Ac­qui­si­tion con­tin­ues tim­ber firm’s solid growth

Western Mail - - BUSINESS WALES - SION BARRY Busi­ness ed­i­tor sion.barry@waleson­line.co.uk

Premier For­est Group, one of the UK’s fastest-grow­ing tim­ber groups, has ac­quired Haver­ford­west-based tim­ber im­porter Merl­wood Tim­ber.

Es­tab­lished in New­port in 1993 by found­ing direc­tors Dil­wyn How­ells, Nigel Wil­liams and Terry Edgell, Premier For­est Group im­ports, man­u­fac­tures and dis­tributs tim­ber and panel prod­ucts.

The firm was set up as Premier For­est Prod­ucts when the founders recog­nised there was a gap in the mar­ket and has recorded phe­nom­e­nal growth, with this lat­est ac­qui­si­tion be­ing the group’s eighth in the past seven years. Since 2011, the group’s turnover has grown from £53m to a pro­jected £136m in the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year.

Merl­wood Tim­ber Ltd, formed in 1997, op­er­ates from a three-acre site in Haver­ford­west with other strate­gic dock­side lo­ca­tions in the UK. All staff will be join­ing Premier.

It is a lead­ing sup­plier of im­ported and do­mes­ti­cally pro­duced solid tim­ber. Its key clients in­clude tim­ber and builders’ mer­chants.

Terry Edgell, chief ex­ec­u­tive and co-founder of Premier For­est Group, said: “The ac­qui­si­tion of Merl­wood Tim­ber gives Premier the op­por­tu­nity to strengthen its dis­tri­bu­tion ca­pac­ity in Wales and to ex­pand its group sales rev­enue and geo­graphic reach.

“The Merl­wood team bring with them ad­di­tional cus­tomer and sup­plier re­la­tion­ships and their ca­pac­ity to ma­chine tim­ber in-house, which adds to the value and ser­vice we can now of­fer to our own group’s cus­tomer base.

“Par­tic­u­larly ex­cit­ing is the fact that the full man­age­ment team and staff are firmly com­mit­ted to join­ing the Premier For­est Group. They are em­brac­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties the ac­qui­si­tion brings with it and we hope to see a pe­riod of job cre­ation, cap­i­tal in­vest­ment and sales ex­pan­sion within Wales for both Merl­wood and our other three Welsh sites as a re­sult of this ac­qui­si­tion.”

The value of the deal has not been dis­closed.

Merl­wood Tim­ber’s co-founder and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mike James said: “We are ex­tremely ex­cited about join­ing the Premier For­est team. Merl­wood Tim­ber will now have the con­sid­er­able re­sources of the Premier Group be­hind it to en­able us to not only ful­fil our growth am­bi­tions re­gion­ally, but also fur­ther en­hance Premier’s busi­ness across the UK too. We are an ex­tremely good fit for one an­other and it’s go­ing to be an ex­cit­ing pe­riod ahead.”

Premier For­est Group cur­rently op­er­ates across 15 sites in the UK and Ire­land and com­prises sawmilling, pro­cess­ing, im­por­ta­tion and tim­ber dis­tri­bu­tion busi­nesses.

Other Wales-based brands within the Premier For­est Group in­clude tim­ber im­porter Premier For­est Prod­ucts in New­port Docks, which also be­came the home to Premier Pro­cess­ing & Fab­ri­ca­tion, and hard­wood and soft­wood spe­cial­ist Clarks Wood. The group’s Welsh sawmill op­er­a­tion Premier Sawmilling and its out­let store Mill Tim­ber Direct are based In Croe­spen­maen, south Wales.

Out­side Wales, the group’s other brands in­clude Duchy Tim­ber in Corn­wall, Premier For­est Don­caster, Premier Gold­berg near Heathrow and the Ir­ish brands of the multi-site Brooks Tim­ber and Builders Sup­plies and Dublin Ply­wood and Ve­neers.

MARK FRASER

> Terry Edgell of Premier For­est Group

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