Prominent Bath-based architects firm sold to employee ownership trust

Wed, 29 Apr 2020 | BUSINESS SALE

Simon Morray-Jones Architects, a prominent firm based in Bath and operating across the UK, has been sold to an employee ownership trust. The deal was supported by Castle Corporate Finance.

Established over 30 years ago by Simon Morray-Jones, the Bath-based firm is renowned for its work renovating and remodelling listed and historic UK buildings. It has worked on numerous Soho House Group properties, Andrew Brownsword Hotels and the Newt in Somerset.

With a team of 20, Morray-Jones had recently began to explore options for stepping back from the business. While discussing various strategies with Castle Corporate Finance, a sale to an employee ownership trust (EOT) was mentioned.

An EOT is a sale framework that is gaining popularity with businesses who would rather not sell to another firm in their industry. For Morray-Jones and his wife Berni, the option allowed that to realise the value of their business, while handing it over to their trusted team and remaining on hand for a time to ensure a smooth transition and to help train those being handed management responsibilities.

Victoria Ansell, director at Castle Corporate Finance, said: "We are seeing many business owners look at the option of an EOT, some of whom look at 0 per cent tax as being the main driver, but it really doesn’t work that way.”

"Simon and Berni embraced this framework as being the right thing for their team, as well as for them, and that gives me a lot of confidence that the business will go from strength to strength."

The firm’s most recent accounts, to the year ending July 31 2019, show it holding fixed assets of slightly over £21,000, with current assets of around £1.4 million and net assets amounting to over £1.2 million.

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