Fife bingo hall staff set to become owners of the company

Staff at a Fife bingo hall are set to run the business.

Monday, 13th June 2022, 8:38 am
Updated Monday, 13th June 2022, 8:38 am

Carlton Bingo’s Dunfermline branch is part of a deal that will see the company become Scotland's largest and latest employee owned firm.

The west Fife bingo hall has 30 staff, and it is one of ten outlets included in the deal which will see it move into employee ownership.

The four major shareholders decided to transition the business after considering their succession options and acknowledging their staff’s loyalty and commitment.

The four owners will transfer the company to its employees

Chris Barr, George Carter, Brian King and Peter Perrins have been involved in the bingo industry for most of their careers, and were driven to find an exit solution that lessened any disruption to staff and customers.

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Mr Carter said: “It might sound like a cliché but we are very much like a family business here. The sale to employees fitted exactly with what we wanted.

“ We have to wait a few years to realise our full value, but we judged that to be a risk worth taking to preserve all that’s good about Carlton for our customers and our staff.

“A management buyout was a real possibility – our management team are hugely respected within the business – but that really only defers the problem of succession.

“By transferring the shareholding to an EOT, the future of Carlton Bingo is secure for our loyal staff and customers.”

The company was hit significantly during the Covid crisis, with one club being closed for a total of 400 days.

Mike added: “We have recovered well from what was a challenging time.

“Eight of our 10 locations exceeded their targets for March and several are outperforming their 2019 results.

“This is testament to the hard work and loyalty of our staff who have done a sterling job in ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for our customers.

“If I had any doubts that this was the right way forward, they were banished when we delivered the news to the employees.”

Carole Leslie of Ownership Associates, who worked with directors on the programme of employee communication, said: “The idea of employee ownership was largely unknown by most of the staff, but once explained, was recognised as a generous gesture by the former shareholders.”