Belfast Telegraph

Carillion shares boosted by new takeover speculation

By Business Reporters

Troubled infrastructure giant Carillion, which operates several major contracts with the Housing Executive in Northern Ireland, has seen its shares jump by as much as a quarter on speculation a Middle East investor is planning a takeover bid for the group.

An unnamed Middle East construction firm is understood to be lining up a potential offer for Carillion in the wake of its recent dramatic share price falls.

In July 2016 Carillion, now headed by interim chief executive Keith Cochrane, announced it had been awarded two contracts by the Housing Executive to deliver maintenance services for its housing stock, worth up to £366m over a 10-year period.

The contracts include work covering around 25,000 houses across Belfast and Co Down.

The firm also deals with Belfast and the south east in relation to heating maintenance in Housing Executive properties.

The unnamed potential buyer is also keen to gain access to the company's prized London listing, according to the report by City AM.

But it is understood the prospective bidder is waiting for Carillion's half-year results - announced tomorrow - before tabling its offer.

Carillion was thrown into crisis following a hefty profit warning in July.

That sent the company's shares tumbling by more than 70% in one week.

The rumoured bid comes after recent reports that the company was looking to sell its Middle East operations, with a raft of local firms said to have shown an interest.

Carillion had said in its July profit alert that it was looking to sell a 50% stake in its Oman business, while also pulling out of construction markets in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The group also has business across the United Arab Emirates.

Carillion declined to comment on the takeover speculation.

Tomorrow's interim results will see the firm update its group-wide review as it battles for survival.

July's profit shock saw chief executive Richard Howson step down as the group said it would need to bolster its balance sheet.

Carillion employs around 43,000 people worldwide.

Belfast Telegraph

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