Bonham Lilley Timber is the latest independent merchant to be acquired by Travis Perkins (TP), as the latter continues to build up its network of timber specialists.

The Wellingborough merchant, set up in 1996 by Nigel Bonham and Marcus Lilley, was one of five acquisitions made by TP in the opening weeks of 2008. Bonham Lilley has a mill, its own treatment facility and specialist joinery products in addition to its core timber offering.

The merchanting giant has added a number of timber specialists in its Midlands region during the past 12 months – others being Shires Timber in Leicester and Litchfield-based Four Oaks Timber – as it looks to re-establish its business as a major timber merchant in the region.

But TP group financial director Paul Hampden Smith told TTJ that acquisitions were not the only route being pursued by the company, with eight new brownfield branches opening so far this year.

“The great thing with [acquiring] the independents is it’s mutually beneficial. We are putting in quite a large amount of goodwill.”

Mr Hampden Smith said TP was looking to improve its timber business across the country, not just the Midlands.

Overall, 13 new TP branches opened in the first five weeks of 2008, representing a spend of about £20m, with the businesses expected to add £24m of turnover to the group in their first 12 months of trading.

Additional branches comprise seven TP outlets, four Wickes stores, one Keyline branch and one Tile Giant site. The group’s network now stands at 1,138 branches.

“On a like-for-like basis, the group is growing ahead of market growth rates,” said group chief executive Geoff Cooper.