Bright future for 150 employees who become shareholders in their own manufacturing business
Published by Anne Marie Hughes on Sat 09 Jun 12 @ 22:16
Employees of Stewart-Buchanan Gauges (Stewart-Buchanan Group) on the factory floor.
A leading Scottish specialist manufacturer has become employee owned, it was announced recently. The move safeguards the company's annual turnover of £8m and preserves 150 jobs.
Kilsyth-based Stewart-Buchanan Group, a valve and pressure gauge manufacturing business, says the deal will also provide a solid platform for further expansion.
With a history stretching back to 1870, the company has grown rapidly in recent years and now exports to more than 50 countries. Its specialist valves and pressure gauges are used in a diverse range of sectors, including oil and gas, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, food and drink, heating and ventilation.
When planning for his retirement the owner, Frank Phair, who led the company since the early 1970s, was faced with a succession dilemma. He wanted to secure the future of the business in the local community and create a structure that would enable further growth.
Most importantly the company wanted to avoid a sale to a competitor which could result in relocation, redundancies or closure.
The transition to employee ownership was initially explored two years ago. The process has since been guided and supported by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), which provided funding for a feasibility study and implementation of the new ownership structures.
The Baxi Partnership provided specialist project management, including financial and employee engagement advice while Wright Johnston MacKenzie provided legal advice.
The deal, which is for an undisclosed sum, involved the creation of an Employee Benefit Trust, which acquired the shares from Frank Phair.
The owner of Stewart-Buchanan Group, Frank Phair said: "I am delighted the company has been bought by the employees, securing its future in the local community.
"The business has a long relationship with Kilsyth and I was determined that it would be retained here, rather than be sold to a competitor. The company is now in great hands, and I wish the new employee owners every success."
New managing director Stephen Nicol added: "We would all like to thank Frank for providing us with the opportunity to acquire such a successful business. Stewart-Buchanan Group is in safe hands.
"The employee buyout team has had outstanding support from Frank, CDS, Baxi Partnership and Wright Johnston MacKenzie and, most importantly, from the employees, who have embraced this exciting opportunity to own their own business. I would like to thank them all."
Sarah Deas, chief executive of CDS said: "This is a positive step for Frank, the company and for jobs in Scotland. The deal means the retention of a successful business in its local community. It is a great example of how employee ownership can sustain good businesses in Scotland and provide them with a platform for further growth."
John Alexander, investment director, Baxi Partnership said: "Stewart-Buchanan Group has embraced a business model that promises to unleash creativity and productivity through a sustainable ownership structure.
"It has been tremendously exciting to support them in making the move into employee ownership and helping to set them on the path to further success."