Employee ownership pays off for TayPlay

Employee ownership pays off for TayPlay

Perth-based TayPlay has become Scotland’s largest employee-owned (EO) business.

The manufacturer of rope, playground and climbing equipment for the playground and leisure industry became employee-owned in a step to retain local employment and preserve the company ethos.

The move by Tayplay has seen its 14 members of staff given the opportunity to become owners in the business.

Founded in 1994 by Andrew Hoddle, Tayplay now manufacturers hundreds of products, shipped worldwide every year, and has achieved an annual turnover of £2m.

The firm embarked on its employee ownership journey in 2014.

Tayplay’s managing director Peter Will said: "Following the recession we experienced a difficult trading period and we were considering a trade sale. 

"However, we could not agree terms and after a strategic review we decided to look more closely at the employee ownership business model. 

"Co-operative Development Scotland then conducted a feasibility study and we quickly discovered employee ownership ticked all of our boxes.

"EO is the ideal solution for retiring owners who want to preserve the ethos of the business and retain employment locally. 

"It is also a reward for the staff as we wanted to recognise the contribution and commitment they’ve made to the company’s success."

The firm worked with specialist advisors from Scottish Enterprise, Co-operative Development Scotland and Co-ownership Solutions to help staff understand the concept of employee ownership.

An Employee Ownership Trust has also gained an interest in Tayplay and will hold the shares on behalf of the employees. It is envisaged that they will eventually own 100% of the company.

Peter continued: "Our employees now really believe in the new model and we expect the degree of buy-in to increase now that the deal has gone through. 

"As the employees begin to see and feel the reality of EO we expect their commitment to the company will grow and it will make recruitment easier."

Co-operative Development Scotland director Sarah Deas added: "Tayplay is a very successful business and the owners wanted to ensure that continued before their retirement. 

"It was also important to them that the ethos of the company was preserved and that the employment was retained in Perth; employee ownership is the perfect solution for that.

"By becoming employee-owned, the company is safeguarding highly-skilled jobs and keeping specialist skills alive. 

"Employee ownership isa succession option that should be explored by businesses of all sizes and sectors.

"By promoting more EO companies, we can help drive growth in Scotland’s economy and create greater wealth equality in our society."