Aberdeen-based drill-focused firm moves to staff ownership

From left: MD Bill Bowie with operations manager Wallace Hay. Picture: Scottish Enterprise.
From left: MD Bill Bowie with operations manager Wallace Hay. Picture: Scottish Enterprise.
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An Aberdeen-based company that is a major player in the supply and refurbishment of industrial drill bits has become Scotland’s latest employee-owned business.

Tricore was set up in 1987 by Greg Henderson and Bill Bowie, and provides a refurbishment service for new and used roller cone drill bits for use in the oil and gas, construction, horizontal direction drilling and mining industries.

Wallace Hay said employee ownership ticked all of the firms boxes. Picture: Scottish Enterprise.

Wallace Hay said employee ownership ticked all of the firms boxes. Picture: Scottish Enterprise.

The firm has spruced up thousands of units for North Sea drilling operations from its facility in Blackburn Industrial Estate in Aberdeen, which it says is the largest bit refurbishment and maintenance facility in the UK.

It also said it had to consider its future ownership structure following the passing of owner Greg Henderson.

Wallace Hay, operations manager, said: “We had to come up with an ownership solution that allowed equity to be released to Greg’s estate and Bill to retire but also ensured the future security of the company and safeguarded jobs.”

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He said employee ownership ticked all of the firm’s boxes – both protecting its “ethos” and the existing team and providing a “satisfactory solution” for the previous owners.

An employee ownership trust has been formed and holds 100 per cent of the shares on behalf of staff. “Protecting jobs was an extremely important factor in our decision,” Hay added.

“Many employees have been with us for over 20 years and have played a vital role in the growth and success of Tricore.”

The transition to employee ownership was supported by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), with the process managed by Ownership Associates UK, legal services by Blackadders, and accountancy services by Anderson Anderson Brown.

CDS boss Clare Alexander praised Tricore joining “what is becoming a long and fast-growing list of Scottish employee-owned businesses” – who now number about 110.