Architect may be able to stave off entering an agreement with creditors as third party offers future funding

Financially troubled architect Austin-Smith:Lord has received a lifeline to stave off having to enter an agreement with its creditors from a mystery third party.

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.

It was due to meet with creditors on Monday to thrash out a deal to pay only a fraction of its debts or lengthen the payment period under a company voluntary agreement (CVA).

However, now the meeting with creditors has been rescheduled for this Friday.

ASL said the delay was because it is exploring an offer from a third party to assist with funding and work going forward.

Partner Neil Chapman, said: “We are giving the received proposal serious consideration and assessing the merits of the offer for the practice, the project and our creditors.”

The architects’ firm was given a payment of £2.4m from the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage two weeks ago.

However, Chapman said: “While the fees received to date are not sufficient to avoid entering into a voluntary arrangement [with creditors], it is incumbent on us to ensure we explore all possible avenues to recover and improve the situation to maximum effect and for all concerned.”