Shetland-based construction company transfers its shareholding to an Employee Ownership Trust

Peter Tait, Managing Director

The business, which originated in 1974, currently employs around 95 people and has been involved in numerous notable projects in Shetland, including the Clickimin Swimming Pool, Shetland Museum, and Mareel. DITT also holds a significant contract at Sullom Voe Terminal and operates a bustling Builders Merchants shop.

The decision to make this transformative shift stemmed from the current shareholders—Gibbie Irvine, Roy Leask, George Smith, and Peter Tait—who acquired the business through a management buyout in 2000. This transition to employee ownership is viewed as an ideal opportunity for the next generational change in ownership and management.

In contemplating succession options, the directors prioritized maintaining job security for the workforce and ensuring the company’s continued vitality as a significant contributor to the Shetland economy. Peter Tait emphasized the crucial role of DITT’s loyal team and their commitment to annually welcoming new apprentices to invigorate the workforce and provide training and development opportunities.

Tait stated, “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.” He further noted that transferring ownership to an employee ownership trust ensures the company’s future is entrusted to capable hands, with a skilled and experienced leadership team ready to assume greater responsibilities.

This transition enables a seamless departure for Gibbie, Roy, and George as they step down from their directorial roles. Meanwhile, Peter Tait will remain as Managing Director to facilitate a smooth transition. Three new board appointments—Lewie Tulloch, Steven Farquhar, and Liam Spence—have been made, joining longstanding director John Tait during this interim period.

Specialist support for employee ownership was provided by Carole Leslie of Ownership Associates, with legal advice from Morton Fraser MacRoberts, and financial and taxation guidance from Irene Hambleton and her team at RSM. The company acknowledges the funding support received from Highlands & Islands Enterprise to assist with the transition costs.

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