Ministers hold crisis talks over Carillion

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On Friday, the firm dismissed reports lenders had rejected a critical restructuring plan, saying it remained in "constructive discussions" with its creditors.

The crisis-hit construction firm, one of the largest suppliers of services to the public sector, has called on the government to step in to reduce the financial burden of a string of failed projects around the country.

With administrators now on standby, fears have been raised over the future of major Scottish infrastructure projects involving the construction giant.

In 2016 the Wolverhampton-based company, which employs 43,000 people globally, had sales of £5.2bn and until July boasted a market capitalisation of nearly £1bn.

It also supports schools with health and safety and grounds maintenance.

A government spokeswoman said it has been monitoring the situation to ensure its "contingency plans are robust".

Carillion now employs around 20,000 workers in the UK.

He added that workers "should have protection and guarantees from the government, including an assurance that operations will be directly transferred over to Network Rail with all jobs, pensions and rights safeguarded if Carillion goes bust".

These include a new £745 million Aberdeen bypass and plans to extend platforms at Edinburgh Waverley station to make way for longer electric trains.

The future of troubled engineering company Carillion is being discussed at high-level government meetings this weekend, the BBC understands.

Cabinet Office minister David Lidington hosted the summit of senior figures including Business Secretary Greg Clark and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss.

Carillion also has major contracts to supply facilities management at 83 military sites in Scotland, as well as a 28-year contract managing the "elderly beds facility" at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant general secretary, said Carillion's workforce was being "held hostage by the whims of the market".

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

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

Shares, down 90 pct since co's first profit warning in July, fall as low as 12.5 pence around noon in London.

Carillion, which is struggling under £900 million of debt and a £590 million pension deficit, denied the business plan had been rejected by stakeholders, but added that a restructuring could result in a debt for equity swap.

A spokesman for the Pension Regulator said: "We have been and remain closely involved in discussions with Carillion and the trustees of the pension schemes as this situation has unfolded".

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