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stevensdrake advise veterinary business in transition into Employee Ownership Trust

April 23, 2024
Corporate and Commercial

In a significant legal stride towards securing its future as an independent entity, stevensdrake has advised Lingfield Equine Holdings Limited (trading as Lingfield Equine Vets), a premier equine veterinary business with practices in Kent and Surrey, to transition into an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

The sale, which was at full commercial value, ensures the continuity of the brand going forward and rewards the exceptional team. The establishment of the EOT marks a pivotal moment for the company and underscores its commitment to fostering a collaborative and empowered workforce. With the strategic legal guidance provided by the corporate commercial team at stevensdrake headed by Nusrat Qureishi, Lingfield Equine Vets embarks on a new legal chapter poised for sustained growth and excellence in equine care.

Lingfield Equine Vets has grown from just four vets when it opened in 2007 in Felbridge near East Grinstead, to now having 14 vets, as well as a support team of 12. The legal transition into an Employee Ownership Trust signifies more than just a change in ownership structure; it embodies Lingfield Equine Vets' unwavering dedication to its core legal values of independence and employee welfare. This move underscores a steadfast commitment to preserving the essence of a community-driven enterprise.

Director, George Christopherson, said: “We believe we are the first equine practice in the country to become an EOT. Unlike the other large equine practices in the south-east, we never felt comfortable with the idea of selling to a corporate giant, so becoming an EOT felt like the perfect solution for us. The data is very clear, employee-owned businesses have higher employee retention, work more efficiently and have a team who are ultimately more satisfied and successful, which is great news for everyone in the business and our clients. In the future, Lingfield Equine Vets should also be able to offer some of the best salaries in the industry as increasingly any surplus profits will be distributed amongst all employees.”

The founder shareholders took advice from stevensdrake and were also offered guidance by Pennard Vets (which became the world’s largest employee-owned practice in 2021). Under their legal guidance, Lingfield Equine Vets navigated the intricacies of the EOT legal framework, laying the legal groundwork for a seamless transition that positions the practice for sustained growth.

Commenting on the deal, Nusrat Qureishi head of the corporate commercial team at stevensdrake said, “Working alongside the founders made the entire EOT transaction seamless. Working closely with George Christopherson enabled us, to resolve issues quickly enabling the team to work to a very tight timeline and complete the deal smoothly.”

If you are looking to transition to an Employee Ownership Trust, get in touch with the team at stevensdrake. 

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