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Donaldson buys Stewart Milne Timber Systems

16 Dec 21 The Donaldson Group has entered the timber frame market by acquiring Stewart Milne Timber Systems.

Donaldson Group chief executive Andrew Donaldson (left) and Alex Goodfellow, formerly of Stewart Milne and now chief executive of Donaldson Off-site Manufacturing
Donaldson Group chief executive Andrew Donaldson (left) and Alex Goodfellow, formerly of Stewart Milne and now chief executive of Donaldson Off-site Manufacturing

Completion of the takeover comes two months after Stewart Milne Group puts it timber frame division up for sale to focus on house-building.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

Donaldson, a sixth-generation family timber merchant with headquarters in Fife, acquires a leading manufacturer of timber frame systems with a £100m turnover (pre Covid), a £300m order book and more than 400 employees.

Aberdeen-based Stewart Milne Timber Systems (STMS) claims a 20% UK market share. It has three manufacturing plants: in Aberdeen, Witney and a new facility in Falkirk.

All staff and operations will continue unchanged under STMS managing director Rod Allan.  Alex Goodfellow, Stewart Milne Group managing director for strategic development, will also transfer with the business to become chief executive of Donaldson Off-site Manufacturing.

SMTS joins the Donaldson Group portfolio of brands that includes: MGM Timber, Donaldson Timber Engineering, James Donaldson Timber and James Donaldson Insulation – as well as the recently added Smith & Frater, Rowan Manufacturing, Kitchens International and Stonecare, all acquired in the past two years.

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Donaldson Group chief executive Andrew Donaldson said: “This deal secures the future for a leading UK-based business; enabling the growth plans for it to reach its full potential, while providing reliability and stability for its existing and new customers. SMTS is a natural fit for the Donaldson Group; it offers a similar family-owned ethos, and has a strong reputation and track record for investment and innovation. We’re pleased to welcome all 411 employees to our family business and look forward to working closely with Alex and the full team.”

He added: “This is an exciting move for the Donaldson Group, as we venture into the timber frame market at a time when interest in the material has never been higher. The use of timber frame is anticipated to double in the next five years as housebuilders turn to modern methods of construction and renewable sources to achieve crucial net-zero carbon targets. This acquisition supports the Donaldson Group’s commitment to sustainability: building a sustainable business and supporting a sustainable industry.”

 Alex Goodfellow, the new chief executive of Donaldson Off-site Manufacturing, said: “We have secured the perfect partner who is committed to our growth strategy and who will support us to achieve our vision.  The Donaldson Group has a strong reputation for partnerships, reliability and integrity and we are clearly aligned both strategically and operationally which can only help strengthen our market-leading position.”

Stewart Milne Group made a £72m pre-tax loss for the year to 31st October 2020. Chief executive Stuart MacGregor said of the sale: “This deal represents an exceptional outcome for both parties. The scale of the opportunity in the growing timber frame market and the stellar growth of SMTS presented a highly compelling investment proposition and we are pleased to have found the right buyer who will continue to invest in the business and its people.

“The sale of SMTS will enable Stewart Milne Group to strengthen our investment in our thriving homes business which has seen record levels of sales in the last 18 months and, with our differentiated approach to place-making and new homes range, is now superbly positioned for future growth.

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