Staff given stake in Highlands and Islands TV firm

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Eighteen staff at Stornoway-based production company MacTV have been given a stake in the business after it became Scotland’s latest employee-owned business.

Established in 2001, award-winning MacTV is the largest independent TV company in the Highlands and Islands.

Specialising in factual documentary, arts and music programmes in Gaelic and in English, the company is one of the biggest producers of programming for BBC ALBA, including the Gaelic language channel’s flagship documentary series Trusadh, which tells distinctive and compelling stories from Scotland.

The company’s main production base is in the Hebrides, with staff also in the central belt, and in recent years the firm has been involved in a variety of international co-productions, working with companies in Canada, Ireland, Iceland and Wales.

When managing director Bill Morrison began to look ahead to his retirement, there were a number of considerations, including a preference to ensure the business remained based in Stornoway, and that the positive community ethos and culture remained at its core.

Bill identified employee ownership as a potential ideal solution, and he subsequently got in touch with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to explore the option in more detail. From there, he was introduced to Co-operative Development Scotland, the arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies that supports company growth through collaborative and employee ownership business models.

John Macdonald, account manager at HIE’s area team in Stornoway, said: ‘MacTV is a significant employer in Stornoway, and we are pleased to support them with a grant towards the process of the employee buyout.’

Statistics demonstrate that employee-owned (EO) businesses consistently outperform their non-EO counterparts in higher levels of profitability, increased productivity brought about by higher levels of engagement and enhanced employee wellbeing, as well as improved business resilience during times of recession.