Top 10 QS MDA has carried out a restructuring to give staff and management a controlling interest in the firm.
To do this, the previous holding company has been replaced by a new one, MDA Consulting, in a deal led by chairman Charles Johnston and director Grant Tromans. This body will oversee trading companies Monk Dunstone Associates and MDA International, which have operations in Hong Kong, Belgium, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Johnston said the firm had also agreed a 10-year loan deal with HSBC. He said: "The bank has been fantastically supportive. We have not increased the indebtedness of the firm going forward. We will have extra working capital to expand the business."

The firm's old holding company, MDA Group plc, was last week placed in administrative receivership, which will be handled by accountant Robson Rhodes.

The deal was struck without managing director David Somerset, who resigned from the £12.5m-turnover firm early last week, before the restructuring. Somerset said in a statement that he would rejoin Haley Somerset, the QS he set up with Steve Haley in 1989.

Johnston said 53% of the shares would probably be owned by staff and management and 47% by investors, though this split has not been finalised. The investors will not include former MDA Group shareholder STG Holdings. Johnston said one-third of the shares would be held in a trust scheme for the 160 staff. He said: "We have brought the firm back into the control and ownership of the employees."

The board at the new holding firm will also include Bob Foxcroft, Steve Jones, Mike Jewell and finance director Ian Storrier.

Johnston said he hoped that MDA Group shareholders would support the proposal. He said: "A lot of them are former employees. I'm sure they will be pleased that their friends within MDA have had their jobs safeguarded. We are offering a stable future for the company."

He added: "We want to become a property bureau for clients, from investment advice to design development, construction advice and lifecycle costing."

According to Johnston, MDA's staff have welcomed the restructuring. "The buzz around the office has been fantastic," he said.