A civilian company becomes the property of its employees | Building News

Civil society Fitzgerald Contractors has become the latest company to be sold to an employee ownership trust.

The company, which had sales of £17.1million in the year to March 2021, was a subsidiary of Thomas Vale until it was acquired by chief executive Nick Coley in 2013 , following the takeover of its parent company by Bouygues UK.

A statement from the entrepreneur said that Coley and the existing board of directors will remain in place in their current roles, with “employee ownership providing greater opportunities for staff to influence business decisions through the formation of a employee council”.

This decision will give the 120 employees a stake in the company. The statement added that it would help retain staff during the current skills shortage and attract new staff.

Coley said, “We see an employee ownership trust model as a perfect fit for Fitzgerald’s philosophy and the thinking behind employee ownership has companies exactly like ours in mind.

“This is a very exciting milestone in the history of the company and one that secures the future of Fitzgerald for the benefit of all employees.”

A spokesperson for the company said it was on track to achieve £30million in revenue in its 2021/22 financial year.

There has been a growing trend for private owners to sell their businesses to employee shareholding trusts in recent years, following the implementation of the Finance Act 2014, which allowed sales to take place without incurring capital gains tax.

Dozens of companies have turned to the model in recent years, including Buckingham Group, Briggs & Forrester and Readie Construction.

Alice F. Ponder