Carillion Puts Administrators On Standby Should Talks Fail

Carillion's city centre headquarters on the Ring Road St Marks in Wolverhampton

Carillion is holding crisis talks with United Kingdom government representatives on Friday, which Sky News said were aimed at safeguarding the more than 28,000 pension scheme members who face potential cuts to retirement payments should Carillion fail.

A spokesperson for the Pensions Regulator said the organisation remained "closely involved" in discussions with Carillion and the trustees of its pension schemes.

The company is thought to require at least £210m in short-term funding to continue operating and implement a turnaround plan.

The company itself is not expected to attend the pension crisis summit.

The company met with creditors including RBS and Santander UK on Wednesday to ask them to consider a debt extension or roll-over in financing talks and it was expected to talk with the Pension Regulator on Friday.

A government spokeswoman said it has been monitoring the situation to ensure its "contingency plans are robust". "It would be inappropriate for us to comment on any individual contractor's internal financial governance".

Carillion's shares rocketed on Monday when some in the City misinterpreted last weekend's story as a sign that a rescue deal was about to be agreed.

However, no announcement has been made on a business plan to secure its future.

To date, numerous banks have indicated that they are reluctant to provide additional funding given the potential for huge losses on their existing exposure.

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In its first statement since the meeting Carillion said: "Further to this presentation, Carillion continues to engage in constructive discussions with a range of financial and other stakeholders regarding options to reduce debt and strengthen the group's balance sheet".

Its only asset sale since the crisis erupted has been to offload a portfolio of healthcare contracts to rival outsourcer Serco for £50m - against a broader forecast for disposal proceeds of £300m.

Carillion shares have fallen more than 25 percent as the construction and business services company that is one of the British government's biggest contractors struggles under 1.5 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) of debt.

Projects involving Carillion in Scotland also include the electrification of the central Scotland railway line through Shotts.

It is also engaged in building the Aberdeen Bypass and was responsible for constructing the Tate Modern art gallery in London and the Channel Tunnel.

Carillion was forced to ask its banks, which include Santander UK, HSBC and Barclays, for support after breaching its loan agreements a year ago when it issued a series of profit warnings.

Since then, the company has cleared out its executive team, including chief executive Richard Howson and finance director Zafar Khan.

Carillion's fight for survival is being led by interim boss and industry veteran Keith Cochrane, a former CEO of engineer Weir Group.

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

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