Austin-Smith:Lord is in talks with another construction industry firm about a possible rescue plan, which would see it being taken over

Financially struggling architect Austin-Smith:Lord could be bought out as part of a deal to rescue it from massive debts to its creditors.

Austin-Smith:Lord (ASL) has found itself in financial difficulty in recent weeks after unpaid fees from the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage for work designing a cultural quarter in the centre of the city reached £11.3m.

Now the firm is talking to a third party about a possible takeover, it emerged today.

Neil Chapman, partner at ASL, said: “The options range between us retaining some controlling interest in the project and forming an alliance with another firm, through to us getting entirely taken over or coming to some sort of buy-out solution, but that’s pretty extreme.”

The firm has already put back a meeting with its creditors to agree how it might pay back some of its debts from yesterday to this Friday.

ASL was paid £2.4m out of the total £11.3m owing from the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage two weeks ago and Chapman confirmed it is expecting further payments in December.