T Allen Engineering Services

An EOT categorically ticks the box financially, but if you also want to look after your staff, you want the business to continue, and you want to leave a legacy, then an EOT is a great way to achieve that.

Andrew Mills, Managing Director of T Allen Engineering Services Limited

When I first thought about selling the business, it was important to tick a lot of boxes – not just financially, but I also wanted to look after the people here – the people who had helped to make this business the success that it is. I wanted to make sure I did ‘the right thing’ for them – to leave a legacy and to always be welcome back at the business. I could not leave on a Friday afternoon and just not come in again on the following Monday morning because I know that the company deserves a lot more than that.

So, after discussing this with Shorts, they introduced me to the idea of selling my business to an Employee Ownership Trust and how this might tick all my boxes and that was that – it just felt right. So, whilst an EOT was never a consideration for me in the early days, it actually ticked all the boxes, not just a few, but all of them.

It was the right thing to do for the people and for the long-term continuity of the business.

How T Allen chose EOT

How did I find the EOT Process?

The process was less stressful than I expected – It was OK.

I’m not legally savvy, so it certainly needed a project manager and this is where Adam (Ames) was absolutely superb – David Robinson also.  I worked extensively with Adam and David, the thing that I like about those guys is that when I contacted them, I’d get a response, I know they’ve got other things going on but I wasn’t waiting several days for a call to be returned, they were very much pushing the deal through – project managing the transaction at all stages, co-ordinating in-house and third-party resources to progress the project efficiently, providing guidance on how to correctly announce it to staff, to customers, and bringing together all the external valuations etc…

There was also a large element of personal advice attached to the transaction, Shorts provided me with a detailed proposed plan from every angle, this covered both pre and post-sale efficiency planning. They took care of the business disposal, and then also advised me on what happens next, after the business disposal – what do I do personally? It was all there under one roof with a great, prompt response at all stages.

What are the benefits of selling my business to an Employee Ownership Trust?

I’ve got such a huge attachment to this business that I would 100% say I know that I’ve done the right thing for it to continue after I’ve gone by doing an EOT.

The main benefit for me is the legacy I leave for the staff. It was very well received by our employees when they knew that their future was secure, indefinitely.

The tax benefits of an EOT are well documented but it was also important to know that we were doing everything correctly. David Robinson liaised with HMRC as required to make sure that everything was absolutely compliant and that was very important.

And finally, knowing that the company was not going to get carved up by a trade sale that potentially might not have been right for the business. For some people, a trade sale works, but it’s a personal choice. And for me, a trade sale was the only personal choice I considered until I heard of the EOT route, after researching it myself extensively – I found that an EOT was without doubt the right thing for me to commence with my exit plan.

What has been the response from others?

Very, very positive. It was communicated very well, with some guidance from Shorts.

The employees received it really well. Some of them have personally thanked me and congratulated me, saying that it’s a really good thing that I’ve done. They know that I want to look after all of them and in particular those who played such a huge part in the success of the business to date, they can continue their great work for years to come.

I sent a memo out on the day that it was announced, emphasising that there would be no changes whatsoever to the day-to-day function of the business, it would be business as usual for the foreseeable future – that sort of reassurance and security really matters to people.

And it’s also been very well received by our customers. I sent the memo to some of our key clients because it was a very real, very simple document that explained what we were doing. And they were very happy – they said they could see we were trying to look after the business and our people going forward.

Have you any advice for anyone currently considering an EOT?

Sit down and do some deep thinking about your personal objectives. An EOT categorically ticks the box financially, but what is most important to you? And if you feel that you want to look after staff, for the business to continue, and to be able to leave a legacy, then an EOT’s a great way to achieve that. But it all depends on your circumstances – it was very right for me.

I would also say that if you’re going down this route, don’t think you can manage it yourself. It’s got to be project-managed. Yes, there is a cost associated with that, but it is worth paying for it to be done properly and it ensures that everything remains compliant as well.

What three words would you use to describe the service provided by Shorts?

Professional / Responsive / Quality

The EOT from the Employees Perspective

What has your experience been like, compared to your expectations?

Obviously, it’s really early days, but from my point of view, it gives us all a bit more job security – that’s the main thing. We’re not all dependent on one particular director, we’ve obviously got a few more directors now. And the trust as well, the security of the business is spread around and we’re not going to find that a sole director wants to take the business in another direction. The long-term stability of the business is now very secure, which is important to all of us.

Has the EOT had an impact on your feelings about the business (collectively)?

Yes, I think ultimately people will now more than ever, all pull in the same direction, in the same direction as the core values of T Allen Engineering Services Ltd. It’s a great incentive to keep people motivated and incentivised at the business as we all feel like we are now a bigger part of the company.

Have you noticed any change in mood or enthusiasm

Especially within the management team, there is a lot more enthusiasm. It’s a great incentive for everyone to get involved and help drive the business forward on our growth journey.

So overall, do you feel it’s a positive thing for the business?

100%! When Andrew mentioned it originally, I thought, yeah, why doesn’t everybody do it? Because there are no losers really, and it helps secure the future of the business for everybody.

Is there any advice for other people in your position whose company might be thinking of an EOT

I personally cannot see any downsides to it. It offers more engagement with the staff – everyone is more interested. Not just coming to work for a wage, but to help drive the business forward.

What happened after the EOT sale - One year later

About T Allen Engineering Services Ltd

T Allen Engineering Services Ltd have over 25 years of experience of supplying lifting equipment, they are the only dedicated supplier of lifting equipment to the water utility sector in the UK.

They specialise in the design, manufacture, supply, installation, testing, and examination of a wide range of pump lifting equipment and accessories.

Their highly trained and experienced team of Design, Contract and Site Engineers can help you to select the most efficient, safe, and compliant solutions for your lifting requirements.

T Allen Engineering Services Website 

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