The importance of the Food and Drink sector to the Scottish economy both in its own right and as a proportion of Scottish manufacturing output is clearly very significant.

The hospitality industry complements this very well given the abundance of high quality natural ingredients available in Scotland and the industry has matured significantly in the last decade.

Our business law team’s involvement in these sectors is not new and has a real depth and dynamism. A substantial number of our clients are involved in rural economies in Scotland from the Scottish Borders, Ayrshire, Perthshire, Aberdeenshire and across the Highlands and Islands. Our clients, who are predominantly entrepreneurs and family businesses, are involved in many facets of these of the food and beverage industry.

Food, beverage and hospitality businesses we’ve worked with

Our experienced solicitors support a wide range of businesses in this dynamic industry, including:

  • Luxury hotel operators
  • Privately owned restaurants
  • Catering supplies to the hospitality industry
  • Farming
  • Luxury food products
  • Craft brewers
  • Whisky and gin distilleries
  • IT businesses related to the sector
  • Golf courses

The legal services we provide to your business

We provide a full range of services to clients in the food, drink and hospitality sector, with the advice spanning the following areas:

  • Business Succession advice
  • Business Expansion – acquiring a business or organic growth
  • Share option schemes for employees
  • Selling a business or a company
  • Operational contracts
  • Funding
  • Joint Ventures
  • Reorganisations and demergers
  • Brand Protection
  • Construction- building contracts and development agreements
  • Employment law advice
  • Property legal services
  • Tax advice

How we have helped our clients

Business Succession Advice

One of our core areas of legal advice is helping entrepreneurs and family business owners, particularly in the food and drink sector, in evaluating the options available to them for the succession to their business. The process is complex with many aspects including tax considerations, funding, the skills set internally of the people in the business, whether a family member can take over, the possibility of an employee buyout, customer relationships and timescales.

Our lawyers have in-depth understanding of the process and have implemented the full range of possible outcomes which include:

  • Effecting the departure of one or more of a group of shareholders through a share buyback or capital reduction.
  • Partial Exit involving bringing in external equity ahead of a full exit by the enlarged shareholder base.
  • Demerging a business through a capital reduction demerger to allow a retiring generation to exit the business with a group of business assets, leaving the trading business behind with the next generation.
  • An Employee Buy Out. The outcome here can involve direct ownership or indirect ownership by the employees through an employee ownership trust and there are potentially significant tax savings for the departing shareholder in the utilisation of an employee ownership trust. Our team were involved in effecting the EBO of West Highland Free Press in Skye in the late 2000s.
  • A management buyout/VIMBO (Vendor Initiated Management Buy Out). Our team implements a significant number of management buyouts every year and are fully conversant with the legal and tax issues as well as the wider skills and issues required to manage the transition process.
  • Dynastic Succession. Choosing a family member to succeed to the ownership of the business can be fraught with difficulty even before the implementation of the process from a legal and tax perspective. Because of the high concentration of family business clients we have and have advised over a significant period, we are very familiar with the processes and issues.
  • Trade sale. The number of entrepreneurial and family owned businesses making it to the second or third generation is not terribly high in proportionate terms and this results in a number of sales to competitors or financial buyers. Our business law (corporate) team is very experienced in this area of work and it does require not only the technical legal and financial skills and but a complex array of soft skills to carry a transaction across the line. We have advised many sellers in the food, beverage and hospitality sectors on disposals, some examples are listed below.

If you have a business in Scotland’s thriving food and beverage sector and would like to discuss how Turcan Connell can help you, get in touch with our experienced solicitors today.

We’re always happy to discuss things further.
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