Staff at the Highlands and islands’ largest independent television production company have been given a stake in its future after it became an employee-owned business.
MacTV managing director Bill Morrison decided the move was the best way of making sure the firm continued to be based in Stornoway, as he looked ahead to his retirement.
With a workforce of 20, the award-winning company is one of the biggest producers of programming for BBC Alba, with the Gaelic language channel’s flagship documentary series Trusadh among the programmes it makes.
MacTV also has staff in the central belt and has been involved in a number of international co-productions, working with companies in Canada, Ireland, Iceland and Wales.
Mr Morrison pursued the employee ownership option after seeking advice from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and being introduced to Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) to progress the plan.
CDS is a specialist arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies.
Mr Morrison said: “In the 18 years since it was established, the hugely talented and hard-working team here at MacTV have helped build a highly regarded production company which is recognised at both a national and international level for producing important and compelling programming.
“With a workforce truly rooted in the community, the passion, skills and local knowledge of our staff is vital to the quality of our output.
“A traditional trade sale may have seen us bought by a competitor, potentially risking job security and compromising our offering.
“Employee ownership ensures that the company is owned by and run for the benefit of those closest to it, while providing ongoing economic benefit to the area by anchoring the work and jobs in the local community. Our new employee owners now have an increased stake in their own future, with a say in the business, empowering them to shape its direction and drive growth.”
An employee ownership trust was formed, which will hold 90% of MacTV’s shares on behalf of the workforce.
Clare Alexander, head of CDS, said: “It’s great to see that a business with such a distinct and important offering is handing over the reins to its staff.
“Companies in Scotland are increasingly recognising the many benefits that can be gained from employee ownership, such as its effectiveness at retaining skills and jobs locally.
“This is particularly crucial in areas like Stornoway, where small businesses are a key driver of employment and provide a significant contribution to the local economy.
“We wish MacTV every success and look forward to seeing how the workforce shapes its future.”
John Macdonald, account manager with HIE’s area team in Stornoway, said: “By making this move, the owners have secured these jobs and the long-term presence of the company on the island.”