Orostream International Contracts (“OSI”) has been operating for over 30 years as a multidisciplinary contractor in building services and refurbishment, specialising in overseas projects.
Founded by Steve Dewhurst and Tim Abbott, and with established and experienced management and operational teams, the four shareholders were seeking a succession strategy that allowed each of them to move towards an exit over the course of the next few years, but enabling the business to continue with its own culture and ethos and protect the legacy that had been developed over the years.
Castle introduced the shareholders to the concept of an Employee Ownership Trust (“EOT”) which seemed most aligned to the long-term objectives of the shareholders. A sale to an EOT has provided them with a solution that allows each shareholder flexibility, whilst protecting the employees and incentivising them to look towards future growth.
Tim Abbott, co-founder, said: “We are really pleased at the outcome of this transaction, and the scope it provides for the whole team to be part of the business’ future. Castle did a great job of explaining and running the process, ensuring we understood all the steps involved, and giving our employees time to get their heads around what an EOT would mean for them, as well as for us. Their support was invaluable throughout.”
Steve Dewhurst, MD, added “We had explored the possibility of a trade sale, but were worried at the impact that might have had on our employees, and indeed the wider team. The EOT has provided a perfect solution and everyone is really enthusiastic. I can now look forward to retirement knowing that the business is in good hands.”
Victoria Ansell, director at Castle Corporate Finance, commented: “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Steve, Tim, Nigel and George on this transaction, and helping them establish a new vision for the future with input from their own employees. They will continue to support the team for the next little while, but it has been great to see the employees jump at the chance to get involved in the longer-term strategy of the business.
This is really where the EOT framework comes into its own, allowing founders and business owners to take that first step towards exit and realising hard-earned value, without the worry of new external ownership, changes in culture, and teams of employees being shaken up by a third party acquirer. In the current climate, an opportunity to de-risk – without putting the company under undue financial pressure – and secure a future for the business one has founded, can be extremely attractive.”
The Castle team worked alongside the legal team at Ashfords, and tax and valuation experts, BDO.