Big UK government contractor sees shares plunge on debt woes

LONDON — Carillion shares have fallen more than 25 percent as the construction and business services company that is one of the British government's biggest contractors struggles under 1.5 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) of debt.

The plunge comes as the Press Association reported that lenders to the construction giant effectively rejected a rescue plan proposed Wednesday.

Unions warn that 19,500 British jobs are at risk if Carillion can't reach a deal with creditors.

The opposition Labour's Party's spokeswoman on business issues, Rebecca Long-Bailey, says the collapse of Carillion "would have major implications for the outsourced government contracts the company holds, as well as the firm's thousands of workers, those in the supply chain and those who rely on Carillion's pension fund."

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