Tricore Ltd moves into employee ownership

Aberdeen-based Tricore Ltd has become Scotland’s latest employee-owned business, with all members of staff becoming owners.

Tricore Ltd moves into employee ownership

Bill Bowie and Wallace Hay

Established in 1987 by Greg Henderson and Bill Bowie, Tricore Ltd specialises in the supply and refurbishment of industrial drill bits. It also provides a refurbishment service for new and used roller cone drill bits for use within the oil and gas, construction, HDD (Horizontal Direction Drilling) and mining industries. 

The firm has refurbished thousands of units for North Sea drilling operations from its facility in Blackburn Industrial Estate in Aberdeen, which is currently the largest bit refurbishment and maintenance facility in the UK.

Following the passing of owner Greg Henderson, the company had to think about the future ownership structure. 

An Employee Ownership Trust has now been formed and holds 100% of the shares on behalf of the employees. The transition to employee ownership was supported by Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), with the process managed by Ownership Associates UK, legal services by Blackadders and accountancy services by Anderson Anderson Brown (AAB).

Tricore Ltd moves into employee ownership

Wallace Hay

Wallace Hay, operations manager, said: “When Greg sadly passed away and Bill announced his desire to retire, the team were understandably concerned about what was going to happen.  After informing them about employee ownership though, they are extremely excited about the future. 

“Protecting jobs was an extremely important factor in our decision. Many employees have been with us for over 20 years and have played a vital role in the growth and success of Tricore. Moving into employee ownership gives job certainty to everyone who works here and enables them to have control of their future.

“Although they were initially surprised, the staff are very excited about the opportunities it will bring and have very much embraced the concept of employee ownership. Our new structure will also provide clarity over roles and the opportunity for the team to improve current working practices.”

Wallace added: “The transition has been pretty smooth despite complexity around multiple owners; we have been well supported by CDS, Ownership Associates UK, Blackadders and AAB. The help we received was invaluable in enabling us to go through the whole process seamlessly.  Although there have been a number of hurdles to jump over, there have been no real issues.”

Clare Alexander, head of Co-operative Development Scotland, added: “It is great that Tricore has joined what is becoming a long and fast-growing list of Scottish employee-owned businesses. The firm wanted a solution that would enable them to solve a difficult succession issue whilst ensuring that jobs were protected.

“By becoming employee-owned, the company is safeguarding highly-skilled jobs and retaining specialist skills. Employee ownership is a succession option that should be explored by businesses of all sizes and sectors.”

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