Sunday 20 January 2019

Shares in outsourcer Interserve tank

Interserve CEO Debbie White
Interserve CEO Debbie White

Noor Zainab Hussain

SHARES in outsourcing giant Interserve lost more than half their value on Monday after the British support services provider said it was in rescue talks that may hand control of the company to creditors in a bid to avoid a Carillion-style collapse.

The Reading-based outsourcer, which employs 75,000 worldwide and has thousands of UK government contracts to clean hospitals and serve school meals, said on Sunday it would seek to cut its debt to 1.5 times core earnings in talks with lenders it hopes to complete early next year.

CEO Debbie White said that the company was trading well and in line with expectations for 2018, and that the debt-reduction plan, first floated in a refinancing in April, had government support.

But the moves add to the sense of crisis around the company, whose value has slumped from over £1bn (€1.1bn) in 2014 to just £9.7m.

Carillion's collapse in a mass of debt and pensions dues in January forced the government to step in to guarantee services ranging from roadworks to school meals and led to a parliamentary inquiry into the extent to which private companies should be running essential services.

Reuters

Irish Independent

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