Consolidation to increase in timber sector

20 February 2017

I was sat in the Mayfair offices of new Timbmet owner The Hadleigh Timber Group recently asking its chairman Martyn Meade how he saw the future of the UK timber products industry.

His view was that more consolidation would be seen in the timber trade.

The group itself is in discussions with other UK timber product distributors with a view to making further acquisitions, with softwood as well as panels being in its sights.

The acquisition of Timbmet in January was certainly big news and the company joins Meyer Timber, Panelco and joinery products supplier Premium Timber in the Hadleigh stable.

But despite the tremors that the Timbmet purchase sent out, Mr Meade was at pains to point out that the Hadleigh Timber Group was not intending to shake the market up or change trade dynamics, though he said its move could be helpful in providing leadership in the trade in a general sense.

It is promising to keep the Timbmet name which is so rich in hardwood history. And other companies which it may acquire will also operate under their own names.

So, it will be a case of watch this space and I’m told the group is likely to get bigger over the next 12 months.

On another front, the government’s long-awaited housing white paper has just been released and heralds yet more positive news for the building materials sector.

A wide-ranging programme designed to “get Britain building” includes more powers for local authorities to make sure developers start build projects faster and a £3bn Home Building Fund to help small independent builders enter the market – which the government says could help build more than 25,000 new homes this parliament.

With smaller builders being the lifeblood of many merchants this has to be good news, as is the new Lifetime ISA to be launched to help young adult first-time buyers get on the housing ladder.

Housing minister Gavin Barwell has been busy since his appointment only last July.

Timber sector organisations are hailing the white paper as a good opportunity for structural timber systems and wood products.

“What’s not to like?” British Woodworking Federation CEO Iain McIlwee said of the white paper.

It will be interesting to further judge the mood of the industry at various events coming up including the Western Timber Association dinner in Bristol and the Ecobuild exhibition in London.

A final word this month is to save the date of this year’s TTJ Awards which will be held on September 29, once more at The Brewery in the City.

This year we are broadening the scope of the voted awards to give more recognition to the growing timber construction sector. More details will follow!