A POPULAR island resort has announced its is to transfer ownership to its employees.

Shareholders of the family-run Auchrannie hotel and spa say they will hand all their shares into an Employee Ownership Trust, to "protect" the business against predators.

The resort, which boasts an annual turnover of £7.3 million and employs 160 people, was set up by Iain and Linda Johnston 28 years ago.

It is now a multi-award winning resort comprising of two 4-star hotels, thirty 5-star self-catering lodges, two leisure clubs, three individually branded restaurants, and a children’s playbarn.

The transfer comes despite a number of lucrative offers being made for the business, said Mrs Johnstone, who remains as Managing Director.

She said: “Employee ownership will give the whole Auchrannie team a stake in the continued growth of the business and protect the ethos and values that are shared by everyone who works at Auchrannie.”

The transition to employee ownership is being supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Co-operative Development Scotland and the process is being managed by Co-ownership Solutions LLP who have been assisting businesses to transition to employee ownership for over 6 years.

The transfer is expected to complete in April 2017.