Britain’s biggest sawmiller BSW Timber will become even bigger by acquiring rival Howie Forest Products, it was announced today.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will see BSW acquire Howie’s Dalbeattie site – the largest single site sawmill in the UK with an annual capacity of more than 300,0000m³. The move gives BSW an annual sawn capacity of more than one million m³.

BSW, headquartered in Earlston, Berwickshire, said the merger of the sawmillers forms part of a long-term expansion drive aimed at enhancing the future profitability of the group and security to its customers in both the sawn timber and co-product markets and suppliers.

“The Dalbeattie site is an impressive addition to the BSW Group of companies. It’s benefited from significant and recent investment in the latest leading edge technology in sawmilling including the UK’s largest Linck and Springer primary production line and new kilning operations,” said Tony Hackney, BSW chief executive.

“Moreover, it is a well established, profitable business which is well managed and deserves its rightful position as GB’s number one sawmill. I’m delighted to welcome the team into the BSW organisation where we intend to strengthen our position in the development of the UK timber industry through the synergies of the deal.

“This deal shows our commitment to continued investment in a sustainable future.”

Robin Howie is the only member of the existing management team who will step down. The remaining executives join the enlarged BSW Group and continue in their current positions, with the Howie Forest Products brand being retained and the business remaining a distinct entity within the BSW Group.

BSW Timber currently has five sawmills in the UK and one in Latvia, generating a turnover of more than £110m

Howie invested £15m in a second sawmill line in 2006, billed as the most efficient in the UK and modelled on the large European sawmills, in order to help double turnover from £20m to £40m within three years.

BSW Timber supplies a full range of complementary products to the construction, pallet, packaging, fencing, garden and DIY Retail sectors.