Employees given stake in Scottish ventilation company | Windfarms acquired

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Business Bulletin

Sustainable Homes Scotland, trading as Paul Heat Recovery Scotland, has announced it has joined the growing number of employee-owned businesses in Scotland, with twelve staff given a stake in the business. 

Established in 2007, the Dunfermline-based ventilation company provides energy efficient ventilation solutions for sustainable homes, specialising in the supply, design, installation and commissioning of high quality MVHR systems (Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery). Its trading name originated from a close relationship with the German company “Paul Wärmerückgewinnung” which pioneered Passivhaus MVHR systems.

Director Stefan Huber started the business in 2007 together with a German master craftsman and saw the company grow organically in a challenging environment.

Mr Huber said:  “Over the years we’ve worked extremely hard to grow the business and to be at the forefront of domestic ventilation and MVHR in Scotland, making our mark on the industry through best practice methods, materials, installation, service and training. Our non-compromise approach has taken us in a different direction than many of our competitors, but we have focused on building a highly skilled, dedicated team and providing the best service possible. 

“I am proud of my team, their dedication, hard work and loyalty. I wanted to reward them whilst opening up a door for myself to concentrate more on charitable work in Perth, which I have been doing for the last few years in my leisure time. My team has basically been working as if it was their own business anyway, so it was only natural to take this course.”

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Employee ownership was suggested by Business Gateway, who put Mr Huber in touch with Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), the arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models. After learning more from an adviser and undergoing a feasibility study, he concluded that employee ownership would be the perfect fit.

An Employee Ownership Trust has been formed and holds 100% of the shares on behalf of the employees. The process was managed by Ownership Associates with legal services by Anderson Strathern and accountancy services by Donohue & Co.

As part of the new structure, two employees have been promoted to directors and two have been made employee trustees.

The company’s main focus is on heat recovery ventilation, which hygienically provides fresh air inside homes and smaller commercial premises without re-circulation of air and without the heat losses that all other forms of ventilation carry with them. Following the COVID outbreak, sufficient ventilation is now seen as one of the key drivers in order to combat the viral transmission indoors. As a result, the business has seen demand soar. 

Clare Alexander, head of Co-operative Development Scotland, said: “The number of employee-owned businesses in Scotland continues to grow and we’re delighted to be adding Paul Heat Recovery to the list. This is a great business and hugely successful in its field.”

The deal also appears to reflect confidence in the commercial prospects of windfarms that don’t benefit from subsidies

Gloucester investors buy Aberdeenshire windfarms

Financiers have underlined their appetite for windfarms in Scotland amid the latest in a series of deals in the sector.

Blackfinch Energy has acquired two onshore developments in rural Aberdeenshire for an undisclosed sum.

The firm has been ‘working at high speed to keep the product in a constant state of evolution’.

Glasgow firm pioneers remote legal document witnessing video software

Software allowing the use of video and facial recognition for remote witnessing of contracts and legal documents is being pioneered by a Glasgow-based team of IT specialists.

Videosign set up a development lab in Glasgow in 2019 following the introduction of new rules allowing for remote signing and witnessing of contracts and has spent the last year “working at high speed to keep the product in a constant state of evolution”.

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