Scots entrepreneur pockets £64m while 60 of his staff gain £36m from insurance firm sale
Alasdair Locke, one of Scotland’s richest businessmen is £64 million richer after Argenta, the insurance firm he heads was sold in a £142.5 million deal.
The Scottish Herald report said that the Banffshire-based oil tycoon, who as chairman of the company, had a 45 per cent stake, has also made sure that 60 of his 160 mainly London-based staff from office workers to executives will also share a £35.6 million windfall from the sale to Hannover RE, one of the largest reinsurance groups in the world.
That’s because after developing the company from its infancy over a decade ago the executive put 25 per cent of the shares in the firm into an employee trust to benefit his staff.
Argenta Holdings, which specialises in insurance for insurers, was originall put up for sale in September, with final bids submitted in mid-January.
Mr Locke said: “It’s great to take [what was] a bust business, rebuilding it and getting it to robust health. In the insurance world it is all about capital, and it’s a hugely regulated industry.
“I had taken in a long way, and I could see what needed to be done, but I was pleased it went to such a good home, because it would have required a lot more investment to push it further forward.”
He said the idea to create the trust for staff was aimed at attracting and motivating staff. “The benefits are widely spread, the people at the top will have more than the people at the bottom, but a lot of them will do very well out of it, and that was always the idea. “I believe in looking after people, I believe if you look after your staff, they’ll look after you and it’s a win-win for everybody.”
In June, 2015, Mr Locke’s midas touch struck when the Motor Fuel Group (MFG), Britain’s second largest independent petrol station and forecourt convenience storee chain, he headed was sold in a £500 million deal.
And Mr Locke, now 64, has no plans to retire yet, as he remains chairman of MFG, which operates over 400 UK stations including 18 across Scotland and has an an eye out for new investment opportunities.
“I am getting older but I have other business interests and the principal business I am pushing forward and hopefully develop further is as chairman of Motor Fuel Group,and that business is going extremely well. We have grown that significantly over the last nine years and we are looking to push that further forward.”
Mr Locke, who gained £117 million after selling his oil and gas services company Abbot for over £900 million 10 years ago said: “I wouldn’t say I would never retire, but it is always interesting to have things to do. Better to have things to do than not at all, so I am not intending to retire at this stage.”
A former banker at Citibank, Mr Locke became directly involved in the oil and gas industry when he became chief executive of Kelt Energy in 1985. He set up Abbot Group in 1990 to invest in the shipping and offshore industries.