Regional contractor TRAK Construction has emerged as the frontrunner to buy Swallow Construction after the £40m-turnover Northamptonshire firm collapsed last week.
Swallow Construction was placed in the hands of administrative receiver Deloitte & Touche last Tuesday. Up to 50 people have lost their jobs.

It is understood that Swallow had orders of more than £15m but owed up to £2m after suffering losses on a contract at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich. It was also hit by a late payment from a large developer.

Graham Smetham, managing director of TRAK, said he had been in talks with the receiver over the possibility of acquiring live projects or parts of the business.

He said: "I cannot go into detail about Swallow's situation because I have signed a confidentiality contract. But we are interested in acquiring Swallow contracts or parts of what is left of the business – we are keeping an open mind."

It is also understood that other companies are interested in picking up segments of the business, one of which is London firm Ash Construction, which has a branch in Hitching, Hertfordshire. Ash was unavailable for comment this week.

Deloitte & Touche is working closely with quantity surveyors from Swallow to help with the sell off. Chris Farrington, administrative receiver at Deloitte & Touche, said it would take at least seven to 10 days to prepare the firm's contracts.

He said: "We have been in contact with about a dozen national and regional construction companies that are interested in taking over some or all of Swallow's live contracts." He added that all work on the contracts had been halted.

Local contractors have already approached some Swallow staff. A Swallow insider said some staff had not been paid their final month's salary and may take legal action. The insider said: "The news came as a bit of a shock. We knew there were some late payments but thought it would sort itself out – nobody is looking forward to the prospect of applying for back pay."

Swallow Construction, formerly the contracting arm of Wilson Connolly, was formed in 1994.

The firm operated in the Midlands and the South-east in the retail, residential commercial and health sectors.

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