Fresh chapter for engineering consultancy as employees take ownership

Engineering consultancy Futureserv is to join a growing number of employee-owned businesses across the UK.

The business has confirmed its team of more than 60 employees have taken a stake in the company, transferring ownership to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

The trust will hold the shares on behalf of the firm’s employees, with its founders, Craig and David Cleary, retaining a minority stake.

Founded in 2010, Futureserv is a building services design and consultancy practice providing mechanical, electrical, public health and vertical transportation advice to construction, facilities and property professionals across all sectors of the built environment.

Over the past decade the business – originally established in Manchester – has grown considerably. In 2014 it opened a second office in Old Hall Street, Liverpool, where it now has 20 staff, and in 2018 opened its first office in Leeds, where it now has 14 people.

Azets, led by Jenny Pape and Tim Mills with support from Amy Braithwaite, provided tax and corporate finance advice to Futureserv’s founders, while Keith Melling and Victoria Bromiley from Napthens solicitors provided legal advice on the transfer in ownership. HSBC provided a senior debt facility to support the transaction.

Craig Cleary said: “Today marks a new chapter in Futureserv’s history. Ever since our first hires joined the business, we have retained a real sense of family across Futureserv, so it felt a natural next step in our journey to transfer to employee ownership.

“This model gives everyone the opportunity to take a stake in the business’ future and feel a real sense of ownership of Futureserv, from our staff through to our partners and clients.

“I’d like to share thanks to our senior leadership team and all our staff, as well as Napthens, Azets and HSBC, for their support.”

Dave Cleary, founder at Futureserv, said: “As a building services consultancy, our greatest asset will always be our talented team of engineers and support staff.

“Moving to an employee owned business will ensure Futureserv’s continued success provides benefits for all and also help attract the brightest, forward thinking candidates in the future.

“Over the last 12 years witnessing the company grow to over 60 staff across three office locations has been incredible, the new structure provides both a succession plan and opens up clear opportunities for career progression.”

Keith Melling, head of corporate and partner at Napthens, said: “David and Craig have done a remarkable job with Futureserv and it’s inspiring to see the team they have built over that time take the reins.

“Employee ownership is an increasingly popular option for owners looking to pass the business they have built from scratch into trusted hands.”

Jenny Pape, tax partner at Azets, added: “Futureserv is a business exceptionally well-suited for employee ownership, being an organisation with a strong culture, firmly established values, and an emphasis on the quality of its people.

“It has been a privilege to assist Craig and David with this significant transition and I am confident the company has a bright future as an employee-owned business.”

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