Carillion knocked back over business plan as crunch meeting looms

The government held crisis talks over the potential collapse of one of the UK's construction giants

The firm met lenders to discuss options to reduce debts, recapitalise and restructure the group's balance sheet as it continues to struggle since reporting half-year losses of £1.15billion.

In November, Carillion reported full-year profit will be "materially" lower than expected after it experienced a combination of delays to disposals of certain public-private partnership deals, and a "slippage" in the start of a "significant" project in the Middle East in addition to lower-than-expected margin improvements across a "small" number of United Kingdom support services contracts.

"Handing Carillion bosses a blank cheque bail out is completely unacceptable - company bosses should not be rewarded for failure with public money", it said in a statement.

"As part of its engagement with stakeholders, Carillion is in constructive dialogue in relation to additional short term financing while the longer term discussions are continuing".

Carillion also said turnaround proposals on the table were likely to cost shareholders. It employs 43,000 people globally.

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

The shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, said: "The collapse of Carillion could provoke a serious crisis".

The government has said contingency plans are in place.

In addition to its rail operations, Carillion also manages almost 900 schools, provides services to the NHS and works with National Grid.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail, said: "The Government must consider all options while the future of Carillion hangs in the balance, including bringing contracts back in-house".

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The company held talks with its lenders and advisers in London on Wednesday.

The rescue plan shown to lenders on Wednesday includes handing back some loss-making contracts, revising the terms of others and potentially accepting financial support from the Government if it can not secure it from private sector sources.

"Ministers did meet yesterday, there are ongoing meetings", a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said.

Senior Cabinet ministers thought to include Business Secretary Greg Clark, Transport Minister Jo Johnson and Justice Minister Rory Stewart, were called to a meeting on Thursday to discuss Carillion's future, in a sign that the Government is preparing for the outsourcer's collapse after revealing earlier this week that it had drawn up contingency plans.

Carillion's share price has fallen by more than 70% since the middle of 2017.

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

The Scottish government has said it is monitoring the situation at troubled construction firm Carillion, which is involved in several major infrastructure projects in Scotland.

It comes as Government officials and regulators hold crisis talks on Friday aimed at safeguarding the interests of more than 28,000 pension scheme members who could face cuts to retirement payments if Carillion does not survive. "It would be inappropriate for us to comment on any individual contractor's internal financial governance".

A Scottish Government spokesman added: "We continue to liaise with UK Government colleagues to monitor and mitigate service risks associated with Carillion's financial situation and stand ready to offer what assistance we can at this anxious time for the company's employees and their families".

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