‘Greedy capitalists,’ felled the business

dowden commons interserve

A government minister has branded the shareholders which voted down Interserve’s rescue plan “greedy capitalists” after the decision sent it packing into administration.

Oliver Dowden, parliamentary secretary at the Cabinet Office, threw his weight behind Interserve as he responded to an urgent question tabled by the opposition in the House of Commons on Monday night.

He said Interserve had sought a refinancing to strengthen its balance sheet but “it failed to do that because of the position taken, some might say, by some greedy capitalists, in respect of some the hedge funds that owned shares in the company and refused to consent to its restructuring”.

A source close to Coltrane, which held 28% of Interserve’s shares and led a rebellion against its deleveraging plan, told Building on Monday the firm had taken a “principled stand” against the “pig-headed” board.

Shadow Cabinet secretary Christian Matheson had earlier asked the minister: “Would [he] agree the company has simply been hoovering up contracts willy-nilly, regardless of expertise and clearly without regard to the financial implications of such a strategy?”

Dowden (pictured) said that unlike Carillion, “which had problems across all its contract base and issues with its management,” there is only “one major problem for Interserve and that is in respect of its energy for waste contracts”.