Key UK contractor Carillion denies rescue plan in doubt

14 January, 2018, 00:29 | Author: Gladys Mathis
  • Locator of the AWPR at Milltimber

Carillion has a pension deficit of roughly £580m, although this figure would be expected to rise sharply if measured according to the cost of insuring its various retirement schemes on a full buyout basis.

Carillion, one of the UK's largest construction companies, is on the brink of collapse - but what does it do?

With administrators now on standby, fears have been raised over the future of major Scottish infrastructure projects involving the construction giant.

Carillion is a major supplier to the Government and key contractor in the first phase of building the £56 billion HS2 rail line, but has seen its share price plunge almost 80% in the past six months after making a string of profit warnings and breaching its financial covenants.

In 2016 the Wolverhampton-based company, which employs 43,000 people globally, had sales of £5.2bn and until July boasted a market capitalisation of nearly £1bn.

It said the firm remained in constructive dialogue about short term financing while "longer term discussions are continuing".

But in Friday's statement, Carillion said: "Suggestions that Carillion's business plan has been rejected by stakeholders are incorrect".

Bosses at Carillion have appealed for a state-backed rescue, telling ministers that its survival rests on a bail-out of the firm's most troubled contracts.

The government has said it is "monitoring the situation closely".

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In addition to its rail operations, Carillion also manages almost 900 schools, provides services to the NHS and works with National Grid.

However, no announcement has been made on a business plan to secure its future.

The FT reported that Cabinet Office minister David Lidington met more than 10 ministers on Wednesday including business secretary Greg Clark, transport minister Jo Johnson, and chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss.

The Government is notoriously slow at settling bills with contractors, and frequent delays have exacerbated Carillion's cash crunch.

Unions have urged Westminster to step in to protect 19,500 jobs that are now at risk, with Unite insisting "all possible options" must be considered - including bringing contracts in-house.

Carillion previous year issued three profit warnings in six months, causing its shares to plummet more than 90 percent since July 7.

Adding to the pressure on the small cap firm - which issued three profit warnings in less than six months a year ago and has seen its market value collapse by 90% - was a recommendation from broker Peel Hunt to sell the stock ahead of forthcoming newsflow.

The Pensions Regulator would not comment on whether it was attending specific meetings, but a spokesman said: "We have been and remain closely involved in discussions with Carillion and the trustees of the pension schemes as this situation has unfolded".

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