The management team at Laing's last remaining contracting business has launched a bid to buy it.
Holloway White Allom was put up for sale by Laing last November along with the rest of the group's property arm, but it will not be sold as part of that deal. City sources say the management of Holloway White Allom has already appointed legal and financial advisers and made its interest known to Laing.

A source said: "Clearly, Holloway White Allom does not fit with the new shape of Laing. It's an open secret that the management is in talks to buy the business and is in a very strong position. The management is ready to move."

Sources said a buyout was the most likely outcome because companies interested in acquiring the property division would not be in need of a contractor as well.

A Holloway White Allom spokesman said: "Laing is looking at the potential disposal of Holloway White Allom, but no final decision has been made."

The management is in a very strong position and it’s ready to move

City source

Holloway White Allom, which was founded in 1880, specialises in high-end contracting. It was the main contractor for Oxford University's Saïd Business School and the New Haberdashers' Hall in London. The £50m-turnover company also refurbishes large and listed homes in south-east England.

The sale will end Laing's 153 year involvement in contracting. It sold its main construction business, which had lost £195m in three-and-a-half years, to Ray O'Rourke for £1 last September.

Laing announced last week that the sale of its construction business was expected to cost it £117m. The company added that it had come to an agreement with the DTI and subcontractors regarding the troubled National Physical Laboratory project at Teddington, south-west London, on which it has taken a £70m hit. The firm did not say what the agreement involved.