Employee ownership for Perth leisure business Tayplay

A Perth-based manufacturer of rope, playground and climbing equipment for the playground and leisure industry has given its 14 members of staff the chance to become owners in the business.

Perth-based Tayplay becomes Scotland's latest employee-owned business. Picture: Contributed
Perth-based Tayplay becomes Scotland's latest employee-owned business. Picture: Contributed

Founded in 1994 by Andrew Hoddle, Tayplay has an annual turnover of £2 million. An employee ownership trust has bought a controlling interest in the firm and will hold the shares on behalf of employees, who are expected to eventually own 100 per cent of the company.

Managing director Peter Will said: “Following the recession we experienced a difficult trading period and we were considering a trade sale. However, we could not agree terms and after a strategic review we decided to look more closely at the employee ownership business model.

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“Co-operative Development Scotland then conducted a feasibility study and we quickly discovered employee ownership ticked all of our boxes. No other options were even seriously considered at that stage.”

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Sarah Deas: Employee ownership is a viable route to succession

Co-operative Development Scotland is the employee ownership support arm of Scottish Enterprise, and chief executive Sarah Deas said: “Tayplay is a very successful business and the owners wanted to ensure that continued before their retirement. It was also important to them that the ethos of the company was preserved and that the employment was retained in Perth; employee ownership is the perfect solution for that.

“By becoming employee-owned, the company is safeguarding highly-skilled jobs and keeping specialist skills alive. Employee ownership is a succession option that should be explored by businesses of all sizes and sectors.”

There are 78 employee-owned companies in Scotland, with about 6,500 employee-owners generating a combined turnover of some £900 million.