Allen Group, which is in the middle of a radical restructure, has sold subsidiary G Pearce Civil Engineering at a loss.
Rifsons Venture Capital has bought the Wiltshire-based civil engineering business for £19,000, with an additional £169,000 to come when an existing contract is completed.

But Allen will retain responsibility for Pearce's £3.75m bank debt and other debts of £700,000. In addition, it has agreed to chase creditors who owe the business £2.85m.

Allen finance director Neil O'Brien said the cost of the sale had been included in the announcement last month that the group was facing losses of at least £13m.

He said: "We've found a buyer, which is marginally better for us, but there's no significant difference." Allen also made Steve Corcoran chief operating officer this week.