Calls to help save Midas

Local leaders in Devon, including the boss of Torbay Council, have urged the government to help a struggling construction firm.

Joe Ives, local democracy reporter www.radioexe.co.uk

Last week Exeter-based Midas, one of the country’s biggest privately owned construction and property service companies, filed a notice of intention to go into administration.

Together with its construction arm Midas Construction and housing division Mi-Space, the group has a turnover of almost £300 million and 500 people working directly for it, with many more employed through subcontractors.

But the company recently posted a loss of over £2 million for its last financial year, blaming its troubles on the pandemic, ongoing shortages of materials and labour, and a significant rise in costs because of inflation.

Midas’ projects in the county currently include contracts with Torbay Council to build an £11 million Premier Inn, improvements to a school in Torquay and nine affordable homes in Paignton.

A spokesperson for Torbay Council said: “We are saddened to hear the news about Midas and their notice of intent to enter administration. We are continuing to work with Midas to identify issues and solutions and any further implications that might need attention in the future.

On the hotel, they added the council “remains committed to the scheme which will not only generate new employment opportunities but will complement existing hotel accommodation in Torquay that will attract thousands of guests each year, boosting our local tourism economy by more than £3 million.”

The Lib Dem leaders of Torbay, Teignbridge, North Devon councils have sent out a call to the secretary of state for levelling up, Michael Gove, asking for Westminster to step in to help the company.

Councillor Steve Darling, leader of Torbay Council said: “Midas filing it’s notice of intention to appoint administrators is a grave concern for us.

“We are becoming aware of the millions that are owed to subcontractors and are aware that this could significantly impact on thousands of jobs and businesses in the south west.

“If the government is serious about their levelling up agenda, then the secretary of state must step in to stop this engine of regeneration from collapsing and sending the south west’s economy in to reverse.”

While neighbouring Cornwall Council also has a number of contracts with the company for schemes which include homes, schools and workspace projects, Devon County Council said it has no current projects with Midas.

Exeter City Council and Mid Devon District Council say they currently have no live contracts with the firm, which has offices in Exeter and Newton Abbot as well as elsewhere in the south west.

However,  Midas is Teignbridge District Council’s main contractor for work currently taking place to decarbonise its Forde House headquarters.

A spokesperson for that council added: “While they are in the current phase of appointing an administrator, we are investigating alternative options to progress with the works.”

In a statement to confirm its intention to go into administration last week, Midas said: “the company continues to operate, while the directors work to explore all available options to achieve the best outcome for the business and our people, our customers, supply chain partners and all our stakeholders.

“Midas is committed to pursuing an outcome that will achieve continuity for our live contracts and asks all our valued stakeholders to remain supportive of the group at this time.”