Interserve to enter administration after shareholders reject rescue plan

Interserve fears

Interserve fears

While shareholders will be wiped out, with ownership falling to the lenders, the nature of a pre-pack administration means the company, which employs 45,000 people in the United Kingdom, can continue trading.

This means the firm will avoid a Carillion-style of collapse.

Interserve said: "In the absence of any viable alternative, [the board] expects to implement an alternative deleveraging transaction, which is likely to involve the Company making an application for administration and, if the order is granted, the immediate sale of the Company's business and assets to a newly-incorporated company, to be owned by the existing lenders".

Interserve fears
Interserve looks set to avoid a Carillion-style collapse

The firm has sought to reassure workers that as far as possible it will be business as usual as the director and lenders spend the weekend completing their plan B created to allow the business to continue to operate as normal for customers and suppliers.

Ahead of Friday's vote, Sky News reported that Coltrane had written to EY to urge them against a pre-pack insolvency deal.

Existing shareholders would have been left with just 5pc of the group.

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The public sector outsourcing giant has been embroiled in a power struggle in recent weeks with its lead shareholder, United States hedge fund Coltrane Asset Management, over the terms of the emergency deal.

Interserve has been hampered by high debts, construction delays and a failed foray into the energy-from-waste market.

Interserve's crunch vote comes 14 months to the day after Carillion, another major public sector outsourcer, collapsed owing £2bn to 30,000 suppliers, subcontractors and other short term creditors.

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Interserve, which provides services to the public sector ranging from school dinners to hospital cleaning, said this arrangement should ensure that its business can continue to operate "as normal" for the time being.

The investor demanded EY conduct a comprehensive marketing process for the firm and its assets while raising the possibility it would explore a takeover bid.

'Shambolic mismanagement is putting jobs on the line and services in jeopardy. It said: 'By being forced into administration the entire workforce is facing an uncertain future. It adds it is in close contact with the company and is "confident a positive way forward will be found".

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