A J Clark Group in receivership after late payments

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A CIVIL engineering firm has blamed late payments by customers and a squeeze on profit margins for its collapse into receivership over the weekend.

In a statement released on Saturday, Kilmarnock-based A J Clark Group said that its ­directors had placed the company into receivership on Friday.

“Over the past four or five years, A J Clark has been relentlessly squeezed by slow-paying customers and a decrease in the profitability of its building contracts,” the company said.

“Against this challenging background, the directors and staff of A J Clark have worked tirelessly to keep the company trading in the hope of better times. Sadly, the directors have concluded that, with little sign of an improved business environment and a forecast shortfall in future orders, they had no option but to take the appropriate steps to cease trading.”

Alan Brown from accountancy firm PWC has been appointed as the receiver of AJ Clark and administrator of house-building sister firm, ATD Developments.

AJ Clark – which carried out work for Lidl, Rolls-Royce and the former Scottish Courage – employed 62 staff and turned over £19.5 million in the year to 30 April, 2011.

The Federation of Small Businesses has repeatedly warned of the need for companies and government bodies to pay their bills on time to help firms’ cashflows.