Wed, 05 Jul 2023 | BUSINESS SALE
Glasgow-based Tough Construction has been acquired by an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) after its owners decided to sell in order to retire. Bob Leishman, George Duncan and Kenny MacKenzie, who took over the business in 2007, have sold the firm’s entire shareholding to the company’s staff.
The company has a headcount of more than 500 staff, meaning it is now the largest employee-owned business in the country. The deal will see Gary Hassan and Mhari Greer join the company’s board as commercial director and finance director, respectively, while Alistair Lauder has been promoted to managing director.
Lauder said that the company’s shareholders “are demonstrating tremendous vision in transferring their shareholding to the trust”, adding that he believed the transaction was “good for the company and for the employees.”
Outgoing shareholder Bob Leishman credited much of the company’s success to its staff, saying that it has relatively low turnover compared to other construction firms, as a result of the “opportunities”, including training and development, that it offers to employees.
Leishman added: "A sale to a third party may have disrupted that. This move to employee ownership allows the company to continue to offer excellent service to our clients, and secure employment for our people.”
“A sale to an employee ownership trust lets us have our exit, knowing that the company is in safe hands. We have a talented leadership team ready to take over and it’s time for the old guard to step aside. So far, the news has been well received by staff and clients.”
The business was founded in 1974 and mainly works on housebuilding projects covering central Scotland, Ayrshire, Fife and Perthshire. In the company’s accounts to the year ending July 31 2022, it reported turnover of £67.8 million, up from £57.9 million a year earlier, while pre-tax profits increased from £2.2 million in 2021 to £4.2 million.
At the time, the firm’s fixed assets were valued at £3.7 million and current assets at £24.9 million, with net assets amounting to £11.1 million.
Read about M&A in the construction industry.
Read more about Employee Ownership Trusts
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