Interserve shares in freefall as support services sickness spreads

Oliver Gill
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Interserve is not the first support services and contracting firm to see its shares slide this summer (Source: Getty)

Interserve shares plummeted this morning after delivering a warning that had the hallmarks of problems that blighted its support services rivals.

The London-listed firm surprised the market with a double helping of bad news. More than £116m has been wiped off the firm's market cap this morning with Interserve's shares over 50 per cent down.

July and August trading was described as “disappointing” in a trading update. This was across both the firm’s support services and construction arms.

Meanwhile, Interserve admitted the cost of exiting its troublesome waste management contracts were soaring and were to “significantly exceed” the £160m previously guided.

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The announcement comes just days after chief executive Debbie White took up the role on 1 September. Interserve is still on the hunt for a new chief financial officer to replace the outgoing Tim Hayward.

Today's stock market announcement has echoes of an announcement by rival contractor Carillion earlier this summer.

Carillion grappling to gain control of its finances after revealing a £845m hole in its contracts in July and the departure of its chief executive. The firm's shares are worth less than a fifth of their value at the start of the year.

Meanwhile, Capita shares were hit last week after the restated some of its figures to comply with accounting standards on contracts.

And Mitie is in the regulator's crosshairs after identifying "a number of material errors" in its accounts.

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