LAVA Advisory Partners strengthens foothold in education and training sector with AIRDAT EOT deal. Read more.

LAVA Advisory Partners solves succession planning challenge for Lebus Upholstery

LAVA Advisory Partners leads transfer of Lebus Upholstery to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). As one of the largest furniture manufacturers of UK-produced upholstery, the Lebus EOT provides a smooth succession plan and safeguards approx. 500 jobs in Scunthorpe.

Lebus Upholstery started life back in 1840 and today operates from a purpose-built manufacturing base in Scunthorpe, UK. Following a turbulent period for the brand in the mid to late 20th Century, the existing board has led the business through a period of sustained profitability and growth. The team behind this success – four shareholder directors – wanted to put in place a succession plan that allowed them to step away from the business at the right time while safeguarding jobs.

As the second largest employer in the area, Lebus has a staff of approximately 500 and is looking to expand. Recent orders and customer interest through high street furniture retailers has highlighted the potential for growth, making the business attractive to buyers. Lebus appointed LAVA in late 2020 to advise on a succession plan that would work for the owners as well as those that relied on the business for their livelihoods.

We looked at a whole host of options but transferring to an EOT was the ideal outcome for the shareholders, the board, the employees and the future of this healthy, growing business. Once again, it shows that we’re not frightened of thinking outside the box to hunt down the best solutions for our clients.

Claire Davis Partner at LAVA Advisory

An Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) is a collective vehicle that holds a controlling stake in a business for the long-term benefit of staff shareholders. With current employees now a formal part of the business, it is already benefiting from increased engagement and long-term commitment. It is also proving to be a more attractive proposition when recruiting new talent to keep pace with demand.

After advising on the structure of the EOT, a full re-banking process and the initial added value for existing shareholders, LAVA was able to sign-off on the transition and associated fund raising within months of making the decision to proceed.

This is the second transfer to an EOT that LAVA has completed in the last year following the recent deal for Park Cameras.