Posted on 3 March 2022
Moorland Fuels becomes employee-owned
Moorland Fuels Ltd and its sister company in West Yorkshire, Craggs Energy Ltd, have transferred ownership of the businesses to their 55-strong workforce.
The directors have transferred 100 per cent of shares in the businesses to their teams by establishing an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), funded by future profits.
Moorland Fuels, which has been in operation for over fifteen years, provide fuel delivery services and wider solutions to homes, farms and businesses. With bases Okehampton and Plymouth, Moorland Fuels primarily serves the Southwest region.
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, Moorland Fuels and our sister company Craggs Energy 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.”
For Moorland Fuels, turnover in 2021 was £13.7m and this is expected to at least double this year, reaching a £27.5m turnover. Employing 18 people, the volume forecast for 2022 shows at least a 47.3 per cent growth.
Abby Turner, sales and marketing director at Moorland Fuels said: “Moorland Fuels became part of the Craggs Energy Group in December 2020, since then we have invested in the company significantly and grown considerably.
“As a family-run business, I was delighted to see that Chris and his team share our values and I believe this EOT will bring considerable rewards for our staff and the company going forward. It provides a bright future for the business, as well as our community and I’m excited to see our period of growth continue.”
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.
The fast pace of growth amongst businesses has taken off with the use of the employee ownership trust (EOT), introduced by the government in 2014 to encourage long-term employee ownership, and one in every 20 private company sales is now to an EOT, with Craggs Energy and Moorland Fuels joining a network of EOTs in the UK that include Richer Sounds and Go Ape.
James de le Vingne, Chief Executive of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), said: “We congratulate our members Craggs Energy and Moorland Fuels on their transition to employee ownership; securing the ethos, values and culture of the businesses, as well as rooting jobs in the North of England and Devon.
“Businesses that give employees a stake and a say build trust and shared responsibility, uniting leaders and employees behind a common purpose, and leaving businesses in a better position to flex and adapt.”