DEVELOPERS are being sounded out to rescue major infrastructure projects across Scotland if leading construction firm Carillion collapses.

The firm is struggling under a £1.5 billion mountain of debt and plunging share prices, with lenders reportedly rejecting a proposed rescue plan.

With administrators now on standby, fears have been raised over the future of major Scottish infrastructure projects involving the construction giant.

These include a new £745 million Aberdeen bypass and plans to extend platforms at Edinburgh Waverley station to make way for longer electric trains.

Carillion also has major contracts to supply facilities management at 83 military sites in Scotland, as well as a 28-year contract managing the “elderly beds facility” at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

It is understood the Scottish Government has put contingency plans in place to plug the gap if Carillion collapses, covering both its facilities management and construction services.

A source said it had “dipped the toe” and “had conversations” with alternative developers and service providers.

Carillion – the UK’s second-largest construction company – is engaged in crunch talks with the UK Government and the Pensions Regulator in an attempt to avoid going into administration.

Unions have urged Westminster to step in to protect 19,500 jobs that are now at risk, with Unite insisting “all possible options” must be considered – including bringing contracts in-house.

Scottish Labour’s shadow economy secretary Jackie Baillie called on the Scottish Government to clarify the potential impact if Carillion collapses.

She said: “Carillion is a firm which has been awarded multi-million pound public contracts and if it was to fail, could cause a huge crisis." We urgently need to know just how exposed the Scottish Government and the public purse is if Carillion were to collapse.

“In particular, we need to know that there is no threat to the cost and completion of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, an issue I raised with the Cabinet Secretary months ago.

“The thousands of workers with Carillion and those in the supply chain servicing its contracts across the public sector will be desperately worried about the future and they too need to be reassured by the Scottish Government as a matter of urgency.”

As well as its Scottish projects, Carillion is a major supplier to the UK Government and a key contractor in the first phase of building the £56 billion HS2 rail line.

It is also one of the biggest suppliers of maintenance services to Network Rail and manages schools, roads and prisons.

The firm has seen its share price plunge nearly 80 per cent in the past six months after making a string of profit warnings and breaching its financial covenants.

Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said it was likely the Scottish and UK Governments had been working on contingency plans since financial difficulties at Carillion first became clear last year.

He said it was a “pretty messy situation”, adding: "The situation is pretty bleak.

“You can see that one the one hand, it’s in everybody’s best interest that Carillion continues, but at the same time it’s difficult to chart a way forward.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman insisted Carillion had “no intention of withdrawing” from the Aberdeen bypass project and that “they too remain committed to completing it in accordance with the contract”. The long-awaited route is due to be finished this year following lengthy delays.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We continue to liaise with UK Government colleagues to monitor and mitigate service risks associated with Carillion’s financial situation and stand ready to offer what assistance we can at this anxious time for the company’s employees and their families.”

The UK Government said a ministerial meeting to discuss the crisis took place on Thursday, with a spokeswoman adding: “We are carefully monitoring the situation while working to ensure our contingency plans are robust.”

Carillion said “constructive discussions with a range of financial and other stakeholders” were continuing.

A spokeswoman said: “It is too early to predict the outcome of these discussions but Carillion expects that any such agreement is likely to involve the raising of new capital and the conversion of existing financial indebtedness to equity which would result in significant dilution to existing shareholders.

“As part of its engagement with stakeholders, Carillion is in constructive dialogue in relation to additional short term financing while the longer term discussions are continuing.”