February 6, 2018 / 10:06 AM / a year ago

Carillion boss apologises to lawmakers for British company's collapse

LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The boss of Carillion, the British construction firm which collapsed last month, apologised to lawmakers on Tuesday as he faced questions over a failure which put thousands of jobs at risk.

Carillion, which employed nearly 20,000 people in Britain, collapsed on Jan. 15 when its banks halted funding, triggering Britain’s biggest corporate demise in a decade and forcing the government to step in to guarantee public services from school meals to roadworks.

“I’m truly sorry,” Interim Chief Executive Keith Cochrane said. “It was the worst possible outcome. This was a business worth fighting for and that’s certainly what I sought to do during my time as chief executive.”

Under questioning from lawmakers Cochrane said that net debt was too high at the end of 2016 and the company was trying to reduce it before it faced a deterioration of cash flow after March 2017.

Reporting by Paul Sandle and Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton

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