RW Scott

Source: R&W Scott

(L-R): R&W Scott finance director Michael Hewitt, commercial director Clare McNeil, and managing director Stephen Currie

Lanarkshire-based ingredients supplier R&W Scott has started operating under an Employee Ownership Trust structure.

When adopting an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) model, all shares in a business are acquired by the EOT and are held in trust on behalf of the employees.

R&W Scott said this scheme will enable its staff to participate in and influence the company’s future direction without having to directly own or buy shares.

The business said the decision to create the new structure had been driven by the desire to sustain its independence and recognise that its success was down to the hard work and commitment of its employees.

“Many businesses in our sector are acquired by larger competitors or outside investors as they grow. To safeguard employment here and continue to deliver sustainable growth, we’ve created the R&W Scott Employee Ownership Trust,” said commercial director Clare McNeil.

The 144-year-old business was bought from Real Good Food in a management buyout led by R&W Scott managing director John Easton and fellow directors Stephen Currie and Michael Hewitt in 2018.

The leadership team this week said they have delivered on their five-year growth plan to safeguard employment and achieve EBITDA of £2m.

“Since we bought the business, we’ve delivered year on year growth, and our plan is to maintain that trajectory for the long-term benefit of our employees,” added McNeil.

The company has secured external funding for the transition to an EOT, with Shawbrook bank providing a hybrid funding facility, combining asset-based lending with a property and cashflow loan to support the acquisition from the original owners and assist with R&W Scott’s growth plans.

R&W Scott’s senior leadership team, including Currie, now managing director; McNeil; and Hewitt, finance director, will continue to oversee day-to-day operations. Easton is leaving the Carluke-based business but will hold a position on the trust board representing the outgoing shareholders.

The use of Employee Ownership Trusts is growing, with Prima Bakeries and Raynor Foods both adopting the structure in recent months.