Hull-headquartered Hawthorn Timber is in new ownership following a buy-out by its long-serving management team as it closes in on 70 years’ serving the city and beyond.
Managing director Richard Thompson, sales director Richard Iversen and production director James Stone have completed the management buy-out (MBO), taking on the timber merchant business with backing from European private equity investor, Nimbus.
Nimbus’ investment was supported by Shawbrook through an acquisition and working capital facility.
Richard Thompson said:
“This transaction represents the start of an exciting new chapter for Hawthorn. Our success to date has been built on our relentless focus on serving our customers and the investment and partnership with Nimbus will allow us to grow whilst sticking to our core values.”
Founded in 1953 by Dennis and Sheila Stone, sons Trevor and Michael had then led Hawthorn Timber, passing responsibilities to the management team in 2005.
It is now an award-winning business – recently named the Small Timber Trader of the Year at the Timber Trade Journal awards – and employs 120 people, operating from five sites, with headquarters in Hull’s Wyke Street.
The company deals predominantly in soft wood-based products and sheet materials, carrying more than 3,000 mouldings with bespoke potential, processing and distributing more than 60,000 sq m annually.
Nimbus is an experienced investor in manufacturing, with a track record in supporting management teams to build strong, market leading businesses. The transaction represents Nimbus’ fourth investment in the UK manufacturing sector following the acquisitions of Halo Foods, Paralloy and Customade Group.
Chris Clegg, Head of Nimbus in the UK, said:
“We are delighted to support such a talented management team in a dynamic sector. Richard and his team have delivered incredible growth in recent years and we are excited to be part of the ambitious future plans for the business.
“We are well aware of Shawbrook’s strong reputation in the sponsor-backed finance market and have successfully worked with them on another MBO in recent years.
“The Bank understood the potential of this MBO immediately, quickly providing acquisition term debt and working capital facilities which offered us an outstanding ‘one-bank’ solution to support our investment. As a specialist, Shawbrook offered us bespoke structuring and could work to our tight timescales for completion. They met our needs as a sponsor and we very much look forward to working with them in the future.”
Shawbrook Bank provided both acquisition and working capital finance to support the transaction, advised by Shoosmiths in Leeds. David Keenan led the deal for Nimbus who were advised by the Leeds teams of Womble Bond Dickinson Sentio Insights and BDO tax advisory. RSM and Rollits advised the Stone family.
Daniel Martin, Senior Director within Shawbrook Bank’s Corporate Lending team, said:
“This was an excellent opportunity to work with and support an established, European private equity house with a regional presence in the form of Nimbus and, at the same time, back Hawthorn’s incumbent management team with their strategic growth aspirations.
“Hawthorn Timber is critical to its customers and adds huge value to the supply chain and this is evidenced through the strong relationship the business has with holiday home manufacturers in particular.
“Hawthorn is an impressive UK business whose customers rely on them to deliver. Nimbus’ and Hawthorn’s new management strategy is clear and there are multiple opportunities available to grow the business through increased volumes and production efficiencies. We are excited by this MBO and look forward to seeing how the business progresses in the coming months and years ahead.”