Lanarkshire jam-maker hands ownership of firm to its 92 staff

From left: the firm's top brass Michael Hewitt, Clare McNeil, and Stephen Currie. Picture: contributed.From left: the firm's top brass Michael Hewitt, Clare McNeil, and Stephen Currie. Picture: contributed.
From left: the firm's top brass Michael Hewitt, Clare McNeil, and Stephen Currie. Picture: contributed.
“We look forward to seeing the business grow as it progresses through this exciting stage of its journey.”

A historic Lanarkshire-based firm knowns for its jams and preserves is the latest Scottish business to move to employee ownership.

Premium bakery and confectionery ingredients supplier R&W Scott, which is located in Carluke, has announced that it is henceforth operating under an employee ownership trust (EOT). This sees all company shares acquired by the vehicle for the benefit of its employees – allowing R&W Scott’s 92 staff to participate in and influence the company’s future direction, without having to directly own or buy shares. Research published in May of this year showed that the number of employee-owned businesses operating in Scotland had grown to 286, up from 195 in 2022.

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The 144-year-old food-producer’s current leadership team bought the business through a management buy-out in 2018, and says it has delivered on targets including achieving core earnings of £2 million. This top team, including MD Stephen Currie, commercial director Clare McNeil, and finance boss Michael Hewitt, will continue to oversee the day-to-day operations. John Easton will exit the business, but will hold a position on the trust board representing the outgoing shareholders.

McNeil said: “Many businesses in our sector are acquired by larger competitors or outside investors as they grow. To safeguard employment here and continue to deliver sustainable growth, we’ve created the R&W Scott [EOT]. Since we bought the business in 2018, we’ve delivered year-on-year growth, and our plan is to maintain that trajectory for the long-term benefit of our employees.”

R&W Scott’s management team opted to secure external funding to speed up the EOT transition process and was introduced to specialist bank Shawbrook by advisors HNH Group. Consequently, the lender will be providing a hybrid funding facility to support the acquisition from the original owners, and assist with R&W Scott’s continued growth plans.

David Cayzer, director at Shawbrook, said: “EOTs have become a more prevalent option in the market, and we have supported a wide range of organisations with funding to fast-track these transitions. We are delighted to be working with Michael and the team at R&W Scott with funding for their EOT, and look forward to seeing the business grow as it progresses through this exciting stage of its journey.”

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