Fri, 01 Sep 2023 | BUSINESS SALE
Fuel distributor Highland Fuels has become the latest major company in Scotland to move to employee ownership after selling to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). Highland Fuels, which was founded in 1967, has transferred the majority of its shares to its more than 250 employees.
The firm’s chairman and owner George Shand, who previously led a management buyout (MBO) of the company in 2001, said that he and his fellow directors had sought a business plan and succession model that would ensuring operational continuity and long-term employment for the company’s staff, whilst also preserving its “rich heritage”.
Highland Fuels operates 16 petrol stations and 11 depots and has a fleet of more than 45 road tankers. The company delivers fuel to domestic and commercial customers throughout Scotland, delivering bulk fuel from its network of depots and also operates a network of service stations around Scotland.
Highland Fuels Managing Director Stephen Rhodes commented: “Employee ownership is perfect for us. It truly enables every single employee to benefit from the company’s advancement and provides the right platform for us to realise a positive culture, high engagement, and great performances as we progress to the future.”
Ownership Associates and law firm Burness Paull advised on the deal, with Carole Leslie of Ownership Associates saying: "This move demonstrates tremendous vision on the part of George Shand as the company’s owner and the board of directors.”
She added: “The sale to an EOT preserves that and protects the employment of the company’s workforce. Highland Fuels plays an important role in the Scottish economy. Employee ownership reinforces the company’s commitment to its workforce and the communities it serves"
The deal makes Highland Fuels one of 170 employee-owned businesses in Scotland, with more than 1,400 employee-owned firms across the UK. As owners face growing challenges in exiting their business and arranging succession plans that preserve jobs and a company’s identity, employee ownership trusts are becoming an increasingly popular solution.
Read about another Scottish firm to recently sell to an EOT:
Glasgow construction firm acquired by EOT
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