RMJM’s controlling dynasty, the Morrison family, is to pump £8 million into the beleaguered global giant in an attempt to turn the company’s financial position around
The rescue package was revealed in the wake of a defection of 35 RMJM Hong Kong staff to Aedas and allegations the company had failed to pay staff there on time.
Two weeks ago, Hong Kong principal Catherine Sui was suspended after accusing Peter Morrison (pictured), RMJM’s chief executive, of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ and only paying creditors which threatened to sue.
Hoping to establish a ‘strong financial footing’ for the company, Morrison, whose father Fraser Morrison purchased RMJM in 2002, has committed £8 million comprised of £5 million in share capital and a £3 million loan from the family’s £110 million personal fortune to tackle its ‘cash-flow issues’.
The deal, with the support of the banks, is expected to be approved by shareholders later this month.
In a statement to staff and shareholders Morrison said: ‘The economic downturn has meant a very difficult couple of years for the profession. [However the cash injection will] enable us to underpin our superb architectural talent worldwide with a robust financial position.’
The company blamed the economic recession and late payments tied to ‘substantial projects’ in the Middle East and Russia for its ongoing financial woes. Morrison also thanked staff and ‘industry partners’ for their ‘enormous effort, hard work and patience’.
The bail out comes after a series of high-profile wins for the practice (below). RMJM has landed 10 new schemes including a 343,000m2 mixed-use development and Ozyegin University campus in Istanbul.
Morrison added: ‘With a restructured balance sheet in place and the expected receipts from certain major overseas projects, we will be in robust shape and well-placed to benefit from the many opportunities the upturn will bring.’
One inside source said: ‘This is too little, too late. They have been promising and reneging on this “cash injection” for months and months.’
Recent wins for RMJM
Meridian Varyan, Turkey 343,000m2 mixed-use development in the Atasehir district of Istanbul
Oman Conference Centre, Muscat Development including exhibition space, offices and shopping centre
Ozyegin University, Turkey Campus for a new university on a sloping site in Istanbul
Motorworld, UAE Car superstore on a 350-hectare site east of Abu Dhabi