Murdock Builders Merchants acquires Brooks Group

Transaction will return Brooks to Irish ownership after a 40-year interval

Newry-headquartered timber suppliers Murdock Builders Merchants has announced the acquisition of Brooks Group from Wales-based Premier Forest Products Group.

The transaction comprises Brooks Builders Merchants as well as Dublin Plywood and Veneer (DPV). It is subject to the approval of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

“The transaction will lead to the return to Irish ownership, after a 40-year interval, of Brooks, Ireland’s oldest name in builders merchanting and leads to the establishment of a strong competitive force in the market,” said Murdocks Builders.

Murdocks has 10 branches and two timber-processing facilities in Northern Ireland as well as four merchanting outlets in the Republic. Brooks has seven builders’ merchants branches in the Republic and DPV has its timber distribution based in Dublin.

Ciaran Murdock of Murdocks said: “We are delighted to be announcing the acquisition of Brooks Group, a business we have always held in high regard.

“Since establishing Murdock Builders Merchants in 1982, we have gradually built the Murdocks business by opening new branches along with some single site acquisitions.

“Today’s announcement marks an important strategic move in significantly broadening our footprint in the Republic through the Brooks business. We believe that this provides us with a great platform for further expansion in Ireland.

Long heritage

“It is also notable that Brooks, which was originally established in 1750 and has a long and storied heritage in timber provision and in merchanting in Ireland, returns to Irish ownership for the first time since 1981.

“We very much look forward to working with our new colleagues and the Brooks management team who have done such a good job in growing the business over the past number of years.”

Mark Lohan, managing director of Brooks Group, said it was “an exciting new chapter” for the combined business.

“The combination of Brooks with Murdocks comes at a great time for the business,” he said. “We have made significant progress in realising the objectives of our strategy, strengthening the fundamentals, enhancing resilience and delivering performance.”

Murdocks also announced that, following completion of the acquisition, it plans to appoint Eddie Kelly as chairman of Brooks Group.

Mr Kelly has had a significant career in Irish builders merchanting and, as chief executive, led Grafton’s merchanting business in Ireland for seven years prior to his recent retirement.

Paul Lynch, former executive director at Heiton Group and CFO of Applegreen, will also join the board as a non-executive director following completion.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter