Accountant Alix Partners, which was appointed to handle the administration, blamed pressure from creditors and an increasingly competitive market for EIC’s collapse.
Administrator Kevin Coates told Construction News that EIC has “ceased to trade and we are seeking novation of contracts where possible”.
He said 398 EIC employees had been made redundant and 10 retained to assist administrators. EIC’s website referred to it having “over 1,000 men in vans throughout the UK”.
A statement by Alix Partners said: “[EIC’s] financial distress was driven by increasing pressure from its creditors as a result of a poor recent trading performance, underpinned by an ever-increasing competitive market.”
It added that cash pressures on the company were too great, leaving no alternative but to place the company in administration.
EIC was founded in 1971 and worked in the facilities management, building services, energy and sustainability and retail sectors. It has a turnover of £80m.
It works with major contractors including Bam Construct, Carillion and Morgan Sindall.
EIC’s latest accounts for the six months ended 31 December 2014 showed a pre-tax profit of £1.43m, up from £1.07m in the previous six months.
As recently as 19 May it secured a contract for electrical installation for a new four-storey office facility for retailer Aldi and earlier that month won a 27,000 sq ft NHS project in Swindon with Rydon Construction.
The company said in its last accounts that its order book and pipeline were strong, its liquidity position “robust” and it expected its “vastly improved” financial performance in 2014 would continue.
A source familiar with the company said it had not been involved in ‘suicide bidding’ but had recently changed strategy to chase work only from clients well known to it. EIC had also been expanding in the south west region.
It was owned by a management buyout dating from 2008 from which investor MML was understood to be seeking an exit strategy. MML declined to comment.