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Practices

Field Fisher Waterhouse advises first pharmacy to adopt employee ownership as succession solution

08 January 2013

Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP has advised Associated Chemists (Wicker) Limited on becoming the first pharmacy to adopt employee ownership as a succession solution.

Wicker Pharmacy provides pharmaceutical services to the Sheffield community.  The pharmacy opened in January 1952 when 45 independent pharmacists in Sheffield joined to provide a late night and out of hours service.  It has been open every day since. 

Employee ownership and mutuals specialist Graeme Nuttall led on the project and was assisted by Simon Haynes and Guy Swillingham.  The team advised on the creation of Wicker Employee Trust and its acquisition of a 10% shareholding, to be held on behalf of all employees, including those in Wicker Pharmacy and H+H System.  Almost 70% of the shares are now owned by or on behalf of employees or ex-employees.  Over the coming years the Wicker Employee Trust will buy in shares from the original shareholders and all employees will benefit from involvement in decision making along with receiving a dividend in the form of a profit share, similar to the John Lewis Partnership.

Martin Bennett, Managing Director of Associated Chemists (Wicker) Limited, who was awarded an MBE in 2010 for services to pharmacy in Sheffield, said:

“This is an exciting time.  Amongst all the gloom and doom here we have a model that potentially will allow pharmacies to develop in a more clinical manner with much more local autonomy.  I have great faith in our staff making a success of this venture”.

Partner Graeme Nuttall said:

"Wicker Pharmacy's adoption of employee ownership demonstrates how well it works as a succession solution, and its versatility.  Employee ownership succeeds in businesses of all sizes and sectors, not just the life sciences and healthcare sector, delivering improved business performance alongside employee well-being.  In particular, employee ownership provides a flexible and attractive solution for shareholders wishing to sell their company."

"This business model received huge support from the Government in 2012, which will continue throughout 2013.  I expect to see an increase in the number of companies implementing employee ownership, at whatever stage of the business lifecycle, whether starting up, aiming for growth or as a succession solution."

Field Fisher Waterhouse is a leader in the field of employee ownership with a long history of helping to develop the employee ownership business model.  Graeme Nuttall was appointed in 2012 as the Government's independent adviser on employee ownership to examine how to promote employee ownership in the private sector and spread the benefits into the wider economy.  His recommendations were presented to the Government in his report, "Sharing Success - The Nuttall Review of Employee Ownership".  These recommendations were endorsed by the Government and an action plan to implement them is underway.  This support for employee ownership by the Government is confirmed in "The Coalition: together in the national interest", the Government's Mid-Term Review published yesterday.


For further information, please contact:

Paula Nugent, PR Executive, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP on 020 7861 4526

Graeme Nuttall, Partner, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP on 020 7861 4652 

Martin Bennett, Managing Director of Associated Chemists (Wicker) Limited, on mobile 07703 134002 or via martin@wicker.co.uk