Results season: Carillion has left a large hole in the market

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It’s results season again, but with a difference: no Carillion. The demise of one of construction’s biggest players has cast a shadow over the field

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There’s no getting away from it. This year’s results season for the major quoted contractors was overshadowed by the gaping Carillion-shaped hole that appeared after its collapse three months ago.

It was immediately apparent that many would be forced to book losses as a result. Within hours of the news it had gone bust, Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try, the firm’s partners in a joint venture to build a bypass around Aberdeen, said they were on the hook for up to £80m between them on the project. Others to put out stock exchange announcements that January day included M&E specialist T Clarke and tool rental firm Speedy Hire.

More than 50 announcements have since been made relating to the collapse, ranging from Kier’s news that it was taking on former Carillion staff through to piling specialist Van Elle’s revelation that it was facing a £1.6m hit.

There wasn’t much gloating that a rival had fallen, paving the way for others to step in. The feeling was that 15 January, the date that Carillion went down, was a bad day for the construction industry.

The revelations that came out in the parliamentary inquiry into the disaster made for great headlines and titillating reading – one of the most eyebrow-raising was that the business recovery plan Carillion presented to the government as a part of a proposed rescue package included the premise that it would recover £262m in claims on nine jobs. Not only that, it was going to get the money back by the end of 2020. It was extraordinary stuff, and many must have looked on in horror, shaking their head and thinking: not all contractors are run this way. 

In the middle of all of this, results season began.

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