The contractors carrying out the first phase of works at Lews Castle have gone into administration after suffering “extremely challenging trading conditions”.
Patton, the Ballymena-based construction company, will continue to trade while the administrator, Tom Keenan of Keenan CF, explores all possible options for the future, including sale of all or parts of the company.
The firm, which has traded for around 100 years, has a total turnover of around £140m and employs around 320 staff.
Neil Patton, Chairman of the business, said: “This is a very sad day for everyone connected to this family business and the communities we have served for the last 100 years.
“The Directors have looked at every possible option to avoid administration, but it became inevitable because of the general downturn in the building sector, pressure on margins and the resultant impact on cashflow.”
He added added: “Unfortunately, the company has suffered from the widespread downturn impacting the construction industry and, as a result, has experienced a decline in trading performance.
“The financial position facing the business was such that administration was the last remaining option available to the Directors.”
The Patton Group was appointed to carry out the £2m external works to secure Lews Castle.
The cash flow problems experienced by the company are thought to have had an effect on local sub-contractors.