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Carreg Construction first of its kind in Wales to become employee owned

Carreg Construction, the Haverfordwest-based building contractor specialising in heritage and high end bespoke homes, has transitioned into employee ownership after 20 years in business.

The company, which currently employs 21 people, was founded by Andrew and Sue Phillips in 2003. They are passionate to ensure the skills, know-how and experience held in the business remains, so that Carreg can continue creating award-winning properties and making customers’ dreams become realities here in west Wales.

The award-winning building firm has worked on such projects as the Cloisters in St David’s Cathedral, Oriel Y Parc Gallery and Lexden House in Tenby, and has built a reputation for its quality and expertise in working on and preserving landmark properties.

Following more than 40 years in the building trade, founder Andrew Phillips will stay on as a company director, and continue to help grow and steer the business with the help of his fellow directors.

Andrew initially thought Employee Ownership wouldn’t suit the business, having explored it as an option before the pandemic, but after chatting to others that had transitioned their business into EOTs he decided to look into it again, with support from Cwmpas.

Andrew said: “We looked to put the business on the open market for sale, but it just didn’t feel right, so after discussing our plans further with colleagues in the industry – who explained that EOT wasn’t an overnight sale and that it could be done gradually – it became the perfect progression for us.

“We can keep the continuity and skills in the business, and I can eventually pass the business over fully to the EOT directors, once they have settled in. It really is the perfect succession solution for us.”

Along with Andrew and fellow director Amy Morgan, Carreg’s newly appointed Head of Construction, Richard Leyshon, has been appointed as a director.

Sion Morgan will continue his role a non-executive director (NED) of the company and will be joined by new NED Peter Griffiths OBE, former CEO of Sainsbury’s Banking Group and Principality Building Society.

A new EOT board has been formed and will comprise of director Amy Morgan, site supervisor and carpenter Luke Roberts and independent trustee Andy Jones, the former CEO of the Port of Milford Haven Port.

Carreg Construction Director Amy Morgan said of the transition to EOT: “We are really excited about becoming an EOT. The future is bright for Carreg. Having worked closely over the years with local company Melin Tregwynt who transitioned to an EOT 12 months ago, it gave us huge confidence that we could also make this significant change to our family business.

“Having worked for Carreg for ten years, I am really pleased that my parents can now start reducing their time in the business, but also I am delighted that we can continue the company with the same ethos.’’

Carreg Construction was advised on its EO transition by Social Business Wales, which is delivered by Cwmpas and was supported throughout the process by independent EOT specialist, Alun Thomas.

Branwen Ellis, specialist EO Consultant for Social Business Wales, said: “We were so pleased when Carreg Construction came full circle and came to feel that an EOT was the best succession solution for them.

“Going down this route, has enabled the owners to put their own plan in place in line with their own timescales, expectations and values. As Andrew and Sue have discovered, the EOT model enables them to slowly and securely pass their business onto the next generation of the Carreg team, ensuring the long term sustainability of the business, employees’ jobs and the couple’s legacy.”

Geldards, one of the leading advisors on Employee Ownership Trusts in Wales, advised the Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) on the acquisition of Carreg Construction from the Phillips family.

Andrew Evans, Partner at Geldards, said: “Geldards were delighted to act for Carreg Construction, and it was a pleasure to work with Andrew and Amy to guide the directors and the employees through the process to becoming employee owned.

“As well as advising on the formation of the EOT, Geldards were pleased to help employees understand their new roles and responsibilities as trustees. The purchase by an employee ownership trust will enable the highly skilled workforce to continue with their award-winning construction projects with minimal disruption to the business.”

Carreg Construction was also advised on the transition to EOT by Azets finance. Katherine Broadhurst, Partner of Azets said: “We have been delighted to be involved in Carreg’s journey towards Employee Ownership over a period of time both directly and with the support of Cwmpas.

“We are sure that the Company will continue to go from strength to strength and the employees will build on the culture and values established by Andrew and Sue and ensure that the award-winning specialist skills are retained in Wales for the future.”

The Employee Ownership Wales service is part of the Social Business Wales programme delivered by Cwmpas. It is part of the Business Wales family and funded by Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund.