Rok boss tells of bid to buyout construction division

Raasay House Rok was to rebuild the fire damaged Raasay House on Raasay

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A former managing director has spoken of an attempt to rescue the Scottish construction division of collapsed Exeter-based company Rok.

George Fraser believed that a management buyout would have saved the majority of jobs in the division if it had been successful.

He said Rok's administrators chose to negotiate with a London-based contractor to try to save the firm.

A total of 768 jobs will be lost in Scotland.

On Tuesday, administrator Pricewaterhouse Coopers, said it had been unable to secure a buyer for the Scottish division.

Rok had an agreement with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to carry out work worth £32m.

The contracts included restoring Raasay House, a former mansion on Raasay, used as an outdoor centre, which was badly damaged by fire last year.

Mr Fraser said he was deeply saddened by Rok's fall.

He told BBC Radio Scotland: "This was a very successful business.

"There are a lot of people who put a lot of hard work into this business in growing it up over recent times and many of them have been made redundant over the last seven days.

"I am devastated for these people because they have given a lifetime of service to this business and I feel very, very sorry for them indeed."

Mr Fraser added: "The offer that the management buyout had on the table would have certainly saved the majority of jobs in the construction division and made some money, hopefully, down the line for the administrator."

HIE said the £32m it had offered Rok remained with the enterprise agency.

HIE chief executive Alex Paterson said: "The projects which we wanted to be undertaken under that agreement can be done but we just need to find a different way of doing them and that's what we are pushing forward with now."

He added: "The funds to do them still reside with HIE. They are not tied up with any contract."

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