Huws Gray has confirmed the acquisition of Ridgeons, the long-established timber and builders’ merchant business which trades from over 40 mixed branches in East Anglia.
The “transformational acquisition” will significantly increase Huws Gray’s store base and broaden its national presence in a move which the company believes will make it “the UK’s largest independent builders’ merchants”. (In PBM’s January 2018 ‘Top 20’ merchant listing, Huws Gray and Ridgeons were tied in equal 6th position with reported turnovers of £180m a piece; MKM was listed in 5th position with a turnover of £360m.)
Like Huws Gray, Ridgeons has a strong focus on the growing repair, improvement and maintenance segment, as well as a large and diversified customer base of over 16,000 clients. The transaction is the fifth acquisition made by Huws Gray in less than six months.
CEO Terry Owen said: “The acquisition of Ridgeons represents a real milestone for our company as we become the largest independent builders merchants in the UK. Ridgeons is an excellent business with a genuine leadership position in its region and is a perfect addition to Huws Gray’s growing footprint. We were struck not only by the strength of the company, but also by the considerable similarities between our cultures and management style.”
Ridgeons heritage dates back to 1911 when, according to the company’s website, it was founded by Cyril Ridgeon “in the back room of his home in Cambridge”. As well as Ridgeons Timber & Builders Merchants, the business also encompasses the PlumbStock specialist plumbing & heating division and Anglia Tool Hire.
The firm remained in the hands of the Ridgeon family. Gordon Ridgeon commented: “Our priority was to find a new owner for Ridgeons with the same culture and values. We are confident that in Huws Gray we have found a like-minded owner who will further strengthen the Ridgeon brand and continue to build on the success of the past 107 years.”
Earlier in the year, Inflexion Private Equity completed a minority investment in Huws Gray. Regarding the Ridgeons acquisition, Inflexion’s Managing Partner Simon Turner said: “We are delighted to support this transformational acquisition for Huws Gray. The transaction creates a leading business of significant scale in the builders’ merchants market. We look forward to continuing to support Huws Gray’s management team as they execute their ambitious expansion plans.”
Founded in 1990, Huws Gray has grown from a single operation in Anglesey to 62 trading locations across the UK and now employs almost 900 staff. The business has expanded both organically and through acquisitions as it continues to pursue expansion into new territories in the UK. Recent acquisitions include Penrith Building Supplies, PH Timber, Southport Timber and Wheelers Timber & Builders Merchants.