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68-year-old Scottish family business moves into employee ownership

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There are now nearly 200 EOTs trading in Scotland. The number of EOTs has increased markedly during the last decade.

Founded in 1956 by Tommie Gilmartin, T&N Gilmartin (Contractors) Ltd has remained within the Gilmartin family for three generations.

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Under former managing director Tommy Gilmartin, son of Tommie Gilmartin, and fellow shareholder Pat Gilmartin, the company diversified and grew into what it describes as “a successful multi-disciplined contractor and a key employer in north-east Fife”.

Current shareholders Philip and Donna McElhinney acquired the company in 2016, having previously worked in the family business for many years. This put the business in the ownership of the third generation of the Gilmartin family to be involved in the firm.

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Mr McElhinney, who is managing director, said: “The success of our company is down to the hard work and dedication of our loyal workforce. We have been able to build upon the solid foundations established by previous generations of family and work colleagues to ensure the company continues to prosper in the long term.

“In planning for the future, it was important to us that the core values of the company remain. A sale to a third party was an option. However, we felt it was not in the best interests of our workforce. The move to employee ownership secures the long-term future of the business and the employment it provides.”

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He added: “Donna and I shall continue in our roles for the short term in support of the new leadership team. However, we know the company is in very good hands. It is our intention to fully stand aside, and we look forward to watching the next exciting chapter in the company’s development.”

Accountancy firm Azets played a key role in managing the transaction.

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Graham Cunning, head of corporate finance in Scotland for Azets, said: “Azets are delighted to have worked with the shareholders of T&N Gilmartin to guide them towards employee ownership.

“It has been great working with Donna and Philip, helping them bring their succession plan to fruition and supporting them [to] take the next step for this great family business. We wish them, and all the employees all the best in continuing to grow the business from strength to strength.”

Carole Leslie, of Ownership Associates, provided specialist employee ownership support, with legal advice coming from TLT Solicitors.

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