James E Smith (Timber) Ltd has joined two ex North Sea Lumber managers to buy the assets of North Sea Lumber (Sales) Ltd (NSL) from administrators.

A new company, James E Smith (Northern) Ltd, has been created which effectively continues the value-added business of NSL trading division Quayside Timber, based at Hull’s Alexandra Dock. All 18 former Quayside staff have been retained.

Birmingham-based James E Smith has taken a 51% stake in the new company, which has a four-acre site with 37,000ft² undercover storage. Paul Hill and Andrew Watkins, both formerly of NSL, have taken a 26% and 23% stake respectively and Mr Hill becomes managing director of James E Smith (Northern) Ltd.

Former NSL owner Ian McLaughlin is not involved in the new company.

James E Smith finance director Brad Hurst said the company saw the acquisition as a good opportunity, especially due to the wide mix of customers. “The former Quayside Timber business was a profitable business within the NSL group,” he said. “We have had three good years at James E Smith and are cash rich . We have kept a lot of money within the company and reinvested it.”

He said James E Smith’s investment in the new operation was about £250,000. “In the last two years NSL had stopped doing any of its volume business and had become a value-added business,” said Mr Hill

He said the new business’ customers include builders merchants, joinery, furniture and fencing manufacturers.

James E Smith (Timber) Ltd also has a four-acre site with treatment facilities at New Holland.

TTJ understands that the main reason NSL went into administration on June 25 was the collapse of a property deal which would have provided much-needed working capital for the business.

Mr McLaughlin had agreed to sell his Cotswolds home and a farm owned by the company to provide working capital for the business which was in financial difficulties, only for the City buyer to withdraw.

NSL was also believed to have suffered financially due to specifications and volumes of Russian timber it received in the past.