Lumsden & Caroll, Stephen Easten Building and Dunelm Property Services are among those to be wound down.
"As far as I am concerned contracting is going into recession now and we need to streamline the business to get the name of Esh out there," chief executive Brian Manning told the Northern Echo.
Esh saw its annual turnover rise by £35m to £169m last year and operating profits up £200,000 to £5.9m. After exceptional items, profit was around £300,000.
"In 2010 our contracting side did well but 2011 does not look very good at all. We will use the good name of Esh and the clout that is has in the market to win more work,” Mr Manning said. “A lot of northeast public procurement projects go to big national names from outside the region. Like it or not it seems that size does matter. We are answering that challenge by bidding for work as Esh Construction. Our individual brand names like Lumsden & Carroll won’t disappear, but as companies they no longer exist."