Contractor’s largest shareholder unhappy with plan to hand 95% equity to banks


Interserve’s largest shareholder has unveiled a new proposal to rescue the contractor as it continues to fight Debbie White’s deleveraging plan.

Coltrane Asset Management, which owns a 27% stake in the contractor, wants creditors to take just 55% of equity in Interserve in exchange for writing down £435m of its debt.

Under the plan shareholders would hold on to a 7.5% stake in the firm, with a further 37.5% equity in Interserve created through a £110m rights issue – which Coltrane has offered to fully underwrite.

The proposal comes as shareholders prepare for a crunch vote in 10 days on whether to accept the agreement Interserve’s management, led by Debbie White, agreed with its lenders.

 Interserve’s plan with lender supportColtrane’s latest proposal

Debt for equity swap with lenders

£435m debt swapped for 95% equity

£435m debt swapped for 55% equity

Equity to be held by existing shareholders



Equity to be distributed through rights issue


37.5% - offered to shareholders on pro rata basis

White needs 50% of shareholders to consent to the package, which would see creditors take a 95% stake of the firm in exchange for a £435m debt write-down.

Shareholders would see their stake diluted into a collective 5% equity in Interserve.

Source close to Coltrane say the offer of an underwritten rights issue provides Interserve’s management with a way to raise cash and stave-off a liquidity crisis, removing the threat from creditors to plunge the contractor into administration.

In a bid to pressure shareholders to vote for White’s deal, Interserve’s lenders are understood to have lined up EY for a potential administration of the contractor – an outcome which would completely wipe out existing shareholders.

On 26 March shareholders will vote on Coltrane’s proposed rescue settlement, as well as another motion by the New York-based hedge fund calling on Interserve’s entire board, minus White, to stand down. 

In statement responding to Coltrane’s latest proposal, Interserve said: ”A further announcement will be made in due course. In the meantime, the board remains committed to achieving a consensual deleveraging plan.”