Construction portal Asite has gained permission for a debt-to-equity deal from the stock exchange's takeover panel
The portal, which is listed on the alternative investment market, is intending to restructure its capital arrangements to boost the loss-making business. This will include a £7m loan from founding director and property magnate Robert Tchenguiz to improve its balance sheet.

Under the deal, Tchenguiz's loan will be repaid in the form of Asite shares in the next year. This would mean that Tchenguiz's shareholding in Asite would rise to 59.3%, which under normal circumstances would trigger a bid for the firm. However, Asite will convert nearly half of them to "B ordinary shares", which will not be traded on the AIM and will not have voting rights.

Gordon Ashworth, Asite's finance director, said the firm had received consent from the takeover panel for this arrangement.

As part of the rearrangement of Asite, it will increase its stake in Asite Solutions, its trading arm, from 84% to 100%, and will offer options to buy up to 80 million new shares to customers and shareholders such as BAA, Laing O'Rourke and Stanhope.

Ashworth said Asite Solution's losses were the result of investment in equipment and services, and that the loan would cover them.

He said of the restructuring: "It's tidying things up. It will improve our balance sheet and will reduce gearing and debt on both businesses."

Ashworth added that he hoped the deal would expand Asite's customer base, which has largely centred on its major shareholders. He said: "Obviously for a company with lot of debts, it's quite difficult to persuade people to do business with us. With this deal we will be able to do business with other clients."

The restructuring proposal will be put to shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting of the firm on 21 July.