Jersey construction giant Camerons stops trading with immediate effect
ITV News journalist Iain McBride reflects on the day's events
The Jersey-based construction firm Camerons have applied for a winding-up order.
In a letter seen by ITV News, the company's board of directors say they have ceased trading with immediate effect after money issues.
They blame a number of factors including Brexit and the Covid pandemic, as well as supply chain problems and spiralling costs.
Camerons says the situation has been made worse by the difficult financial environment and it cannot manage unforeseen extra costs on several key projects.
"This has been a very difficult decision for the board to make," the letter reads.
"However, having exhausted the options available to it to try and renegotiate the terms of the problematic contracts without success, and having consulted with relevant third parties and with government, the board feel that such a step is in the best interests of Camerons, having regard to the interests of Camerons' creditors as a whole."
Under Jersey law, an insolvency expert will be appointed in the next fortnight to decide the future of the company.
Camerons has around 50 direct employees but the majority of those affected are subcontractors.
One worker told ITV News, "It came as a bolt from the blue, no one was expecting this."
Another said, "I've lost around £1,000 in wages and I've been told that it could take up to two months before I get that back, if I get it back."
Camerons are part of the Garenne Group and their other businesses are not affected.
The managing director of the group went to one of the sites at 6am this morning (Tuesday 28 February) to tell workers the news.
Camerons is currently dealing with major projects including the £70 million redevelopment of Bath Street.
They are also building 165 new homes at Ann Court with an expected completion date of mid-2023.
ITV News understands that £29 million has been spent on the project so far with around another £10 million needed to complete the remaining 85 unfinished properties.
It is believed that Rok Construction will take over responsibility for some of the sites and employ those who were working for Camerons to finish the Ann Court development.
Le Masurier has confirmed that construction on Merchants Square will continue as planned.
"I would like to reassure purchasers, homeowners and sub-contractors that alternative arrangements are already in place," Managing Director Brian McCarthy said.
"We are fully committed to see the development on Bath Street through to completion and have adequate funding and resourcing in place to achieve this."
Jersey's government had also planned to work with Camerons on a number of projects, including the development of Oakfield sports facilities and a new firing range for the States of Jersey Police. They say this will now be reassessed.
The island's Economic Development Minister, Deputy Kirsten Morel, added: "My first thoughts are with the employees and their families, who will be facing immediate uncertainty in light of this announcement but who have skills that are valuable to our island, and I would expect new employment opportunities to emerge very quickly given the level of demand in today’s construction sector.
"Customer and Local Services officers are available to support Camerons’ staff and ensure that they have the help and guidance they need to understand all of the financial and employment support that will be made available at this difficult time."