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Premier Forest Group Acquires Pembrokeshire Timber Firm

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

Established in Newport in 1993 by founding directors Dilwyn Howells, Nigel Williams and Terry Edgell, the Premier Forest Group is now one of the UK’s leading independent importers, manufacturers and distributors of timber and panel products.

The business began as Premier Forest Products Ltd, set up when the founders recognised that there was a gap in the market and has recorded phenomenal growth since, with this latest acquisition being the group’s eighth in the last seven years.

Since 2011, the vertically-integrated timber group’s turnover has grown from £53m to a projected £136m in the current financial year and Merlwood will contribute in no small part to this ongoing growth.

Merlwood Timber Ltd 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 has built a stellar reputation as leading suppliers of 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 Ltd 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.”

This acquisition supports Premier’s strategy of geographic expansion, development of value-added markets and further diversification of both product range and services.

The acquisition brings with it 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 £500k-worth 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 Ltd.