Contractor’s disastrous foray into energy-from-waste has brought crippling losses

Energy from waste Shutterstock

The timeline below charts the mounting problems Interserve has faced ever since it announced that its then chief executive of 13 years Adrian Ringrose was leaving back in November 2016, news which was followed just a day later by the revelation that its client on the Glasgow energy-from-waste job had kicked it off the scheme.

In May 2016, Ringrose had said the cost of getting out of the energy-from-waste sector would be £70m. At the last count that figure had gone up more than three times that amount to stand at £227m. It is still carrying out work on four energy from waste schemes which it promised in its interim results back in August would be finished by the end of this year.

The firm’s debt has also headed north with last month Interserve saying it would be up to £650m by the end of this year. At the end of 2017, it stood at £503m.

July 2012

Interserve wins £146m DBFO contract with Viridor to build recycling and renewable energy centre in Glasgow

August 2014

Interserve wins £145m deal to build waste treatment plant in Derby for the city council and Derbyshire county council

August 2016

Firm says it is pulling the plug on energy-from-waste sector, having announced £70m writedown on EfW contracts in May

14 November

Interserve says chief executive Adrian Ringrose is stepping down after 13 years in the post

15 November

Firm says it has had its contract at Glasgow terminated

February 2017

Ringrose says cost of quitting energy-from-waste is now £160m


Just over two weeks into the role, new chief executive Debbie White says cost of quitting energy-from-waste sector will be more than £160m


White says cost of energy-from-waste now stands at £195m. Firm begins Fit for Growth cost-cutting initiative

March 2018

Agrees £300m rescue deal with lenders


Announces £244m pre-tax loss for 2017 with net debt at year end standing at £503m. Cost of energy-from-waste rises again to £215m


Financial Conduct Authority launches probe into handling of its exit from the energy-from-waste business. Gordon Kew, then the managing director of Interserve’s UK construction business who would leave in August, says: “The whole energy-from-waste portfolio we expect to be out of this year.”

Viridor says Interserve owes it £69m on Glasgow scheme


Firm says cost of energy-from-waste has gone up to £227m. Net debt at half year to 30 June hits £614m

6 November

Building reveals Interserve has missed deadline for handing over Derby energy-from-waste plant and that its JV partner on scheme may have to carry the can for its share of additional costs

9 November

Build UK figures reveal Interserve queries over 80% of its invoices

13 November

Interserve shares sink to 34 year low

21 November

It emerges that government has asked Interserve to draw up ‘living will’ in case it goes bust

23 November

Shares slide as firm says year end net debt will be between £625m and £650m

3 December

SEC group chief executive Rudi Klein tells subcontractors to go direct to clients to get paid on Interserve jobs

8 December

Reports emerge that firm is seeking second rescue deal this year under proposals which would see creditors take control of company

10 December

Interserve’s share price halved in the first couple of hours of Monday trading, down 90% from a January high, as investors responded to the second rescue plan