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LONDON, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Shares in British construction and services firm Interserve dropped 14 percent after the Financial Times reported that ministers are “very worried” and have set up a team of officials to monitor the company.
The FT report came after the collapse of competitor Carillion earlier this week highlighted concerns over the outsourcing sector in Britain.
The Financial Times said that civil servants had monitored the contractor since a profit warning in September due to concerns over its financial health, citing government advisers and officials.
Interserve declined to comment on the report.
“Ministers are very worried about Interserve,” said one official, according to the FT, although another government aide said that there was “no comparison” with Carillion.
In September Interserve warned of lower annual earnings, sending shares crashing by more than 50 percent. It cost more that anticipated for the firm to exit from the waste-to-energy business, while its construction and services traded below expectations last summer.
However, a week ago Interserve said that 2018 operating profit would be ahead of forecasts, sending shares to their highest since the September profit warning. (Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)