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Tuesday, May 28, 2024


Expert advice on conversion to Employee-Ownership Trust (EOT) provided by accountants and business advisors Beever and Struthers and independent law firm Brabners

North West groundwork contractor and civil engineering specialist Fitfield has put its staff at the heart of the business by becoming employee-owned.

Established in 1990, the family-owned firm switched to Employee-Ownership Trust (EOT) status to ensure that any decisions taken by the business represent the best interests of its 60-strong workforce.

Operating from Trencher Close, Atherton, Fitfield completed the transition following expert advice and guidance from accountants and business advisors Beever and Struthers and independent law firm Brabners.

Fitfield managing director John Maxwell said the switch to being an EOT would preserve the independent status and family ethos of Fitfield, provide a structure for the long-term, continue a programme of staff training and development and deliver success for all employees.

He said: “We are one of a small but growing number of businesses in the UK to adopt this truly inclusive structure. After searching for the right model to suit our business needs and preserve our family ethos, the invaluable advice and support we received from Beever and Struthers and Brabners proved that employee-ownership was the ideal fit for us.”

As a client of Beever and Struthers managed by SME partner Shelim Rahman, John sought the firm’s expertise on EOTs and worked with a specialist team of Iain Round, partner and head of private sector, partner and head of corporate finance John Jones, tax partner Jacquie Adams and tax supervisor Mai Keung Liu on the conversion process.

Key elements of the switch to being an EOT undertaken by Beever and Struthers included a valuation of Fitfield, an assessment of its funding options and tax clearance, with Iain also introducing John Maxwell to the specialist EOT legal team at Brabners led by corporate partner, Stephen Hadlow.

Iain said: “After leading on this major exercise for John and his sister Maureen over several months and having applied our expertise to the many issues involved, it became increasingly obvious that an EOT was the best option to ensure a bright future for them and their colleagues at Fitfield.”

Stephen commented: “The successful transition to employee-ownership for Fitfield is yet more evidence of the growing strength of the employee ownership sector and its advantages as a viable business succession model. We were delighted to support John and Maureen alongside the team at Beever and Struthers”.

The majority of shares in Fitfield are now held in the EOT, with the trust operating via a trust board for the benefit of the entire workforce of the business.

Mr Maxwell said “This is an important evolution of our company and we look forward to continuing to work together to develop our business and making sure Fitfield has ongoing success.”

Embracing innovative construction techniques, Fitfield provides services including site clearance, foundations, slab construction, drainage, hard landscaping and roads and sewers to clients including housebuilders Redrow Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Homes.

Beever and Struthers has previously advised on a number of similar Employee Ownership transactions (EOT) including recruitment business, GPW Recruitment. Both Brabners and Beever and Struthers are members of the Employee Ownership Association, a rapidly growing body which represents organisations throughout the UK that are employee-owned or transitioning to employee ownership.

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