Employees take over at Stewart-Buchanan

SPECIALIST manufacturer, Stewart-Buchanan group, has become an employee owned business in a move that safeguards 150 jobs.

The Kilsyth-based valve and pressure gauge manufacturing business, whose roots go back to 1870, has grown rapidly in recent years and now exports to more than 50 countries.

Its specialist valves and pressure gauges are used in a diverse range of sectors, including oil and gas, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, food and drink, heating and ventilation.

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Frank Phair, owner of the £8 million-turnover company, opted for the employee-owned option to secure the future of the business in the local community and to create a structure that would enable further growth.

The company also wanted to avoid selling to a competitor that could result in relocation, redundancies or closure. A transition to employee ownership has been guided by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), which provided funding for a feasibility study.

The Baxi Partnership provided specialist project management, including financial and employee engagement advice, while Wright Johnston MacKenzie provided legal advice.

The deal, which is for an undisclosed sum, involved the creation of an Employee Benefit Trust, which acquired the shares from Phair.

He said: “The business has a long relationship with Kilsyth and I was determined that it would be retained here, rather than be sold to a competitor.”

Sarah Deas, chief executive of CDS said: “It is a great example of how employee ownership can sustain good businesses in Scotland and provide them with a platform for further growth.”