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Carillion puts administrators on standby

14 January 2018, 12:26 | Melanie Burgess

Carillion puts administrators on standby

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

Government officials and regulators will hold crisis talks on Friday aimed at safeguarding pensioners' interests at Carillion, the vast construction group which is racing to avoid collapse.

Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant general secretary, said Carillion's workforce was being "held hostage by the whims of the market".

Their attitude is said to have prompted senior figures close to Carillion to discuss the possibility of emergency financial support from the Government.

Scottish Labour's shadow economy secretary Jackie Baillie called on the Scottish Government to clarify the potential impact if Carillion collapses. We urgently need to know just how exposed the Scottish Government and the public purse is if Carillion were to collapse.

The Pensions Regulator said it was not commenting on whether or not they were 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".

Sir Vince, a former business secretary, told BBC Breakfast: "They've got to force the shareholders and indeed the creditors, the big banks, to take losses, and then the government can take responsibility for taking the contracts forward and making sure they are delivered".

As well as its Scottish projects, Carillion is a major supplier to the UK Government and a key contractor in the first phase of building the £56 billion HS2 rail line.

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It is also the second largest supplier of maintenance services to Network Rail.

Carillion, which has had to contend with a slowdown in many of its major markets, has seen its share price plummet from 230p a year ago to less than 15p on Friday.

The rescue plan shown to lenders on Wednesday includes handing back some loss-making contracts, revising the terms of others and potentially accepting financial support from the Government if it can not secure it from private sector sources.

Administration would put at risk the jobs "at least some" of the 19,500 people employed by the firm, Sky News said.

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

Sky News reported that the approach is part of a contingency plan by Carillion as talks continue with bankers.

The government confirmed ministers met yesterday to discuss Carillion's future and were "monitoring the situation closely".

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

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