Hemel Hempstead-based recruitment firm Protech has transitioned to employee ownership, transferring 100% of shares to an employee ownership trust (EOT) for its 14 employees.
Protech managing director Antony Cox, who bought the business in 2003 as part of a merger, owned 60% and director Roman Motyczak owned the remaining 40%. According to the duo, they started to think about succession planning a few years ago, but found that Covid-19 (Coronavirus) set them back five years and got them thinking about other ways of exiting the business.
The business appointed employee ownership consultancy Baxendale for EOT guidance and support throughout the process. It has tabled a four-year plan to pay back the loan, while also setting up an EOT board comprising of Motyczak, an employee-elected trustee, and an independent trustee.
Cox said: “It was a good choice for us, probably being too small for anyone to be interested in buying us as a commercial sale. Furthermore, it gives our staff complete control over their future, which is the opposite of what a commercial sale would bring.”
Motyczak explained that it helped to talk about the idea conceptually with an external adviser, before then being able to follow up and field questions.
He added: “Advisers had initially talked us through what it meant and the more we heard, the more we thought it ticked quite a few boxes on what we wanted to do. It gives those people that have worked with you, particularly over the two years of Covid, a chance to own the business and benefit from it.
“In our minds, it was that duty of care by them benefitting after we have sold the business, whereas if we’d sold to a third party they could have had their own plans, and before you know it the business has disappeared and all the staff have gone, and we would have felt quite guilty.”