Cornish timber merchants Duchy Timber have bought Devon timber merchants Payne Timber, who went into administration last month.
The 34 Payne Timber employees will be staying with the company, which has branches in Ottery St Mary and Torquay.
The company, which has an annual turnover of £7m, will continue to trade as Payne Timber, mainly because Duchy Timber is not known in Devon, whereas Payne have been trading for 14 years. “We have spent a lot of time and money building up a good reputation,” says Payne managing director Andy Halpin who will remain with the company.
Halpin said the firm ran into financial difficulties after bulk orders dried up during the summer, losing some 40% of trade in the three months to September. He said he believes the construction industry is in a far worse condition than anybody outside it realises.
“I don’t think we have even begun to see the half of it yet. I don’t see it picking up for at least six to eight months, if not longer. We were trying to keep going with what felt like a tidal wave of debt building up behind us as we downsized.”