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Employee Ownership

Merlin is an employee-owned engineering consultancy and services business that provides drilling assurance to operators and service companies drilling some of the most complex wells globally. Really complex. Wells with a step-out ratio of 6:1 and wells with 6 lost BHAs in a single hole section before Merlin get invited to the party. The deviation and step-out are not that important to Merlin, the business thrives on any engineering or operational challenge.

Engaging our clients

What’s fascinating is that Merlin being an employee-owned business generates just as much interest within our client base as our engineering and operational track record, and the industry-leading products and services the business has to offer. Employee-ownership is not new (I think John Lewis entered into it in the 1920’s), but it’s gaining in popularity. Yes, it gives founding shareholders a tax efficient exit route, and some reassurance that their legacy will live-on in the hands of the employees. And yes, it allows the employees to benefit if the business is profitable and grows.

The equity split

Merlin has a blended approach to this whereby employees each have a small individual shareholding (dividends and equity growth), with the majority (88%) of the Company’s equity being held within an Employee Ownership Trust on behalf of the beneficiaries (the employees). That means that the employees can benefit from profitable growth through annual disbursements of any distributable profits. All good.

The real benefit

But what is really great is the non-financial stuff. It is not about running the business by committee or practicing yoga and table-tennis whilst at work. It’s about cultivating a business owner’s frame of mind within all employees, and when this is combined with the right leadership, employee ownership can turbo charge a business. It puts people before profit, it ensures all are aligned to do the best possible for clients, it promotes transparency, and it rewards handsomely for success.

Everyone is invested in making the businesses a success, and that means everyone is focussed on doing all that they can to understand client requirements and to deliver.

Complex wells. Delivered. That’s what Merlin does.

Written by Ron Ramage, Managing Director, Merlin

“Employee ownership binds colleagues together, supports innovation, enterprise, and risk-taking, it wins engagement and commitment, and it rewards people well for their efforts”.