Distressed construction companies Esor and Basil Read on Friday said they have asked the JSE to suspend their shares until they have ascertained the effect of their respective business rescue processes.

Esor said it had immediately suspended the listing of its shares after subsidiary Esor Construction filed for business rescue earlier in August. The group said the suspension was meant to shield Esor shareholders from the unknown outcome of the business rescue process.

"While the Esor construction board believes that there is reasonable prospect of rescuing the company, there is a possibility such outcome will not be achieved," Esor said on Friday.

Esor’s loss-making construction business owes creditors R130m and has been unable to obtain short-and medium-term funding. The business rescue comes after various efforts to save the firm failed. These include disposal of idle and noncore assets, refinancing of vehicles and equipment and renegotiating payment terms with suppliers and subcontractors.

Basil Read announced in June that it had entered into voluntary business rescue.

It said on Friday that the "effect of the business rescue on the listed group can only be quantified once the business rescue plan is available".