Carillion collapse hits engineering jobs and apprenticeships
15 Jan 2018
A total of nearly 20,000 jobs, including many in the engineering sector, will be affected by the news that Carillion, one of the biggest construction companies in the UK, has applied for compulsory liquidation.
The company employs well over 43,000 staff overall, of whom half are based in the United Kingdom.
It has worked on some of the best known construction projects in the country, including the HS2 line and several of the highest profile buildings including the new GCHQ site in Cheltenham, nicknamed the Doughnut.
The company’s civil engineering activities spanned transport, water, aviation, flood defence, nuclear decommissioning, public buildings and railway infrastructure.
It had also positioned itself as a major recruiter of new talent – subsidising schools activities to promote the sector and an apprenticeship programme as an alternative to university.
The demise of Carillion followed a series of overruns on major projects that has seen a debt already put at £700 million by the middle of 2017 rise to more than £920 million, plus a refusal by banks to extend further credit.
Rival firm Balfour Beatty, which was the target of a merger bid by Carillion four years ago, has three road construction joint ventures underway with the company.
In a statement it said that the cash impact upon Balfour Beatty “is likely to be an outflow in the range of £35 million to £45 million in 2018”.
News of the change in the Carillion’s fortunes has come soon after the appointment of a new chief executive officer.
Andrew Davies’s contract was announced in October last year, when it was stated he would take up his employment on 2 April this year. In December it was stated the new chief’s appointment was being moved forward to 22 January, when he would succeed interim CEO Keith Cochrane.
At the time, Carillion chairman Philip Green said of Davies’s early release from his employer Wates Group: “It is a demonstration of how the sector is willing to cooperate and collaborate to ensure the long term sustainability of UK industry.”