The Build Center builders merchant business purchased from Wolseley by rival merchant chain Jewson is a “great strategic fit for both businesses”, according to Jewson managing director Peter Hindle MBE.
“We have always had great respect for the business and their style of business so when the opportunity came to have a closer look and see if we could make it fit with us then we took it,” Hindle told buildersmerchantsjournal.net.
The plan is to integrate the branches into the Jewson stable, although some branches will fall under the company’s independent brand Gibbs and Dandy.
“The Build Center brand will disappear.”
Jewson’s parent company Saint Gobain is also in negotiation to buy Wolseley’s French plumbers merchant chain Brosette. For this reason, the deal is seen as a European acquisition and, therefore, has to be lodged with the competition authorities in Brussels. However Hindle thinks this will be a formality before the UK element is passed back to the Office of Fair Trading in the UK. “They will then have a look at it and we will wait to see which branches we will be able to keep and which, if any, we won’t be able to. I expect there will be some that we won’t be allowed to go ahead with.”
The deal includes 148 branches, 86 of which are freehold. It also includes four glass and 10 ironmongery specialist branches. “It also includes those branches which share sites with other Wolseley Center businesses, which will be a bit of a challenge to sort out.”
He says the timescale will depend on the competition authorities but also on the co-operation between the two companies on the transition, which will involve un-coupling the Build Center business from those areas of Wolseley which operate as group.
“For us, it’s important that we can continue with the business. We haven’t bought these branches just to close them down. We’re going to be a bigger business and we’ll need more people to help run that business.
“We want to get round the everyone and talk to them and reassure everyone who has been taken over that this is an opportunity. We’re really excited about what this will mean for our business and also for the new people who’ll be coming on board.
“We know that it’s a stressful time for everyone involved but I was the same when we bought Harcros – for those willing to engage there are plenty of opportunities to grow and expand within the business.”