Perthshire glazing business becomes nation’s latest employee-owned firm

An employee ownership trust has been formed and holds 100 per cent of the shares on behalf of the employees. Picture: Contributed
An employee ownership trust has been formed and holds 100 per cent of the shares on behalf of the employees. Picture: Contributed
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A Perth-based glazing company founded 25 years ago has joined the growing number of employee-owned businesses in Scotland.

A dozen members of staff have now become the owners of Balhousie Glazing, which operates throughout Perth, Dundee and beyond, providing services such as windows, doors and patio installation and the building of conservatories, porches and orangeries. It has a turnover of more than £1.2 million.

Malcolm Sweeney, who co-founded the business in 1993 with Drew Hay, said: “Drew and I had been discussing the issue of succession, and as neither of us had family members in the business, the only option we were really aware of at the time was a traditional trade sale.

“We would likely have been purchased by a rival company – something we didn’t want. A lot of our staff have been extremely loyal, and it was essential to us that we safeguard their jobs.

“Being employee-owned would anchor the company in the local area, keeping our team’s extensive skills here too.”

The firm made contact with Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) before proceeding with the employee buyout.

Hay said: “As well as retaining jobs, employee ownership will ensure the business maintains its values and ethos.

“Much of our work comes from word-of-mouth recommendations, and our reputation, which we have been building for 25 years, is very important to the success of the business.”

An employee ownership trust has been formed and holds 100 per cent of the shares on behalf of the employees. The transition to employee ownership was supported by CDS, with the process managed by CDS’ Alistair Gibb and legal services by Gilson Gray.

Sarah Deas, director at Co-operative Development Scotland, the arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies that promotes employee ownership, said: “Malcolm and Drew wanted a solution that would ensure job security for their loyal staff and a continuation of their company’s hard-earned reputation.

“The fact they made their final decision to go down the employee ownership route after speaking to the founders of other employee-owned businesses is a real testament to the benefits of the model, and we are confident Balhousie Glazing will prosper as a member of the employee ownership community.”

Sweeney added: “We are now very excited for the future of Balhousie Glazing.”