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A technical textiles manufacturer with a Tayside heritage, Scott & Fyfe moved from family to employee ownership to keep the business in Tayport.

Scott Fyfe staff at work

The Tough family had owned Scott & Fyfe since the early twentieth century. In the wake of the 2008 recession the future of the company as a family-owned business was in doubt. The chairman suggested employee ownership to solve the problem of succession, and the company adopted the model in 2012.

Employee ownership

By implementing the employee ownership model, the family was able to realise their value in the business in a way that suited them, while achieving their aim of continuity in Tayport.

Richard Tough, former owner of Scott & Fyfe

The family sold the company to an Employee Benefit Trust, and the two sons reinvested their proceeds to fund the company’s future.

All employees received £500 of shares. The company also set up profit participation, share incentive, and share purchase schemes to give employees a route to direct ownership.

The company built a website to explain the details of the move to the employees. It also issued boarding cards to welcome all staff as employee owners.

There’s one elected employee director, and two elected employee trustees. The employee forum expanded to include two elected employee members.

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Watch: Nick Kuenssberg explains the process and how employees have embraced the change.
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The impact

The biggest change has been in the attitude of the employees: they are committed and beginning to think like business owners. There’s been a noticeable increase in camaraderie across teams, and the staff have a deeper understanding of the business.

Find out more about employee ownership