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Business / DITT moves into employee ownership

LONG-RUNNING construction company DITT has transferred its entire shareholding to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) amid change at the top of the business.

DITT Construction Ltd originally started in 1974 and currently employs 95 people.

It has completed many of Shetland’s best known building projects including the Clickimin swimming pool, Shetland Museum and Mareel.

DITT has a long-standing contract at Sullom Voe Terminal and also operates a busy builders merchants shop.

The decision for the “transformative shift” came from the current shareholders Gibbie Irvine, Roy Leask, George Smith and Peter Tait, who took over the business in a management buyout in 2000.

The company said this is seen as an ideal opportunity for the next generational change in the business ownership and management.

Central to the director’s thoughts when considering succession options was to keep the workforce secure and ensure that the company remains a “vibrant and significant part of the Shetland economy”.

Tait said: “Our success is due to the loyal team we have at DITT.

“We are committed to an annual intake of new apprentices to refresh the workforce, and ensure that there are opportunities for all for training and development.”

“A sale to a third party would potentially have disrupted that philosophy. This move to employee ownership allows the company to continue to offer an excellent service to our clients, and secure long term employment opportunities.

“A sale to an employee ownership trust lets us leave the company in safe hands. We have a very talented and experienced leadership team stepping up to take over greater responsibilities”.

The move allows for smooth exit for Irvine, Leask and Smith who are stepping down as directors.

Tait is remaining as managing director in the meantime to ensure that the transition continues in a smooth manner.

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Additionally, in the interim, the company has made three new board appointments in Lewie Tulloch, Steven Farquhar and Liam Spence, who will join long standing director John Tait.

Carole Leslie of Ownership Associates provided specialist employee ownership support, with legal advice provided by Morton Fraser MacRoberts.

Irene Hambleton and her team at RSM provided financial and taxation advice.

DITT also said it is grateful for the funding support received from Highlands and Islands Enterprise to assist with the costs of transition.

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