France, Italy and Spain are the countries where the biggest amount of successful business transfers can be found, whereas more isolated cases exist in the UK and Finland. It appears that certain factors explaining why business transfers to employees are more successful in some countries than others, such as; an adequate legal framework protecting and promoting worker cooperative enterprises, a high level of organisation and consolidation of worker cooperatives in federations and policy measures facilitating business transfers to employees.

In Spain 75 enterprises were transformed into cooperatives in 2012 according to the Spanish Confederation of Worker Cooperatives, COCETA. “A model that at the same time generates local wealth and allows employees to decide the direction of their life and the life of their enterprise”, the Director of COCETA, Paloma Arroyo underlined. She gave the example of the Spanish cooperative Sherlimp, active in textile cleaning, created 30 years ago through a worker buy-out.

The European Commission has estimated that around 150,000 enterprises employing around 600,000 persons may be lost over the next few years, if no transfer plan or heir is found for them. In line with this, CECOP-CICOPA Europe has published a document presenting the opportunities and challenges for successful business transfers in Europe. “This is the appropriate moment for the EU to consider examples of saving enterprises, jobs and skills” has indicated the Secretary General of CECOP- CICOPA Europe, Bruno Roelants.

For more information read the document “Business Transfers to Employees under the Form of a Cooperative in Europe” here.