Falkirk book firm Palimpsest moves to employee ownership

Staff and directors at Palimpsest now own the company, including managing director Craig Morrison (third from left in back row), director Ruth Morrison (seated left), director Andy O'Neill (fourth from left in back row), director John Forsyth (sixth from left in back row) and trustee director Sarah Eddie (far right in lower row). Picture: Contributed
Staff and directors at Palimpsest now own the company, including managing director Craig Morrison (third from left in back row), director Ruth Morrison (seated left), director Andy O'Neill (fourth from left in back row), director John Forsyth (sixth from left in back row) and trustee director Sarah Eddie (far right in lower row). Picture: Contributed
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A Falkirk-based book producer has transitioned to employee ownership, the latest of some 100 Scottish companies to become owned by its workers.

Palimpsest Book Production announced it is now employee-owned, with 21 staff members given a stake in the business through the establishment of an employee ownership trust.

The company, which provides pre-press services such as proofreading and design, was founded by Craig and Ruth Morrison in 1994.

The pair wanted to ensure they had a succession plan in place for when they decide to retire, and chose to progress with the employee ownership model after Craig Morrison attended a seminar organised by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), the arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies that supports collaborative and employee ownership business models.

He said: “We were immediately attracted to the idea of transitioning to employee ownership because it would enable us to realise part of our investment while continuing to work in the business until we are ready to retire.

“Employee ownership will also ensure that Palimpsest continues to thrive, offering employment and careers in Scotland into the future.

“Ruth and I are delighted we now have a succession solution in place, though have no plans to retire for a while yet.”

The two founders have now sold a controlling interest in the business to the employee ownership trust which will hold the shares on behalf of the 21 employees and allow them to participate in the future success of the business.

Sarah Eddie, newly elected employee trustee at Palimpsest, said: “I’m delighted to have been elected to this position by my colleagues.

“Palimpsest has an exciting future ahead and I look forward to our continued growth under the Employee Ownership Trust.”

CDS director Sarah Deas added: “It’s excellent to see yet another business recognising the many benefits of employee ownership, and we are confident the decision will see Palimpsest further cement its position as a market leader in the UK’s book production sector as it continues to flourish and grow.”

Deas recently noted that employee-owned businesses operating in Scotland have trebled in the past five years to encompass some 100 companies, with around 7,000 employee-owners generating a combined turnover of about £940 million.

Palimpsest’s transition to employee ownership comes one week after the Scottish Government unveiled plans to increase the number of worker-owned businesses in Scotland five-fold, to around 500, by 2030.

A newly created industry leadership group, called Scotland for EO, will be backed by £75,000 of Scottish Government funding.

Speaking last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “All the evidence tells us that employee ownership delivers benefits to business performance, the people who work in them and the places in which they are located.

“The health of the Scottish economy depends on having a diverse range of business types and employee ownership clearly has an important role to play in that.”