Merlin Cinemas is set to soon become an Employee Ownership Trust.

Ownership of the company is being transferred from the existing MD, Geoff Greaves, to an Employee Trust, which will own the company going forward.

The trust will protect the interests of the 320 people who work in the company’s cinemas and restaurants located from Penzance at the tip of Cornwall to Thurso at the very top of Scotland.

The current senior management team based mainly in Redruth will not change and after the transition it will be very much business as usual.

Greaves will stay on in a new supporting role with the intention of a gradual transition to retirement, while the MD reins will pass on to co-director Craig May, who has worked for the company for almost 20 years.

Daisy Wren and Chris Lawrence, both experienced and long serving senior management employees, will become directors.

Greaves founded Merlin Cinemas in 1990 with the opening of the Savoy in Penzance and it has since grown to 20 rural and coastal locations across England, Wales and Scotland.

He said: “This is a fantastic and exciting route to protect the company and our ethos, and to reward all those people who together have been part of the success in bringing the magic of the movies to so many people around the UK.

“I have always believed that the best place to see a film is at the cinema, it’s memorable and sociable, and without their own cinema locally people just don’t go very often, which is why I believe so much in cinema being local and engaged in the community.”