BDO advises Airtech Controls on Employee Ownership transaction

Airtech team

Accountancy and business advisory firm, BDO LLP, has advised Airtech Controls Limited on the sale of the Selly Oak-based business to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

The newly-formed EOT – a special form of employee benefit trust – has acquired 100 per cent of the company shares in a deal that will facilitate wider employee-ownership, albeit via an indirect holding.

The sale of Airtech Controls, which specialises in design and installation of building control systems, is part of a comprehensive succession plan that will help to protect the values and principles of the business – formed in 1996 by Martin Beer. Together with Marcus Lindsay and Ian Jennings, Martin has grown the company to a turnover of approximately £4 million a year.

Martin Beer, managing director at Airtech Controls, said: “The issue of succession planning has been on the agenda for a number of years and, as a management team, we’ve been considering a wide variety of options, including a management buy-out and sale to a third party.

“We’re extremely passionate about ensuring that the business is passed on to a group of individuals who will not only safeguard jobs but will also protect the values of Airtech Controls. Our employees are the best team to take that forward and, by adopting this model, it will mean that the Airtech way of doing business will continue.”

Airtech Controls was advised by Suk Aulak, partner at BDO LLP, Paul Twist, associate director at BDO, and Gary Davie, partner at Legal Clarity Limited.

Suk Aulak said: ‘We’ve worked with Martin and the team for a number of years, as their accountants and tax advisers. We have assisted them with their on management and annual accounting, as well as tax matters, including Research & Development claims. We understand how important the issue of succession planning is to them, which is why an EOT was the natural choice in helping to preserve and enhance the company’s collaborative culture.”

Paul Twist added: “An EOT is a very favourable business model for companies to consider. As all employees get an indirect stake in the company, there are substantial practical benefits associated with being owned by an EOT. It not only shares profit and reward, but also the responsibility for the health and success of the business among all employees.”

EOTs were introduced by the Government in September 2014 in an attempt to encourage more shareholders to set up a corporate structure similar to the John Lewis model. An EOT allows employees to indirectly buy the company from its shareholders without them having to use their own funds – thereby creating an immediate purchaser and protecting the culture of a business.