Why employee ownership proved the ‘perfect solution’ for Welsh company Celvac in its 30th year

The UK’s leading industrial cleaning and waste recovery services specialists reveals employee ownership was the “perfect solution” after it announced its transition to EO.

Welsh company Celvac was established in Pembrokeshire in 1993 by Kim, Joan and Nigel Beynon, but 30 years on will now be owned by its 68 staff members via an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

The company has its main manufacturing facility and head office in Tenby, but also has bases in Port Talbot, Connah’s Quay and Slough, as it works throughout the country providing expert services to the UK water, petro-chemical, construction, manufacturing, refining and food industries.

Over the past five years, a senior management team has developed organically from within Celvac. Various exit alternatives were considered as part of the founders’ succession solution, including a trade sale, but this would ultimately have led to the company being broken up and Welsh jobs lost.

So, employee ownership seemed the ideal solution, retaining the business in its current format and securing the long-term future of Celvac.

Kim Beynon said: “Since starting from scratch 30 years ago, we have built an extremely successful business through innovation and the delivery of excellent services via our great on-site teams, who often work in extremely hazardous confined space conditions.

“We design and build all our specialist vacuum recovery, screening and waste separation equipment in Tenby and export to the Middle East, so a sale to a competitor was not really an option as we are passionate about retaining our people and business in Wales.

“When we learned more about Employee Ownership and how an EOT works, we thought it was the perfect solution. It meant we could pass the company on to the whole Celvac team, who have worked so hard to make it the business it is today and enable them to share in its future success for many years to come. We get to have a little more time to ourselves so it’s a win-win on all fronts!”

‘Every employee has a vested interest’

Claire Gottwaltz, Managing Director of Celvac, said that all 68 employees have been really engaged in the process from day one, while two members of the company also attended the 2022 EOA Annual Conference at the ACC in Liverpool as part of its fact-finding activities.

Claire said: “We held an employee election ballot to appoint our EOT board of directors and were delighted when 10 individuals put their names forward. Everyone was very enthusiastic and engaged in the process.

“From that election two people from Site Operations, Callum Rowley and Phil Lewis, were appointed as directors of the EOT. They are joined on the EOT board by Sarah Hughes, our HR Manager, and Ben Field-Thomas, our Operations Director.

“Every employee has a vested interest in the ongoing success of Celvac, knowing that there is job security and financial rewards if we continue to do a great job for our clients.

“We want to remain as the leading industry specialists for the next 30 years and knowing that our efforts will contribute to this success is very fulfilling. Although this has been a big internal transition, it’s business as usual for our clients and we are all excited about the future.”

In addition to the EOT Trustees, Celvac also has a new board of directors, consisting of MD Claire, Financial Director Jon Strange, Sales Director Peter Horsley, Fleet Director Steve Fairlie and Operations Director Ben.

Celvac was advised on its EO transition by law firm Geldards LLP and Social Business Wales, delivered by Cwmpas.

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