The managing director of the plant division of Jarvis has become the latest member of senior management to quit.
It emerged this week that Charles Ives left Jarvis after 13 years to join Network Rail, where he started on Monday. Ives follows in the footsteps of a series of executives to leave since the company hit problems after the Potters Bar rail disaster in May 2002.
Most recently, chief operating officer Andrew Lezala left last week to become chief executive at London Underground company Metronet. Alistair Rae resigned as finance director last month.
The departure of Ives will come as a blow to Jarvis, as he was head of one of only three divisions that Lovell has identified as the future of the much-shrunk company, the others being its road and rail renewal businesses.
A spokesperson said that the plant business has been restructured to include on track plant and machinery which was previously part of the rail business. Mike Houghton is now heading that business.
Jarvis is a shadow of the company it was two years ago, when it had a market capitalisation of £1bn. As Building went to press it had a market capitalisation of just £21m, and its share price was 14p.
The spokesperson for Jarvis said part of an overall restructuring instigated by Lovell was likely to include a debt for equity swap, under which its US lenders swap part of the £250m debt for a stake in the firm.
He said that it was “far too early” to say how big a stake the lenders would take. The sale of the European roads business for £24.5m, which was expected by the end of last month, has yet to happen.
Building revealed in February that the syndicate of banks that bailed Jarvis out of financial ruin, including Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, had sold up to £250m of debt to a group led by the Bank of America.
However, Jarvis is not out of danger yet. Shares in the company plunged almost a third in one day when it revealed last month that it had been forced to borrow another £17m to stay afloat.
The sale of the European roads business for £24.5m, which was expected by the end of last month, has yet to happen and similarly there has been no news on the sale of its facilities management business. Sales of both divisions were part of Lovell’s strategy to decrease the level of debt owed by Jarvis.
It is still unclear how much the company owes in advisory fees, which some in the market believe could be as much as £60m. Jarvis is expected to report its annual results for the year to 31 March in June.
n Hanson’s chairman, Christopher Collins, has retired from the board. He has been replaced by Mike Welton, former chief executive of Balfour Beatty. Simon Keswick and Lord Baker, both non-executive directors, also retired after annual meeting on Wednesday. Chief executive Alan Murray was upbeat about trading prospects for 2005.