The purchase of Brewers, which turned over in excess of £14m last year, took place on January 4, following some months of discussion.

“On both sides it seemed to be the right business, in the right place at the right time,” said Brewer co-director Keith Fryer.

“I and fellow directors Nick Brewer and Rodney Scoles agreed Grafton don’t just bring scale to the business, they get merchanting and are willing to invest in that sector. They also own L&G Timber and Beaumont Forest Products in London, so, from their perspective we form part of a very strong team of businesses to make inroads into the capital. It may be a relatively small acquisition for them, but we think they’re very excited about its potential.”

Brewers was established in 1888; bought from Malden Timber as an MBO in 1992 by Mr Brewer and Mr Scoles; Mr Fryer joined in 1994. It started with two branches, built to six, then sold one and closed two in the recession, leaving today’s sites at Amersham, Clapham and Enfield and a workforce of 65.

The core focus is “next day delivery across London”. “It’s a very good business, that’s kept growing and last year turnover increased another 15%, despite a 12% effective fall in timber prices,” said Mr Fryer.

“And the pace of development in London promises a bright future.”

The company will retain its name and the three directors are staying in the interim to oversee the transition. The workforce and wider management team will also stay the same.

“Commitments on that were central to choice of buyer,” said Mr Fryer. “We’ve got all the premises and vehicles, but the true core of the business is a really good team of people.”

Brewers will now work closely with L&G and Beaumont as part of the wider Buildbase operation. “The acquisition extends our coverage of the merchanting market in the London area and provides a further opportunity for the profitable growth of the Group,” said an official statement from Ireland-based Grafton.

Mr Fryer stressed his role as Timber Trade Federation president will not be affected by the acquisition. In fact it may fit more easily with his work within the national Grafton business. “Grafton Group has shown a very serious commitment to timber, which is my skill set”.