Civil engineering firm MHB Consultants has become employee-owned, with 40 members of staff given a stake in the business.
Founded by managing director Hendrie Barbour in 2006, MHB Consultants is an engineering design consultancy specialising in bridge design, civil and geotechnical engineering, temporary works and land surveying. Together with fellow directors Fergus Aitchison and Alistair Gray, Hendrie has grown the firm organically to 40 staff, with headquarters in Glasgow and regional offices in Edinburgh and York. Clients include construction firms, transport agencies, local authorities, engineering consultants and private clients throughout the UK.
Hendrie wanted to plan for his eventual exit over a number of years by considering succession options early, therefore allowing for a smooth transition. The management team wanted a solution that would ensure the business remained independent and retained the company’s strong values and culture.
We caught up with Hendrie to find out more.
“All of us have been involved in building MHB, and we are proud of the successful business that it has become and the team of employees that we have. We don’t want any exit plans to impact what we’ve all built or change the way the business operates and our way of doing things.
“With a planned deal completion date of mid-2020, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic created some uncertainty over the timing, however the decision to go ahead was seen as a positive long-term statement and one that would engage staff moving forwards.
“Goodwill from employees is important right now as we must all pull together in the right direction. What better way to do this than with all of us as owners?
“We are all genuinely enthused by the idea that there is a way of transferring ownership without needing to sell MHB to another company and risk destroying what has been built up over the years. We believe that employee ownership will be the start of an exciting new chapter at MHB.”
An Employee Ownership Trust has 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 Co-ownership Solutions LLP and legal services by Lindsays.
If you’d to know more about employee ownership and how it could help your business, please get in touch with us here using the ‘expert support’ option.