Geldards help timber buildings specialist Arctic Cabins successfully transition to an Employee Ownership Trust

Geldards, one of the leading advisors on Employee Ownership Trusts, has advised Derbyshire-based Arctic Cabins on the transition to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

A family-run business established over twenty years ago by owner Gareth Parkinson and his Finnish wife Virpi, Arctic Cabins takes inspiration from the Scandinavian lifestyle which places sturdy wooden shelters, often with a central BBQ, in communities and national parks as refuges to be used by the community.

The trend for homeworking since the pandemic, coupled with a gardening boom, has seen the demand for practical home office solutions and additional living space skyrocket, and Arctic Cabins have experienced a huge surge in demand for their versatile wooden cabins as a result. Manufactured in Derbyshire, the company relies on its skilled carpenters and craftspeople to produce a high quality range of cabins and BBQ huts and its product range has grown over the years, to include the Cabin Master brand which offers bespoke insulated garden rooms which are hand crafted to customers’ exact specifications.

Protecting the hard-won business legacy built up by a dedicated workforce over the decades, was a primary consideration for Gareth when planning for his exit from the business. Keen to secure the future of the business, protect staff jobs and retain highly skilled employees,  a transition to an Employee Ownership Trust was the right solution for Arctic Cabins.

An Employee Ownership Trust hands ownership of the business to employees, rather than a sale on the open market, and trustees are appointed to ‘look after’ shares in the business on behalf of the employees.

The rise in popularity of Employee Ownership Trusts has grown enormously over the past two years, with business owners becoming alive to the benefits that EOTS can offer. They prove to be an effective model to realise a succession plan for business owners, which puts employees at the heart of the decision.

Geldards, one of the leading advisors on Employee Ownership Trusts, advised Arctic Cabins on the formation of an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) and the purchase by the EOT of the entire share capital. The Geldards team helped guide Arctic Cabins through the transition by providing support to engage with employees to ensure they understood the process, and collaborating with the appointed trustees to ensure they were clear on their roles and responsibilities.

Geldards’ Tax Partner Andrew Evans led the deal, advising on all legal aspects of the transaction supported by Partner Debra Martin who helped advise on employee engagement, as well as advice from Partner Jenny Chatten and Solicitor Hugh White in the Corporate team.

Commenting on the transaction, Andrew Evans, Partner at Geldards said:

“It was great to be instructed by Gareth and the team at Arctic Cabins as long time clients of the firm, and take them through the challenges of a transition to employee ownership. The positive feedback from the initial presentation to all the staff and the enthusiasm of the employee trustees emphasised the suitability of Arctic Cabins for employee ownership. I look forward to continuing to work with Arctic Cabins in the future.”

Gareth Parkinson, Owner and MD, Arctic Cabins commented:

“When we first considered employee ownership for the business we needed some guidance on whether it would be the right fit for the business.  Geldards supported us every step of the way, from considering our options in the first instance, to supporting our employees on the journey to becoming employee owned. The whole transition went very smoothly and we would like to thank Andrew and the whole team at Geldards for their invaluable support as we start this new chapter”.

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