Lovell Johns becomes an Employee Owned Trust

By March 11th 2021

About Lovell Johns

Founded in 1965, Lovell Johns is a market leading mapping company based in Oxfordshire. We have several key business areas: Cartographic services, digital mapping & GIS consultancy services, as well as our map retail brand which trades as Maps International.

In 2014, David Stephens and Liz Murray completed a Management Buy Out from a large South African Media company. The business has grown significantly since 2014, particularly through the Maps International brand.

After 6 years of owning the business, David and Liz decided to look at what the future held for them and the business and what the best succession plan would be.

We know that what makes our business work, is the team we have. For that reason, we decided not to take the route of Private Equity investment or a trade sale. These routes often change the direction of the company, puts increasing pressure on generating increasing profits, looks for rapid cost cutting, and doesn’t put people at the centre of the plans.

We decided that we wanted the company to continue with the same culture and ethos it currently has, and the best way we could see to do that was to sell control of the business to the employees.”

Moving to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT)

As of Thursday 26th February 2021  Lovell Johns became an Employee Owned Trust. This means the company is now owned (through a trust) by our staff, similar to the way the Co-Op or John Lewis is owned and structured. More recent publicised EOT’s include Richer Sounds and Aardman Animations.

Moving forward

There will be no impact on Lovell Johns’ day to day working, or how it is managed but in the longer term it has significant benefits for all of the staff (now co-owners).

David and Liz will remain as directors and Lovell Johns will have the same management team, but David and Liz will no longer be the majority shareholders. The business will continue to do what the business has been doing, with the same strategy and outlook.

Lovell Johns has been on a growth trajectory for several years and the strategy set out aims for this to continue. Now, the staff will be able to share more in this growth, not only personally from their own input and hard work, but also, in the future, will share in the profits of the business.

Key advantages of EOT

  • It will retain the staff in their current positions and preserve a stable future for them;
  • It will allow staff to have more involvement in ‘their’ company and feel like they can really contribute;
  • There will be no impact on clients;
  • Lovell Johns can maintain the same culture and values moving forward.

This all leaves Lovell Johns with a very exciting future.

Further Information

You can find further information and resources about Employee Ownership Trusts at The Employee Ownership Association

For more information contact Liz Murray at [email protected]

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