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James Donaldson buys Palgrave Brown

Timber suppliers James Donaldson & Sons Ltd have bought the assets of Palgrave Brown, the roof truss and engineered timber manufacturers. Palgrave Brown went into administration last month with the loss of 450 jobs .
Donaldson, based in Glenrothes, Fife, has bought the Palgrave Brown Chorley site, one of three which the administrators were trying to sell as going concerns.

The deal includes all the land and buildings, plant, machinery and stock from the site and will mean the saving of 40 jobs . The Chorley site will now trade as Alfred Hume Ltd, its original name from its start-up in 1919.

Palgrave Brown were placed in administration on November 4 when the administrators from BDO Stoy Hayward were appointed on November 4. So far the administrators have cut over 400 jobs and closed most of the 17 sites.

Palgrave Brown, which supplied roof trusses and timber engineered products, have been hit hard by the downturn in the house building and construction sector. Joint administrator Graham Newton said: “Palgrave Brown is a casualty of the well-documented contraction of the construction and house-building industries. This sudden and steep downturn is at the centre of the company’s current difficulties.

“It was a well-established business, but given the conditions in the construction sector at present, it has not been possible to achieve a going concern sale of the whole of the business.”

Family-owned James Donaldson, includes sawmilling company James Donaldson Timber Ltd, roof truss manufacturer Donaldson Timber Engineering and timber merchant MGM. It was founded in 1860 and has a turnover of nearly £100m.

Chairman Neil Donaldson said that the product range at the Chorley site would be extended next year and the group will use it to expand their strength and presence in the north west.

Palgrave Brown went through a management buy-out in 1998, led by Richard Fawcett, former chief executive of builders merchant Jewson, though he left the business in 2002.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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