and two more in head office.

Rok collapsed into administration on Monday with bank debts of £70m after its principle banker, HSBC, refused to extend further credit. PwC was appointed administrator. All staff have been briefed on the job cuts, with further cuts dependent upon whether buyers are found for the firms businesses.

Staff affected by the cuts will only be guaranteed payment up until today. Other staff will continue to be paid.

Mike Jervis, partner and joint administrator, PwC said the redundancies had been made in areas where there had been “little or no interest in the business from prospective purchasers” or where there was insufficient work for existing staff to carry out. He said the maintenance and improvements division would be rationalised to slim down areas where there is not enough work for employees, principally in the build division.

He said: “We have set up an employee relations helpline and every employee affected by the redundancies has had the opportunity to attend a site in person or take part in a conference call. We are working closely with employees affected by this decision to ensure they receive the support they need during this difficult time to assist with their claims for redundancy and other compensatory payments.

“On a positive note, we have had over 100 expressions of interest in the business and we are currently reducing this to a shortlist. There are still national contractors interested in all divisions, as well as parties interested in individual divisions. We are short-listing bidders on the basis of their size, level of interest in acquiring large parts of the business and their speed of reaction.

“We expect to have further updates by the end of the week.”