Carillion shares jumped more than 5% after the troubled infrastructure giant confirmed it had received multiple takeover bids for its UK healthcare business.
The company issued a market statement after a spate of media speculation about a possible sale, having flagged in its half-year report that discussions regarding its UK and Canadian healthcare businesses were “ongoing”.
“The Board of Carillion confirms that, consistent with Carillion’s announcement on 29 September 2017, it has received proposals from more than one credible counterparty for a possible acquisition of that business,” the company said.
“A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate.”
It sent Carillion shares up more than 5% or 2.5p to 46p in afternoon trading.
The announcement was welcome news for the firm which weeks ago revealed mammoth half-year losses totalling £1.15 billion, having been dragged down by a series of restructuring charges.
That was compared with an £84 million profit in the same period last year and included an £845 million write-down relating to support services contracts and a goodwill impairment charge of £134 million linked to construction activities in the UK and Canada.
It also made a fresh £200 million provision for support services contracts.
The poor results prompted another profit warning, with the firm saying full-year earnings would be lower than market expectations.
Carillion, which has around 43,000 staff worldwide, said total revenue is expected to come in between £4.6 billion and £4.8 billion, down from £4.8 billion to £5 billion.
The company has been reeling since its July profit warning, which prompted chief executive Richard Howson to step down as the group said it would need to bolster its balance sheet and was struggling to stay within its borrowing limits.
Since then, it has also parted company with its finance chief and announced a raft of senior management changes.