Raymond Doherty 19 Feb 2018 04:14pm

Carillion investors considered legal action

Kiltearn Partners, who held 10% of Carillion's shares, said that if the business had not collapsed they would have sued for losses

In evidence presented to the joint committees investigating Carillion, Kiltearn Partners also said it is “currently monitoring” the Financial Reporting Council’s investigation into whether KPMG breached any rules, including the ethical and technical standards for auditors.

KPMG is set to be questioned by the committee on Thursday.

Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee, said, "Investors spotted that Carillion was heading for disaster and fled. The company had unsustainably high levels of debt, weak cash-generation and was saddled with a widening pensions deficit. It's a tragedy for those who have lost their jobs and the suppliers left struggling for survival that Carillion directors ignored these issues.

Reeves said Carillion's annual reports “were worthless as a guide to the true financial health of the company.”

“The fact that it was impossible to get a true sense of the assets, liabilities and cash generation of the business raises serious questions about Carillion's corporate governance. KMPG will have to explain why they signed-off on accounts which appeared to bear so little relation to reality,” she added.

Last week the Big Four were accused of “feasting” on the “carcass” of Carillion after receiving a combined total of £71.6m in fees.

The Work and Pensions and BEIS,Committees asked KPMG, PwC, EY and Deloitte to outline their involvement with Carillion over the last 10 years.

Last month Carillion filed for compulsory liquidation after talks with potential lenders failed, putting thousands of jobs and businesses at risk.

After receiving letters from the four firms, the joint committees revealed that KPMG was paid a total of £20.2m for its work on Carillion since 2008, with £16.8m coming from the company itself and £3.4m from government work.
PwC was paid the most out of the four firms in fees. It received a total of £21.1m, with £8.5m from Carillion, £6.5m from the government and £6.1m from pension schemes.

You can read our full interview with KPMG chairman Bill Michael on the firm’s work with Carillion here.