A massive UK construction firm that helped build Irish schools has collapsed

Carillion has been struggling with debts of more than €1 billion.

By Fora Staff

CONSTRUCTION COMPANY CARILLION, one of the UK’s largest construction companies, is being wound up.

There are concerns over hundreds of projects on the books of the company which has been forced into liquidation after its huge financial troubles of £1.5 billion made the firm buckle.

Sky News the company’s bank lenders were considering a last-ditch appeal to fund a rescue plan, but accountancy firm EY is now standing ready to manage a potential administration process.

Carillion said in a statement that it had no choice after weekend talks with creditors and government officials failed to garner the short-term financing it needed.

The company, which employs some 20,000 people in Britain, has been struggling to reorganize amid debts of about £900 million (€1 billion) and a pension deficit of £590 million. Its share price has plunged 70% in the past six months.

Carillion is involved in a number of projects in Ireland, including five schools and the Carlow Institute of Further Education.

Last year, the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) announced the contract award in respect of the Schools Bundle 5 PPP project to the preferred tenderer – the InspiredSpaces consortium – a joint venture between Carillion and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund.

The NDFA acted as agent for the Department of Education and Skills in the procurement of the project.

Carillion is responsible for the design, build, finance and maintenance of five schools on four sites in counties Carlow, Meath, Wexford and Wicklow. The schools included are:

  • Tyndall College Campus in Carlow, which will consist of a development that will provide accommodation for over 2,000 post primary school and Further Institute of Education students
  • Eureka Secondary School, Kells, in Meath. The project involves the replacement of the post primary school and will provide 800 pupil places
  • Loreto College in Wexford, where the secondary school will provide 900 pupil places
  • Coláiste Ráithín, Bray, County Wicklow is to be replaced with 450 pupil places
  • St Philomena’s National School in Bray, where 24 classrooms in the school are to be replaced. Both Colaiste Raithín and St Philomena’s NS will be constructed on a single new site in Bray.

TheJournal.ie has asked the Department of Education for comment about the company’s collapse and whether there are concerns about the progress of the Irish projects. No reply was received by the time of publication.

Worldwide, Carillion has been involved in a number of large-scale projects, such as Battersea Power station redevelopment and the Anfield Stadium expansion. It was also due to be involved in the forthcoming HS2 high-speed railway line in the UK.

The company employs about 20,000 people in the UK, however Sky News reports some 43,000 jobs worldwide now hang in the balance.

TheJournal.ie has attempted to contact Carillion for comment.

Written by Christina Finn and posted on TheJournal.ie. With reporting from AP.