Premier Forest Group’s directors (l-r): Terry Edgell, Nigel Williams and Dilwyn Howells.

Further expansion for timber firm

Published:  08 May, 2015

Timber importer Premier Forest Group has purchased a Cornish sawmill to further expand the group’s portfolio.

This is the second sawmill purchase for Newport-headquartered Premier within the past six months, following its successful acquisition of Border Group’s Croespenmaen mill.

The Duchy Sawmill, which was established in Lostwithiel in 1958, employs 35 staff on a single 11-acre site. The business converts locally grown softwood logs into sawn timber for a variety of uses including fencing, pallets and agriculture.

In recent years the sawmill has made several technological advancements and it currently benefits from a computer controlled sawmill, timber drying kilns, a pressure treatment plant and extensive machining facilities.

The Duchy Sawmill has the extra benefit of being able to add value by processing raw materials to produce wooden gates, fence panels and garden furniture. It can also cut to length, produce feather edge boarding and offer a full range of preservative treated products.

Terry Edgell, director and co-founder of Premier Forest Group, said: “With the Duchy Sawmill, we saw a great opportunity to expand Premier’s reach and also to bring another well-respected national brand under the Premier banner.

“The experience we have gained from the purchase of our other sawmill means that we are well-equipped to take over the Duchy Sawmill. We have also found that the opportunities we have generated since purchasing the first sawmill have exceeded not just our expectation but our capacity and we are confident that the Duchy mill will give us much needed additional sales volume and geographic expansion.

“It increases the volume of FSC and PEFC certified materials that the Group currently distributes and improves our environmental credentials, as well as giving us control over the quality and product range and securing our sales capacity for fencing and pallet wood and value added products.”

This is the latest in a series of acquisitions for Premier, who as well as its first sawmill in Croespenmaen, has also purchased in recent years Ron Lewis Holdings, which includes Clarks Wood Company and Y Goldberg & Sons, and the iconic Irish brands Brooks Timber and Building Supplies and Dublin Plywood and Veneers.

HSBC’s Wales Corporate Banking team, based in Cardiff, provided a significant seven-figure funding package to support Premier in the acquisition.

The Duchy Sawmill was established in 1958 as part of the Duchy of Cornwall Estate. The company was sold in 1992 to A &B High Holdings.

Owner Adrian High, who is selling the business to the Premier Forest Group, said: “We have always enjoyed a good relationship with Premier so when we decided to sell, it seemed like the natural choice.

“I believe that Premier is the right business to take Duchy forward, and I know that the sawmill will thrive under Premier’s stewardship.”

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