Mike James and Jeff Lloyd of Merlwood Timber with Premier Forest Group CEO Terry Edgell (centre).

Premier acquires further business in continued drive for expansion

Published:  15 October, 2018

Premier Forest Group has acquired Haverfordwest-based timber importer Merlwood Timber.

Established in Newport in 1993 as Premier Forest Products by founding directors Dilwyn Howells, Nigel Williams and Terry Edgell, the Premier Forest Group claims to be one of the UK's leading independent importers, manufacturers and distributors of timber and panel products.

This latest acquisition is the Group’s eighth in the last seven years.

Since 2011, the vertically-integrated timber group’s turnover has grown from £53 million to a projected £136 million in the current financial year, and Merlwood will contribute to the growth.

Merlwood Timber was formed in 1997 and operates from a three-acre site in Haverfordwest, with other strategic dockside locations within the UK. All staff will be joining Premier after a direct approach from the existing directors, who were were keen to safeguard the ‘right ownership,’ the business’ reputation and to secure future investment.

Its West Wales site operates a full in-house machining and treatment facility and supplies imported and domestically produced solid timber, with timber and builders’ merchants being key clients.

Terry Edgell, CEO 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.”

Mike James, co-founder and Managing Director at Merlwood Timber, 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 with significant opportunities for not only the business but for our loyal and committed staff.”

Premier Forest Group says the acquisition supports its strategy of geographic expansion, development of value-added markets and further diversification of both product range and services.

It creates additional customer and supply relationships as well as the capacity to produce more added-value product in-house. During the last year, Premier has outsourced the supply of £500,000 of specials, which can now be brought in-house with Merlwood’s facilities and expertise.

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

Other brands within the Premier Forest Group based in Wales 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 of Wales other brands within the group 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 Ltd and Dublin Plywood and Veneers.

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