AMBA, which was formed in 2011, covers 17 members with 85 outlets and an annual spend of some €130m on building materials, plumbing and heating goods and timber products. Total turnover of its members is about €230m. All 17 AMBA members will join the BMF today (1 December).
BMF CEO John Newcomb said: “While the BMF has always had the ability within its constitution to extend its reach into Ireland, strategically the impetus to join had to come from Irish merchants. When AMBA made their request, we were delighted to respond and look forward to providing our full range of training and support services to their members. We are very excited at the prospect of developing our alliance and extending our core membership benefits to AMBA’s members.”
AMBA CEO Keith Giblin explained why the association has joined the BMF: “AMBA’s fundamental purpose is as a low cost, highly professional group with strategically placed members working with partner suppliers. Our Buying Group has grown rapidly since its inception, successfully ensuring we defend and grow our members’ competitive position, profitability and market share by working together. We are continually focussed on adding further value to our members and an alliance with the BMF offers numerous opportunities to enhance our members’ businesses. Foremost amongst these is the BMF’s approach to recruitment, which is helping to attract and develop talented people within the merchant industry.”
Brexit is another factor in AMBA’s desire to create a strong link with the BMF as an international trade association. AMBA chairman Dennis O’Connor said: “We have three aims for our ongoing relationship with the BMF: alliance, recruitment and awareness. Our market is somewhat reliant on the UK and with the countdown to Brexit well under way it is essential to draw closer to a federation that represents merchants and building materials suppliers operating in the UK in order to develop a greater awareness and understanding of the issues on both sides.”
BMF chairman Peter Hindle added: “Many building materials producers administer the UK and Ireland as one commercial region and it is likely that this will continue beyond Brexit. It is strategically important for the BMF to continue to develop its links with European trade bodies such as UFEMAT and FEST in order to support existing members in the UK as well as our latest members in Ireland. I look forward to welcoming Allied Merchants Buying Association into membership.”
The addition of AMBA’s members increases the number of BMF merchant members to 337, operating from over 5,000 branches throughout the UK and Ireland. From today, the BMF’s total membership, including supplier and service members will stand at 640. Together, BMF merchant and supplier companies have combined sales of £28bn and employ 123,000 people in the building materials industry.