Much of this growth was driven by acquisitions. By purchasing rivals such as Mowlem and Alfred McAlpine, Carillion removed competitors for major contracts.
The ill-fated purchase of Eaga, a supplier of heating and renewable energy services, proved a turning point.
Prior to the purchase, Eaga had made accumulated profits of £31m. Five consecutive years of losses followed, totalling £260m at the end of 2016.
The disastrous purchase cost Carillion £298m.
This came at a time Carillion was refusing to commit further funds to addressing a pension deficit of £605m.
That problem itself was largely attributable to acquisitions: when Carillion bought Mowlem for £350m in 2006 and Alfred McAlpine for £565m in 2008 it also bought responsibility for their pension scheme deficits.
It was storing up problems for the future.
Over the course of 19 years Carillion became a giant and unsustainable corporate time bomb. Carillion’s collapse was sudden and from a publicly-stated position of strength.