Interserve moved into the crosshairs by Carillion conqueror hedge fund

Oliver Gill
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The London hedge fund that made the biggest gains betting against the fortunes of troubled contractor Carillion has turned its attention to downtrodden rival Interserve.

Shares in Interserve today plunged over 27 per cent after it warned trading had slowed, costs were spiralling and it was a facing a breach of its banking arrangements.

Marshall Wace, co-founded by Brexit-backing educationalist Sir Paul Marshall, has built up the biggest bet against Interserve’s fortunes, according to figures posted with financial regulators.

Read more: Hedgies had enough? Carillion short positions hit lowest level since May

In July, the hedge fund bagged millions within minutes when Carillion shares crashed. At that point, Marshall Wace had the biggest short position of all the hedge funds, some 3.7 per cent.

But in the weeks that followed, Marshall Wace closed out its punt against the fortunes of Carillion and is now one of the smaller listed short-sellers.

In the meantime, the hedge fund put Interserve into its crosshairs, steadily building up to its current 1.8 per cent bet against the firm.

Interserve and Carillion have both seen hundreds of millions of pounds wiped off their market capitalisation since the start of the year. Shares in the two firms are down 80 per cent and 85 per cent respectively.

A restructuring task force from EY has been helicoptered in by Interserve’s lenders. EY’s restructuring team are currently also advising the management team at Carillion.

PwC has been engaged by Interserve to face off against EY as contractor prepares for testing negotiations with its lenders.

Marshall Wace declined to comment.

Read more: Interserve shares are down 50 per cent: Here's why

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