A&F Sprinklers, the Rochdale-based sprinkler company, has become an employee-owned business.

A £30m turnover business, it was purchased in October 2005 by Mark and Lesley Stansfield. They are transferring 80% of shares to an Employee-owned Trust (EOT) for the benefit of employees. Mark Stansfield will remain Managing Director.

A&F Sprinklers specialises in the design, supply, installation, and maintenance of automatic sprinkler systems. A&F Sprinklers supplies high-profile retailers, commercial and residential sectors, as well as distribution and construction industries. Clients include Dunelm, Hotel Chocolat, Next, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose.

Headquartered in Rochdale the team of 82 office and 61 field staff provide a nationwide call-out service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Mark Stansfield, Managing Director at A&F Sprinklers said:

“It’s such a proud moment to be able to hand over ownership of A&F Sprinklers. Transferring ownership into our team’s hands ensures our culture and values live on, which was one of the most important factors to us in considering any next chapter for the company.”

“We firmly believe this next chapter as an employee-owned business is just a reward for the hard work and talent of our brilliant team. Becoming employee-owned is about maintaining and building on our unique culture. Creating a great place to work is fundamental to our business principles, and we’re excited about the next stage of A&F Sprinklers’ journey.”

“We have received terrific support from the teams at Azets and Ramsdens, who helped us navigate and negotiate the transaction.”

A&F Sprinklers was advised by Tariq Javaid & Karen Sadler at Azets. Stephen Newman at Ramsdens provided legal advice.

Tariq Javaid, Corporate Finance Partner at Azets said:

“A&F Sprinklers is a business exceptionally well-suited for employee ownership, being an organisation with a strong culture, firmly established values, and an emphasis on the quality of its people. It has been a privilege to work with Mark, Lesley, and the team in assisting them with this transition, and I am confident that A&F Sprinklers has a bright future as an employee-owned business.”

A&F Sprinklers joins many well-known firms such as John Lewis, Go Ape, Richer Sounds, and ‘Tiptree’ preserve maker Wilkin & Sons in becoming employee-owned. The Employee Ownership Association (EOA) says more than 700 businesses have now adopted the model, with at least 50 more preparing to follow suit. Recent converts include Riverford, the organic vegetable box company, and Aardman, the Bristol-based animation studio behind Wallace & Gromit.

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