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Dawnus: Swansea building firm goes into administration

Work at Swansea's Kingsway
Image caption Swansea’s Kingsway is undergoing a £12m redevelopment

Construction company Dawnus – which employs 700 people – has gone into administration, it has been confirmed.

Administrators Grant Thornton said the Swansea-based firm had gone bust on Friday after work was halted on several UK projects.

Contractors were called to a meeting on Thursday where they were told Dawnus had been placed into administration.

Administrator Alistair Wardell said the group faced a “wide variety of challenges”.

He added: “Whilst the financial difficulties of the group were not a consequence of Brexit, there is no doubt that Brexit uncertainty impacted the ability to rescue the business.”

The group is currently working on 44 construction sites across the UK and work on Swansea’s £12m Kingsway redevelopment was stopped on Wednesday amid the uncertainty.

A day earlier, diggers were abandoned on the £15m Manchester-Salford Inner Relief Route improvement scheme amid claims workers had not been paid by Dawnus.

Three school projects in Powys and a road in Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, are among those affected.

Image caption Workers left the site after the meeting on Thursday

Mark Bodger, of the Construction Industry Training Board, said: “CITB Wales is sorry to see the situation at Dawnus and the impact it is having on the company’s employees and their families.

“We are confident that learners at Dawnus can be placed with new companies once the full position is clear and CITB will play an active role in making this happen. We will work closely with industry partners and Welsh Government to help Dawnus’s learners in the coming weeks.”

The boss of one sub-contracting firm, who did not want to be named, said before the announcement: “We are still out of pocket – but thankfully not a significant amount. I think we might have got off lightly compared with what I’ve heard about other firms.”

What is Dawnus?

Dawnus has its headquarters in Swansea but runs construction projects across the UK and overseas.

The most recent company accounts show the company had a turnover of £170m in 2017, but posted a pre-tax loss of £1.35m.

Last September, the company said it employed 700 people.

As well as domestic construction, it previously operated in west Africa and worked on projects during the Ebola crisis.

In August, during a UK trade mission to South Africa attended by Prime Minister Theresa May, Dawnus was unveiled as part of a consortium targeting overseas aid contracts.

The company told BBC Wales in September it felt optimistic about life after Brexit because of the opportunities for overseas work.

Grant Thornton is not taking over any international operations at Dawnus International, Dawnus Sierra Leone or Dawnus Liberia.

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