Headache for Britain as Carillion collapses


Critics want a review into the crisis.

Carillion, a British professional services firm which provided facilities management and construction services to the United Kingdom public sector, has gone into liquidation, threatening thousands of jobs and jeopardising the delivery of a number of keystone services.

The British Government warned directors of the firm, which handled hundreds of public contracts, they would be hit with "severe penalties" if found guilty of misconduct in securing some $A7 billion in handouts a year ago.

Question marks hang over the immediate future of several key regional projects and the financial wellbeing of suppliers following the news that construction and services giant Carillion is to enter liquidation with immediate effect. Besides the risk to those who work directly for the company, small traders awaiting payment for Carillion-related work are also at risk. As part of a strategic review, Carillion took provisions totalling more than £1-billion, but the company said it was still meeting its debt covenants.

Under his leadership Carillion was hit by cost overruns on big projects, problems with contracts in the Middle East and a large deficit in its pension schemes.

"It's that supply chain who is going to bear the massive loss", he said.

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The boss of a Carillion sub-contractor, describing himself as Mike, in southern England, ed the with his own story.

Shareholders will be the last of the creditors to get a distribution, and will only do so when everyone else - termed as secured, preferential and unsecured creditors - have been paid in full. We do not expect Carillion's move into liquidation to have a significant impact on our infrastructure or wider work'.

"There are smaller contractors who will be impacted worse".

Back then Kiltearn was Carillion's top investor with a 10 percent stake, according disclosures made to the stock market. "Their procurement people weren't good and we didn't like working for them".

Flora-tec, for instance, said it had already had to lay off people. "Staff that are engaged on public sector contracts still have important work to do".

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Britain's government refused to rescue Carillion, saying it could not be expected to bail out a private company.

"However... the government continued to give them billion-pound contract after billion-pound contract and that said to me, as a small supplier, that the government had done their due diligence". Asked which one was dealing with the Carillion situation, one replied, "All of us". "It's an absolute disgrace". He also urged the company's staff to continue to work and said the government would pay their salaries.

On projects where Carillion was working with well-resourced partners, it is hoped that issues can be kept to a minimum.

The construction division, meanwhile, struggled with four major projects and also didn't properly monitor its accounts receivables, so money wasn't being collected - hence the need for more debt.

A bricklayer on the new £350m Midland Metropolitan Hospital building, Philip Ellis, told the that when workers turned up on Monday they were told to go home.

This was after Carillion issued a profit warning in July, the first of three, writing down £375 million on three public-private finance partnerships in the United Kingdom, and £470 million overseas.

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