Fitwise Management, a West Lothian-based manager of professional associations in the health sector, is to pass into employee ownership.

Chairman John Matthews will sell 80% of his shares to an employee benefit trust (EBT), with the remainder available for the 25 employees to buy. The deal will complete over five years.

Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), Scottish Enterprise's employee-ownership arm, and project manager Co-ownership Solutions advised on the plans. CDS said the deal would take advantage of the tax reliefs for staff-owned firms introduced in the last autumn statement.

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Owners disposing of a controlling interest to an EBT will not attract capital gains tax, while EBT-owned companies can pay employees an annual tax free bonus of up to £3600.

Mr Matthews, who founded the business in 1992, said: "By moving the business to employee ownership we can really engage all our employees and help the business move towards a culture where everyone can benefit from our future success."

Fitwise has appointed former Stryker regional business manager, Neil Watt, as its new managing director.