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Firm joins growing list

ERS follows switch to employee ownership

andrew-mackenzieLand remediation specialist Environmental Reclamation Services has become Scotland’s latest employee-owned business. 

ERS, which has offices in Bishopbriggs, Edinburgh and Inverness, has 28 engineers, scientists and support staff, working from offices in Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh and Jersey.  It has a turnover in excess of £3m.

The company was formed in Scotland in 1994 and became a subsidiary of an American company. In 2003 managing director Andrew Mackenzie led a management buyout.

Mr Mackenzie said:  “I wanted to find a more equitable business model that involved all employees in the firm.  We work together to devise innovative and workable solutions for our clients so it was important to me that everyone shared the company. 

“I had been attracted to the idea of employee ownership and spent some time researching the structure.”

Mr Mackenzie took advice from Scottish Enterprise and Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) before making the decision to transfer.

 He has sold his shares to an Employee Ownership Trust which will hold them on behalf of the employees.  The deal is financed by a vendor loan, repayable over seven years.  Mr Mackenzie will remain as managing director.

CDS director Sarah Deas added: “It is fantastic news that ERS has joined what is becoming a long and fast growing list of Scottish-based employee owned businesses.

“Employee ownership not only delivers proven benefits for the company and the employees, but also helps strengthen the local and national economies.

“Employee Ownership Trusts are fast gaining popularity as an ownership structure.  This is an effective means to align workforce with corporate goals, and harness the creativity and effort of employees to deliver an excellent service.”

As part of the move, the ERS board of directors has been expanded and will report to the company’s Employee Ownership Trust, governed by three Trustees including an employee representative and Carole Leslie, an employee ownership specialist who will serve as an independent Trustee.

Ms Leslie said:  “This is the third employee buyout I’ve supported this year.  ERS is a superb example of a successful company adapting its structure to best meet the aspirations of the employees and to secure the future of the company.”

ERS was advised on the legal requirement of the move by solicitor, James McGinn, and on the financial aspects by tax specialist John Todd of Johnston Carmichael.

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