Saint Gobain quits UK merchant sector with sale of Jewson

French building materials conglomerate Compagnie de Saint-Gobain SA has sold its merchanting brands in the U.K. to Stark Group AS for 740 million pounds ($907.4 million).

Stark Group is headquartered in Denmark, with operations in six countries in Northern Europe.

Jewson low res

The company said this morning (Monday December 12) that the assets,) including Jewson, Jewson Partnership Solutions, Build Aviator, the Local Merchant Group brands including Gibbs & Dandy, JP Corry and Normans, Jewson Civils Frazer, George Boyd and International Timber, are expected to generate revenue of roughly EUR2.7 billion this year, with an operating margin of around 2%.

The distribution business comprises 600 outlets and employs some 8,900 people. Saint-Gobain will no longer have any distribution businesses in the U.K. following the divestment. The transaction should be completed in the first quarter of 2023.

Saint-Gobain has been divesting itself of specialist distribution brands in the United Kingdom over the last 18 months as part of a continued business profile optimization strategy to enhance the Group’s growth and profitability in line with its “Grow & Impact” plan.

The acquisition is STARK Group’s largest acquisition to date.

Group CEO Søren P. Olesen says: “We have a strategy that successfully focuses on professional craftsmen and the renovation and maintenance market, which this acquisition fits very well into. In 2019, we bought Saint-Gobain’s German distribution business, and there are many similarities in this acquisition. We will do our utmost to develop, grow and invest in the company making it the professional craftsmen’s preferred choice.”

“Despite the current tough macro-economic environment, the fundamental drivers for the renovation and maintenance market in the UK are attractive. We are facing a challenging transition year, but it is a solid company that we can make thrive and grow. The more than 600 branches and distribution centres are in good locations across the entire UK. We will invest in the business, the people, and the distribution. We have acquired a company with whom we can continue our growth journey.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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