Monday 10 June 2019 2:04 pm
Outsourcer Interserve went into administration owing more than £100m to creditors
Interserve owed more than £100m to firms including accountants, local authorities and IT suppliers when it went into administration in March. The outsourcer owed its unsecured creditors £50.5m, while its secured creditors were due £55.4m, according to documents filed with Companies House. Read more: Interserve kicked off government’s late payments scheme Among the biggest losers were Grant Thornton, Interserve’s auditor. Interserve owed it £676,000, while it owed big four accounting firm PwC £493,000. Computing giant Microsoft was waiting to receive £616,000.
Wokingham council, a local authority in Berkshire, was due £102,000, while BT was owed £281,000.
IT firm Specialist Computer Care was owed £468,000.
Interserve went into administration after a lengthy battle with its rebellious lead shareholder, US hedge fund Coltrane Asset Management. The outsourcer was saddled with debt, and shareholders voted down a rescue plan which would have watered down their stake in the company significantly.
It remains on the government’s list of so-called strategic suppliers, meaning it is one of their favoured contractors. The company’s fall into administration has raised questions over the government’s policy of outsourcing public services to private sector firms.
Read more: BBC picks troubled outsourcer Interserve to provide security across its UK sites
The issue was thrust into the spotlight when outsourcing giant Carillion went bust in January last year. Carillion’s failure had a seismic effect on its supply chain when it stopped trading, and it later emerged it had owed around £2bn to 30,000 suppliers when it went under.
Britain’s accounting watchdog started investigating the audits of Interserve by Grant Thornton earlier this year. The Financial Reporting Council said in April it is looking into Interserve’s accounts in 2015, 2016 and 2017.