40 staff become owners

MHB Consultants opts for employee ownership

 Hendrie Barbour, Alistair Gray, Fergus Aitchison

Civil engineering firm MHB Consultants has become employee-owned, with 40 members of staff given a stake in the business. 

Founded in Glasgow by managing director Hendrie Barbour in 2006, the firm specialises in bridge design, civil and geotechnical engineering, temporary works and land surveying.

Together with fellow directors Fergus Aitchison and Alistair Gray, Mr Barbour has grown the firm organically, with headquarters in Glasgow and regional offices in Edinburgh and York.

Mr Barbour explained: “All of us have been involved in building MHB, and we are proud of the successful business that it has become and the team of employees that we have. We don’t want any exit plans to impact what we’ve all built or change the way the business operates and our way of doing things.”

With a planned deal completion date of mid-2020, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic created some uncertainty over the timing, however the decision to go ahead was seen as a positive long-term statement and one that would engage staff moving forwards.

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“Goodwill from employees is important right now as we must all pull together in the right direction. What better way to do this than with all of us as owners?”

An Employee Ownership Trust has been formed and holds 100% of the shares on behalf of the employees.  The transition to employee ownership was supported by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), with the process managed by Co-ownership Solutions and legal services by Lindsays.

MHB clients include construction firms, transport agencies, local authorities, engineering consultants and private clients throughout the UK. 

There are now about 110 employee-owned companies in Scotland, with approximately 7,500 employee-owners generating a combined turnover of around £950 million.

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