Kilmac heads for employee ownership

Athole McDonald (left) with Richard Kilcullen

Its founders, Athole McDonald and Richard Kilcullen, are placing it into an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), which they said will guarantee the future of the 130 jobs.

The transformation of Perth City Hall and the latest development phase of the James Hutton Institute in Dundee are among current projects for Kilmac. The company’s next financial results will show profits of £1.3m on a £20m turnover.

. The process of moving the business into employee ownership has been supported by Kilmac’s accountants Azets, legal advisors Thorntons Solicitors, and employee ownership specialists Ownership Associates.

The owners – both civil engineers who started the business in 2004 after meeting earlier at Dundee Institute of Technology – plan to remain in place for at least the next three years.

McDonald said: “We have to look to the future and by creating an EOT, Kilmac will be in the safe hands of our excellent senior management team. It’s good news for Tayside, with the vast majority of our staff living in Dundee, Perthshire and Fife, and it ensures the company will continue to provide stability for our customers and job security for our employees.”

Kilmac acts as a main contractor for local authorities, universities, local health services, road network authorities, council direct labour organisations and private clients, and its work includes groundworks for commercial, social infrastructure and housing projects.

He added: “We could have found a buyer for the business but we have an experienced and talented team who are more than capable of taking on the reins over the next few years. The structure is being created to take the business forward, provide clarity to our staff and customers and to avoid unnecessary disruption.”

Carole Leslie of Ownership Associates provided employee ownership support for the project and assisted on communication with the new employee owners and other stakeholders. She said: “The employee ownership business model is an excellent succession option for business owners who want to persevere their legacy while protecting the future of their employees who have helped shape the company.

“Under the ownership of Athole McDonald and Richard Kilcullen, Kilmac is well-established as one of the most successful and forward-looking civil engineering businesses in Scotland, and by opting for an EOT they have ensured that an enterprise they started over a kitchen table will continue to thrive, and to provide rewarding employment for more than 100 staff.”

Finance manager Julie Scobie said: “Kilmac has always felt like a big family and it’s comforting for everyone to know that Athole and Richard have full confidence in their staff to be able to hand the legacy of their company into employee ownership as they navigate their next steps.”

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