Interserve shares plunge as government monitors firm post Carillion collapse

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The government said it monitored the health of all its suppliers but it did not believe that any of them were comparable to Carillion.

Meanwhile, Interserve, a major government supplier across the health, education and defense sectors, said it was keeping the government up-to-date on discussions with lenders on its turnaround plan.

Like Carillion, it is a services and construction business with revenues of around £3.6 billion and employs 25,000 in the United Kingdom providing cleaning, security, probation, healthcare and construction services, including more than 1,100 across the Black Country.

Interserve declined to comment on the report.

Interserve, one of the British government's main outsourcing contractors, saw its shares fall between 5 and 15 percent on Wednesday after it was revealed the company is under special scrutiny, two days after the collapse of its rival Carillion. "We are in regular discussions with all these companies regarding their financial position", a spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office said.

The company's shares fell as much as 14% in opening trade, despite last week reporting in a trading update that its 2017 results would be in line with expectations.

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This was followed by a second profits warning in October.

"We believe Interserve is very different from Carillion", Liberum analyst Joe Brent wrote in a note.

Despite flagging financial troubles towards the end of previous year, Interserve has landed a number of hefty wins, including an extension on facility management services at the BBC worth £140 million and a £227 million Government contract to provide similar services for the Department for Work and Pensions.

United Kingdom construction and services company Carillion, which is involved in six projects in Ireland, collapsed on Monday after banks refused to lend it any more money.

Carillion entered liquidation on Monday and many of Britain's outsourcers such as Capita, Mitie and Interserve have struggled after taking on work at low prices for long-running fixed-rate contracts following the financial crisis.

However, a week ago Interserve said that 2018 operating profit would be ahead of forecasts, sending shares to their highest since the September profit warning.

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