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700 jobs axed at Rok

Administrators PwC say there is interest in Rok's contracts

Over 700 of Rok's 3,800 staff were laid off on Wednesday by administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) because there was "little or no interest" in parts of the business from prospective buyers or "insufficient work" for the staff to carry out.

PwC made the announcement after three days of discussions with potential buyers, and moves by rival builders to win work directly from the maintenance and social housing company's former customers.

Of the 711 job cuts, 558 are in the maintenance and improvements division which carries out repairs for a mix of local authorities as well as private residential and commercial customers.

Rok was forced to issue two profit warnings in August and faced a torrid September with turnover 30 per cent below expectations. The Devon-based firm was then forced to go under the administration of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Joint administrator Mike Jervis said more than 100 expressions of interest had been received from potential buyers of Rok for its contracts. He estimated there might be as many as 10,000 creditors to the company, the bank debts of which amounted to more than £60m. Further, the company had a £30m pension deficit and trade creditors stood to lose as much as £100m, Jervis said.