Shetland construction firm transitions to employee-owned business

Shetland construction firm transitions to employee-owned business

DITT Construction Ltd, a Shetland-based construction company, has transferred its entire shareholding to an employee ownership trust (EOT).

The business originally started in 1974 and currently employs some 95 people. It has completed many of Shetland’s best-known buildings including Clickimin Swimming Pool, Shetland Museum and Mareel. DITT has a long-standing contract at Sullom Voe Terminal and operates a busy Builders Merchants shop.

The decision for this transformative shift came from the current shareholders, Gibbie Irvine, Roy Leask, George Smith and Peter Tait, who took over the business in a management buyout in 2000. This is seen as an ideal opportunity for the next generational change in the business ownership and management.

When considering succession options, central to the director’s thoughts was to keep the workforce secure and ensure that the company remains a vibrant and significant part of the Shetland economy.

Mr Tait: “Our success is due to the loyal team we have at DITT. We are committed to an annual intake of new apprentices to refresh the workforce and ensure that there are opportunities for all for training and development.”

“A sale to a third party would potentially have disrupted that philosophy. This move to employee ownership allows the company to continue to offer an excellent service to our clients, and secure long term employment opportunities.”

Shetland construction firm transitions to employee-owned business

He added: “A sale to an employee ownership trust lets us leave the company in safe hands. We have a very talented and experienced leadership team stepping up to take over greater responsibilities”.

The move facilitates a smooth exit for Gibbie, Roy and George who are stepping down as directors. Peter Tait is remaining as Managing Director in the meantime to ensure that the transition continues in a smooth manner.

Additionally, in the interim, the company has made three new board appointments in Lewie Tuloch, Steven Farquhar and Liam Spence, who will join long standing director John Tait.

Carole Leslie of Ownership Associates has provided specialist employee ownership support, with legal advice provided by Morton Fraser MacRoberts, whilst Irene Hambleton and her team at RSM provided financial and taxation advice.

The company is grateful for the funding support received from Highlands & Islands Enterprise to assist with the costs of transition.

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