A Perth-based company hopes to climb to success under the ownership of its 14 employees.
Tayplay, a manufacturer of rope, playground and climbing equipment for the playground and leisure industry, has announced it has become Scotland’s latest employee-owned business.
Founded in 1994 by Andrew Hoddle, Tayplay has developed into the UK’s leading supplier of rope playground equipment, manufacturing hundreds of net products, shipped worldwide every year. The company has an annual turnover of £2m.
Managing director Peter Will said: “Following the recession we experienced a difficult trading period and we were considering a trade sale.
“We could not agree terms and after a strategic review we decided to look more closely at the employee ownership business model.”
Co-operative Development Scotland, the arm of Scottish Enterprise that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models, then conducted a feasibility study.
Employee ownership (EO) emerged as as the right road ahead, and after two years the Riverview Business Park firm has reached that stage.
Mr Will continued: “We have been able to meet all of our targets in terms of the sale price, timescales and the fact we’ve been able to retain the business in Perth.
“EO is the ideal solution for retiring owners who want to preserve the ethos of the business and retain employment locally.
“It is also a reward for the staff as we wanted to recognise the contribution and commitment they’ve made to the company’s success.”
An Employee Ownership Trust has acquired a controlling interest in Tayplay and will hold shares on behalf of the employees, who will eventually own 100% of the company.
He continued: “We spent quite a bit of time working with specialist advisers, undertaking meetings with the staff to help them understand the concept of employee ownership.
“Our employees now really believe in the new model and we expect the degree of buy-in to increase now that the deal has gone through. As the employees begin to see and feel the reality of EO we expect their commitment to the company will grow and it will make recruitment easier.”
Scotland has 78 employee-owned companies, with approximately 6,500 employee-owners generating a combined turnover of around £900million.
Research shows that selling a company to its employees, or implementing an employee share plan, can boost productivity, increase employee engagement and keep the business in the community.