Intelligent Finishing Systems Now Employee Owned

Intelligent Finishing Systems (IFS), the supplier of print finishing equipment and the exclusive UK and Ireland distributor for the extensive Horizon range, successfully transferred 100% of the company to its 30 employees in an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) on October 1.

The decision follows record sales and profit results for 2018, during which, the company supplied more print finishing equipment to UK printers than at any other time.

This succession plan for the future ownership of the company was delivered by shareholders Eric Keane 40%, Bryan Godwyn 40% and Jason Seaber 20%.

Keane explained: “This plan needed to guarantee the continuity of the business long into the future, to the mutual satisfaction of all stakeholders (employees, suppliers and customers). It also needed to provide the best platform for the company’s continued growth and give a fair return on our investment. We are all absolutely delighted with the result as it achieves all of those things”.
Godwyn added: “We wanted to ensure that it would be a succession plan preserving the good name of the company and enabling it to continue its development along the current path. We have always valued our independence. It is something that’s in our culture, as we believe it promotes the very best creativity, commitment and sense of belonging by the whole team. It enables us to have a real identity in what we do and deliver the very best customer experience. We are glad to say that the EOT enables this to continue.”

Godwyn took the opportunity to officially stand down as Managing Director after 30 years in the industry. He will remain on the board during a short transitionary period.

Keane commented: “Bryan has been a real driver and leader at IFS for the last 30 years. He has grown the company to its current unrivalled market position - an example for everyone in the business. His work rate, commitment and customer driven ethos are something that will leave an enduring legacy.”
Under the EOT the new board of directors will consist of Managing Director Eric Keane, Technical Sales Director Jason Seaber and a Senior Management Team featuring four long term employees - Head of Technical Services Gareth Read, Operations Manager Kelly Moore, Credit Control and HR Manager Marion Cooper and Technical Services Administration Manager Michele Faulkner.

Keane restated that the goal of IFS is to continue on the current path of being the best in class for the supply of print finishing and bindery machinery and the associated after sales services to the UK and Irish markets.
He continued: “Via the ongoing delivery of successful contracts with customers, IFS intends to be the no.1 in the market. It will continue to expand its footprint and deliver the best customer experience. This is a very interesting time for IFS as the print market has a sustained appetite for the highly automated products, we offer from our key partners Horizon and Tecnau.”

An EOT is increasingly being identified as a highly effective way to provide the ultimate reward for loyal, long term employees. It enables them to become stakeholders and company owners, often satisfying long held ambitions. They are, in most cases, a catalyst for further business success and deliver a satisfying and undisruptive way for entrepreneurial business owners to exit their own business.

Picture shows Eric Keane, IFS, Managing Director