AUS are a manufacturer and distributor of operational and safety-critical products into the Rail and Electrical Supply markets, based in Clayton West, Huddersfield. With an exceptional track record of going the extra mile and a very strong market position, AUS has developed into a leading supplier of products and services to our industries. However, as of this year, there are big changes at AUS, and it’s exciting news for everybody. We became an employee-owned company.
AUS was formed by Simon Gibson and Paul Hornby, both with first-hand experience and knowledge supplying tools and equipment into the electrical supply industry. In 2012, Simon took control of the business. Since then, we have strengthened our position in our markets and have invested heavily into machinery to bring previously subcontracted manufacturing in house, resulting in lower production costs, shorter lead times, a greater level of control over our production, and a significant number of jobs being created in our surrounding area. Further to this, additional departments such as our Design and Innovation team have been formed, dedicated to developing innovative solutions to industry problems.
AUS is built upon several strong values. These include the importance of investing in youth, the desire to innovate, and, being a proud Yorkshire firm; maintaining strong bonds with our local community is very important. We have always been a family-run firm, and this family atmosphere is woven into the very fabric of our company. All of these things mean that when it came to our managing director looking at the long-term future of the company, selling to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) was by far the best option for the AUS family.
Selling to an EOT allows the owner to sell some or all of their company to its employees. This initiative was created by the Finance Act 2014 and has been pushed by the government ever since, in a bid to make more companies employee-owned. EOTs usually acquire all or a majority of the shares in the company and then hold them for the benefit of all the employees in the business going forwards.
There are many benefits of being part of an employee-ownership trust from an employer’s perspective, but even more so from the perspective of an employee. A key point for our owner and managing director, Simon, was that selling to an EOT would ensure that ownership succession would not lead to the company being sold to a third party and potentially split up or relocated with staff losing jobs. This allows the company to continue to operate in its current manner without disruptions to our staff or philosophy. One of the most important benefits from an employee perspective is that each employee becomes a beneficial owner of the company through the Trust. This is important for the sustainability and progression of the company as each employee has an extra incentive to work hard, take responsibility, and drive the company forward.
Selling to an EOT was of real importance to Simon, who co-founded AUS and has been the driving force behind our success ever since. For Simon, it was of utmost importance that whatever happens to AUS, it remained an innovative manufacturing firm with integrity that sells high-quality products and always goes above and beyond for customers. At AUS, we feel that the EOT provides the perfect roadmap to the sustainability and long-term success of the company through a joint, collective effort from all staff members and Directors. Although Simon has sold 70% of his shares to the trust, his presence will remain as he will continue in the role of Chairman and will still play a leading part in taking AUS further into the future.