A FAMILY timber business set up more than a century ago in Newcastle has been sold to a German company.
Gill & Robinson has been sold to Kullik & Rullmann AG for an undisclosed sum by chairman and managing director Ian Robinson, after 18 months looking for the right buyers.
Founded in Newcastle in 1889, Gill & Robinson was the UK’s top privately owned softwood timber agent. It has offices and agents across the UK and Ireland, selling mainly to importing manufacturers and larger end-users, such as producers of caravan and bedding components, scaffold boards and decking.
Mr Robinson, who joined the family firm in 1971 and became managing director in 1986, will remain in post. He will now work with Kullik & Rullmann’s management team and its UK sales staff to boost domestic and overseas sales.
He said: “Having worked with many of our customers, suppliers and staff for a very long time, I knew I wanted to find a very particular type of buyer, one that would not only maintain the important relationships that had built up between us all over time, but one that would also drive the company forward into a new era.
“We looked at a number of different options over an 18-month period, but I was especially impressed by the dynamism and energy of the Kullik & Rullmann management team, and also recognised the clear synergies between our two operations.
“There’s a lot of work to be done around the integration of the two firms’ operations, but I’m very excited to be part of making it happen, and about the commercial opportunities that bringing our operations together will open up, which will take us a huge step along the road towards being a ‘one-stop shop’ for all our customers.” Mr Robinson was advised by RMT Accountants & Business Advisors, which has acted for the firm on tax and commercial activities for more than two decades.
“There were a number of hurdles to surmount along the way, but the RMT team kept us all focused on what needed to be done, giving the buyers confidence that we would reach an agreement, while making sure we also made best use of all the financial instruments available to us,” Mr Robinson.
Director Maxine Pott, who leads the RMT team that worked on the deal alongside fellow director John Richards, said: “Succession planning can be a complex task, and requires a great deal of detailed consideration and research to find the right route forward for any company, whether for a family firm or otherwise.
“Ian took a far-sighted approach to what he wanted to achieve for both himself and his colleagues, customers and suppliers. We’re extremely pleased to have helped secure the deal he was looking for with another family business that brings the same honesty and integrity to its operations that he always has.”
The Newcastle office of Ward Hadaway provided legal advice on the deal. Corporate finance partner Robert Thompson led the firm’s team advising on the transaction, with support from Ward Hadaway’s specialist property and banking teams.
Mr Thompson said: “With Gill & Robinson being very much a family business, it was important that we provided the right kind of advice to ensure the continuing success of the company.”