Construction News

Wed June 16 2021

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Clifford Devlin sold to its employees

18 Feb London-based demolition and enabling works contractor Clifford Devlin, family-owned and run since 1962, has been taken over by its employees.

The former owners, Tim Clifford and Leslie Rose, have sold 100% of the business to an employee ownership trust (EOT), representing all 42 employees.

As our article here explains, business owners exiting by selling to an EOT are exempt from paying capital gains tax. It has therefore become an increasingly popular route. Other companies that have been sold, either wholly or partially, to employee ownership trusts since the abolition of CGT on such transactions include McGee Group, Triton Construction, Tonic Construction and Horizon Platforms.

Clifford Devlin managing director Tim Clifford said that the move to employee ownership would help secure the long-term future of the business. “The EOT route will enable us to transition the ownership structure without the potential disruption a sale to new owners might involve, thereby maintaining continuity of culture and business process which is what our father would have wanted,” he said.

“It is also an opportunity for us to recognise and reward the contribution our staff make to the development and continued success of the company”.

As part of the restructuring the company’s existing management board have been appointed as full board members, creating directorships for Liam Hennessy (operations), Martin Doble (building works), Derek Aslett (commercial) and Ian O’Connor (HSQE).

“Promoting our management board to senior status will help reduce some of the workload for day-to-day activities on the existing directors and will improve overall governance of the business,” Tim Devlin said. “It will further enable us to gradually transition our responsibilities over the course of time.”

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Clifford Devlin’s new directors: Liam Hennessy (operations), Martin Doble (building works), Derek Aslett (commercial) and Ian O’Connor (HSQE)
Clifford Devlin’s new directors: Liam Hennessy (operations), Martin Doble (building works), Derek Aslett (commercial) and Ian O’Connor (HSQE)

Clifford Devlin, founded by Peter Clifford and Alphonsus (Foncie) Devlin, celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2022. Peter Clifford gradually transferred control and ownership to members of his family before standing down in 1998. He died in 2010 at the age of 83.

The company specialises in complex, inner-city enabling works projects featuring demolition, asbestos removal, structural alterations and groundworks packages. It also has a building refurbishment division

In the year to 31st March 2020 Clifford Devlin Ltd made a pre-tax profit of £459,000 (2019: £344,000) on turnover of £17.3m (2019: £11.1m).

Turnover was boosted by completion of a £7.5m project to facilitate the development of the Euston hub of HS2.

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