ONE of northern Scotland's largest privately owned plumbing companies has gone into liquidation, with all 26 staff being made redundant.

Urquhart & Co, the Inverness-based plumbing and heating subcontractor which worked mostly with housebuilders, went into liquidation as Provisional liquidator Iain Fraser of FRP Advisory said the long-established firm had faced “increasingly competitive” conditions which had cut profit margins and “caused unsustainable cash flow difficulties”.

The firm was family-run and served customers across the Highlands and Islands.

It has has ceased trading with immediate effect.

It comes around a decade after its merger with a major construction company in the north of Scotland, which failed five years ago.

In 2007 UBC Group, then the largest privately owned construction company operating in the Highlands and Islands, announced it was merging with Urquhart, with ownership transferring between brothers.

UBC, which employed 350 people, had a turnover of £30 million and had 37 plumbers and five office support staff at that stage.

UBC Group went into administration in 2012.

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A new “Urquhart” – called Urquhart & Co (PHE) Limited - was then formed.

One problem cited as having faced builders like UBC was late payments.

Mr Fraser, provisional liquidator, said: “Urquhart & Co had been long established in providing plumbing and heating services working particularly with housebuilders in Inverness and the wider Highlands and Islands.

"Unfortunately, an increasingly competitive market has reduced profit margins and caused unsustainable cashflow difficulties, which have forced the company to enter into liquidation.

“We are now focused on selling the assets of the company and recovering outstanding contract debts, and will work closely with all agencies, including the Redundancy Payments Office, to ensure that employees receive every support at this difficult time.”

Suppliers and other people with an interest are being directed to the FRP Advisory's Aberdeen office.