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Cairngorm buys another door producer

10 Aug 22 Doncaster-based Sentry Doors has acquired Birmingham door manufacturer E&SW Knowles & Company.

Door production in Knowles' Birmingham factory
Door production in Knowles' Birmingham factory

Sentry Doors said that its acquisition of £10m-a-year Knowles created the UK’s largest producer of specialist fire safety doorsets.

Established in 1923, E&SW Knowles manufactures specialist timber internal doorsets with fire rated, acoustic and PAS 24 security certification. Operating from a 50,000 sq ft facility in Birmingham with approximately 100 employees, Knowles offers bespoke products for its commercial, healthcare, education and leisure customers.

Sentry Doors is more focused on the specialist fire doorset requirements of the social housing, public sector, commercial and residential markets.

Sentry Doors is private equity owned, having been acquired by Cairngorm Capital in 2019. Cairngorm has been busy buying up builders merchants and product suppliers in the past three years, creating Independent Builders Merchant Group (IBMG). Cairngorm companies include Parker Building Supplies, Chandlers, Grant & Stone and RGB, among many others. It also owns doormaker Cotswold Manufacturing, which is based on Teesside, and timber merchant Arnold Laver, which form part of its National Timber Group.

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Cairngorm director Stuart Whiteford said: “The combination of Knowles and Sentry is strategically compelling and delivers additional capabilities and services across the business, to the benefit of all customers.”

The enlarged Sentry Doors business continues to be headquartered in Doncaster. Knowles managing director Steve Horner is joining Sentry’s senior management team.

Sentry chief executive Ty Aziz said, “I am delighted to welcome Knowles to Sentry Doors – they have a fantastic manufacturing heritage, an exceptional team and a superb product range so we can learn a lot from one another. This partnership will help us to respond to the surge in demand for our products, as well as providing our customers with a fully comprehensive range of fire safety and security solutions, and a greater choice of features and finishes. It marks a key milestone in the growth strategy for our businesses and advances our collective ambition to be UK leaders in this sector.”

Martin Wright, the 73-year-old majority owner of Knowles, added: “Next year Knowles celebrates its centenary and while I am extremely proud of all that we have achieved in the last 99 years, I know that the company has the capability to achieve much more in the future. I believe that this is the natural point for me to pass the company to new, trusted custodians who can deliver on its future potential. Knowles has a perfect partner in Sentry and together, the companies should achieve great things.”

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