12 January 2018 | Martin Read
Representatives of Carillion, one of the UK government's biggest contractors, were today reported to be meeting with Cabinet Office officials and the Pensions Regulator to discuss the firm's pension liabilities.
The move follows reports in the Financial Times that a number of ministers met yesterday to put in place contingency plans in the event of the company's possible collapse. Today's meeting follows talks held by Carillion with its lenders and advisers on Wednesday.
Carillion's shares, already trading at less than a quarter of their early 2017 value, have suffered a further hit in recent days. Talk is turning to a possible government bail-out as doubts about the viability of Carillion's proposals for further loans from existing lenders mounted.
The latest developments follows a series of announcements from Carillion over the past two months including profit warnings, the selling of contracts to competitors, the appointment of a new chief executive and the Financial Conduct Authority opening an investigation into the "timeliness and content" of financial announcements. The company's debts are reported to amount to more than £1.5 billion, with a pensions deficit of more than half a billion.