Scottish livestock business United Auctions will become an independent private company following a management buy-out.

It is intended that the sale of the company by property group Elphinstone for an undisclosed sum will be concluded by the end of January, 2007, subject to legal agreements

The announcement on 16 January came two years to the day after Elphinstone’s acquisition of UA for £52 million. The firm was subsequently de-listed from the stock exchange and has continued to trade successfully under Elphinstone’s stewardship.

UA is the largest auctioneering and procurement specialists in Scotland, operating a network of marts throughout Scotland.

The company’s management team, led by executive chairman David Leggat and joint managing directors Neil McLean and Robin Tough, will continue to work closely with Glasgow-based Elphinstone, which has made substantial investment commitments in the business.

‘State-of-the-art’

Among these is a £10m commitment to build a new state-of-the-art mart at Stirling which, subject to planning permission, will house UA’s headquarters. Other investments have included a £350,000 facelift of Huntly market.

The deal will see Elphinstone retain the property assets, which UA will then lease.

Mr Leggat said: “A management buy-out is a great opportunity and we’re delighted to be able to take the business forward independently in an exciting new phase for us. Elphinstone have been tremendous and we’re pleased that Ken Ross has agreed to be a non-executive director on our board.

“The company has been going since 1858 and we see this as a really good opportunity to focus on our core business, livestock marketing,” he added.