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Byrne Group steps-in to save O’Keefe

O’Keefe has been struggling financially and struck a Company Voluntary Arrangement with its creditors last year.

Concrete frame specialist and contractor Byrne Group has now established O’Keefe Construction (Byrne Group) Limited and O’Keefe Demolition (Byrne Group) Limited.

The O’Keefe name will now sit alongside Byrne Bros (Formwork) and Ellmers as part of the enlarged Byrne Group.

O’Keefe’s senior leadership team all remain and staff contracts of employment and entitlements, and plant, equipment and yards remain in place ensuring a seamless continuation of identified contracts.

A Byrne Group statement said: “The purchase secures greater opportunities for Byrne Group and O’Keefe as their client base is increased with the ability to offer a one-stop-shop to the industry, from demolition to fit out.”

O’Keefe was formed in 1970 by Patrick O’Keefe Senior who had come to London from his native Ireland as a 19-year-old to seek work as a ganger on building sites.

Latest full group results posted at Companies House for the year to May 31 2020 show a pre-tax loss of £1.8m from a turnover of £61.1m as the business employed 178 staff.

O’Keefe ran into difficulties with the onset of Covid, with over £40m of contract start dates slipping.

Following the CVA in September 2021, O’Keefe has been hit by huge prices increases in the supply of materials combined with a reluctance from the credit industry to support the business.

The demise of Caledonian Modular in March 2022, with whom O’Keefe were working on two projects, meant that despite continued shareholder support, the directors of O’Keefe needed to find a further cash injection.