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Staff fear for jobs as Jarvis crisis deepens

Chief executive Kevin Hyde looks to slash firm's overheads as share price continues to slide

STAFF at crisis-torn Jarvis are bracing themselves for major job losses even if the support services specialist survives its current financial meltdown.

More than 7,500 people are employed by the company, which saw its share price collapse 80 per cent in just two days of frantic selling following a doom-laden trading statement last Friday.

One analyst warned: 'If the company survives it is sure to be at a much smaller level than the current business so there will be a lot of people out of a job.'

That sentiment was confirmed by chief executive Kevin Hyde, who said: 'We are taking very significant overhead cost out of the business.'

The share price was decimated following an announcement that Jarvis had breached its banking covenants and been hit by another £156 million in write-offs as debt levels soared to £230 million.

One industry expert said: 'Jarvis is mirroring what happened with Amey in terms of write-offs and a collapse in the share price.

'Amey was saved when Ferrovial came in to buy it at a knock-down price, but I can't see that happening with Jarvis, the story is just too bad.'

Jarvis is due to announce its latest results by the end of this month and chairman Steven Norris was putting on a brave face this week.

He said: 'The new Jarvis will emerge as a stronger, leaner company with a substantial turnover, able to meet its customers' needs and rebuild shareholder value.'

The share price crash represents the latest stage of a rollercoaster ride for investors since exchairman Paris Moayedi bought into the firm a decade ago.The value of the company peaked as Jarvis snapped up work in the newly privatised rail maintenance market, became a major player in PFI education projects and picked up a stake in the tube privatisation.

But troughs were caused by the Potters Bar train crash, cuts in rail spending culminating in Network Rail taking work in house and last week's debt admission.