Acuity advises Premier Forest Group on the sale of its Irish subsidiary

Acuity advises Premier Forest Group on the sale of its Irish subsidiary

Key Contacts: Rachelle Sellek & Tom Saunderson

Acuity is delighted to have acted as lead legal advisers to Premier Forest Group on the disposal of its Irish subsidiary, Premier Forest ROI Limited; the eight-site subsidiary comprising Brooks Timber and Building Supplies and Dublin Plywood and Veneer (DPV).

The sale, for a significant but undisclosed sum, to Northern Ireland headquartered Murdock Builders Merchants, is subject to the approval of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) and covers the trading assets, goodwill and freehold properties. The referral process is anticipated to take up to 30 working days and, subject to final approval from the CCPC, completion of the deal is likely to occur at the end of July 2021.

Premier Forest Group acquired Brooks in 2012 and DPV in 2013, helping to rebuild both iconic Irish timber companies following the difficult post-credit crunch period in Ireland, leading to nine years of back-to-back growth in profit and turnover.

Terry Edgell, CEO and co-founder of Premier Forest Group said: “Over the past 12 months we have had various approaches about the possibility of selling our Irish subsidiaries and after careful consideration we felt that the time was right to hand the reins to an Irish company to steer them through their next phase of growth.

“This is a positive step for the Premier Forest Group, one which allows us to consolidate our position by giving us significant resource to reinvest in our staff and our business and drive growth in the UK through investment and further acquisitions.

“After excellent results for our 2020/21 financial year, we believe that there is a real opportunity here to push on and we are looking forward to putting a renewed focus into our UK business. Our forecasts are strong and we believe that we are looking at another positive increase in turnover for 2021/22.

“We would like to thank our Irish management team and every member of staff in Ireland for all their hard work over the past nine years and wish them success for the future.”

Announcing the transaction, Ciaran Murdock of Murdocks, said: “We are delighted to be announcing the acquisition of Brooks Group – a business we have always held in high regard. Since establishing Murdock Builders Merchants in 1982, we have gradually built the Murdocks business by opening new branches along with some single site acquisitions. Today’s announcement marks an important strategic move in significantly broadening our footprint in the Republic, through the Brooks business. We believe that this provides us with a great platform for further expansion in Ireland.

“It is also notable that Brooks, which was originally established in 1750 and has a long and storied heritage in timber provision and merchandising in Ireland, returns to Irish ownership for the first time since 1982. We very much look forward to working with our new colleagues and the Brooks management team, who have done such a good job in growing the business over the past number of years.”

Gambit Corporate Finance LLP acted as lead advisor to the shareholders and were responsible for initiating, negotiating and structuring the transaction, which involved a strategic capital demerger to clearly separate its Irish and UK operations. The Gambit team was led by Geraint Rowe (Partner), Simon Marsden (Director), Sam Forman (Associate Director) and Michael Dunn (Executive).

Geraint Rowe, Partner at Gambit, commented: “We are delighted to have advised Terry, Nigel and Dilwyn, who, over the past nine years have returned Brooks Group to a position of dominance in the Irish market. The Premier Forest Group shareholders and Brooks Group management team have achieved significant successes together, showing adaptability and resilience in navigating a dynamic RMI market during times of economic uncertainty. This transaction provides Murdocks with a substantial platform for future expansion in Ireland and allows the Brooks Group to continue its strategic development and embark on its next phase of growth.”

Acuity Law were lead lawyers for the sellers on the transaction. The Acuity team was led by Rachelle Sellek (Partner) and Tom Saunderson (Senior Associate) and supported by Flynn O’Driscoll on Irish law matters. Rachelle Sellek, Partner, said “Premier Forest Group has been a long-standing client of Acuity’s and we are delighted to have advised the shareholders on the sale of their Irish business. We believe that this transaction, in the middle of a global pandemic, is a fantastic achievement and we wish the Brooks and Premier Forest groups every success for the future.”

Established in 1993, Premier Forest Group has increased turnover by £31M to £170M over the past 12 months, in spite of constraints imposed by nationwide lockdowns, operating restrictions at their sites in UK and Ireland and significant supply chain disruption.

Premier Forest Group continues to trade from its eight strategic sites in England and Wales as a vertically integrated timber operation engaged in the importation, sawmilling, processing, merchanting, and wholesale distribution of timber and timber products.

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