CWO in administration

Cathedral Works Organisation (CWO), in Chichester, Sussex, one of the country’s best known stonemasonry contractors, has gone into administration.

CWO famously worked for the corporation of London on a number of projects, including the refurbishment of The Monument, which commemorates the Great Fire of London. It is also a Royal Warrant Holder, having worked on a number of royal palaces. It's Caen limestone restoration of the Quadrange at Buckingham Palace won the Repair & Restoration Award in the 2012 Natural Stone Awards and three more of its projects were either highly commended or commended.

Administrators from Worthing insolvency specialist IRL have laid off 73 staff, keeping a small core team on to help complete jobs.

CWO was originally the cathedral masonry workshop in Chichester but was devolved as a commercial operation in 1965, when it became part of the Geoffrey Osborne building group. In 2006, CWO was bought in a management buy-out orchestrated by Malcolm Diamond, who had been brought in by Osborne as chairman three years earlier to oversee the masonry business. Managing Director Bernard Burns headed the buy-out. At that time CWO represented £5million of Osborne's £234million turnover.

CWO's latest accounts (to the end of March 2012), show a pre-tax profit of £67,870 on turnover of £9.1million. The previous year the company had made a loss of £210,000 on a similar turnover.

Read more in the April issue of Natural Stone Specialist magazine.