Machining firm becomes Employee Ownership Trust

UK subcontractor NE Components (NEC) has become an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

NEC, which manufactures parts for the defence, nuclear and various other sectors, builds on the legacy of Newburgh Engineering Company, founded in 1939 by Isaac Middleton, grandfather to current chairman, Vince Middleton.

Manufacturing processes used by the company include machining fabrication, welding and water jet cutting.

Vince Middleton said: “As a third-generation family business our people have always been an important part of our company and the decision to become an Employee Ownership Trust rewards our team and gives them a say in the future development of the business.”  

Sales director David Greenan added: “The move to being an Employee Ownership Trust is part of our succession planning strategy to secure the future of the business. I have been with the business for 48 years, having started as an apprentice in 1974, I am planning to retire in the next couple of years and so we are bringing through people to lead the business.”

As part of the process of becoming an Employee Ownership Trust, the company advertised for a member of staff to apply to join the board of directors. Following an interview process, 25-year-old apprentice trained engineer Matt Keeley was appointed to the board in January 2022.

As part of the investment in what NEC sees as the future management team of the business, both project manager Paul Wildgoose and Matt Keeley have now started an online MBA. This will assist both of them in their new roles as Mr Wildgoose is now on the board of trustees as part of the new Employee Ownership Trust and Mr Keeley has joined the operational board of the business.

Employee ownership is one of the fastest growing business succession solutions in the UK, where there are now more than 1,000 employee-owned businesses, with the sector more than doubling in the past three years.

The fast pace of growth amongst businesses has taken off with the use of the employee ownership trust (EOT), introduced by the government in 2014 to encourage long-term employee ownership, and one in every 20 private company sales is now to an EOT.

James de le Vingne, chief executive of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), said: “Putting power into the hands of those who know the business best and empowering and enabling them with authority and resources is proven to deliver. Employee ownership roots businesses in their local area and preserves jobs – preventing businesses from being sold to the highest bidder who may strip the assets or move the business elsewhere.”


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