Latest EOT

R&W Scott switches to employee ownership

Michael Hewitt, Clare McNeil and Stephen Currie

Bakery and confectionery ingredients supplier R&W Scott has transitioned to an employee ownership trust (EOT).

The current leadership team bought the 144-year-old business through a management buy out in 2018 and have delivered on their five-year growth plan to arrest losses, safeguard employment, and achieve annual EBITDA of £2m.

The decision to create the new ownership structure was driven by the desire to sustain the Carluke-based company’s independence and recognise the commitment of R&W Scott’s employees.

“Many businesses in our sector are acquired by larger competitors or outside investors as they grow,” said Clare McNeil, commercial director.

“To safeguard employment here and continue to deliver sustainable growth, we’ve created the R&W Scott Employee Ownership Trust.

“Since we bought the business in 2018, we’ve delivered year on year growth, and our plan is to maintain that trajectory for the long-term benefit of our employees”

Ms McNeil will continue to oversee day-today operations alongside Stephen Currie, managing director, and Michael Hewitt, finance director. John Easton will exit the business but will hold a position on the trust board representing the outgoing shareholders.

The management secured external funding to speed up the EOT transition process and was introduced to specialist bank, Shawbrook by advisers, HNH Group.

Shawbrook will be providing a hybrid funding facility, combining asset-based lending with a property and cashflow loan to support the acquisition from the original owners and assist with R&W Scott’s continued growth plans.

Harry Linklater, a director at HNH, said: “Having worked with the management at Scott’s since the development and execution of the 2018 MBO, and as a board adviser through the post buyout period that included the challenges of Covid and other operational challenges, it is rewarding to see the process through full circle to this EOT deal. 

“The delivery of the EOT deal has been a more detailed and drawn out process than initially envisaged, but that makes the end delivery of the project for management and employees alongside the support from Shawbrook all the more satisfying.”

There are now more than 200 employee-owned companies in Scotland.

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