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Struggling ASL offered less than half of Abu Dhabi debt

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Austin-Smith:Lord (ASL) has been offered just £1.5million towards the remaining £4 million it believes it is still owed by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH)

The practice went into company voluntary arrangement in November last year with ASL claiming the authority owed around £11 million in unpaid fees for work on a then top-secret cultural quarter scheme. According to insolvency practitioner BDO, the company has since recovered more than £5 million from ADACH but was forced last month to close its London office last month and has also shut its Manchester outpost.

Even if the ADACH offer is accepted, the money will not be paid to ASL’s creditors until on-going, legal claims for £781,000 in wages by 14 ex-employees in Abu Dhabi are resolved.   

Meanwhile it is understood ASL has received an increasing number of unfair dismissal claims from the 97 employees made redundant last year.

Despite the difficulties ASL has managed to pick up a major job in the last week - the £14 million second phase development at Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Llandaff campus.

The practice has already completed the University’s School of Management (pictured) and the new building is expected to open its doors in September 2014.

ASL’s Tim Young said: ‘This is a further opportunity for us to work with a creative and forward thinking client which recognises the importance of high quality design. By adopting a collaborative approach we have already begun to develop ideas that will lead to a flexible, highly sustainable and inspirational building that will greatly add to the student experience at the Llandaff Campus.’

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