Decorative surface distributor owned by four generations of the same family ‘repays contribution’ of employees by transferring ownership to an EOT

The Employee Ownership Association (EOA) congratulates Blackheath Products after it transferred ownership to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

The Halesowen-based worktop and decorative surface distributor, which has been owned by the same family for over four generations, was previously a private limited company but has now given back to its employees via an EOT.

Blackheath Products holds over £7.5million of worktops, decorative laminates and solid surfaces, which it distributes to kitchen centres, shop fitters and furniture manufacturers across the UK and Ireland.

Mark Murphy, managing director of Blackheath Products, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for all of us at Blackheath Products. The Foster family has owned the business for over 90 years and their decision to transition the company to an Employee Ownership Trust is driven by a passion to keep jobs in the West Midlands and continue to grow as an independent business.

“Our focus is now on our shared, exciting future, with everyone working creatively together to develop new products and services to support our customers and suppliers.”

Ian Foster, whose family owned Blackheath Products, said: “For over four generations, my family has worked with so many amazing colleagues. It is a privilege to be able to repay their contribution by offering all current employees the opportunity to make it their own business, within an Employee Ownership Trust.”

EOT growth

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 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, with Blackheath joining a network of EOTs in the UK that include Richer Sounds and Go Ape.

James de le Vingne, Chief Executive of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), said: “We congratulate our members Blackheath on its transition to employee ownership; securing the ethos, values and culture of the business, as well as rooting jobs in the West Midlands.

“Businesses that give employees a stake and a say build trust and shared responsibility, uniting leaders and employees behind a common purpose, and leaving businesses in a better position to flex and adapt.”

About Blackheath

With over 90 years’ trading experience, Blackheath Products is a leading distributor to the construction and furniture sectors. Centrally located in the West Midlands, it supplies solid surface fabricators, furniture manufacturers, shop fitters, exhibition contractors, laminate fabricators, kitchen manufacturers, builders’ merchants, and kitchen and bathroom retailers across the UK.

The company has an annual turnover over c.£24m, employing around 60 members of staff who are passionate about their products and delivering excellent customer service.

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