Mark Whitehead 15 March 2019

Outsourcing giant faces ‘crunch vote’

Construction outsourcing giant Interserve was today facing a crunch vote over a proposed rescue plan to save it going into administration.

Shareholders will be asked to back the debt-for-equity 'deleveraging' deal for the company which employs 45,000 staff in the UK including many working for local authorities, cleaning schools and hospitals, running probation services and building roads and bridges.

The global company also employs a further 20,000 in more than 40 countries across several continents providing construction and support services.

It came under the spotlight early last year after fellow contracting and construction giant Carillion collapsed with debts of £1.5bn.

Concerns grew over several outsourcing contractors leading to the Government instructing several top companies including Interserve to produce 'living wills' setting out how services would continue to be provided in the event of a crisis.

Interserve's share price collapsed in December to a fraction of its peak in previous years of more than 700 pence a share and was this morning unsteady at around 10 pence.

In an online video broadcast today the company's chairman Glynn Barker said the proposed deleveraging plan was the only way to provide the 'balance sheet strength and cash liquidity to allow the group to meet its financial obligations and provide stability for the future'.

He said it was a 'disappointing outcome for shareholders' but the company was in a 'critical financial situation' and the plan was in the best interests of all its stakeholders.

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