Shore, which claims to be Scotland’s largest product design company, has announced its transition to employee ownership, with over 30 members of staff given a stake in the business.

The company - which operates from Leith in Edinburgh - designs, engineers and develops class-leading drug delivery products, diagnostic devices and medical training products.

It has a huge global customer base with over 80% of its customers in the USA, EU, Switzerland and Japan. Its clients include some of the world’s biggest medical and pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Amgen, Smith & Nephew, Eli Lilly and Ypsomed.

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Shore was founded in 2003 by current owner and managing director Nick Foley, who wanted to plan for his eventual exit by considering succession options early, therefore allowing for a smooth transition.

Whilst all options were considered, employee ownership was suggested by Scottish Enterprise, who put Mr Foley in touch directly with Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS). 

Mr Foley said: “In due course I will want to exit the business, however having founded and developed it into a market leading company over the past 17 years, I didn’t want to sell to a third party and see the team’s hard work absorbed into another organisation with different values or a long-term strategy that might not match ours.

“We have developed a strong team ethic and a culture based on collaboration, support and respect. We’re not a group of individuals sharing an office – we are a team. Our people are hand-picked for the skills, creativity, experience and spirit they bring to our company, so it was important to me to give the company, the jobs and the brand the best chance of continued independent existence following my exit. The business should work for the employees, rather than the other way around, so employee ownership was the perfect fit for us.”

An Employee Ownership Trust has been formed and will hold a majority of the shares on behalf of the employees. Mr Foley will remain a significant shareholder in the business.

The transition to employee ownership was supported by CDS, with the process managed by Ownership Associates, legal services by Anderson Strathern, and accountancy services by Scholes.

Clare Alexander, of CDS, said: “Nick wanted a long term succession option which would enable him to gradually exit the business that he worked extremely hard to build, with the knowledge that the future is taken care of.

"It will also help safeguard highly-skilled jobs and keep specialist skills alive whilst creating new opportunities. Employee ownership is a succession option that should be explored by businesses of all sizes and sectors.”

Rolls-Royce shares plummeted after the engineering giant said it is considering tapping investors for £2.5 billion to shore up its finances.

Shares in the business tumbled by as much as 10% after it confirmed reports that the fundraiser was a funding option being reviewed by the business.

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It told investors that, amongst other options, it is "evaluating" the merits of raising up to £2.5 billion in equity through a rights issue or other fundraiser.

The review will also see it consider taking on new debt to support its finances after the aerospace industry was hammered by the pandemic.

In a statement, the company added: "We continue to review all funding options to enhance balance sheet resilience and strength.

"No final decisions have been taken as to whether or when to proceed with any of these options or as to the precise amount that may be raised."

Bread and cake supplier Finsbury Food Group saw profits and revenues slip over the past year after the pandemic hit its food service operations.

However, the company hailed a "resilient" performance as it was buoyed by jumps in demand for parts of its retail business, which supplies supermarkets and shops.

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It reported that adjusted earnings before tax and interest fell by 4.4% to £24.4 million after Covid-19 and the lockdown had an "immediate and adverse impact" on trading.

John Duffy, chief executive of the business, said it has seen month-on-month improvement since the outbreak first hit, with this continuing into the new financial year.

Shares were 2.1% lower at 55.8p.

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