A family-run company set up in Pembrokeshire 30 years ago is to go into the future being owned by its employees and thus keeping Welsh jobs.

Celvac, which has grown to become the UK’s leading industrial cleaning and waste recovery services specialists, has decided to opt in to employee ownership.

The company has its main manufacturing facility and head office in Tenby, but also has bases in Port Talbot, Connah’s Quay and Slough, as it works throughout the country providing expert services to the UK water, petro-chemical, construction, manufacturing, refining and food industries.

Established in 1993 by Kim, Joan and Nigel Beynon, Celvac will now be owned by its 68 staff members via an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT).

Over the past five years a senior management team has developed organically from within Celvac.

Various exit alternatives were considered as part of the founders’ succession solution, including a trade sale, but this would ultimately have led to the company being broken up and Welsh jobs lost.

So, employee ownership seemed the ideal solution, retaining the business in its current format and securing a long-term future of Celvac.

Kim Beynon explained: “Since starting from scratch 30 years ago, we have built an extremely successful business through innovation and the delivery of excellent services via our great on-site teams, who often work in extremely hazardous confined space conditions.

“We design and build all our specialist vacuum recovery, screening and waste separation equipment in Tenby and export to the Middle East, so a sale to a competitor was not really an option as we are passionate about retaining our people and business in Wales.”

Kim added: “When we learned more about Employee Ownership and how an EOT works, we thought it was the perfect solution.

“It meant we could pass the company on to the whole Celvac team, who have worked so hard to make it the business it is today and enable them to share in its future success for many years to come.

“We get to have a little more time to ourselves so it’s a win-win on all fronts!”

Claire Gottwaltz, managing director of Celvac, said that all 68 staff members have been really engaged in the process from day one: “We held an employee election ballot to appoint our EOT board of directors and were delighted when ten individuals put their names forward. Everyone was very enthusiastic and engaged in the process.

“From that election two people from Site Operations, Callum Rowley and Phil Lewis, were appointed as directors of the EOT. They are joined on the EOT board by Sarah Hughes, our HR manager, and Ben Field-Thomas, our operations director.”

“Every employee has a vested interest in the ongoing success of Celvac, knowing that there is job security and financial rewards if we continue to do a great job for our clients.

"We want to remain as the leading industry specialists for the next 30 years and knowing that our efforts will contribute to this success is very fulfilling.

"Although this has been a big internal transition, it’s business as usual and we are all excited about the future.”

In addition to the EOT Trustees, Celvac also has a new board of directors, consisting of MD Claire Gottwaltz, financial director Jon Strange, sales director Peter Horsley, fleet director Steve Fairlie and operations director Ben Field-Thomas.

Celvac was advised on their EO journey by Social Business Wales, which is delivered by Cwmpas.

Sarah Owens, specialist EO advisor for Social Business Wales, said: “Employee Ownership is an ideal way to keep a business intact and in a geographic area, especially one with such a great history and specialism.

“The Beynons looked at all of the options available to them before deciding an EOT would be the right way, and with an experienced senior management team already in place, it was the perfect solution for them.”

“Also to see that the staff of Celvac are so engaged and keen to be involved in the process, and that the appointment of the EOT directors was done in such a democratic way, is wonderful.

“I wish them all the very best with this new company structure and we will be on hand to help them progress with being employee-owned.”