Wright Johnston and Mackenzie Solicitors

Employee Incentives and Ownership

We set up share schemes and other cash based plans that deliver fair and tax efficient incentives for employers and employees. We help the owners and employees of private companies to fund and establish employee buyouts & ownership structures.

We have been active in this area since the employee buy-outs that took place in the 1980’s during the privatisation of the ports and bus industries. However we’ve always believed that our core market was helping private companies whose shares are not traded publicly.

It is more difficult - but not impossible by any means - for private companies to give a valuable equity-based incentive as part of a package to recruit and retain key staff. You may want to use share options, an employee benefit trust, or a share incentive plan or to design a bespoke package that aligns the interests of owners and employees.

Alternatively you might prefer to hold on to shares and provide cash based rewards for staff who help to build the value of the business or who achieve their own targets.

There are a number of tax benefits available to employers and employees when structuring incentive packages and we can advise you on the best application of these benefits to your own individual circumstances.

We also believe that employee buy-outs are an attractive option for owners who want to sell their company (EBO). An EBO has many advantages for the owners and the employees:

  • There is no need to give business information to competitors
  • The company stays independent, providing continuity for customers
  • You are not selling out your employees but doing them a good turn
  • The deal can usually be done relatively quickly - it is win-win, which makes negotiations friendly
  • You receive fair market value for your shares
  • Employee ownership tends to enhance productivity and business performance
  • The public perception of employee buyouts is positive - you get good publicity
  • The local community tends to benefit from having companies owned locally
  • The employee shareholders can influence the future direction of their company and can create an internal market to buy and sell shares

Employee owned businesses we have helped

We have helped Baxendale (formerly called Baxi Partnership Limited) the UK ‘s leading funder of EBOs in eight deals to date, but we're still counting. The list includes:

  • Woollard & Henry, Aberdeen
  • UBH International, Lancashire
  • Loch Fyne Oysters, Argyll
  • Highland Homecarers, Inverness
  • Stewartry Care, Dumfries

We have also advised on the formation and governance structures of other employee-owned businesses, including:

  • Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative, Dalmeny
  • G3baxi partnership, London
  • The Taylor Clarke Partnership, Glasgow

We have also advised on other initiatives in community ownership, including helping the Clyde Supporters’ Trust to acquire control of their Scottish football club.

We have the experience to deliver schemes that align the interests of the company, the owners and the employees, to the benefit of all. We are well connected in the market and we are imaginative in creating flexible and innovative schemes.