Hardwood specialist DLH UK says it will be business as usual for customers following the announcement of a major restructure by its Danish-based parent to stem losses.

DLH Group’s new two-year “Back to Black” strategy follows a sharp decline in revenue and large inventory write-downs during 2009 and entails divestment of all forestry and production activities, including Congolaise Industrielle des Bois (CIB) Gabonaise Industrielle des Bois (GIB) and operations in Holland, Malaysia and the US.

DLH UK managing director Steve Sullivan said it was difficult to say categorically how the restructure will play out as the mills have yet to be divested.

“But DLH UK will continue to operate in the market as we’ve done for many years,” he said. “We don’t yet know who will buy these facilities, but they will still want access into the UK, so we may well continue to handle their timber.

“At the same time, we may be offering material from other suppliers – and it should be remembered that it wasn’t long ago that DLH did not actually own these mills. Carl Ronnow and PW Hardwood were acquired in 2002, CIB and GIB 2006 and Gabon Forest (CFA) in 2008.”

He said that the restructure effectively returned the company to its “core values” and gave it a more stable future.

“The forestry businesess had become a cash drain and we’re getting back to our strengths as an international trader,” he said.

“The new strategy will make the Group market- rather than supply-driven and that sits well with DLH UK as it’s what this business has been for the last 30 years.”

DLH Group chief executive Kent Arentoft described 2009 as “an extremely challenging year”, with a DKr609m (£73m) loss recorded.

Mr Arentoft said that the company had become “spread over too large a range of activities” and that the restructure would “focus competancies on sales and supply”.

CIB and GIB were among the pioneers in West African forestry certification and Mr Sullivan stressed that DLH’s environmental policy remains the same.

“We’re still committed to increasing the supply of certified timber into the UK market,” he said.