Interserve employs 68,000 people worldwide, with around 45,000 of them in Britain. It ran into difficulty after a string of ill-advised acquisitions and loss-making contracts weighed on its finances and piled on debt, raising fears it could collapse into insolvency like rival outsourcer Carillion.

The GMB union, which represents Interserve workers, said the company’s turmoil showed outsourcing public sector contracts to private companies had been a “disastrous experiment”.

“Ministers have learnt absolutely nothing from the Carillion fiasco and are hell-bent on outsourcing public sector contracts.

“Shambolic mismanagement is putting jobs on the line and services in jeopardy. Our public services can’t go on like this.”

The rejected rescue plan would have handed Interserve’s lenders, which include banks and hedge funds, 95 percent ownership of the company in exchange for cancelling 485 million pounds ($641.95 million) of its debts, with existing investors’ holdings diluted to 5 percent.

A representative for Coltrane at the general meeting declined to comment on the situation, other than saing “I voted for Donald Trump” when asked how the firm had voted.

The pre-pack administration will wipe out all shareholder value.



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