Lessons from Carillion: are massive construction companies a sub-prime toxic asset class?

15th January 2018

In the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, bad residential mortgages were agglomerated, packaged, rubber-stamped with a higher security rating than was merited and then sold as securities to investors. Massive construction companies are comparable in that their underlying value is linked to their order book of agglomerated contracts. This packaged group of contracts is analysed and then – much like in 2008 – rubber-stamped with a value. Do investors and the financial markets truly understand the underlying value of massive construction companies? In light of Carillion, is it time to ask whether valuation techniques used by auditors/valuers are sophisticated enough to examine the underlying, deep-down value of massive construction companies. Also, if it happened to Carillion, why can’t this happen to another massive contractor?