Murphy cuts off 'snake's head' after losing $45.5 million

AFTER a 10-year legal battle and a $45.5 million loss, Geoff Murphy has decided to "cut the head of the snake off ".

Yesterday the boss of JM Kelly advised staff in a statement he was liquidating three companies including JM Kelly Project Builders as a result of "an isolated, long-standing and complicated court action" involving a Gold Coast construction project.

He said no staff would lose jobs and JM Kelly Builders, established in Rockhampton in 1961, and other operations throughout the group would continue as normal.

"It is regrettable and is distressful for us and the people and organisations with we work," Mr Murphy said.

Mr Murphy told The Morning Bulletin that the legal dispute stemmed from a client's refusal to pay for a project worth $30 million.

He said over $15 million had been spent taking the case through the courts over a decade.

"We've been unsuccessful in the courts in a lot of our actions, a lot of it has been thrown out and we're now in a situation where we've got to make a decision to spend another $3.5 million to carry on the court action," Mr Murphy said.

Mr Murphy said he was disappointed in the outcome of the long and expensive actions, but had decided the best way to move the company forward was to liquidate JM Kelly Project Builders and two other companies operated by JM Kelly Management Pty Ltd.

Staff, sub-contractors, suppliers and clients were advised yesterday morning.

Mr Murphy said staff working with JM Kelly Project had been sent to other branches of the group as the company wound down.

He said all staff involved in the affected companies would retain all entitlements.

"Nobody will lose their jobs," he said.

"It's made things tight and it'll be tough for a little while, but we'll get there. We'll get through it.

"Maybe I should have done it years ago.

"It's been a bit of heartburn, but the best decision is to cut the head of the snake off and turn around and get things back on track again."