KPMG sells Connaught contracts

Marion Dakers
HOUSING support services firm Mears has taken over eight of stricken peer Connaught’s jobs and 600 workers, auditor KPMG said yesterday, leaving rivals to fight for the handful of remaining contracts.

Mears acquired the work for a nominal sum from auditor KPMG, a company spokesperson confirmed yesterday, and will now speak to customers and Connaught employees to arrange for work to restart.

Competitors including Rok are now tendering bids for Connaught’s four remaining social housing jobs.

Brian Green, joint administrator at KPMG, said: “We have now transferred the vast majority of Connaught Partnerships’ contracts to new providers... To do this within days of the company going into administration is remarkable.”

KPMG made a further 400 redundancies yesterday, bringing the total number to 1,100.
The auditor is still looking for places in other firms for most of Connaught’s 2,800
remaining social housing employees.

A person close to the administration said trade and private equity groups have shown a huge interest in the firm’s environment and compliance arms. These smaller divisions escaped administration and continue trading.

Oriel Securities analyst Paul Checketts told City A.M. yesterday: “What’s interesting is what returns the companies expect to generate. They all bid for these contracts in the first place, so they must have thought the work was worthwhile, and now it’s landed on their lap.”

Norwich City Council, one of Connaught’s biggest customers, yesterday failed to reach a deal with KPMG over its £250m contract, leading to the redundancy of 300 workers. Morgan Sindall has taken over temporarily.