Hill Samuel, the group's newly-appointed merchant bank, is expected to propose swapping pounds 500m of Isosceles debt for equity. Wasserstein Perella, the US investment bank that holds 30 per cent of the shares, is likely to object to any dilution in its holding.
Gateway's problems come on the back of depressed trading at its 650 supermarkets and a management crisis. Two months ago, Bob Willett, the group's chief executive, was forced to resign, with Alistair Mitchell-Innes, head of Isosceles, taking over temporarily. Headhunters are searching for a permanent chief executive for the supermarket chain.