By RYAN TAYLOR
THE MEDIA organisation built up by businessman and photographer Malcolm Younger will benefit from a quarter of a million pound investment of public money from Shetland Development Trust.
The cash injection is being made to transform the business, created in 2004, into a limited company and will help it expand by widening its workforce and investing in new equipment.
Described as a “commercial investment” in the business, the trust’s backing of Millgaet means it will gain a “substantial minority interest” in the new organisation.
As a condition of the cash boost it will hold a director’s position in the company.
Trustee Bobby Hunter has been voted on as co-director, and will assist Millgaet with its future plans.
Trust financial controller Neil MacDougall said the investment was being made as part of a 10 year arrangement, through which the trust expects to make a commercial rate of dividend on an annual basis.
Mr MacDougall said Mr Younger’s assets and liabilities would be transferred and taken on by the new company following a “very extensive and lengthy period of due diligence”.
He added: “Millgaet Media Group was basically a sole trader owned by Malcolm Younger,
but what was required to get it on a wider platform was to convert it to a limited company, because that carries far more weight.
“It’s something potential clients are more comfortable in dealing with because it allows for a reasonable amount of equity and improves confidence. What he is trying to do is stop this being a Shetland media company and expand his horizons onto the mainland.”
Millgaet Media specialises in photography, film and video, graphic design and publishing.
It is also the name behind the monthly ii Shetland magazine and provides television coverage in news and current affairs for Scottish Television.
Past publications run by Mr Younger have included The Shetland Post and fishing and marine paper 60 Degrees North.
He was also behind the local newspaper, The Shetland Weekly, which collapsed in 2005 just nine weeks after its launch.
Mr Younger welcomed the investment from the trust, but said the value of his personal contribution into the venture exceeded the quarter million pound injection of public cash.
“I would like to feel we are creating something unique here,” he said.
“We need to invest in it and make it better, and that is why we are doing it.”
This is not the first time Millgaet has received funding from the trust.
Mr Younger said the organisation had received a loan of £70,000 over 2003 and 2004.
The money was used to invest in an up to the minute satellite van, which Mr Younger said had “proved successful” and was in use on an almost “daily basis”.
Mr Younger’s premises in Lerwick’s North Ness Business Park have also been the subject of a lease-back deal with the property trading arm of Shetland Islands Council, SLAP, which is currently attempting to extend its property portfolio in the North Ness.
The organisation is negotiating to buy the Gutters Hut, as well as the environmentally innovative Bio-Solar Haus, which sits next door to Millgaet.