Merseyside packaging company becomes employee owned

Martin Cooper

Shand Higson, a successful and long-standing local business based in Knowsley, has become the latest local business to move into employee ownership, with an employee ownership trust (EOT) acquiring a majority shareholding in the company.

The new structure will enable all employees to share in the future financial success of the business, and allow for greater involvement by the entire workforce, with enhanced collaboration and consultation.

Founded in 1828, Shand Higson is one of the longest-established businesses in Liverpool and specialises in tape, adhesives and packaging materials.

The four selling shareholders decided to set up an EOT ownership structure to ensure that the company continues to operate in its current form and at its Knowsley location, as they were concerned that a sale to a trade buyer, or accepting outside investment, might put the strong local roots of the business at risk.

Audit, tax and consulting firm RSM advised the company on the move to employee ownership.

The RSM team, which included Martin Cooper, Anna Haworth and Rob Aitken, are advising a growing number of regional businesses on how to achieve a transition to employee ownership in a way that benefits the company, its employees and the selling shareholders.

Martin Cooper, head of RSM’s reward and incentives team, said: “It was great to support Shand Higson in its journey to become employee-owned.

“It’s an exciting time for the well-known local business, as it embarks on the next step of its growth strategy, with the employees playing a greater role in the success of the business.

“The leaders of the business take their responsibility to their employees and the local community very seriously, and it was inspiring to see them put their faith in employee ownership as a way of ensuring that the business continues to prosper for many years to come.”

Simon Fisher, managing director at Shand Higson Holdings, said: “After consulting with the hugely experienced management team, the transition to employee ownership became the obvious choice.

“Having worked with them for many years, I know the future of the business is in safe hands.”

Deb Oxley, chief executive of the Employee Ownership Association, said: “We congratulate Shand Higson & Co on its transition to employee ownership.

“By widening ownership of the business to its employees Shand Higson & Co is securing the future of the business, including its ethos, values and employees, while rooting itself locally for the longer term to the benefit of the community which it serves.”

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