Scottish Enterprise is hosting an event in Dundee on 24 May designed to encourage local businesses to consider their strategies for succession.
The event, delivered by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), the arm of Scottish Enterprise that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models, hosts speaker slots from local employee-owned business Bentleys Shopfitting Ltd, law firm MacRoberts and accountancy firm Henderson Loggie.
The event, held in the Discovery Point in Dundee, is part of a series of masterclasses from CDS on the topic. The sessions are intended to cover the importance of succession planning with a review of the range of options available, including employee ownership.
Bespoke joinery manufacturer and interior fit-out specialist, Bentleys Shopfitting Ltd, completed its transition to employee ownership in December 2016. The shareholders were seeking to secure a future exit from the firm in a way that protected the company's reputation and employment. Financial director Bob Anderson is speaking at the event and will look at how the shareholders arrived at the decision to move into employee ownership, and how the process worked.
Commenting, Bob Anderson said: “We wanted a succession plan that not only kept the business in Dundee but that would also allow us to continue in the business over a period of years whilst supporting a management team that would drive the business forward.
“The easy option would have been to sell the business; Bentleys is well known for craftsmanship and service delivery and with a portfolio of blue-chip clients, there was likely to be a good chance of success. However, we were acutely aware that any potential buyer would be from outside the city and there was a strong likelihood that jobs would be lost, both from our workforce and from our local supply chain.
“Although it is early days, we firmly believe employee ownership was the best outcome for all parties. The former shareholders are happy and our employees’ jobs are safe. A real win all round.”
Bentleys was advised on the legal requirement of the move by MacRoberts LLP and on the financial aspects by accountancy firm Henderson Loggie. Representatives from both firms will also be attending the event and will talk through the legal aspects of the transaction, how the financials worked and how tax considerations impacted on the deal.
CDS’ research estimates approximately 16,000 employers in Scotland are looking to transfer ownership in the next five years.
CDS director Sarah Deas added: “Our overall aim is to support owners in developing ownership succession strategies. Business owners who are considering an exit from their company and are interested in employee ownership should attend this event to hear expert advice.”