Bowen Construction placed into liquidation due to debts

ONE of Ireland’s most successful firms during the Celtic Tiger era, which once had an annual turnover in excess of €300 million, has gone into liquidation.

Shareholders at the Cork-based Bowen Construction Limited have confirmed the company has been placed into liquidation due to mounting debts it can no longer afford.

The nationwide firm, set up in 1968 and led by John Bowen, was regularly used by state agencies such as ESB-Electric Ireland.

It was also heavily involved in the building of the Mahon Point shopping centre in Cork city, the Schering-Plough pharmaceutical site in West Cork, the Cork Opera Lane plaza and the Luas extension to Cherrywood in Dublin city.

Bowen’s 2009 annual accounts show the firm made a pre-tax profit of €4.3m and ended the year with a surplus of €3.8m.

This represented a 50% drop compared to 2008. In 2009, the company had a bank debt of €13m.

The number of people it employed has slumped in recent years, with just 60 to 70 people, compared to a high of hundreds during the Celtic Tiger era.

A statement from Bowen Construction Limited shareholders confirmed that “an order to place the company into liquidation” had been granted by the High Court.

A Construction Industry Federation spokesperson said the move is “further evidence of the deepening crisis in construction and the need for a joined-up Government response to prevent the total loss of employment and skills in the sector”.

The spokesperson also said the firm’s demise “underlines the urgency attached” to new legislation ensuring contractors, sub-contractors and supplies in the industry are paid for the work they provide.

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