By Ian McConnell

THE owner of an Ayrshire information technology business which counts NHS Scotland among its clients has turned down multi-million-pound offers for his firm to pass it on to employees.

Chris McMail rejected bids from companies from around the globe which “were looking to relocate operations from Kilmarnock" because he had "no intention of uprooting the business after more than 30 years in Scotland”, his adviser Ownership Associates noted. The value of the Microtech Group business was put at around £15 million by Ownership Associates.

The information technology services business employs 70 people.

Microtech Group will now become a majority employee-owned company. Seventy-four per cent of the shares in the business will be transferred to an employee ownership trust (EOT), with Mr McMail keeping a minority shareholding and remaining as managing director.

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Ownership Associates said: “Worth around £15m, the firm achieved an annual turnover of £5m in 2021, despite the challenges of a global pandemic. Chris believes this is largely down to the efforts of the 70 employees.”

Mr McMail, said: “This is a great business with talented loyal people. My prime consideration was that any action taken would not compromise them in any way, nor disrupt the excellent service we deliver to our clients.

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“After making the initial decision to explore options for the future, I received various competitive purchase offers. However none of these guaranteed the continued operation of Microtech in Scotland, which took so much hard work to build.”

He added: “It soon became apparent that any sale of the business to a third party would result in drastic changes to the company operations, including potential relocation and possible job losses.

“When the proposal of transitioning to an EOT was suggested, I knew this was the best way to secure the company’s position in Ayrshire.”

Ownership Associates founder Carole Leslie said: “The employees will now have reassurance that the company’s long term future is secured. Not only does the EOT protect the jobs of the staff, but it will allow them to shape the future of this company.

“We are seeing more and more privately owned businesses opting to go down the employee ownership route. We anticipate that Microtech will serve as a standard bearer for future successes within this ownership model.”