Another Iowa Company Sells to an ESOP

Jan 9, 2020 | Timothy L. Stewart

Bergen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling became 100% ESOP-owned as of the end of 2019.  Matthew Gardner, the selling shareholder and President of the company, had the following to say about the decision to establish an ESOP and sell 100% of the company to its employees: "Our employees have been highly effective in building a strong business and outstanding reputation in the community we serve. I’ve always wanted our employees to be more than just employees and have the ability to share in the success of the company.  This ESOP provides employees with a stake in the company’s long-term success and further enhances its growth potential."

Iowa has been a hot-bed of ESOP activity, particularly since passing a tax incentive (50% reduction on state capital gains taxes) to encourage Iowa business owners to sell their ownership to ESOPs (rather than selling to third parties who might move the companies out of the state).  Other states, such as Nebraska  and Massachusetts, have passed laws to encourage business owners to consider ESOPs.