Latest firm to make switch

Bentleys staff join up for employee ownership


Joinery manufacturer and interior fit-out specialist, Bentleys Shopfitting, has adopted an employee ownership model for its 50 staff.

Established in 1987, the Dundee-based company’s notable clients include The Old Course Hotel and Spa in St Andrews, Gleneagles Hotel in Auchterarder and the Balmoral and Sheraton Grand Hotels in Edinburgh.

Turnover in the current financial year is expected to exceed £8 million.

Managing director Alan Walker said:  “We wanted a succession plan which would allow us to continue in the business over a period of years whilst supporting a management team that will continue to drive the business forward.

“The involvement of all employees in the ownership of the business will be a major boost.

“In addition to our 50 staff we have a network of local suppliers and subcontractors who rely on our business. Other options were considered but the priority of the board was to ensure the business remained local.”

An Employee Ownership Trust will buy the shares from the shareholders and hold these on behalf of the employees.  Tax incentives will be available to allow employees to invest in the company.

Bentleys was supported in its transition to employee ownership by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), the arm of Scottish Enterprise which promotes collaborative business models.

CDS director Sarah Deas said: “2016 has been a tremendous year for transitions to employee ownership as more companies recognise its effectiveness in harnessing the effort of employees, preserving company ethos and rooting businesses in the local area.”

Recent research showed there are 79 employee-owned companies in Scotland, with approximately 6,500 employee-owners generating a combined turnover of around £900 million.

Carole Leslie of Ownership Associates, an employee ownership specialist who also supported Bentleys, added: “Bentleys is a superb business and a great example of visionary owners choosing a model that protects employment, keeps the company local and has been proven to deliver improved commercial success.”

Bentleys was advised on the legal requirement of the move by MacRoberts and on the financial aspects by accountancy firm Henderson Loggie.

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