ALMOST 300 jobs are under threat after the construction firm that fitted out the Scottish Parliament went into administration.

Merger talks at Antrim-based Mivan failed to reach agreement amid intense competition in the global market for specialist fit out and building contracts.

Outfitting Holyrood building and refurbishing the luxury QE2 liner are among projects the company has been involved in.

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At Holyrood, the company secured the £13m contract to deck out the main debating chamber and press gallery.

Chief executive Dr Ivan McCabrey said while the global market for specialist construction and fit-out was recovering, competition from rivals was intense and pressure on profit margins and cash reserves favoured the largest international companies.

"It is with regret therefore; that the directors have today sought the protection of administration in order to preserve the future options of the business."

Mivan No.1 Ltd employs 289 people and is the main trading company created from a restructuring of the group in 2012.

The firm holds a Queen's award for exports and has twice been named UK Construction Firm of the Year.

Other previous contracts include re-roofing the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem, work on Disneyland Paris and theme park development for Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The company was founded in 1975 by Dr McCabrey while he was still an engineering student at Queen's University Belfast.

Peter Allen of Deloitte, the business advisory firm, was appointed administrator.