Wicker Pharmacy adopts employee ownership

Associated Chemists (Wicker), better known as Wicker Pharmacy, has adopted an employee ownership model.

The Sheffield-based pharmacy has created the Wicker Employee Trust, which has acquired a 10% shareholding to be held on behalf of all employees. Almost 70% of the shares are now owned by, or on behalf, of employees or retired employees.

Over the coming years, the Wicker Employee Trust will buy shares from the original shareholders and all employees will benefit from involvement in decision making, along with receiving a dividend in the form of a profit share.

Law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse advised the pharmacy on the adoption of the employee ownership model.

Martin Bennett, managing director of Associated Chemists (Wicker), said: “Among all the gloom and doom here, we have a model that potentially will allow pharmacies to develop in a more clinical manner with much more local autonomy. 

“I have great faith in our staff making a success of this venture.”

Graeme Nuttall, partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse and author of Sharing success – the Nuttall review of employee ownership, published in July 2012, said: “Wicker Pharmacy’s adoption of employee ownership demonstrates how well it works as a succession solution, and its versatility. 

“Employee ownership succeeds in businesses of all sizes and sectors, not just the life sciences and healthcare sector, delivering improved business performance alongside employee wellbeing. 

“In particular, employee ownership provides a flexible and attractive solution for shareholders wishing to sell their company.

“This business model received huge support from the government in 2012, which will continue throughout 2013. I expect to see an increase in the number of companies implementing employee ownership, at whatever stage of the business lifecycle, whether starting up, aiming for growth or as a succession solution.”