AWPR builder drafts in help after week of share price turmoil

AWPR near Dyce Drive in Aberdeen. Picture by COLIN RENNIE July 11, 2017.

Troubled Aberdeen city bypass partner Carillion has drafted in help to carry out a review of the business as it continues to reel from a collapse in its share price.

A small rise for the stock yesterday was small comfort for the FTSE 250 construction and infrastructure services group after nearly £600million was wiped off its market value earlier this week.

Wolverhampton-based Carillion has drafted in HSBC as joint financial adviser and corporate broker, with the banking giant working alongside financial services groups Morgan Stanley, Lazard and Stifel to help turn the firm around.

Carillion said yesterday it was pressing on with a “comprehensive review”, which it announced earlier this week alongside a profit warning.

The company downgraded its annual revenue guidance, with half year sales now expected to be between £4.8billion and £5billion.

Carillion forecast an overall first half performance “below management’s previous expectations”.

Its market capitalisation has gone into freefall, falling from £826million to around £240million in a matter of days after it also revealed an £845million write-off on construction contracts.

Chief executive Richard Howson stepped down with immediate effect on Monday as the group said it would need to bolster its balance sheet and was struggling to stay within its borrowing limits.

He has been replaced by former Weir Group chief executive Keith Cochrane on an interim basis, while a search is undertaken for a permanent boss.

Analysts at UBS warned on Tuesday that shares could even plummet to zero if Carillion’s support services trading is hit, while other experts have raised worries the group has no future unless it finds funds to restructure.

A large chunk of the write-down, some £375million, was linked to work in the UK.

Most of the UK total relates to three public-private partnership projects, one of which is believed to be the £745million Aberdeen city bypass.

The firm is one of the partners involved in the Connect Roads consortium building the 28-mile Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, alongside Balfour Beatty and Morrison Construction.