COMPANY bosses have passed ownership of a fuel business over to their 55-strong workforce.
Directors of the Padiham company, Craggs Energy Ltd, have transferred 100 per cent of shares in the businesses to their teams by establishing an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), funded by future profits.
Craggs Energy, which has been in operation for over ten years, has grown to be a significant player in the UK fuel industry, providing fuel delivery services and wider solutions to homes, farms and businesses.
With bases in Padiham and Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, the company predominantly serves the North of England.
Group chairman Chris Bingham said: “I’ve been considering the option of employee ownership for quite some time and when we looked into the benefits and alternatives available to us, an EOT was the obvious choice as it allows the existing shareholders to plan their exit over a longer-term while transferring the benefits to the employees.
“As successful and ever-growing businesses, we could have sold to a third party, however, I place great value on my team and wanted to be able to reward the people who have grown the businesses to where they are today.
“As far as I am aware, Craggs Energy and our sister company Moorland Fuels are the first fuel distribution companies in the UK to transfer 100% of our ownership to an EOT.
“The response from our shareholders and our staff has been extremely positive and there has been an increase in productivity and motivation which I’m sure will help to drive future growth.
“There’s no doubt in my mind, that creating an employee-led business is a good thing, and it would be great to see more companies consider the EOT route rather than a traditional trade sale.”
Richard ‘Bert’ Ingram, who’s been with Craggs for 10 years as a HGV Tanker Driver said: “I’ve been with Craggs for such a long time because it’s a great company to work for and it’s been good to see the company grow over the years.
“The announcement of the EOT reiterates why Craggs is such a fantastic employer, they reward their staff for hard work and eventually we will all reap the rewards.”
Employee ownership is one of the fastest-growing business succession solutions in the UK, where there are now more than 800 employee-owned businesses – with more than 300 of those having transitioned since 2020.