Carillion lines up standby administrator as crunch talks continue

Locator of the AWPR at Milltimber

The firm, which is a key government contractor for projects including schools and prisons, said crunch talks with stakeholders were still ongoing.

Tensions around the 200-year-old company have been ratcheting up for weeks and on Thursday ministers overseeing everything from justice to transport, health and education met to discuss how they should respond to the possible demise of a business that plays a central role in British public life.

According to the Press Association, Carillion's lenders - which include Barclays, HSBC and Santander - rejected the plan because it did not present enough of a restructuring plan for the business.

Carillion also said turnaround proposals on the table were likely to cost shareholders.

But it is perhaps best known for being one the largest suppliers of services to the public sector.

It also maintains 50,000 homes for the Ministry of Defence, manages almost 900 schools and manages highways and prisons.

"As Carillion is a major supplier to government, it should come as no surprise that we are carefully monitoring the situation while working to ensure our contingency plans are robust".

Having had its rating for Carillion "under review" previously, the City broker has resumed coverage with a "sell" saying it now sees no equity value in the stock.

Trade unions have urged ministers to step in to protect the 19,500 jobs across Britain that are now at risk.

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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.

The developer tabled a business restructure plan on Wednesday but it is understood it failed to convince its lenders it was a strong enough proposition.

Cabinet Office minister David Lidington hosted the summit of senior figures including Business Secretary Greg Clark and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss.

A spokeswoman for the UK Government said: "Carillion is a major supplier to the government, with a number of long-term contracts".

"We are committed to maintaining a healthy supplier market and work closely with our key suppliers".

This all follows the revelation last week that Carillion is being investigated by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority over a series of Stock Exchange announcements it made before last July's profit warning.

Shares in Carillion closed down 29 percent at 14 pence, after touching a new low of 12.5 pence and compared with a price of 240 pence a year ago.

However, Carillion said it remained in constructive talks over securing additional short term financing and that longer term discussions were also continuing.

A meeting with The Pensions Regulator is reportedly taking place on Friday to shore up the future of its pension scheme.

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