Bechtel Group Inc., the giant engineering and construction company, is seeking to sell its information services subsidiary, a District-based company that collects and reproduces documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A spokesman for the San Francisco-based parent said the unit, Bechtel Information Services, "is a fairly negligible part of our business" and that management believes that the resources devoted to it would be better employed in the core engineering and construction businesses.

He said the parent has been trying to sell the company for months. "There have been discussions underway with more than one potential buyer," but no agreement has so far been reached, the spokesman said.

Bechtel Information Services operates SEC Express, which films documents that corporations file with the regulatory agency. These include disclosure statements, quarterly reports and the like. The Bechtel unit then sells hard copies or microfiches of these documents to buyers such as securities lawyers and trade publications.

For the past five years, Bechtel Information Services has been the prime contractor with the SEC for dissemination of these documents. Since October, however, the prime contractor has been BDM International Inc. of McLean, which is leading the development of an all-electronic system that someday may allow computerized filing and dissemination of the information.

Bechtel is continuing to provide the document service as a subcontractor to BDM, the Bechtel spokesman said.

Bechtel, a closely held company, would not provide any specific data about its subsidiary's sales, clients or potential buyers. However, there are a number of other companies that provide document services, and industry experts suggested that these would be the most likely potential purchasers of the unit.